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11. Gamesday at HdM - On Gamers and Game Development

The first gamesday ever happened on 16th June 2006 at HdM. It took exactly 2 weeks from the idea to the event. The program was carried by excited and motivated gamers and game developers in our faculty. And since then there was a gamesday every term. With different topics like technology, content, design and sometimes ethical questions or economic aspects. Frequently the very latest developments were presented like gamification, virtual goods and free-to-play marketing. And we always had friends from other faculties and the industry joining in.

This time the gamesday takes place on a Wednesday and it represents a cut: In fall Stefan Radicke will start in his position as professor for game development in the computer science and media faculty and he will without any doubt bring some new ideas with him. And it looks like we will join forces with our friends in the audio-visual faculty in the area of game development and a stronger participation at the FMX in Stuttgart. Right now there is hardly a game project without students from both faculties.

So it's about time to take a closer look at the most important part of game development: the "gamer" and the many myths around him. Is he the lonely, pale, badly fed nerd without social competence, only active during frequent amok runs? Is it a "He" at all? Johannes Breuer from the University of Hohenheim will follow up on those myths and present very interesting data from a current research project on german gamers. I can promise some surprises here!

Of course there are many students interested in computer games. I used the latest girls day to ask the students about their game habits and discovered that almost all students did play computer games on all kinds of hardware or even the browser. But is this reason enough to include game development in a computer science and media curriculum? As we have recently announced a new position in the area of game development I will use the chance to tell you why I have been pusing for this and what I have learned from my game interested students - who turned out to be very interested in a holistic view on computer science and who came with an incredible motivation.

"Heads first Game Development". Pascal Borman and his team consisting of students from Audio-visual media and computer science and media faculties will demonstrate their latest game project and while doing this will explain the techniques and methods used. And of course also what went wrong and how to create a large game with a small team. People interested in computer games will get a glimpse into how it is really done.

"Content Creation in Games" is the title of Andreas Stiegler's talk this time. In previous talks Andreas explained causality in games or how game companies use community managment to keep in touch with players and the market. Andreas Stiegler is currently a researcher in our faculty going for his PHD in the area of artificial intelligence for games.

There are many different skills needed to create a good game and the talk by Benjamin Thaut - student in our faculty - is proof of this. He investigated software patterns used to create performance. And performance is what games need more than anything else because the user experience depends so much on it. Long before the Web3.0 have game developers understood the "need for speed" and what they teach with respect to performance is often quite different to what is needed for business apps.

Finally Valentin Schwind, who - shortly after Christoph Birkhold and together with Stefan Radicke and Thomas Fuchsmann - could be called one of the fathers of game development at HdM - will talk about a very interesting phänomenon of game psychology: The uncanny valley effect and its relation to game design and game hardware. Why does more visual realism lead to less acceptance frequently? How can we avoid falling into this trap? Valentin Schwind personifies both technological skill and artistic talent in a uniq e way and we are glad to have him as a lecturer in our faculty as well.


14.15 Gamers are (frequently) the better ones. 
A justification of game development in computer science, 
Prof. Walter Kriha, Computer Science and Media, HdM

14.30 The game player - an unknown creature? - 
Data on game players in Germany, Dipl.-Medienwiss. 
Johannes Breuer, Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft, 
Universität Hohenheim

15.20 "Head-over-heels into game development". 
How to create a big game with a small team. 
Pascal Bormann and team, Audio-visual faculty, HdM. 

16.10 Content Creation, 
Andreas Stiegler, PHD can. Computer Science and Media,

17.10 Programming for Performance - 
design patterns for speed, 
Benjamin Thaut, Student Computer Science and Media, HdM

17.50 The "Uncanny Valley" and its importance for game development,
Dipl. Inf. Valentin Schwind, Lecturer Computer Science and Media,

18.30 Wrap-up, Prof. Walter Kriha

Auf Ihr Kommen freuen sich das Team der Aktuellen Themen Internet und Prof. Walter Kriha


Wednesday 13 June, 14.15 - 19.00 at HdM, room 56. A live stream with chat is provided. As always, the event is free of charge and open to the interested public. Directions can be found at the hdm homep age.

