Challenge: In recent years, exploring space has become a trending topic again. Various private organizations such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, or Virgin Galactic and government organizations from the USA, China, India, Europe, or Russia compete for supremacy in space. Besides the exploration of new dimensions, this trend paths the way for innovations that will also change our life on earth. For example, an increasing number of satellites orbiting our earth, offer new possibilities for earth observation and high-speed internet anywhere on earth. This offers new challenges and opportunities, which can be tackled with approaches from game design and gamification. Thus, the task of this semester’s course on Designing Gamified Systems was to:

Design an innovative game or gamification approach in which gaming, space technology and mobility meets in order to either A) improving life on earth or B) improving life in space.

Date: Winter semester 2021

Lecture: Designing Gamified Systems



Team: Heschu Qarani, Jonathan Stief, Sherwet GalalCem KaratasanGerrit Sußner


The interest in space is constantly increasing: From space agencies planning longer projects, such as NASAs’ Artemis mission, to private companies such as SpaceX planning to put humans on Mars. Overall, the private sector of space tourism is projected to reach a total of US$1.7 Billion by 2027. The market will expand much further in the future, with long-term missions becoming increasingly frequent.
Yet these long-term missions pose significant strains on both the human body and the mind. First among them is the deterioration of muscles, muscle atrophy, and the cardiovascular system through microgravity. These effects are so severe that even short missions (< 30 days) can cause a muscle volume loss of 5.5 to 15.9 percent. In order to combat these effects, most space agencies employ in-flight exercises of about 2.5 hours six days a week. Secondly, space missions represent the “perfect boring situation” and can invoke mental health issues.
Our VR solution addresses both aspects equally, as it gamifies the required exercise to avoid physical consequences, as well as challenge the players mentally and provides opportunities for experiencing social relatedness. For this, it uses both state-of-the-art VR equipment, as well as a Teslasuit, to not only make the experience feel even more immersive through haptic feedback, as well as the possibility to enhance training effects. The main game consists of resource collection during the exercise and a base-building type game in the phases between workouts. Both take place in VR.
In order to overcome the dullness of the monotonous environment, the game features a story putting the players in a scenario in 2075, where Mars has been colonized, and it is now their shared mission to defend and extend the colony. However, players need to collect resources through exercise to repair and build further modules, which is conducted within the VR game.
In the story mode, they are guided through their exercise by story-related messages, collecting resources while traversing the base and the landscapes of Mars. As voluntariness represents an important point in the acceptance of gamified approaches, however, players also have the option to avoid the story. While exercising, they collect resources by swiping them to the side with their controller. From the collected resources they then have the possibility to build three different types of buildings: (1) shelter domes, which set the defense for the whole colony, (2) windmills, which produce electricity for the colony, (3) greenhouses, which produce oxygen. To increase complexity, create fun, and challenge players mentally, the electricity and oxygen stats must match the shelter, or the colony will be dysfunctional, and the defense will receive a debuff. Players will have to ready their bases for increasingly difficult challenges, such as further alien attacks, sand storms, and similar difficulties that life on Mars would bring. This aims to create a long-time engagement in the player, relying on the immersion and social interaction between the crewmates of the space mission to defend their shared colony.

We use a Teslasuit, a smart textile two-piece full bodysuit, to make the experience immersive and interactive. The suit provides haptic feedback, captures motion and biometric functions. Further, a full-body haptic feedback system is built into the suit with 80 electrostimulation channels, which could be used to provide instant feedback on the players’ performance within the game. It can be functionalized in response to motion capture comparison at any time. No additional equipment will be need. The approach may be used with existing training equipment in space stations such as the ISS.

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei Expedition 53 Flight Engineer exercises on the COLBERT (Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill) in the Tranquility module – Photo by NASA


Theses & Project seminars

Open Topics

If you would like to write your bachelor or master thesis or your WING project thesis with us, please send us an email.

Below, you will find an overview of the open topics within our research group. If there is no suitable topic available, you are welcome to send a short application with a brief résumé, grades, and a summary of your interests.

Type Topic Prototyping / programming
skills needed?
Bachelor / Master Creators of the Metaverse: Why people build virtual worlds in their spare time

Please write an email for more details.

First inspirations:

not required Benedikt Morschheuser
Bachelor / Master Gamification of team sports: Design and investigation of gamful solution for performance training in football teams

A thesis opportunity in cooperation with adidas AG

First inspirations:

Programming Benedikt Morschheuser

Sandra Birnstiel

Finished theses and theses in progress



Type Topic Student Supervisor Submission
Master How to onboard the user? A study on designing fun on the first click

Game designers are experts when it comes to designing engaging activities that motivate from the very first second. This knowledge can also support and optimize the adoption of educational solutions. Within the serious game “INFLAMMANIA“, we would like to try out various onboarding approaches and develop design knowledge for creating more effective learning games. Inflammania is an educational game that combats inflammation in chronic diseases.

