Games Design Hub WSA

The Hub is a joint venture between two leading schools within the university, The Winchester School of Art (WSA) and The School of Computing (ECS). The aim of the hub is to develop Serious Games and help to promote their use in various areas such as health, education, governance, market research, business and other areas.

The Hub consists of individuals from the Winchester School of Art and from the School of Computing at the University of Southampton. The Hub also has five PhD students who are researching in serious gaming and applying this to industry and social needs. More PhD studentships have been planned for the future from the funds that will be generated from commercial, IP, research and games for good work that will emanate from the Hub. The Hub won its first VC scholarship in 2012 for James Stallwood. There are now 9 PhD students jointly supervised between WSA and ECS.

Dr. Ashok Ranchhod is a Principal Teaching Fellow at WSA with interests in simulation and gaming having written and researched in this area. He has published papers on branding and digital marketing and is active in working with industry to launch research bids. He has previously successfully run KTPs (Digital Marketing) and bid for ESRC funds. He has published over 60 papers, numerous conference papers and published three books. 24 students have completed their PhDs with him as principal supervisor. He is especially interested in Serious Gaming and Education. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is on the advisory board of the Future Foundation and is a Member of the Worshipful Company of Marketors. He is also a member of the Serious Games Association.

Dr. Gary Wills is an Associate Professor in Computer Science. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Gary is also an Visiting Associative Professor at the University of Cape Town, and Research Professor for Rlabs, both in Cape Town South Africa. Gary has specialised in two main areas that of Secure Information Systems and E-Learning (including games), his teams have focused on developing systems that meet end user information needs. Gary has over 370 publications ; he has seen over 30 PhD students to completion; 11 PhDs in area of e-learning (including games)and has another 8 at various stages of their PhD candidature.

The Hub engages with industry and has links with companies such as Codemasters, Matmi, SAP, IBM and JageX. The gaming industry is now searching for good designers, in addition to good computing experts and the hub intends to fill this gap. The partnerships with companies are to provide the hub opportunities to engage in real life problems and how they can be addressed through gaming. At the same time they are a fundamental part of the research activities that the hub has already established through KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships) and bidding for funds through the various bodies such as HEA, EU, ESRC, EPSRC and AHRC, related to gaming and the Digital Economy. The group is currently bidding in Serious gaming for April 2016 within the EU Horizon 20/20 Programme with partners in Ireland and Germany. In 2016 there will be a seminar day organised with Jagex on Gaming and Industry contexts. There discussion taking place with Marc Fleurbaey and Eileen Jerret on citizenship gaming projects. The Hub is also working with Southampton University Hospital Trust on developing games for health management and with Brazil on gaming techniques to eliminate Dengue Fever. In 2013 Ashok Ranchhod obtained a KTS bid of £8,000 for James Stallwood to work for Lubetech looking at gaming for preventing oil spills. Recently the hub won an FPSE Public Engagement Award to participate in the Science and Engineering Day on 12 March. The Activity centres around Designing a game to help chronically ill children. Team: Gary Wills, Ashok Ranchhod, Nooralisa Mohd Tuah, James Baker, & Vanissa Wanick


The future and REF Impact

We are already active in making bids with the EU, TSB and preparing for the ESRC. HEA is also on the horizon, though we did not quite make the last one.

All the PhD students are working on high-level research projects which will lead to publications in 3*/4* journals. We intend to get at least six to eight high quality publications from the Hub over the next five years and preparations are already under way to make this happen. One 4* publication has already been achieved. with Information Sciences with an impact factor of 4.2. We are also considering the creation of a journal in simulations and gaming or working with an already established journal. Ashok has been successful with a KTI bid with James Stallwood (£8k) . Currently there is a bid to RIS (Impact Acceleration fund) for working with Southampton University Hospital Trust on gaming for renal Kidney transplant patients. We are also in consultation with the National Air Traffic Controllers (NATS) (link via Adam) organization to bid for the development of gaming training for future air traffic controllers.


The Hub hosts meetings every Thursday either at WSA or ECS and has a group of PhD students that are jointly supervised by Ashok Ranchhod from WSA and Gary Wills from ECS. The Hub will be linked to the BA in Games Design and Art and also the MA in Games Design and Art, providing a research and commercial base for the students and is a member of TIGA (The Games and Industry Association). At the meetings, from time to time industry speakers and partners are invited discuss research and develop ideas for games. The Hub also has national and international links with other universities.


