FDG 21

Foundations of Digital Games

Fully Online


The 16th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) 2021 is proud to invite research contributions in the form of papers, games and demos, doctoral consortium applications, as well as panel, competition, and workshop proposals. We invite contributions from within and across any discipline committed to advancing knowledge on the foundations of games: computer science and engineering, humanities and social sciences, arts and design, mathematics and natural sciences. Papers and Games-and-Demos submissions will receive double-blind peer reviews. Workshops, panels, competitions, and all other submissions will be single-blind. All papers are guaranteed at least three reviews. Games and Demos are guaranteed two reviews. There will be no rebuttal. As in previous years, we aim to publish the FDG 2021 proceedings in the ACM Digital Library. ​All contributions should be submitted using EasyChair.


The FDG 2021 conference theme is Diversity & Inclusion through Games. Work continues in our field to increase diversity and inclusion within games at large, and has found mixed success. With the latest reports showing game playing as something that is enjoyed by people of all genders, ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic background, it’s time to broaden the conversation to also include how we might use games themselves to increase diversity and inclusion in industry, academia, and society. With this theme in mind, we would like to encourage research and discussions that focus on this type of work, as well as encouraging work that crosses disciplinary boundaries. We also have added new tracks including Reflections to attract more diverse participation in the conference.


3-6 August 2021, Fully Online


All dates in Anywhere on Earth (AoE) timezone.


Workshops, Panels, Competitions: 7 December 2020 (closed)


Full Papers: 1 February 2021 (closed)

Late-Breaking Work, Reflections, and Games and Demos: 12 April 2021

Doctoral Consortium applications: 12 April 2021


Workshops, and Competition proposals: 7 February 2021

Panels: 21 February 2021

Full Papers: 1 April, 2021

LBW, Reflections, Games and Demos, and Doctoral Consortium: 12 June 2021

Camera-ready deadlines

Full Papers: 15 June, 2021


FDG invites authors to submit papers reporting new research. When submitting, authors are requested to select one of the available tracks that fits their submission most closely. The papers need to be anonymized and submitted in the single-column submission format, ACM Master Template (https://www.acm.org/publications/taps/word-template-workflow), to a paper track. The authors of accepted papers will need to reformat them for publication, as described in the ACM workflow. Accepted papers will be included in the proceedings under their track. Papers can be between 8 and 16 pages in the single-column submission format, excluding references. Reviewers will judge the length of a paper relative to its contribution as part of the evaluation criteria. Papers are expected to be as concise as possible yet thorough.

The conference papers will be organized into the following tracks.

Game Development Methods and Technologies


Kimberly Voll — Stray Bombay, USA, and Center for Digital Media, Canada
John Murray — University of Central Florida, USA

This track is dedicated to submissions focused on different methods, technologies, and tools used for the development of computer games. The submissions may discuss development of both software and content. Topics include, but are not limited to, algorithms, software tools, methodologies, pipelines, and production issues. This track invites both scholarly studies as well as speculative position papers on the subject.

This track includes the use of virtual reality and augmented reality for games. Submissions that examine, validate, invalidate or create practices, patterns, mechanics, dynamics or aesthetics are encouraged to submit. Examples of such work include the examination and innovation of design methods for AR/VR, alternative methods of interaction and haptics, historic examinations of the involved technologies, analyses and critiques on the use of AR/VR, innovative AR/VR technologies and the examination of mechanics and games designed forAR/VR.

Games Beyond Entertainment and Game Education


Neil Randall — University of Waterloo, Canada
Jose Zagal — University of Utah, USA

This track calls for papers showing results on the use of games, gaming, and game design for primary goals that are not entertainment. Topics include serious or transformational games, games with a purpose, advergames and exergames, gamification and gameful design, game-based learning, informal learning in games, and educational and other ‘serious' uses of entertainment games and gaming practices. Authors are encouraged to highlight the importance of the target problem that the game is addressing, and how their design or research findings makes a contribution to the current state of research on games for a purpose.

