In my thesis, I define interactive narrative or storytelling as an experience in which users are allowed to decide over the direction and/or outcome of a story. Key decision-making opportunities are presented and users are required to make a choice. Understanding physiological and psychological moments experienced during these decision-making opportunities is important because it helps us pinpoint significant elements that have an impact on the user, such as user agency and engagement. The goal of this PhD work is to uncover these elements and their importance. The contribution of the presented work is twofold: (i) to analyze how an interactive narrative impacts decision-making opportunities, and (ii) present findings from different studies using interactive films and video games. The evaluation of interactive content using different platforms is important to understand users' behaviors while making decisions, thus allowing the exploration of new venues to improve their experience.
This extended abstract describes the ongoing "Dr. Solitaire" project, which explores the possibilities of commercial off-the-shelf games to detect mild cognitive impairment by means of digital biomarkers of cognitive performance. A toolkit using computer vision and image processing was built for the standard Microsoft Solitaire Collection to capture these digital biomarkers at real-time. Preliminary studies conducted to detect cognitive decline due to cognitive ageing imply that cognitive decline can be detected through card gameplay and that machine learning algorithms can be trained to detect the intricacies of cognitive decline.
While children have shown a surge of interest and engagement in interactive toys, it is still not clear whether interactive toys using digital technology can play a productive and positive role in promoting the experiential outcomes of pretend play, such as creativity and social interaction. Thus, this Ph.D. research focuses on exploring how children adopt and utilize interactive toys in symbolic and social ways and what interactional design features contribute to their playful experience, within a pretend play context. To this end, instances ranging from experience prototypes and a tabletop toy system to a wearable device with the use of digital augmentation were proposed and investigated - in particular, visual and auditory ways - as interventions for pretend play. The results to date imply that children utilize digital augmentation as an impetus to assign varying symbolic meanings to toys and as a trigger to interact and become socially aware.
Being able to monitor player behaviors is of particular importance in gameful systems, which are dynamic by nature and require real-time interventions. In these contexts, the designer should be assisted to avoid delivering a static and monotonous experience. As a consequence, the game should be able to adapt to the player that is interacting with it, to give the best UX possible, and avoid an abandonment. The aim of this project is to gain insights on the impact the game has on players by analyzing how they interact with the system and with the community of players. The outcomes will give information on player experience and profile. In turn, this knowledge will lead and assist the generation of customized content for each player and continuously improves its generation strategy.
Exertion interfaces have the potential to facilitate social interaction and physical activity, supporting people as part of a healthy lifestyle. Knowledge about the interrelationship between social interaction and physical activity in exertion interfaces and knowledge of the best technology and interactive features they are facilitated by is currently lacking. Based on existing exertion interfaces and previous research, pilot prototypes, followed by high fidelity prototypes will be designed and developed following a research through design approach.
Pediatric hospitalization causes a series of psychological problems and can have negative consequences in children's social life derived from their internment and the lack of contact with peers and family. In order to improve this aspect of pediatric admittance, and to alleviate the difficulties they might suffer, this work aims to provide the children with a set of tools and games that allow them to interact with other people from inside the hospital in an effective way, by testing different gaming mechanics and strategies to determine which are the ones that foster interaction between the participants the most. In the end, a social network of games and communication will be developed and evaluated against a control group to see what the impact is and how it changes the hospitalization experience to those children exposed to it.
Flow experience is an enjoyable feeling highly linked to the learning experience. Identifying whether a student is in flow while using educational systems is critical to measure the quality of systems and the students' learning. Usually, this process is done through intrusive techniques or with a high cost and can not be applied with a large number of students at the same time. In this study, we propose a computational approach to provide automatic student's flow experience identification in educational systems using only the student's data logs from their interactions in the systems. We conducted a systematic literature review to identify the different possibilities currently used to identify student's flow experience in educational systems, as well as a theoretical study associating student's interaction data logs in educational systems with the flow experience dimensions. Our preliminary results indicate that it is possible to obtain the flow experience in an automatic and implicit way.
