iManageCancer Project Partner Interview Questions: Stefan Hoffman
1). What is your name, position, and where do you work?
My name is Stefan Hoffmann, I’m the project manager and coordinator for the iManageCancer project at Promotion Software GmbH (Serious Games Solutions). Our company is based in Potsdam/Berlin in Germany. We’re the partner for the Serious Games.
2). Where were you based prior to working here?
I’ve been working on computer games for 30 years now (29, to be exact). After wasting several years as a banker I decided to do something more meaningful with my life.
Over the last three decades I worked on games in several roles, as a programmer, game designer and as a project manager. For 15 years, project management and producing has been my focus. Over this time I worked on dozens of games of all kinds: serious games, adventures, roleplay games and other genres.
3). What is your role and what work do you do within the iManageCancer project?
The role of Promotion Software is to develop a serious game for children with cancer. The game should help them to face their disease, learn about it and build an ideal mindset for the treatment.
So we have a clearly defined outcome for the project: this serious game, which will be available for mobile platforms.
My personal role here is to coordinate the game aspect of the project, doing project management and producing. I’m also influencing the design, but don’t do the game design on my own.
4). How does your work relate to the work of other partners?
The serious games are a bit separate from the other partner’s work, especially the game for children, because you can play it on your own. But of course it’s an essential part of the whole project, because it takes care of psycho-emotional aspects of the disease.
The kid’s serious games can be linked to the platform, but also can be played standalone, even without an internet connection. This is because we want to make the game available to children with cancer which may have not a permanent Wi-Fi connection in hospital.
We work closely with Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH) to connect the game to the iManageCancer platform. This will allow parents to have control over the way their children use the game.
We’re also working with the University of Bedfordshire to assist them in developing the game for adults.
5). What do you think the biggest challenges will be for your work throughout the project?
One main misunderstanding people have about serious games is that they have to serve some serious purposes and not necessarily have to be fun. This is definitely wrong, because games always have to be fun, especially when you should play them on a regular basis.
For iManageCancer we decided to make a shooter game where you drive your vessel through the human body and shoot cancer cells.
The biggest challenge here is that the game should be fun for all people from a broad target audience; young children starting at age six, but also their grandparents who play for their ill grandchildren.
6). What do you expect will be one of the most interesting things to come out the project once it has finished?
For our part I can say that it definitely will be great when children get some real benefit by forming an ideal mindset for the treatment.
For the platform itself the most interesting thing to me is that the platform fills a very important gap.
After a cancer surgery there is an enormous need for decision support, medical control, treatment against critical habits and much more. Clinicians cover only a small part of it, so iManageCancer can provide a lot of help with its well-tailored tools.