PlayWrite is a system which allows mental health care professionals to create and adapt therapeutic 3D computer games, which can then be used in adolescent mental health interventions.

Coyle, D., Doherty, G. & Sharry, J. (2010). PlayWrite: end user adaptable games to support adolescent mental health. ACM CHI EA 2010, pp3889-3994. (pdf) (DOI link)

Summary: The diagram below showns the structure of the PlayWrite application. The Dialogue Builder is used to create interactive dialogues with computer game characters. These dialogues can include general conversation and various types of written and spoken questions (e.g. open, multichoice and scaled questions). Dialogues can also incorporate media content (e.g. videos). The Dialogue Builder has been specifically built for use by mental health care professionals. Once dialogues have been created, they can then be added to games using the Game Builder. The Game Builder provides pre-built game templates, characters and 3D worlds. By creating a series of dialogues and adding them to a game template, new games can be created and then published.

As well as creating new games the PlayWrite system can also be used to adapt existing games. For example games can be adapted to suit various demographic groups or can even be tailored meet the needs of individual clients.

Evaluations: My PhD thesis described the design approach used to develop PlayWrite and also presented the findings of clinical evaluations of games created using PlayWrite. The current version of Personal Investigator was the first game built with PlayWrite to undergo clinical evaluations. More recently PlayWrite was used to create the game gNats Island.

Availability: If you are a mental health care professional or researcher and would like to use, or conduct your own evaluations of PlayWrite, please contact me. The system is available for trial purposes.