This paper discusses the opportunities for gamification and dynamic difficulty adjustment based on multimodal learning analytics in assignments. Altogether this covers a broader term of personalized education, which is getting more attention among the researchers in recent years. The difference of this work from other similar researches is that it suggests combining several domains to achieve better results: gamification (in order to improve student's motivation and involvements), and dynamic difficulty adjustment. All this is made possible by applying multimodal learning analytics and creating useful learning dashboards for the teachers.
Gaze interaction in games is rapidly increasing with examples in mainstream franchises. This research focuses on investigating new opportunities for gaze-enable game design moving away from sensing-based dynamics grounded in gaze pointing and consider a user-centred approach which has its starting point in visual capabilities and metaphors of looking. This approach will lead to the development of examples that illustrate novel and playful experiences that can be designed thinking about how the players see rather than where and what they look at. This research aims to contribute to the understanding of how to create playful gaze-based experiences by providing a design framework and inspire designers to engage in the conversation to shape the future of gaze interaction in play.
This application for the doctoral consortium at CHI PLAY 2019 presents an exploration of critical play from aesthetic and affective perspectives. It uses art and history museums as its field, and the design of hybrid experiences as its experiments. The approach is concept-driven and takes its inspiration from theories of ritual, play and performance.
Reflection has become a core design interest for HCI, with increasing work exploring the role of reflection in games and player experience. However, research into the causes for reflection within games is scarce. I present the findings from an online questionnaire where participants (n=101) openly reported perspective-challenging moments within games, their causes, experience, and impact within or outside the game's context. We observed that narrative reveals emerge as a key cause of perspective challenge, as one of my key findings to date. I highlight the ongoing plan for my research, including three differing studies to aid the creation of perspective challenging games through interviews, case studies, and developing game prototypes.
Virtual Reality (VR) gaming environments can recreate dangerous or even physically impossible situations in an immersive way. However, VR players are isolated from the real world and the experience lacks some features compared to real games, i.e. the physicality of touching objects or other players. Furthermore, in traditional VR gaming, VR players cannot interact with real world (RW) players. Here, we are exploring how to collocate VR and RW players to play simultaneously in the same physical space using wearable touch-sensitive patches that can be attached to objects, walls or players and serve as a nexus between both players. We present the design of a gaming system, two games mechanics supported by it and a preliminary user evaluation to assess in which way physicality was enhanced.
In this project, we report on designing an interactive museum exhibit in a technology museum, inspired by escape room game mechanics and technology. The project aims to create a deeper more immersed engagement with and interest in the exhibition, and thereby increase the interest in the exhibit's subject. In the game, the players take on the role of grandchildren to a known (fictitious) turn-of-the-century explorer and set out to find the treasures she hid around the world during her years of adventure. Clues to the treasures are hidden within the museum exhibition and by using knowledge found around the exhibition the players can solve the riddles and find the treasure, while also picking up some knowledge along the way.
Music education benefits children's mental and intellectual development in early childhood. Guided by child-centered design principles, we propose the Humming Box,an AI-powered tangible music toy for 4-6-year-old children. The main goal of our project is to blend traditional hand crank music boxes with software-based music manipulation and create new possibilities for children to create and remix music manually. Our paper presents findings from 3 design sprints; each demonstrating playtest results and new design iterations. The user evaluation of our final design suggests that multimodal musical creation leads to increased engagement. We also discuss how the modular design of our toys functional components encourages creative expression and cooperative play.
Playtime accounts for one of the most critical learning periods for children, as they learn how to interact and socialize with their playmates. In this paper, we present a new kind of cooperation-based physical game called Ballbit Adventure. Our game provides a collaborative environment for children to communicate, cooperate, and empathize through solving challenges in an interactive maze. Each player must drive a robotic ball and work together to complete different tasks that would ultimately lead them to the finish line. Through the format of a physical racing game, Ballbit Adventure hopes to show the value of face-to-face play experience to counterbalance the disconnected online interactions that children have with video games.
Experiencing synchrony with others is a powerful and engaging experience that fosters empathy, happiness, and connectedness between people. However, synchrony is underexplored in social co-located play. We developed DanSync, a system that enables multiple players to explore personalized musical characteristics through movement synchrony. We discuss the potential of synchrony between players for interactive play experiences.