Results from our 2nd Test and Quality Day

Prof.l Dörsam started with a talk on 3-tier architectures and their difficulties. She used a project from her previous company to explain errors that had been made by the developers and project managers. A development tool turned out to be unable to scale to a sudden increase in requests and database content in the context of a major customer. Due to confidentiality issues the database content - and it is always the database, isn't it (:-) - could not simply be used for testing at home and had to be simulated. The company ended up building a complete test-environment at home while the actual installation ran in India. And they changed their focus of testing: they almost exclusively concentrated on request times as seen by users. They instrumented the code for performance analysis too and finally also tracked the queries to the database carefully. In most cases it is really the queries which cause performance or scalability problems. It took the company close to one year and roughly 5-7 developers to achieve a predictable and traceable system based on this method.

Interestingly, the initial company philosophy of "eat your own dog food" as an approach for production test turned out to be just not good enough in the presence of unexpected scaling.

There are only few people who could have done the second talk as it covered more than a decade of testing methodology - including all the "errors". Which were mostly errors in expectations on new methods or cases of wrongful use. But Kai Lepler of Siemens Machines has all the experience and standing to cover a decade easily and at the same time give a lively talk. I will not go into details - watch the stream if you are interested! But some meta-level comments are in order. First: there is no "wrong" testing approach or methodology. All those approaches have their field of application and - something that is easily overseen - their special time within the lifecycle of projects. If you have a stable and mature development project that has grown over years and gone through many test cycles, rapid or agile testing with its focus on the imagination and experience of the testers (who are very familiar with the developers, project and lifecycle) is a very young but very useful testing methodology. It realizes the fact that conclusive testing of large scale projects is almost impossible and it is better to concentrate on likely problem spots.

This looks very much differently when your project is young and you end up with way too many bugs in testing. Then a full set of unit and regression tests done within development is in order. You would just waste the time and energy of your agile testers flooding them with those errors.

This dependency between the lifecycle status of a project and the testing methodology gave me an idea: When Quality Management methodology is applied to organizations - as it is e.g. currently happening in the universities - there is no fixed lifecycle of those organizations. Instead, some departments already have lower error levels du to actions taken previously while others show a whopping numbers of mistakes and errors. Applying one and the same testing and quality methodology - and it will be based on tons of documentation required without any doubt - will simply frustrate the better departments as this is a methodology geared towards beginners.

Kai Lepler gave some useful references during his talk, e.g. to Evil Testers where you can leanr the latest on agile and rapid testing. I hope we can win Kai as a lecturer here at HdM to strengthen our software production efforts.

The last talk by Alexander Zottnick - bachelor student at HdM and member of eXept, the makers of eXpecco test tool - was actually a demonstration of how to use Selenium and eXpecco successfully to create maintainable test procedures at a higher abstraction level. He started with analyzing a part of the HdM homepage - the personal course schedule which is used by students to assemble a plan for a term.

After a few minutes one thing became very clear: testing starts with the architecture of the system, unfortunately not in the case of the course schedule application: It turned out to be extremely tedious to record the use cases because no IDs had been given to the GUI elements and all kinds of workarounds using XPATH had to be used. Selenium was able to record all the use cases but left us with an ocean of hard-to-read and even harder to maintain html gibberish.

Then came the demonstration of eXpecco - a full blown activity driven test engine. Alex took the single snippets collected by Selenium and turned them into abstract nodes of a data flow architecture. The nodes could be supplied with parameters which were filled into the Selenium snippets thereby customizing a test run. No longer was it necessary to deal with the recordings but with an abstract flow of data and input between nodes. The test plan created this way could have dealt in the same way with a fat client gui instead of a web gui as it is no longer visible to the tester. This also provides a clear separation of development work (creating the inodes and nterfaces to the application) and the tester creating the activities to test the SUT.

All the talks and demonstrations provided some deep insights into the testing of quality software like to never rely on manual testing. It is just unable to cover a lot of the application and will lead to huge error rates in production.


We will continue our efforts in the test and quality area on 24 May with the BWTest event here at HdM Nobelstrasse 10. We will start at 18.00 in room 56.

5th Web Day at HdM - Security, Marketing and Performance in the Web

Are you a frequent user of WLAN access points with your mobile devices? Are you busy using social networks to keep in touch with your friends? Are e-banking, e-shopping etc. part of your daily routine? Then the talk by Sebastian Schreiber of SySS - well known from frequent appearences in SternTV and other shows - will give you something to ponder over. His job is "penetration testing" and the ease with which he simply takes over IT-systems and devices is just mind blowing. Besides live demonstration of successful hacks he will also talk about the profession of penetration testing.

