Dr Robin Sloan

Senior Lecturer

School School of Design and Informatics

Department Division of Games and Arts

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8177


I am a Senior Lecturer within the Division of Games and Arts, and Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Game Design and Production. I also hold the University-wide research role of Creative Industries Theme Leader.

I studied Computer Arts at undergraduate level, before entering the games industry to take on roles in game art and post-production. I left the industry in 2007 to pursue a PhD in game character animation, and joined Abertay as a Lecturer in 2011.

As a researcher and practitioner, my main areas of interest are gaming nostalgia, critical and experimental game design, applied games, and production studies. As an educator, I specialise in teaching visual design for games, team game development practice, and games research.

I have published my research into game characters, gaming nostalgia and applied games in leading journals and conferences such as Games and Culture, Gaming and Virtual Worlds, and DiGRA. I’m also the author of Virtual Character Design for Games and Interactive Media.

You can find further details about my work on my website and follow me on Twitter

My technical teaching encompasses 3D production, game art pipelines, and game design and development. I am currently the leader of the BA Honours year modules.

UG Module Leadership

  • ART403 Honours Project 
  • ART404 Honours Project Dissertation
  • ART405 Honours Project Proposal and Development

UG Project Supervision

  • BA Computer Arts Honours projects
  • BA Game Design and Production Honours projects

PG Research Supervision (Completed)

  • Martinez, S. (2011-2013) [PhD] 
  • Primrose, K. (2014-2016) [MbR]
  • Mavridou, O. (2014-2019) [PhD]
  • Reed, E. (2015-2019) [PhD]

PG Research Supervision (Current)

  • Fee, K. (2015-) [PhD]
  • McArdle, L. (2017-) [MPhil]
  • Clarke, G. (2017-) [PhD]
  • Tarvet, A. (2017-) [PhD]
  • Sansare, V. (2018-) [MbR]

Other Teaching Experience

  • Guest lecturer, EUCROMA, Copenhagen, Denmark, January-February 2014
  • Guest lecturer, MIT Pune, Pune, Maharashtra, India, February 2012
  • Part-time lecturer in Animation, Dundee College, UK, 2010-2011 
  • Guest lecturer, Buskerud University College, Kongsberg, Norway, February 2009
  • Module tutor, Adam Smith College, Fife, UK, 2007-08

My research interests encompass gaming nostalgia, visual design for games, character design and development, game design for education and cultural engagement, and game development practices.

My PhD research (2007-2011) centred on facial animation for game characters, with a particular emphasis on how psychological theories and methods can enhance animation practice. I've published a range of papers on animation strategies for perceptually valid facial performance and the presence of the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters.

Since the completion of my PhD, my research has focused more on practice-based game design research, critical analyses of games, and research into gaming culture.

My current PhD students have a diverse range of research topics. This includes: fan culture and the links between play and fandom, approaches to the curation and exhibition of games in museums and galleries, and the creative practices of professional game artists.

You can keep up to date with my current research projects and publications by visiting my website: www.robinjss.co.uk

My research publications can be accessed via the Abertay Research Collections



Sloan, R.J.S. 2015. Virtual Character Design for Games and Interactive Media. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.



Sloan, R.J.S. 2016. Nostalgia videogames as playable game criticism. GAME: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, 5(1). 

Sloan, R.J.S. 2016. Homesick for the unheimlich: Back to the uncanny future in Alien IsolationJournal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, 8(3), pp.211-230.

Sloan, R.J.S. 2015. Videogames as remediated memories: Commodified nostalgia and hyperreality in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Gone Home. Games and Culture. 10(6). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1555412014565641.

Tinwell, A. and Sloan, R.J.S. 2014. Children's perception of the Uncanny Valley in human-like virtual characters. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, pp.286-296.

Mavridou, O. and Sloan, R.J.S. 2013. Playing outside the box: Transformative works and computer games as participatory culture. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 10(2), pp.246-259.

Parker, L., Sloan, R.J.S. and, Martinez, S. 2012. Thinking outside the (X)box: encouraging innovation in game design education. Media Education Research Journal, 3(2), pp.41-53.

Sloan, R.J.S. 2012. Why worry about the uncanny valley? Photorealism vs suspension of disbelief in animation and games. Media Education Journal, 52, pp.19-22.

Sloan, R.J.S. 2011. Animation and agency: the performance of interactive game characters. Animation Journal, 19, pp. 20-49.

Martinez, S., Sloan, R.J.S., Szymkowiak, A. and Scott-Brown, K. 2011. Virtual agents to cue user attention. International Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems, 4(3-4), pp.299-308.