Head-mounted displays for virtual reality gaming are getting cheaper and more popular, but locomotion in VR has been a problem up to now. We developed a new method of moving in VR. In short, the new input device consists of a wooden board to stand on, an innertube to support leaning, and a gyro sensor to track it. A VR racing game was developed to evaluate our approach that features different racing modes and an object collection mode. 22 users tested these modes. Though some issues occurred (e.g., the need to hold on to something), none of the participants showed symptoms of motion sickness. Results imply the potential of the new controller concept and further research directions.
This paper outlines the design and preliminary evaluation of The Enemy Within, a browser-based game produced to raise awareness of the nature of cancer as a progressive disease. Aimed at high school and young adult audiences, the ambition with the game is to make visible to players the myriad ways in which healthy cells can mutate and ultimately inherit hallmarks of cancer, whilst also demonstrating how both real-world behaviours and underlying genetics impact both positively and negatively on cell health.
Since the last couple of years, we have been aiming to advance our understanding of the audio games design process. As audio games are computer games that rely on sound only, they demand or invite the players to 'build the game world in their mind'. Hence, compared to video games, missing visual information is filled in and created by mental imaginary. This makes the genre exciting and simultaneously open to both players with or without visual impairments. In terms of game design, audio games, however, bring additional challenges to the process. How does a designer sketch games that he or she cannot see? To explore such issues, we created an open-sourced online audio game editor that can function as a sketchbook for audio games. By studying how people use the editor to create audio games, we hope to better understand audio game design and foster the growth of this interesting game genre.
Sailing Skweezee is a game that explores squeeze interaction in virtual reality. Squeezing a soft controller stuffed with conductive wool steers a virtual boat through a course on water. The game is played with an Oculus Rift headset and is developed in Unity. An open source Skweezee library for Unity implements the squeeze interaction. Sailing Skweezee is found to deliver an immersive experience, aligning subtle physical manipulations of soft material with a floating experience of sailing on a virtual sea.
Legoons is a ready-to-play inflatable construction kit that enables children, 6 to 12 year old, to construct characters and artifacts that can be actuated by pumping air. Our set features three types of silicone bricks with distinct behaviors when inflated, as well as various decoration bricks, connectors, and stoppers. With our design, we propose adding soft materials and organic motion to the traditionally rigid and mechanical construction kits. Our unconventional kit celebrates children's imaginations with playful and transforming materials, as well as their desire for personal expression that motivates them to tinker, experiment, and bring their creations to life. We describe our project's various design iterations, fabrication steps and discuss the lessons we learned from our initial playtests with children.
Conferences are a great opportunity to conduct user studies, as they congregate large numbers of ideal participants. However, using traditional methods in such environments is difficult as many other activities vie for users' attention. We discuss our experience designing and implementing a multi-step user research activity involving several gamification strategies in a conference setting. Our approach allowed us to maximize feedback and engagement without relying solely on compensation.
To contribute in filling in the gap regarding experiences targeted at and evaluated by teenagers in museums, we involved 78 teenagers aged 16-19 to test three different gamified tours developed by cultural heritage professionals from the Natural History Museum of Funchal, Portugal. The digital tours can be described as follows: 1) expositive - through which teens become aware of a scientific library in the museum; 2) gastronomic - teens are exposed to curiosities and recipes regarding a selection of marine species exhibited in the museum; 3) digital manipulation - manipulated characters (image and voice) guide the visitor through videos of the marine species in their natural habitats. We report on measuring the teenagers' overall experience with each of the prototypes, particularly their engagement with the exhibition, the usefulness and usability of the prototypes, as well as their feelings and emotions at the end of each tour. We report on lessons learned from the evaluation of these prototypes as well as which approaches and mechanics engaged the teens the most.
For sustainable growth and profitability, online game companies are constantly carrying out various events to attract new game users, to maximize return users, and to minimize churn users in online games. Because minimizing churn users is the most cost-effective method, many pieces of research are being conducted on ways to predict and to prevent churns in advance. However, there is still little research on the validity of event effects. In this study, we investigate whether game events influence the user churn rate and confirm the difference in how game users respond to events by character level, item purchasing frequency and game-playing time band.
