Objects and their participation in the interdisciplinary design and development of computer games


This paper investigates the role of boundary objects in the interdisciplinary collaborative processes

found in computer games development. It draws on data from an in-depth case study in a computer

games studio that explores boundary objects in relation to the compelling, sensory and entertainmentcentred game-playing practices that inform computer games design and development. Sensory user

experience and aesthetic considerations – of primary importance in computer games development –

are becoming increasingly significant in the design and development of many other kinds of software

and information systems. For this reason developments in the design and production of computer

games have wider implications for other software and information systems settings and provide

valuable insights into processes of collaboration that bridge cultural and aesthetic as well as technical

forms of expertise. The paper seeks to provide insights into how objects contribute to such

collaboration, with attention focusing especially on how game developers devise objects that span

boundaries and draw on these in their collaboration. Through its focus on the material production and

practices of computer games development, the research presented also seeks to contribute to the

theoretical treatment of interdisciplinary collaborative working in software design and development

via a critical assessment of the concept of boundary objects in the setting being studied.

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