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


Research projects

PRIME – Privacy in the Metaverse

“PRIME – Privatheit im Metaversum” Collage basierend auf Adobe Stock Bildern von Ilya, Tetiana und pickup.

The metaverse is seen as a potential successor of today’s internet. While tech companies are emphasizing the enormous economic potential of the metaverse, it also poses new threats to the privacy of potential users.

In this context, the research project “PRIMEPrivacy in the Metaverse” aims to gather knowledge in the current early phase of the development of metaverse platforms in order to enable citizens to engage in an informed discourse about the opportunities and risks of using metaverse platforms for their privacy, self-determination and data protection. The project also aims to develop new methods and design principles to support content creators and service providers on metaverse platforms in protecting the users’ privacy.

The joint project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for 36 months, is being carried out by our research group at FAU in close cooperation with Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun of ConPolicy GmbH in Berlin, Prof. Dr. Louisa Specht-Riemenschneider of the University of Bonn, Prof. Dr. Gerald Spindler of the University of Göttingen. In detail, the project pursues the following focal points:

  • Design and evaluation of user interfaces and design principles that enable users of metaverse platforms to effectively exercise their right to privacy and, among other things, adequately support their informed consent, and protect themselves from harassment and assault.
  • Development and testing of metrics to evaluate the design of virtual content on metaverse platforms for its impact on user privacy in order to mitigate dark patterns and deceptive designs in the metaverse.
  • Research and testing of innovative design and development processes to gather the user opinions on metaverse content with respect to the aforementioned user interfaces and metrics, both using classical methods of usability research as well as methods used in the metaverse itself.

The research project builds on broad public relations and cooperation with regional partners, such as the open innovation lab JOSEPHS in Nuremberg, the XR Hub Bavaria, Games in Bavaria, or Journee Technologies GmbH.

Funding reference: 16KIS1895

Duration: July 1, 2023 – June 31, 2026

Further information:

Team: Jeanine Kirchner-Krath, Runjie Xie


Discovering Gaming and Gameful Content Creation in Mobility

In cooperation with CARIAD, we are exploring in-car gaming and the art of creating gameful content within the automotive industry. It’s a unique blend of cutting-edge research and real-world application that promises to redefine how we experience cars. Based on our gamification and gaming expertise and the technological prowess of the CARIAD, we’re diving deep into the world of in-car gaming. We’re not just playing games; we’re shaping the future of mobility and entertainment. Our goal is to bring the excitement of gaming into mobility, creating immersive experiences that blend seamlessly with your daily commute. Imagine driving becoming more than just a chore – it becomes an adventure, a challenge, and a source of fun.

Project objectives:

  • Design and development of gameful content creation solutions
  • Explore factors influencing the in-car gaming experience
  • Derivation of design principles

Team: Johanna Eiting, Jonathan Stief

Learn2Focus with Information Systems: Exploring the Potential of Motivational Information Systems against Procrastination in Academic Contexts

Procrastination – the deliberate postponement of necessary or important tasks knowing that this will have negative consequences in the future – is a widespread phenomenon in the academic context, affecting up to 50-70% of all students and researchers. In addition to obvious effects on academic performance, procrastination is also associated with serious consequences for mental health of those affected. The research project “Learn2Focus with Information Systems” aims to investigate the potential of motivational information systems as a novel and accessible intervention to support self-organized work in academic contexts.

Project objectives:

  • Investigating the effects of motivational information systems to combat procrastination among students
  • Deriving design recommendations for the design of motivational information systems against procrastination in the academic context

The project is funded by FAU’s scholarship program for the “Realization of Equal Opportunities for Women in Research and Teaching” (FFL).

Duration: September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2024

Team: Jeanine Kirchner-Krath

adidas Logo

Design and evaluation of gamification solutions to improve football training

In cooperation with adidas, we want to improve training and performance diagnostics in football through innovative gamification approaches. For this, we explore the impact of different gamification features using an existing adidas platform and wearable devices.