Applying current software engineering practices in the game development industry is a rapidly growing but under researched area. Whether game development studios align to traditional software engineering practices such as agile methodologies to develop their games is not known. It is also unknown how studios perceive their own adherence to such agile development practices. Furthermore, struggling start-up studios could benefit from implementing development practices based on the experiences of established studios. Hence, an exploratory survey was conducted to determine the practice of, and perception of agile game development in New Zealand. The results show that while studios universally state and perceive that they use the agile framework Scrum and sometimes Kanban, their actual practices often differ from these frameworks in key areas. Furthermore, studios collectively overestimated their level of adherence with Scrum. This has general implications for related academic studies as well as for the game industry's own evaluation and improvement of their practices.
Scientific knowledge of the differences between video games played in virtual reality and on desktop displays in terms of player experience is still limited. Therefore, this study aimed to explore differences in immersion, flow, positive emotions, and psychological needs (i.e., challenge, competence, and tension/annoyance) between a video game played in virtual reality and on a desktop display. Thirty young adults played a racing game in virtual reality (Driveclub VR) and desktop (Driveclub) conditions. The Game Experience Questionnaire was used to assess player experience. The results showed that (a) performance on the game was the same in virtual reality and desktop condition; (b) the video game played in virtual reality was able to elicit more intense positive emotions; (c) the sense of immersion and flow was greater in virtual reality as opposed to the desktop condition; and (d) the fulfillment of psychological needs was independent of the display modality.
We report on our collaboration between the user research team of Ubisoft Blue Byte (UBB) Düsseldorf and the Entertainment Computing Research Group (ECG) of the University of Duisburg-Essen. Based on a shared interest in exploring the use of biometrics for evaluating the player experience, we opted for heart rate (HR) monitoring in order to gain initial experience with general requirements for psychophysiological methods. We conducted two subsequent studies: the first at the university to evaluate the method in general, the second at UBB to gain insights into the particular requirements of playtests in practice. This two-stage process was chosen to reduce resource requirements on the company's side and to refine the procedure before testing it in the field. Experiences with guidelines to use biometrics are shared and discussed regarding opportunities for collaboration between academics and practitioners.
Transformational games, i.e. games that aim to transform their players for the better, are becoming increasingly popular ways to help people engage with difficult topics. In our mobile game, BROKE: The Game (based on an original board game), we strive to transform the way our players view people who live with the condition of poverty and have more empathy for them. In this paper we discuss how we adapted a board game into a mobile game and how we designed empathy promoting mechanics into the experience to help our players better understand what living in poverty is like.
The use of artificial intelligence for the creation of game agents is fundamental to digital game development, enabling the design of new styles of games offering novel play experiences. Machine learning has long been used in the creation of digital games, most often for the purpose of creating game agent controllers that are trained off-line and do not learn during play. Little attention has been given to the possibility of game designs or mechanics that use machine learning to allow the player to train game agents on-line. This document outlines the design and implementation of Oui, Chef!!, a supervised learning game in which the player trains neural networks to map recipes to the ingredients necessary to make dishes in a restaurant. The game demonstrates that training game agents in a supervised manner provides a fun and engaging player experience wherein the effects of training are easily recognizable, and sometimes delightfully surprising.
Mono no Aware, a single-player narrative-driven game, was developed to generate empathy for the mental and physical effects of anxiety and depression. Utilizing narrative, aesthetics, and design, the game's core loop describes the experience of having anxiety and depression, while introducing common process therapy techniques as coping strategies. In this game we developed a unique game mechanic of "rewiring the brain" as a way to mesh both narrative and gameplay together.
Birdwatching is one of the largest and most profitable outdoor wildlife activities in the world, including much of Northern America. Despite this, birdwatching enthusiasts face many difficulties in recruiting new watchers due to a multitude of limitations. The most common of these include; the unpredictability of finding live specimens in natural environments, lack of access to habitats for many individuals, and heavy reliance on teaching with illustrations and sound files which can make bird study stale or difficult for certain learners, especially members of younger generations. Our program seeks to help alleviate these issues by providing a more reliable, accessible, and entertaining means of bird education through the use of a bird identification video game. Bird Watch is a virtual reality birdwatching simulator which places participants inside a virtual forest populated by ten common North American birds. Through relaxed, repetitive action, participants improve their real world bird identification skills while hopefully gaining greater appreciation for the pastime. Which could lead to increased participation in both birdwatching and wildlife preservation.