– Design and empirical evaluation of different “onboarding approaches” for the game Inflammania
– Statistical hypothesis testing
– Investigation of the impact of various design interventions on user behavior, knowledge transfer and learning experience
–  Derivation of theoretical and practical recommendations for designing the onboarding in gamification and serious game approaches

L. Liu Benedikt Morschheuser 2.12.2022
Bachelor Designing Experiments in Roblox D. Lam Benedikt Morschheuser 28.09.2022
Bachelor Gaming meets Mobility: Gamification in proprietary innovation of the automotive industry

This bachelor thesis presents an overview on the use of gamification in proprietary innovation of the automotive industry based on a structured literature review in the database Espacenet of the European patent
office. As part of this review 83 relevant patents were screened and classified by using an own framework. The screening revealed novel insights and provide researchers anchor points for future research.

M. te Lake Benedikt Morschheuser 06.08.2021
Bachelor Creators of the Metaverse – Who are they and what drives them to build virtual worlds?

Using qualitative interviews with N=14 participants, this thesis examines who creates content in the metaverse and what reasons and motives drive content creators.

M. Bitz Benedikt Morschheuser 25.04.2022
Master project Does adaptive gamification increase motivation and participation in gamified crowdsourcing? An experiment in a text-based adventure game for collecting handwriting data

In collaboration with the STABILO International GmbH, we developed a text-based adventure for the STABILO DigiPen and empirically evaluated whether personalized gamification experience produce better outcomes in gamified crowdsourcing compared to one-size-fits-all approaches.

M. Weber Benedikt Morschheuser 31.3.2022
Bachelor The intrinsic drivers of content creators in the Metaverse – a quantitative study

This thesis examines the intrinsic motivations of content creators related to word of mouth (WOM) and the intention to continue creating content on and for the Metaverse platform Roblox. The results are compared to the findings of previous studies of content creators of Web 2.0 platforms. Data for this study was collected using an online survey of 50 content creators of Roblox and was analyzed using structural equation modeling in SmartPLS. Based on the uses and gratifications theory (U&G), the study provides first insights of a quantitative approach exploring the intrinsic motivations of people creating for the Metaverse Roblox, trying to build the most renowned virtual 3D worlds and games, meet people or to hang out.

F. Feldmeier Benedikt Morschheuser 30.3.2022
Bachelor Gamified Cycling: A literature review and future agenda F. Gast Benedikt Morschheuser 29.9.2022
Master Perspective Switching in Human-AI Teaming – An Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Perspective Switching on AI Technology Acceptance

Recently there is an increasing importance of AI and Robotics in organizations and everyday life, but existing barriers prevent the widespread adoption of AI. Human-Robot-Interaction is widely used in industrial applications, e.g., picking and placing in production lines. So far, the market for personal domestic and service robots, or social robots, is comparably small. Still, mainly domestic and social robots will likely become increasingly prevalent and penetrate our everyday lives. During the Covid-19 pandemic, quarantine measures, contact restrictions, and home office have led to increased social isolation. Social isolation is a risk factor for loneliness and impairing mental health. The use of social robots can potentially prevent or at least minimize these negative consequences. In this master thesis, we investigate the impact of an audio-visual perspective switching exercise on the technology acceptance of a social robot measured by the Technology Acceptance Model by Davis. We also incorporate other related constructs, such as anxiety, perceived enjoyment, and perceived sociability. As a social robot for the experiment, we chose the so-called Gatebox, which is developed and manufactured by the Japanese tech company Vinclu. Gatebox is a virtual home robot that accompanies its owner in everyday life. Azuma Hikari represents an AI assistant; she not only communicates with her voice but is a holographically depicted anime girl who inhabits the Gatebox. In times of a global pandemic and increasing social isolation, the Gatebox is not only a home assistant that is supposed to make everyday life easier but also a social robot companion with which the user lives together. By measuring the constructs before and after the exercise, we would like to determine what impact Perspective Switching has on technology acceptance. The results can inspire the design and implementation of future HRI/HAI systems.

L. Köhler Maximilian Wittmann

Benedikt Morschheuser

Master Gamification in Inbound Logistics – master thesis in cooperation with Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG​  J. Steif Benedikt Morschheuser 13.2.2023
Master project Gamification in performance diagnostics and training of team sports G. Sußner Benedikt Morschheuser
Bachelor Creators of the Metaverse: Why people build virtual worlds in their spare time – a quantitative study regarding internal and external motivations for Roblox T. Müller Benedikt Morschheuser 28.3.2023
Master Perspective Switching in Human-AI Teaming