Project objectives:

  • Design and development of different gamification features
  • Evaluation of developed gamification features with regard to sociopsychological dynamics in the team and effects on the behavior of the football players
  • Derive design recommendations and principles for gamification in team sports based on the results of field experiments

Team: Sandra Birnstiel

Sonderfonds FAU

FontanQuest: A study on the potential of game-based training programs for children with Fontan circulation

In collaboration with the University Hospital Erlangen, we are investigating the psychological and behavioural outcomes of using game-based high-intensity interval training programs in children with Fontan circulation. The project is supported by the “Sonderfonds für wissenschaftliche Arbeiten an der FAU” by the city of Nuremberg and conducted together with PD Dr. Dr. med. Isabelle Schöffl from the pediatric cardiology department at the University Hospital Erlangen.

Completed projects

More details on our previous research will follow soon. In the meantime, please see our publications.



Theses & Project seminars

Open Topics

If you are interested in writing a bachelor or master thesis or a (WING) project thesis on one of our advertised topics, please contact the indicated contact person.


Master: What can games teach us about the design of the industrial metaverse? A systematic analysis of design principles in computer games to support dynamic decision making in 3D worlds
First inspirations:

Contact:  Benedikt Morschheuser

Bachelor/Master:  Archetypes of gameful radicalisation and extremism in the metaverse: A systematic analysis of user-generated games 

Contact:  Benedikt Morschheuser


Research Interests

If you do not find a suitable topic in the announcements, you can also submit your own topic proposals that fit our research interests. If you would like to propose your own topic, please send a brief description of your interests along with a short CV and transcript of records to the appropriate contact person.


Sandra Birnstiel

Doctoral Researcher

  • Gamification, Exergames and Motivational Design
  • (Team) Sports
  • Quantified Self
  • eSports

Jeanine Kirchner-Krath

Postdoctoral researcher

  • Gamification, Game-based Learning
  • Green Information Systems
  • Sustainability
  • Employee Motivation, Engagement

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 13.5.2023
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 How to gamify football training? An explorative analysis of user demands and synthesis of design patterns L. Steinkamp Benedikt Morschheuser 23.6.2023
Master Privacy in the metaverse S. Fang Chen Benedikt Morschheuser
Master Triumph Over Tragedy? A Scoping Review about Gameful
Interventions for Crisis and Disaster Preparedness
C. Wüllner Benedikt Morschheuser

Dr Velvet Spors

Master Gamification of team sports: Impact of using gamification elements on group dynamics in football R. Rehm Sandra Birnstiel

Benedikt Morschheuser

Master Avatarize Your Quantified Self: Exploring the Impact of Avatar Identification on Football Self-Efficacy S. Reiß Sandra Birnstiel

Benedikt Morschheuser

Master Can Curiosity-Focused Gamification Increase User Engagement? An Empirical Study in the Context of Corporate Innovation Management A. Hollendonner Benedikt Morschheuser 19.12.2023
Master Gamification in Sports – Examining the needs of different athletes

Gamification can improve performance in sport and also make sport more fun by meeting the needs of athletes. But what are the needs of different athletes? Do individual and team athletes have the same needs? And what about people who don’t play sport at all?To answer these questions, a study will be designed, carried out and evaluated.

J. Balint Sandra Birnstiel

Benedikt Morschheuser

Master Data Privacy in the Metaverse: Effects of Avatar Design and Information Transparency on User Perceptions S. Merk Benedikt Morschheuser 05.06.2024
Master Inflammania 3D – How to design metaverse games for learning?
A. Kwiatek Benedikt Morschheuser
Bachelor Wie gehen Unternehmen mit den ethischen Herausforderungen von Gamification um? D. Büttner Gürtler, Christian
Benedikt Morschheuser



Peer-reviewed publications

Journal Articles

Conference Contributions

Book Contributions

Authored Books



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