The puzzle and dexterity mobile game JumpAR combines well-known Jump n' Run elements with the opportunities of Augmented Reality (AR). The goal of the game is to complete a parkour of platforms with a character and to collect rewards on the way. But with one trick - the construction of the level is done by the player themselves. The bases of the different platforms and obstacles are placed in the real-world surroundings of the player. These then get augmented on the mobile device and form a parkour through which the player must maneuver the character to successfully reach the exit platform. This highly interactive game leads to individual creative game areas wherever the player starts to build the parkour: on the floor, on a desk or on even on the lawn. It can be played either alone or in groups and allows both, a collaborative and competitive gameplay by creating challenging parkours for oneself or others.
Have you ever imagined if you could turn into a little piggy? Do you really believe that UFO exist? Have you ever imagined that you can watch the world's attractions at any time? This time you are the protagonist, incarnate into a piggy created by yourself, explore the origins of places of interest and get to know its history, and understand the culture of each place. At the same time, you must also lead your companions by escaping from the pursuit of flying saucers, and continue your journey of the game world.
Mathematics is an essential field of study which brings enormous benefits in most aspects of life and which can be applied to other problem-solving disciplines. However, it is considered as boring and hard to learn by many. Negative attitude towards mathematics can lead to avoidance of mathematics and decline in mathematics achievement. With Zeroes, we present mathematics as fun gameplay system to players with the intention to help them to gain a more positive attitude towards it. In Zeroes, a player uses arithmetical operations to solve puzzles and learns how they work at ease as a positive side effect. Research suggests that such gained experience leads to improved results in future learning of mathematics.
AI or Nay-I? is a single-player simulation game where players examine how AI systems work and evaluate how they will be regulated in their own fictional nation. Utilizing simple mechanics and meticulously crafted ethical dilemmas, AI or Nay-I? aims to demystify AI and help the public foster a more informed view towards artificial intelligence's potential impact on human life.
Public places are used for many people to pass by without interacting with one another. Introducing a game to be played to this area could create a sense of fulfillment. CupHunt is a casual game which main purpose is to have people interact with one another, providing them with a satisfied feeling. It requires little to no explanation for people to understand and sessions are short, so people can easily play the game in little time. The user experience has been evaluated to show the game's effects
BirdQuestVR is a cross-platform asymmetric communication game between one player in Virtual Reality and another on a mobile device. The game explores asymmetric co-operative gaming in a shared physical space, taking the physical surroundings of the VR user into account in its design. Asymmetric games feature different rules, abilities, or objectives for different players, generating unique and nuanced game experiences. Multiplayer asymmetric games in particular have been shown to increase teamwork and a collaborative mindset even after a play session has ended. Asymmetric design is commonplace in both digital and analog games but has yet to see widespread adoption in the emerging Virtual Reality (VR) gaming space. BirdQuestVR seeks to leverage the affordances of current consumer-grade VR headsets to build asymmetric gameplay around communication, embodied performance, and physical humour.
Tailoring gamified systems has been shown to be appreciated and more effective than "one-size-fits-all'' systems. A promising approach is using the Hexad user types model. However, obtaining the Hexad user type requires users to fill out a questionnaire, preventing an automated adaptation. Since smartphone data was shown to be linked to personality traits, which in turn were shown to be linked to the Hexad user types, we explore to what extent it can be used to predict the score of each user type. In our study (N=122) we found regression models, indicating that using smartphone data to predict user types is promising and may allow to tailor gamified systems without explicit user interaction.