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is considered as one of the most important enablers of industry 4.0. Thanks to increasing computing power and the availability of large amounts of valuable data, AI can be used on a large scale in the manufacturing industry. AI can be perceived in different forms. It can have a physical representation. One example are AI-powered robots on the shop floor that are responsible for assembly tasks. But it can also be invisible and embedded in software, such as predictive maintenance software. However, there is still a long way to go before AI is implemented from pilot projects into practice, because there are several obstacles to the introduction of AI-based systems. One main obstacle is people’s lack of trust in AI. This may be due to cognitive barriers. Powerful AI uses complex algorithms. Ordinary users, however, often perceive AI as a “black box” because it is difficult to comprehend an AI’s decision making. In addition, emotional barriers exist. These barriers include, for instance, the fear of being replaced by a robot. To overcome this impediment, a concept from recent research in game design seems very promising, namely perspective switching. Game developers implement elements of perspective switching between human players and Non-Player-Characters (NPC) to improve cooperation and trust. In this way, the NPC can be viewed as a team member rather than a mere tool. Implementing perspective switching as a design pattern is also powerful to elicit feelings towards NPCs as it can help human players to identify and sympathize more easily with the NPC. We will apply this concept to human-AI-interaction in the manufacturing industry to assess if it is possible to achieve the same effect as in the game industry. To carry out this study, a game prototype will first be developed in Roblox, in which the player and a cooperative robot work together to complete tasks on the shopfloor of a manufacturing facility. The unique feature of the game is the player’s ability to switch perspective with the robot. Our research model is based on the Technology Acceptance Model by Davis. To test our hypotheses and investigate the impact of perspective switching on employees’ attitudes toward AI, experiments will be conducted with a few voluntary participants. Pre- and post-game survey data will be collected and analyzed using statistical software. The insights of this work can inspire the design of future human-AI-cooperation scenarios in a manufacturing environment.

R. Xie Maximilian Wittmann

Benedikt Morschheuser

Master Designing and understanding the effects of gamified VR training on human-robot teaming M. Weber Benedikt Morschheuser 4.10.2022
Master Women in game design: How does game design target actual cross-pressure topics in religion and how would we design and counter such issues? H. Qarani Benedikt Morschheuser 2.03.2023
Master Gamification of team sports: A qualitative stakeholder analysis and derivation of design patterns L. Steinkamp Benedikt Morschheuser
Master Gamifying sustainable behavior at work.

A thesis opportunity in cooperation with EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG

S. Fang Chen Benedikt Morschheuser
Master Gameful crisis preparedness
In recent years, it has been established that video games can be used for more than entertainment: As spaces of meaning-making and make-belief, they allow people to explore who they want to be, engage in deep introspection and learn new skills.
We are looking for a motivated master student to conduct a scoping review that explores how games can support people to prepare themselves for disasters—physically, mentally, and emotionally.This work will be undertaken in collaboration with the Gamification Group, at Tampere University, Finland and (co-)supervised by Dr Velvet Spors and can be combined with studying in Finland for a semester.
Research profiles:
First inspirations: 
C. Wüllner Benedikt Morschheuser

Dr Velvet Spors

Master Gamification of team sports: impacts of the usage of gamification elements on team cohesion and team identity in football R. Rehm Sandra Birnstiel

Benedikt Morschheuser

Master Gamification of team sports: Design and investigation of gamful solutions for performance training in football teams S. Reiß Sandra Birnstiel

Benedikt Morschheuser



Peer-reviewed publications













Research fields

We create impactful scientific knowledge about the ongoing penetration of society, technology, economy and everyday life with digital games and emerging phenomena of the gaming industry in order to better understand these developments and to support society and organizations in solving problems in a ‘gameful’ way




Selection of our research fields and interests:

Gaming meets Product & Service Design

  • Designing gamified information systems
  • Motivational design
  • Game design patterns
  • Game thinking
  • Gamified crowdsourcing and co-creation
  • Personalized gamification
  • Gamification of future mobility and transportation (e.g. in-car gaming)

Gaming meets Marketing & Sales

  • Digital customer engagement
  • Customer steering in the omni-channel
  • Loyalty programs
  • Virtual goods and commerce in the Metaverse
  • Customer insights, gamers/players as customers

Gaming meets Work & Collaboration

  • Gamification in technology-mediated collaboration e.g. crowdsourcing, remote work
  • Gamification for creativity and ingenuity
  • Serious and educational games
  • Gamification in organizational transformation initiatives
  • Human-AI teaming and collaboration
  • Work and education in the “Metaverse”
  • Gamifying sustainable behavior at work

Gaming meets Sports & Health

  • Gamification of exercise, sports & quantified-self
  • Virtual and augmented reality in sports
  • Location-based games
  • eSports
  • Gamification in corporate health
  • Gamification of prevention, therapy and rehabilitation

Gaming meets Society and Culture

  • Inclusive and accessible games and gamification
  • Ethics of gamification
  • Gamification to prevent and counter radicalization and extremism
  • Data Privacy in the Metaverse
  • Understanding the creator economy