For the GALA 2019 conference, we are very happy to announce our 2 keynote speakers. More details will be coming soon!

Maria Roussou

Dr Maria Roussou is an Assistant Professor in Interactive Systems (Human Computer Interaction, Virtual Reality, Games) at the Department of Informatics & Telecommunications, University of Athens. In 2003 she founded and co-directed makebelieve, an experience design and consulting company. Previously, she established (in 1998) and directed (until 2003) the Virtual Reality Department at the Foundation of the Hellenic World, a cultural heritage institution based in Athens, where she was responsible for setting up the immersive projection-based VR exhibits and managing the research, design and development of the VR programs and related visitor experiences. For most of the nineties (1993-1997), she focused on the design, application, and evaluation of virtual and digital media environments for education and the representation of cultural information, primarily using the CAVE® at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory in Chicago.

She holds a PhD in Computer Science (VR/HCI) from the University of London (UCL), a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Electronic Media from the School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.Sc in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from the same university. Maria is Chair of the Greek ACM SIGCHI Chapter (since 2011) and Vice-chair of the newly established Greek ACM-W Chapter.

Keynote: Immersive Games for Culture: from Representation to Experience

The use of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) in the cultural domain (e.g. museums, informal learning institutions, etc.) has focused, since the late 90s, on creating high-fidelity computer graphics reconstructions of monuments and objects, for presentation at the limited number of venues worldwide that carried the analogous infrastructure. But the recent resurgence in prominence of IVR through inexpensive headsets, has been met by an increase in the interest of cultural institutions to jump on the VR bandwagon and embrace this powerful medium to engage visitors.

Drawing from a range of high-end immersive Virtual Reality productions made for cultural or informal educational purposes, this talk will pull together elements and concepts that have emerged from evaluations with visitors, to explore the ways that immersive presentation can shift from the mostly didactic walkthroughs to experiences that are playful, emotive, social and shared, meaningfully interactive, and, ultimately, relevant and resonant to those they are designed for.

Sander Bakkes

Sander Bakkes is an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He is a leading contributor to the emerging field of ‘Personalised Gaming’. In the field, (psychologically-verified) user models are utilised to automatically generate a personal and meaningful user experience. In previous work, Dr. Bakkes investigated procedural content generation, player behavioural modelling, and adaptive video game artificial intelligence (AI), on which he authored over 50 publications for leading scientific journals, peer-reviewed international conferences, popular media, and a seminal book series. His article ‘Rapid Adaptation of Video Games AI’ has received the Award for Best Paper at the 9th International Conference on Intelligent Games and Simulation.

Keynote: Automated Game Design and Personalised Interactive Experiences

In this talk I will highlight which steps have already been taken to the end of tailoring game experiences to the individual player, while the player is still interacting with the game environment, and I will provide accessible examples of how our research group has already incorporated such adaptive game technology into actual games.