Given the rise of scientific misinformation, there is a critical need for students to learn the practices of scientific inquiry along with scientific concepts. In this work-in-progress paper, we posit that digital games are conducive to learning both as they enable collaborative virtual scientific experimentation and modeling. We put forward design guidelines for games that facilitate such learning. We then illustrate one instance of employing these guidelines in the design of Psi and Delta, a collaborative science game to help students learn the basic concepts of quantum mechanics through inquiry.
This paper discusses the potential for player-data interaction enabled through the medium of gameplay that is procedurally generated using crowd-sourced data. A mobile game, which is called 'Balance Trucks' procedurally generates levels containing terrains derived from data collected through the SmartRoadSense (SRS) application. SRS allows data on the quality of roads to be collected via a user's mobile device whilst driving along various routes, providing open data towards boosting traffic conditions in Europe. Data collected can then be used to unlock game levels and the subsequent terrains. The paper describes the development considerations and process, providing insights on the technical infrastructure that could be adopted and adapted for different types of data. The player-data interaction demonstrated by this game provides a new form of human-computer interaction from the perspective of games and crowd-sourced data that can inform future data-driven games and also the engagement strategy for other crowd-sourcing and sensing initiatives.
Children with Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder or AD(H)D can require treatment for which they need to experience long-lasting neurofeedback sessions. Children might not adhere to at-home treatment activities because of the nature of these sessions; thus, not getting the benefits of the program. To increase adherence and effectiveness of the treatment itself, we propose neurofeedback gaming and social encouragement. Our hypothesis is that by playing a collaborative neurofeedback game, children will be more adherent to their treatment and therefore derive a stronger benefit. For this purpose we designed the game "Orbit", a first multiplayer prototype that was evaluated in a pilot study with five neuropsychologists. It was found that collaborative multiplayer games are suitable from a therapeutic standpoint and long-term use because of its higher social motivation and collaboration between children with AD(H)D; albeit there are some drawbacks including unreliability of electroencephalography (EEG) input and the risk for the collaborative environment to be distracting for the player.
The application of learning theories in transformational games offers a promising avenue to raise awareness on civic topics and drive community-based social change. Inspired by the ICAP framework as well as by participatory art and provocation practices, we designed Piggy Banksy, a transformational playground aimed at turning players into active and socially-conscious citizens. In this iPad-plus-shared screen game, players are prompted to channel their inner provocateur for social change in a public space through embodying the voice of a guerilla artist, co-creating social commentary in the form of an artistic poster. The game uses a real-life workshop format, collective storytelling, and a collaborative creation mechanic to enhance the in-game interactions and post-game conversations and actions.
This paper investigates children's perception of online privacy and data collection. An initial pilot study was carried out applying a participatory approach to a creativity workshop including 25 fourth-grader children between 10 and 11 years of age, from a primary school in Denmark. For most of the children the concept of privacy mainly concerned strangers not being able to find them. Furthermore, the results showed that the children experienced the concept as abstract, with many different meanings and relations. More studies on this topic are needed to establish design goals for developing tools for collecting ethically responsive data on children's actions in gameplay situations.
Virtual reality (VR) games are gradually becoming more elaborated and feature-rich, but fail to reach the complexity of traditional digital games. One common feature that is used to extend and organize complex gameplay is the in-game inventory, which allows players to obtain and carry new tools and items throughout their journey. However, VR imposes additional requirements and challenges that impede the implementation of this important feature and hinder games to unleash their full potential. Our current work focuses on the design space of inventories in VR games. We introduce this sparsely researched topic by constructing a first taxonomy of the underlying design considerations and building blocks. Furthermore, we present three different inventories that were designed using our taxonomy and evaluate them in an early qualitative study. The results underline the importance of our research and reveal promising insights that show the huge potential for VR games.
Many games use procedural content generation (PCG) to create varied game experiences without having to create all content manually. They allow varying degrees of player influence on generation, from retaining all control to giving full control to players over a number of parameters. Despite the prevalence of PCG in commercial games, little research has examined how player influence on PCG parameters affects their experience. We present a preliminary study examining the effect of three degrees of player influence on PCG parameters of game levels, by means of a dungeon crawler game featuring 22 parameters for level design. Participants played the game with varying degrees of control (none, limited, high) over those parameters and reported subjective player experience measures. The results show that degree of influence affects player experience; high control elicits significantly higher autonomy than the other conditions. While future research disentangling agency and challenge is necessary, our preliminary findings suggest that player control over PCG features potentially improves experience by eliciting increased autonomy.
