The Web Science Trust

Semantically enhanced games for the Web

Mepham, Will (2009) Semantically enhanced games for the Web. In: Proceedings of the WebSci'09: Society On-Line, 18-20 March 2009, Athens, Greece. (In Press)

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The growth of recent interest in casual multiplayer online games comes at a time when the Web is increasingly involved in connecting people, notably through Web-based social networking platforms. Online games are increasingly being embedded into social networking sites where they can form new connections between the network inhabitants. Semantic Web ontologies can be used to put social networking profiles in a format that can be used as a foundation for intelligent socially-aware software services. Defining an ontology for a game’s rule set and recording the significant events in a game session in an RDF-based format could bring the Semantic Web to games analysis and pave the way for new software services built around multiplayer online games. This paper proposes a methodology for defining the application logic layer of a games application from its rule set. We present a software framework that can translate game rules defined in a subset of OWL-DL combined with SWRL into a Java library that can be used as the application logic layer for a simple game. By defining an ontology for a simple board game rule set we show how a subset of OWL-DL with rules can be used to represent game logic. We then describe in detail how the application framework does this conversion through the freely available software libraries. The use of reflection to implement the application logic layer in Java is discussed in some technical depth. We provide an overview of how rules are implemented in the system, showing how they are expressed in a subset of SWRL that understands Events, Conditions and Actions. This part of the paper provides justification for the choice of description logic features that the rules language keeps from OWL-DL; however, this justification is kept short as it is not the main focus of the paper. Our approach to generic and ontology-based application logic development presents problems in terms of its ease of implementation and computational tractability. These problems are discussed in some depth, but again they do not form the main focus of the paper. We give an architectural overview of a generated instance of the framework, showing how the event handling and dispatching mechanism is generated to fit the rules defined in the board game rules ontology. We show how a framework instance can be re-used seamlessly across different hardware and network platforms and show how the generated application logic library can be integrated with different types of application client through the event handling mechanism. Our work has primarily been turned towards growing software services for turn-based games around ontologies and rule-sets with OWL and SWRL, together with RDF-based session data. Our main use case scenario is an extended turn-based game that builds a detailed game narrative from a wide range of session events. The game’s rules are briefly defined and their corresponding ontology is described. The main game session events are presented and a sample RDF-based game session output is sketched out. We suggest how the game session output produced by this framework could be used in the design of game-related software services and how it could be blended with other datasets from the Semantic Web graph to provide greater scope for game immersion and social connectivity. Our position is that publishing game rule sets and the linkable data that describes game sessions may well be a good way of promoting ubiquitous and platform-independent games. We relate these ideas to current thinking about how online game-playing communities are being defined. We also consider how the definition of game logics in Semantic Web ontology languages could potentially influence Web-based game development. Outside the realm of video game culture we consider how the widespread publishing of semantically defined application session events on the Web could feed into educational software development and healthcare, and how it could be related to any application domain where there is an opportunity for recording and analysing a sequential data stream. We present two further diverse scenarios for deployment of a framework like the one we have developed. The first of these is a lightweight portable application for interpreting events from a heart-rate monitor to provide detailed physical exercise profiles. The second is an educational software application that can assess confidence of answers to questions from semantic event session events. We provide extracts from the ontologies and sessions for these outlined application scenarios, though they are treated in less detail than the main scenario outlined above. We conclude that our methodology is applicable for domains which only require a small simple set of rules and entities, like board games. Suggestions for further development of our approach are provided.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Semantic Web, Games, Social Network, Software services
Subjects:Web Science Events > Web Science 2009
ID Code:132
Deposited By: W S T Administrator
Deposited On:24 Jan 2009 08:45
Last Modified:25 Oct 2011 16:50

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