Just as interesting as live hacking is the topic of "performance marketing": How does a company know which commercials etc. finally led to a purchase? This question is deeply tied to "user tracking" and today this is done based on high-speed and realtime IT-systems. Get a look on the techniques and strategies used in this area by attending the Daniel Kuhn's talk on the subject. He is with Quisma, part of Europes largest online marketing agency network. Learn how seemingly independent events over days are tied together into one users path through the web.

Search-engine-optimization (SEO) has become an indispensible part of todays marketing. It decides about the visibility of companies and campaigns and a lot of technological and financial effort is put into it. Representatives from DMC will show us the latest developments in the area of SEO.

Finally, performance of web services is becoming a larger issue nearly every day. Customers don't wait anymore and the job of successful IT is to further improve the user experience by cutting down on latency. Several students of the Computer Science and Media faculty at HdM have been working on performance especially in the area of asynchronous I/O and will give lightning talks on the subject and present some research and numbers. We will close the day with a panel discussion

Agenda: 13.15 Welcome, Prof. Walter Kriha 13.30
          Performance Marketing, Daniel Kuhn, Quisma GmbH, Munich 14.40 12
          Attacks on IT-Systems - with Live Demonstrations. Sebastian
          Schreiber, SySS GmbH, Tübingen 15.50 Search Engine Optimization -
          Techniques and Strategies, DMC Stuttgart 16.50 Performance of Web
          Services - Lightning Talks and Current Research, Computer Science
          and Media, HdM 17.45 Wrap-up, Prof. Walter Kriha


Friday 25 May, 13.15 - 17.30 at HdM, room 56. A live stream with chat is provided. As always, the event is free of charge and open to the interested public. Directions can be found at the hdm homepage.

The Art of Testing - 2nd Quality and Test Day at HdM

The Art of Testing - 2. Test and Quality Day at HdM Test and quality management have become core parts of production techniques everywhere in the world. More and more they enter even non-technical areas like administration and research management. And not everybody welcomes this development. The 2nd Test and Quality Day at HdM will show several aspects of testing using the example of software development. Both, the methodological base as well as practical testing with the help of tools are demonstrated. The first talk by Prof. Dörsam (HdM) has its focus on a rather sore point in the software industry: performance and performance testing of 3-tier applications. This is already hard to test in itself but it becomes even harder when systems need access to sensitive customer data or other critical and sensitive subsystems and the users are distributed all over the world. The talk will also discuss ways to achieve a permanent control of performance during development. The second talk uses the many years of experience the lecturer has gained in the industry to give an overview of various test-methodologies developed, scrapped and accepted during the last then years. Kai Lepler of Siemens AG will put his focus on explorative techniques and the so called philosophy of rapid software testing and will demonstrate the advantages of these methods using examples from the industry. Finally, to give our guests a chance to get some first hand practical experience with testing, Alexander Zottnick (Computer Science and Media, HdM) will demonstrate the tool "expecco" by eXept Software AG to analyse and test a web site.

 Agenda: The Art of Testing - 2.
          Test and Quality Day an der HdM 16.00 Prof. Walter Kriha, welcome
          16.15 Performance Measurements and Analysis of 3-tier Systems - an
          example Prof. Dr. Barbara Dörsam, HdM, 17.20 Test-methodologies with
          a special focus on rapid software testing - lessons learned in the
          past 10 years. Kai Lepler, Siemens AG, Industry Sector Drive
          Technologies Division, Motion Control Systems, Research and
          Development 18.00 Testing a web-application using the expecco tool
          chain Alexander Zottnick, Computer Science and Media Faculty, HdM


Thurday 26th April, 16.00 - 19.00 at HdM, room 56. A live stream with chat is provided. As always, the event is free of charge and open to the interested public. Directions can be found at the hdm homepage.

Professional Intelligence - a few notes on a talk by Gunter Dueck

Tommy Funkhauser brought the talk on professional intelligence to my attention. I enjoyed watching the video a lot. Gunter Dueck knows how to entertain his audience with careful observations and funny stories. The following is a VERY short summary of the talk. The first thing Dueck talks about (starting with lots of examples) is the de-qualification of many jobs due to the internet. Or better the availability of factual information for free and in realtime. Internet-savvy users can gather the neccessary information to book vacations, fix technical problems etc. easily. This means that many people have to work for 8 Euro/hour simply because their work is no longer qualified labor even though it is located within the service industry, not production. The other (probably smaller) part of the workforce faces a different problem: they are confronted with the "hard" problems in life. Those problems where we cannot find an answer easily on the web like booking a vacation for 14 people somewhere in the alps or fighting a special kind of diabetes. And as Dueck points out: the answer from the professional should not be: I need to look this up. The customer knows how to surf for information and has already done so - albeit unsuccessfully.