We present HyperCubes, an Augmented Reality (AR) platform to foster computational literacy. Using paper cubes as AR markers and spatial tracking, the user becomes familiar with sequences of instructions as coding blocks. We leverage spatial cognition as a means to improve understanding of procedural and sequential models. We have performed two pilot studies for an iterative and user centered design of the platform. With a final qualitative user study we address engagement levels and the educational potential of the platform. We argue that by using spatial cognition and the flexibility of the AR medium, a playful introduction to basic computational thinking concepts can be presented in late elementary school and middle school children.
Data literacy has become a critical skill to deal with the complexities of the information-driven society of the 21st century. At the same time, data visualization has long escaped the boundaries of science and has become a pervasive - often unrecognized - part of our everyday lives. In this paper, we introduce Diagram Safari, an educational game to foster data literacy among children 9 to 11 years old by teaching about diagrams and charts in a playful manner. We report on the iterative design process and on a preliminary evaluation with 23 children showing that the game was well received and that the difficulty was appropriate for the target audience.
Virtual cities as background scenarios can be used for many 3D video game genres like action. However, the procedural generation of virtual cities for specific video game genres is an on-going research problem. In this paper, we seek to establish a grounding for future work into city generation for specific game genres by exploring how game designers approach existing generation tool-sets. Firstly, we look at the video game city Skara Brae from the party-based role-playing game The Bard's Tale and try to replicate it using the Wave Function Collapse (WFC) approach to procedural generation. We show in two experimental conditions which parameters for WFC are suitable for replicating the city. Secondly, a pilot user study with eight users shows how they approach creating different video game cities after they preselect a video game genre. The users' video game level ideas are then discussed, and different output levels are generated using WFC.
SNaP is a collaborative board game for children. In the game, children become Designers and the protagonists of the ideation of smart nature ecosystems, reflecting on them. This paper presents the evolution of the game and its usage in a recent workshop with 11-years old children.
Organisations differ in the acceptance of playfulness at the workplace. While some value playful approaches as a means of increasing employees' motivation, others are convinced that playing games is not appropriate in a working context. Depending on whether playful approaches are accepted and supported by management and employees or not, we argue that work gamification has different effects. Based on organisational climate research, we present the concept of Gamification Climate in organisations. To measure this, we have developed a corresponding survey instrument; the Gamification Climate Scale (GCS). Initial validation results (N=139) indicate good reliability and provided indications for the further development of the scale. The GCS may be considered as a promising tool for future research on work gamification as well as for using it in organisations that aim to implement gamification approaches.
Curiosity is a strong motivator for human action, but the circumstances under which one becomes curious are not clear. This paper builds on the assumption that video games can be used as a stimulus for the experimental study of curiosity, and forms a basis in examining the type of curiosity motivated by spatial exploration. A video game was created that incorporates five proposed 'game design patterns' that may induce curiosity in players. The game, Shinobi Valley, was tested in a pilot study with 24 participants. Participants responded positively to the game and exhibited exploratory behaviour while playing without specifically being prompted to do so. The presented results suggest which of the patterns are most promising in inducing curiosity, and show that the game is of sufficient quality to be used in larger studies.
Social environments can be challenging for many adults with disability. Most existing social skills programs tend to be delivered by paid staff and are therefore costly and time limited and there are few studies that have explored playful interventions to address social skills training. We believe that the natural language processing capability of conversational voice interfaces and the engaging qualities of interactive storytelling games can provide people with social interaction difficulties with a playful, accessible, and cost-effective training platform to improve their social skills. This paper reports on the conceptualization of the social stories game, the implementation process, test plans, preliminary results, and future scope.