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B., Scott-Brown, K., Moore, F. and Cook, M. 2010. Choreographing emotional facial expressions. Journal of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 21(3-4), pp. 203-213. DOI: 10.1002/cav.339.



Sloan, R.J.S. and Robertson, P. 2017. Virtua Walker ’87: Technostalgia for a walking sim from an alternative past. International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons, and Game Creation Events 2017, San Francisco, CA, 26 February 2017.

Sloan, R.J.S. 2016. An impression of home: Player nostalgia and the impulse to explore game worlds. 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee, UK, 1-6 August 2016.

Locke, R., Parker, L., Galloway, D. and Sloan, R.J.S. 2015. The game jam movement: Disruption, performance and artwork. Foundations of Digital Games 2015, Pacific Grove, CA, USA, 22-25 June 2015.

Sloan, R.J.S., Galloway, D. and Donald, I. 2014. A sweetspot for innovation: Developing games with purpose through student-staff collaboration. In V. Camilleri, A. Dingli and M. Montebello, eds. 2014 6th International Conference on Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications: VS-Games 2014. Malta, 9-12 September 2014, pp.123-130. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE.

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B., Moore, F., Scott-Brown, K. and Cook, M. 2011. A phenomenological study of facial animation. In Proceedings of HCI 2011: The 25th BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, Conference on Human Computer Interaction. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 4-8 July 2011. Swindon: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT,. pp.177-186. 

Martinez, S., Sloan, R.J.S., Szymkowiak, A. and Scott-Brown, K. 2010. Using virtual agents to cue observer attention: assessment of the impact of agent animation.  CONTENT 2010. Lisbon, 21-26 November 2010.

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B., Scott-Brown, K., Moore, F. and Cook, M. 2010. Observer perception of artistically manipulated emotional facial expression animations. CGIM 2010. Innsbruck, February 17-19 2010.

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B. and Cook, M. 2009. Investigating facial animation production through artistic inquiry. CONTENT 2009. Athens, 15-20 November 2009.

Sloan, R.J.S., Cook, M. and Robinson, B. 2009. Considerations for believable emotional facial expression animation. In 2009 2nd International Conference on Visualization. Barcelona, 14-17 July 2009. Los Alamitos: IEEE Computer Society. pp.61-66. 

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B., Cook, M. and Bown, J. 2008. Dynamic emotional expression choreography: perception of naturalistic facial expressions. SAND 2008. Swansea, 24 November 2008.

Sloan, R. 2005. Improving the narrative appeal of story-driven videogames. In J. Terkeurst and I. Paterson, eds. Women in Games Conference Proceedings 2005. Dundee 8-10 August 2005. Dundee: University of Abertay Dundee



Morgan, H., Sloan, R.J.S., Lamberton, P., Hands, P. and Davie, A. 2016. Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and leadership. [Panel]. Chaired by Quentin Cooper. Scottish Crucible Forum 2016, Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow, August 26 2016.

Sloan. R.J.S. 2016. Playing popular science. 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee, UK, 1-6 August 2016.

Sloan, R.J.S. 2013. Game art and art games: Case studies of student game design. SMCA 2013 Conference. Glasgow, 26 April 2013.

Parker, L.,  Sloan, R.J.S. and Martinez, S. 2012. Fostering innovation in game art and design education. Media Education Summit 2012. Bournemouth, 11-12 September 2012.

Tinwell, A., Abdel Nabi, D. and Sloan, R.J.S. 2012. Uncanny worlds: viewer perception of facial expression and the uncanny valley in virtual characters. Virtual Worlds Research Network Inaugural Conference. Edinburgh, 16-18 May 2012.

Sloan, R.J.S., Martinez, S. and Scott-Brown, K. 2012. Using the principles of animation to predict allocation of attention. In: M.J. Chandler, J.M. Harris. M.R. Pointer and S. Padilla, eds. Predicting Perceptions: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Appearance. p 133.

Martinez, S., Scott-Brown, K., Szymkowiak, A. and Sloan, R. 2011. Fixation based comparison of static and dynamic agent-based deictic gaze cueing. In F. Vitu, E. Castet, and L. Goffart, eds. Abstracts of the 16th European Conference on Eye Movements. Marseille, 21 - 25 August 2011. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 4(3), p 101.

Sloan, R.J.S. 2010. Contextualising dynamic emotional facial expression animation. Animation Evolution: The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference. Edinburgh, July 9-11 2010

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B., Scott-Brown, K., Moore, F. and Cook, M. 2010. A practice-led approach to facial animation research. [Poster]. 2nd International Symposium on Facial Analysis and Animation. Edinburgh, October 21 2010.