This track is also concerned with the teaching of games, game development and design, and game-related concepts at all levels of education and training. Topics include design and development of curricula, instructional methods, teaching tools and techniques, assessment methods, learning/instructional activities, collegiate game programs, e-sports and educational program management.

Game Analytics and Visualization


Rafet Sifa — Fraunhofer IAIS, Germany

This track is suitable for all papers pertaining to aspects of game data science, analytics and game data visualization. This includes work based on player behavioral data analysis, including player modeling, churn analysis, and creating or understanding players' profiles as well as aspects of business intelligence, such as performance evaluation or workflow optimization. Papers submitted to this track should present contributions that advance the current state-of-the-art, taking into account the knowledge bases in academia and industry, of players, play behaviors, processes or performance. We encourage submissions that span methodological approaches including quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods, as well as novel contributions to methodological approaches. Examples of topics include visualization of game data, analysis of behavioral (or other) game data, advances in methodological approaches to analyze and visualize game data, as well as applying or expanding statistical methods, machine learning, including deep learning, and AI, as well as visualization algorithms used to collect or analyze game data.

Game Artificial Intelligence


Matthew Guzdial — University of Alberta, Canada
Amy Hoover, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA

This track focuses on the many applications of computational and artificial intelligence to the playing, design, development, improvement, and testing of video games. Topics include general game-playing AI, procedural and player-driven content generation, mixed-initiative authoring tools, computational narrative, believable agents, and AI assisted game design.

Game Criticism and Analysis


Victoria McArthur — Carleton University, Canada

This track calls for papers that approach the criticism and analysis of games from humanities-informed perspectives. Submissions are encouraged from scholars engaging in narrative, visual and software studies approaches to games and games criticism using methodologies such as archival research, hermeneutics, and oral history. This track will also consider critical theoretical and/or historical analysis of games, and game genres from perspectives such as (but not limited to) postcolonial theory, feminism, historicism, subaltern studies, queer theory, the environmental humanities, psychoanalysis, and other related topics. This track also includes the emerging trends such as esports and streaming from a humanities-informed perspective. Such work includes studies of demographic trends in esports and streaming, feminist and gender studies perspectives, social-cultural critiques and analyses of streaming and eSports subcultures, examination of societal and economic impact of eSports.

Game Design and Player Experience


Elín Carstensdóttir — University of California - Santa Cruz, USA

This track focuses on the exploration of different ways for designing and implementing interaction between the player and the game, as well as on understanding the experiences derived from those interactions. This track will consider qualitative and quantitative experimental studies. Topics include, but are not limited to, games design, mechanics, persuasive games, novel use of controllers, user research, and player psychology.

Late-Breaking Work


Amy Cook — University of Memphis, USA
Bill Kapralos — Ontario Tech University, Canada

The Late-Breaking Work (LBW) track provides an opportunity to present work in progress, experimental projects, prototypes, projects with smaller scope than typical full papers, and research in early phases. LBW submissions are in the same format as full papers (ACM Master Article Template) but limited to 6 pages (single-column submission format, excluding references). They have to be presented as a poster at the conference.



Michael Cook — Queen Mary University of London, UK

Conferences tend to focus on the successes, and it can be difficult to get important learnings about experimental work that did not go to plan. This is despite the fact that it is often the corrections from the many failures that lead to a single success. Iteration is important in game development as well as in academia. Examples of encouraged submissions are post-mortems and analyses of experimental work that did not go according to plan. Submissions are in the same format as full papers.



Lindsay Grace — University of Miami, USA
Gorm Lai — Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

FDG workshops are full-day or half-day sessions focused on current and emerging game-related topics. They can provide a setting for new developments to be presented, discussed and demonstrated, or be hands-on or studio-based. We especially encourage workshops and topics that involve participants from diverse disciplinary and other backgrounds working together to explore and advance new areas of game-related scholarship.