This leads over to some questions on different kinds of intelligence needed by the modern professional. Next to classic and emotional intelligence Dueck mentions many other forms (like having a motivation to do something, understanding the meaning of things, "intropathy" - making people accept ones proposals etc. And Dueck frequently mentions the management of large corporations as an area where only single minded controllers can prosper and where all other initiatives have been killed.

A section on brain waves in different phases of ones life follows and it becomes clear the Dueck is not at all satisfied with the kind of intelligence left in children after school. Especially creative forces are almost completely absent by then.

"Know your weaknesses in the mixture of different forms of professional intelligence means to find substitutes for those forms where one is lacking - a trick that I have used successfully in my professional life as well. Finally Dueck concedes that many of the forms of intelligence that he is discussing seem to be much more present in women than in men and that most job ads do not reflect this at all.

Academic Capitalism - current trends in the german university education

A recent article by Wolfgang Lieb explained it very well: after years of lobbying against public education using intransparent NGOs like the "Bertelsmann Stiftung" (whose influence within ministries and even schools is considerably) the Bertelsmann corporation is now taking the next step: turning public higher education over into private education and thereby creating a new business branch in Germany. For more background information you might want to take a look at the latest book by Richard Münch "Akademischer Kapitalismus".

The creation of new busness models and branches is nothing new and often involve making something scarce that is not really a scarce property. Think about the so called intellectual property rights in the digital age. But turning lifelong learning into lifelong paying for all kinds of certificates will have huge consequences for out society. There is a tight connection between the US military system and the US mostly private education system: one does not work without the other: if you want an education you will need to go a round with the army if your parents can't pay for college or university.

I also find the development of Bertelsmann corporation quite interesting. From pushing books and other media in its past it turned into a classic media corporation with a strong hold in media distribution. Later media creation became more and more important and - almost a logical consequence once you control distribution and creation - opinion making became a new leg. Lobby-organizations like the Bertelsmann Stiftung or the "Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft" are pushing neo-liberal thinking into ministries and the media. But at the same time media creation and distribution has become problematic: the web2.0, user generated content and social networks turn people away from classic media (just look at the newspapers dying...). In this situation it is a clever move to create and take over a completely new business branch (at least in Germany) and establish a private - and expensive - higher education systems as it already exists in the US, England or Australia. As a nice side-effect those systems allow a much better social selection for top jobs as can be seen in the recently published study on social selection in journalist schools .

10th Games Day at HdM, we came to play

Birgit Roth, head of G.A.M.E. Bundesverband der Computerspielindustrie e.V., will be talking about economic aspects of video games in Germany. Deutschland bei Videospielen ein. Andreas Stiegler from HdM will explain the critical concept of game balancing: how can we achieve fun and playability in a computer game? „Gamification" is currently catching a lot of interest: can we apply game concepts and principles in real life? Phillip Herzig, SAP Research Dresden will explain how gamifactaion could work within corporations. Clemens Kern, Computer Science and Media alumnus and currently Engine Engineer with Havok, will go into detail of game development in mobile systems.

 Agenda: 13.15 Uhr Welcome, Prof. Walter
          Kriha, Hochschule der Medien 13.30 Uhr "Wirtschaftsfaktor Games"
          Birgit Roth, Bundesverband der Computerspielindustrie e.V. 14.45 Uhr
          "Keeping the balance" Andreas Stiegler, Hochschule der Medien 16.00
          Uhr "Enterprise Software Gamification" Phillip Herzig, SAP Research
          17.15 Uhr "Mobile Game Development" Clemens Kern, Havok Wo?
          Hochschule der Medien, Nobelstraße 10, 70569 Stuttgart, Raum 011


Friday 13th January, 13.15 - 18.00 at HdM, audimax 011. A live stream with chat is provided. As always, the event is free of charge and open to the interested public. Directions can be found at the hdm homepage.

9.IBM Day at HdM, from Apps to Clouds

Another IBM Day packed with important topics and trends in IT, presented by senior architects and management consultants. And also a chance to meet some old friends of our faculty like Peter Kutschera who will present the development of a mobile media strategy for a large insurance company, including technical developments. Thomas Wappler will talk about the tension between the "art" in programming and the efficiency expectations of professional development and show us ways to combine both successfully. And Peter Demharter - well known from his talks on the next generation internet, IPV6 etc. will demonstrate the dramatic changes in data center technology - especially in the area of networking - caused by the drive to cloud computung. Expect some deep insights into one of the fastest moving areas of IT: there is no google and no facebook without the associated data center technology!