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B. and Cook, M. 2009. Creative approaches to emotional expression animation. [Poster]. In A. Nijholt, A. Egges, H. van Welbergen and H. Hondorp, eds. Short Paper and Poster Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents. Amsterdam, 17-19 June 2009. Enschede, the Netherlands: University of Twente.

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B. and Cook, M. 2009. Animating believable facial expressions: is it possible to choreograph perceptually valid emotional expressions?. [Poster]. BMVA Technical Meeting on Facial Analysis and Animation.Edinburgh, 10 June 2009.



Parker, L., Sloan, R.J.S. and Martinez, S. 2012. Facilitating interdisciplinary learning and innovation in games art education. [Online]. Networks, 18. Available from: arts.brighton.ac.uk/projects/networks/issue-18-july-2012

Sloan, R.J.S. 2011. Emotional avatars: Choreographing emotional facial expression animation. [PhD thesis]. University of Abertay Dundee.

More Information


Total funding to date: > £3.6m

  • 'Living Histories of Sugar in Scotland and the West Indies: Transnationalisms, Performance and Co-creation' (AHRC, 2020-21) AH/S01148X/1
  • 'InGame: Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise' (AHRC, 2018-2023) AH/S002871/1
  • 'Visualizing Sugaropolis: Interdisciplinary Recreations of Greenock’s Transnational Past' (British Academy / Leverhulme, 2017)
  • 'Games and media facilitated e-learning' (Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, 2016-18)
  • 'Process, Product and Play: Research in Support of the Exhibition of Videogames' (Association of Art Historians, 2016)
  • 'Play to Promote: Developing Innovative Games for the Communication and Promotion of Science' (Scottish Crucible, 2015)
  • 'Sugaropolis: Transnational Foodways and Dietary Change in Scotland' (Scottish Crucible, 2015)
  • 'NCR Retail Games Concept Design' (NCR Financial Solutions Ltd., 2012)
  • 'NCR Design Visualisation Project' (NCR Financial Solutions Ltd., 2011)

  • 'Facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning and Innovation in Games Art Education' (Higher Education Academy, 2011)



External Examiner - MSc Digital Media Production, Oxford Brookes University (2017-2021)

External Validation - BA (Hons) Game Art, Staffordshire University (2015)

External Validation - FdSc and BSc (Hons) Games Development, SSR Manchester/University of Bolton (2015)

External Examiner - BA (Hons) Games Art, University of Northampton (2013-2017)

External Approval - MDes Digital Culture, Glasgow School of Art (2013)



Peer Review College Member
Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), 2017-2020

Editorial Board
Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds (Intellect), 2017-
The Computer Games Journal (Springer), 2014-

Committee Member
DiGRA 2017: The 10th Digital Games Research Association Conference
School of Arts, Media and Computer Games Ethics Committee, Abertay University, 2014-
HCI 2013: The 26th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference
HCI 2012: The 25th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference

Judging Panel
Independent Games Festival 2017, 2018
Games 4 Health 2017

Scottish Media and Communication Association (SMCA), 2013-



  • Public lecture - 'Random Access Memory: Nostalgia and Video Games', Cafe Arts, McManus Galleries, Dundee, February 5th 2019
  • Public lecture and event organiser - 'Game Making in Dundee', Gaming and Digital Weekend, Dundee Science Festival, Dundee Science Centre, November 12th 2016
  • Public event - Perth Tech Day, Perth Museum & Art Gallery, September 10th 2016
  • Researcher and Advisor - 'PLAYER: Videogame interaction from Atari to Toys to Life', Exhibition, Perth Museum & Art Gallery, June-September 2016
  • Event organiser - 'Serious Play workshop', University of Stirling, November 24th 2015
  • Guest speaker - 'Possible Worlds course', Bell Baxter High School, Fife (2013 to date)
  • Guest lecture and tutorials - Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune, India, February 2012
  • Public lecture - 'Emotional Avatars', Cafe Arts, McManus Galleries, Dundee, November 2nd 2010
  • Public lecture - FilmCamp, Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow, September 28th 2010
  • Exhibitor - Science in the City Event, Sensation Science Centre, Dundee, UK, January 31st and February 1st 2010
  • Exhibitor - Dundee Science Festival, DISC, Dundee, UK, October 25th 2009
  • Emotional Avatars Exhibition 2009, University of Abertay Dundee, October-December 2009
  • Exhibitor - Dare Protoplay, EICC, Edinburgh, August 14th-15th 2009
  • Emotional Avatars Exhibition 2008, University of Abertay Dundee, November-December 2008

Meet the rest of the team

Dr Dayna Galloway

Dr Dayna Galloway

Division of Games and Arts | Head of Division

View profile

Dr David Lyons

Dr David Lyons

Division of Games and Arts | Lecturer

View profile