Workshop proposals are up to 6 pages (excluding references) in the single-column paper submission format​. They should include: a background section explaining and motivating the workshop, the objectives of the workshop, planned activities, the background of the organizer(s), publication plans (if any), anticipated number of participants, and the means for soliciting and selecting participants. Workshop proposals will not be included in the conference proceedings.

Workshop proposals for FDG 2021 have closed. We now invite authors to browse the following accepted workshops for their call for entries.

FDG 2021 Workshops

More information will be provided as workshops open for submissions.

The 2021 Workshop on User Experience of Artificial Intelligence in Games (UXofAI)

Henrik Warpefelt, Christoph Salge, Magy Seif El-Nasr, Jichen Zhu, Mirjam Eladhari and Harko Verhagen

The Second Game Analytics Workshop (GAW'21)

Rafet Sifa, Simon Demediuk and Anders Drachen

Games and NLP 2021

Chris Madge

The 12th Workshop on Procedural Content Generation (PCG2021)

Maren Awiszus, Jialin Liu, Christoph Salge and Anurag Sarkar

Virtual Tabletop Game Play and Design for Diverse Participants and Purposes

Elisabeth Gee, Taylor Kessner, Luis E. Pérez Cortés, Yuchan Gao and Jeremy Bernier



Laura Levy — Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Henrik Warpefelt — Södertörn University, Sweden

FDG welcomes debate-style panels and emerging-area style panels that consolidate and explain recent work on a subject of interest to the FDG community. An interested researcher that wishes to carry out a panel should first recruit members for the panel and discuss the topics before submitting a panel proposal to FDG. Please consider diversity and representation when recruiting participants to the panel. Panel proposals are up to 6 pages (excluding references) in the single-column paper submission format ​. Contents of the proposal should include the topic, participants, how the panel is organized, and a citation-supported statement of why the event is relevant and topical (also accounting for this year's theme of "Diversity & Inclusion through Games"). Panel proposals will not be included in the proceedings.



Laureline Chiapello - University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, Canada

FDG welcomes competition proposals, with a maximum length of 6 pages (excluding references) in the single-column paper submission format. Contents of the proposal should include a description of the competition and the organizers, the criteria for winners, anticipated number of participants, past number of participants (if the competition is ongoing), and how entries to the competition will be submitted. Competition proposals (or outcomes) will not be included in the proceedings.



Fares Kayali - University of Vienna, Austria

The games and demos exhibition provides a forum for demonstrations of work best suited to interaction rather than a paper or a formal presentation. This track encourages submissions of games in various stages of development, from playable physical mock-ups to full-fledged implementations, as well as technical demos showcasing the latest tools, techniques, and systems created for games by academic or industrial research groups, or other early-stage or late-breaking research not yet ready for formal presentation.

Submissions are handled using EasyChair. They should include a description (up to 6 pages, excluding references, in the single-column paper submission format), an unedited video illustrating the game or technology, and (if possible) a link to the demo. Games and tech demos will be presented at a dedicated games and tech demo session open to the general public. Selected students projects receive a conference registration waiver for the day of the demo session.



Daniela Romano — University College London, UK

FDG 2021 will include a Doctoral Consortium where PhD students can receive early feedback on their research from fellow students, researchers, and experienced faculty in the area. The consortium is primarily for PhD students who intend to pursue a career in academia and who will soon propose, or have recently proposed, their dissertation research.

To apply, students should submit a non-anonymized paper up to 6 pages (excluding references) in the single-column paper submission format,​ describing their proposed research. The paper should address the goals of their research, the proposed approach, any results, and plans for completing the work. This should be accompanied by their CV and a short letter explaining how they would benefit from the consortium and what questions they want to discuss (general and/or specific to their research).

Accepted Doctoral Consortium students will give a presentation and are invited to present a poster on their abstracts during the conference. Doctoral consortium papers will not be published in the main proceedings.


All contributions should be submitted using EasyChair.

Enquiries: fdg2021@easychair.org