So join us shortly before Christmas for an interesting afternoon with ample opportunities to learn and discuss current topics and meet experienced architects and consultants.

          detailed version (pdf) . 12.30 - 12.45 Welcome (Bernard
          Clark, IBM and Walter Kriha, HdM)  12.45 - 13.14 Mobile Enterprise Strategie –
          Peter Kutschera (Senior IT Architect, IBM)  14.00 - 15.00 Prozessverbesserung in der
          Anwendungsentwicklung, oder: Programmierer lassen sich nicht
          programmieren . Thomas Wappler (Senior Managing Consultant, IBM)
           15.15 - 16.15 Erfordern heute Cloudbasierte
          Technologien neue Data Center Strukturen? Peter Demharter (Senior IT
          Architect, IBM) 16.15 Wrap-Up 


Friday December 9, 12.30 - 16.15 at HdM, room 56 (aquarium). A live stream with chat is provided. As always, the event is free of charge and open to the interested public. Directions can be found at the hdm homepage.

1.Energy Day at HdM, what keeps us going?

Are you wondering about your energy bills in the future? Perhaps you are thinking about renovating and isolating your home to get better energy efficiency? Or you are planning to buy a new car and are wondering about its engine: could it be an electrical one?

Those are rather common questions but the fundamental change in energy technology which is waiting for us will touch many other areas as well. Smart meters and smart grids will allow dynamic adjustments of energy supply and, yes, consumption. This does not sound quite so harmless and many start worrying about "the spy in our homes" represented by computers who not only calculate the energy consumption but also control household devices and finally user behavior. Is this a fair architecture for the citizens?

In his talk Chris Lindemüller will discuss the pros and cons of intelligent metering with respect to our privacy and security.

But perhaps your current concern is on saving money by renoating your home? Uwe Schulz has done exactly this and will present his experiences in doing so. He will explain the technology, costs and time needed. Are the results satisfactory? Let me just tell you that the results are quite surprising.

Uwe Schulz will end his talk with a vision of alternative energy based on the experience with his own house. Ludwig Karg - chief coordinator for the research around the E-Energy program will go into more details on this vision and show us how smart grids (the intelligent power grid of the future) and electro-mobility will allow a fundamental change in our energy production and consumption. Hopefully a change that will make Fukushima the last disaster of the nuclear energy complex.

Perhaps you are wondering: how come that energy is a topic at the media university? The sub-title is "what keeps us going?" and it is emotion that keeps us going! And emotion has always been at the core of media (social media have only emphasized this fact). Media and its enabling computer science technology are therefor right at the core of the discussions around a new energy paradigm.


Friday June 10, 13.20 - 17.00 at HdM, room 56 (aquarium). A live stream with chat is provided. As always, the event is free of charge and open to the interested public. Directions can be found at the hdm homepage.

9th Games Day at HdM

Game development and game economics cover many different areas. Proof for this can be found at out 9th Games Day. Long before others recognized its importance, community management has been a core feature of game economics and MMOGs like World of Warcraft have made important discoveries on user behavior and managment. Andreas Stiegler (well known from many talks and the organization of our Summer Game University) will give us an introduction to this exciting field. Andreas is currently working towards a PHD in game AI.

A successful game - especially in the 3D area - needs fast and credible physics driven by a physics engine. Norman Pohl, researcher and lecturer in our faculty will explain the secrets of high-performance physics in games.


I met Martin Nerurkar of Gameforge in Karlsruhe during the games camp, organized by Steffen Waltz and MfG. He is going to show us the difficulties and opportunities in design and marketing of virtual goods - an idea that is currently reshaping the whole games industry and game landscape.

And last but not least Paul Lawitzki from our sister-faculty Audio-visual media will demonstrate the game Big Time Monkey and the story behind it. He will also tell about current game projects at HdM.

During the breaks current games and consoles can be seen and tried in the lobby..

Many thanks go to the aktuelle themen team, Benjamin Thaut, Stephan Soller and many other gamers for organizing this day.


Friday May 27, 13.20 - 17.15 at HdM, room 56 (aquarium). A live stream with chat is provided. As always, the event is free of charge and open to the interested public. Directions can be found at the hdm homepage.