Current members: Ashok Ranchhod (WSA), Gary Wills(ECS), Seth Giddings (WSA) and Daniel Ashton (WSA), Andy Lapham, Adam Proctor

PhD students

James Stallwood (VC Scholarship) An Artificial Intelligence Framework for Feedback and Assessment mechanisms in Simulations and Serious Games (completed PhD-making changes)

James Baker (ECS Scholarship) Designing Immersive Serious Games

Completion March 2016

Vanissa Viera (Brazil Scholarship) Understanding the Role of Advergaming Design in Consumer Behaviour: A comparison between UK and Brazil (completed upgrade)

Alaa Almarshedi (Saudi Scholarship) Gamifying Self-Management of Chronic Illnesses (Diabetes in Saudi Arabia) (completed upgrade)

Mohd Tuah (Malaysian Scholarship) The use of Avatars in Serious games to increase traction.

Chris Buckingham (VC Scholarship) The use of Gaming in Crowdfunding-New

Marialena Zinopoulou (ECS Scholarship) The role of IOT and Gaming in Education-New

Noreena Liu   The Role of Gaming neuro stimulation

Ravi Dixit (WSA/Business School) Scholarship: The changing role of Digital Media Brands-New


Papers Conference

Stallwood, J., Ranchhod, A., Wills, G. (2013) Fostering Creativity in young adults through Games Development: A Preliminary Investigation INTERREG conference, Deauville France

Stallwood, James, Ranchhod, Ashok and Wills, Gary (2013) A Model for in-Simulation Assessment. In, International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) , Southampton, GB, 09 Р10 Jul 2013.

Baker, J., Ranchhod, A., Wills, G. (2013) A Design Model for Effective Serious Games. IADIS conference Prague

Wanick, Vanissa, Ranchhod, Ashok and Wills, Gary (2014) Advergames and meaningful experiences: towards a conceptual framework for contextual advergames for cross-cultural consumer behaviour. In, 4th INTERREG Conference Global Culture and Creativity: from Design to Innovation and Enterprise?, WSA Winchester, GB, 5-7 Nov 2014

Wanick, Vanissa, Ranchhod, Ashok and Wills, Gary B. (2014) Effects and opportunities of mobile advergames into brand management and marketing: a content analysis. In, International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2014), London, GB, 10 Р12 Nov 2014.

Almarshedi, Alaa, Wanick, Vanissa, Wills, Gary and Ranchhod, Ashok (2014) Towards a sustainable gamification impact. In, International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2014), London, GB, 10 – 12 Nov 2014.

Stallwood, James, Ranchhod, Ashok and Wills, Gary (2013) A Model for in-Simulation Assessment. In, International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) , Southampton, GB, 09 Р10 Jul 2013.

Alaa Almarshedi, Wills, Gary,B., Ranchhod, A. (2015) The wheel of Sukr: A Gramework for Gamifying Diabetes Self-Management in Saudi Arabia. Procedia Computer Science 12/2015; 63:475-480. DOI:10.1016/j.procs.2015.08.370

Almarshedi, Alaa, Wills, Gary and Ranchhod, Ashok (2014) Gamification to Improve Adherence to Diabetic Treatment in Saudi Arabia. In, International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2014), London, GB, 10 – 12 Nov 2014.


Papers Journals

Ranchhod, A, Gurau, C., Loukis, E., and Trivedi, R. (2014) Evaluating the educational effectiveness of simulation games:  A value-generation model. Information Sciences Vol. 264 pp. 75-90

AlMarshedi, G. Wills, V. Wanick, and A. Ranchhod, ‚ÄúSGI: A Framework for Increasing the Sustainability of Gamification Impact,‚ÄĚ Int. J. Infonomics, vol. 8, no. June, pp. 1044-1052, 2015 .


Currently under proposal: Gamification and different Genres

Book chapters

Alaa Almarshedi, Wanick Vanissa, Wills, Gary,B., Ranchhod, A. (To be published 2016). Games and Behaviour in Gamification: More than just games!  Using game elements in serious contexts-Springer