The number of social VR applications-or applications that support social interaction between users in virtual reality-has grown considerably in recent years. A consequence of this growth is that the state of social VR application design has become increasingly obfuscated, which complicates identification of design trends, best practices, and uncommon features that are perhaps worthy of wider adoption. To help address this problem, this paper presents a taxonomy of social VR application design choices as informed by 29 commercial and prototypical applications in the literature. Discussion of the taxonomy highlights novel features of research prototypes that could potentially enrich the social experience in commercially available applications. The paper concludes by considering how the taxonomy can guide future design of social VR applications, and next steps for refining the taxonomy.
Human computational games, also known as GWAP (games with a purpose), have a history of generating a large amount of annotated visual data. In this work, we explore extending GWAP design to generate large datasets of annotated audio data collected in the home environment. Collecting data in the home presents unique challenges around privacy and comfort; processing audio data requires segmentation as well as labeling and validation. However, the home setting also affords unique opportunities as a gameplay enhancer. This work presents three prototypes, each targeted to a different phase of audio metadata generation, that use the home setting in different ways.
Computational thinking and coding-based problem solving are increasingly seen as crucial cross-disciplinary skills and an important part of a well-rounded education. Coding games and problem solving exercises have been growing in popularity. Many large-scale initiatives have been launched in order to bring these initiatives into classrooms, from preschool to secondary education. CodyColor is a simplified coding game, which takes basic programming instructions representing movements ("turn left" and "turn right") and represents them with color blocks. In contrast to most other coding games, color-coded programming relies on no symbolic interpretation on part of the player in order to be approachable by very young players as well. We present a massively multiplayer online version of CodyColor, discuss design and implementation specifics, and enumerate some of the possible game modes.
The phenomenon of screen-cheating primarily takes place in co-located split-screen games. It gives players a easy way of gaining advantage over others. To explore how screen-cheating can be prevented through game design (i.e., adjusting time pressure) we created a game prototype that covers two different genres (i.e., real-time strategy and Jump'n'Run) in separate game modes. In order to find out how time pressure influences the screen-cheating behavior of players in the real-time strategy part, we conducted a pilot study with 20 participants. We chose this part, as the players can gain an information advantage through screen-cheating for the second part of the game. Through questionnaires and observations we found out that the amount players engage in screen-cheating significantly decreases when players are under more time pressure. We report on our study findings and reflect on various side effects of screen-cheating that could be used for game design.
With the rise of smartphones and mobile games, a new interaction model is in demand to allow rapid and fine-grained control of a player character. This paper presents an on-screen gamepad with novel touchpoint analytics that enables a user to input both direction and velocity by changing only the angle of the finger, while otherwise maintaining its position on the touchscreen. The unique feature of this gamepad, called Kinetics, is a mathematical model for measuring an intentional finger motion and acceleration from a continuous sequence of touch events, obtained when a user changes thumb angle, by suppressing the effects of ambiguous and noisy activities. Kinetics allows a user to play a mobile game almost as if there were an invisible control stick on the screen. This paper describes a practical system implementation and empirical evaluation studies.
Strength training improves overall health, well-being, and sports performance. However, the training process is often repetitive, making the experiences boring and tiring after going through the long-term session. This paper proposes FitBird, which uses wearable sensors to map existing strength training motion to game designs to enhance entertainment level during exercising. We chose 1:1:1 as the time intervals proportion of three distinct phases during exercises repetition: 1) Eccentric: muscle lengthening, 2) Isometric: same muscle length, and 3) Concentric: muscle shortening, and integrated this tempo for the well-known game - FlappyBird as the training guidance. We evaluated the proof-of-concept prototype with 12-person study that participants conducted strength training while using our system. The results showed that FitBird significantly improve user's entertainment level during strength training and was preferred by most of the users.
Gaze could be harnessed as a powerful tool for guiding players. By knowing where players are looking, a game could provide support players in finding relevant objects. With this assumption in mind, we made our first steps regarding the investigation of gaze-supported player guidance in a 3D first-person exploration game prototype called Lost & Found. Specifically, we investigated the feedback channels that could be combined with a gaze-based guidance approach. A comparative study was carried out to examine the impact of visual (i.e., vignette effect on screen), auditory (i.e., sound cues), and haptic (i.e., controller vibration) feedback on the players' game experience. Results show that visual and audio feedback appeared to be very appealing for players, While haptic feedback received relatively low scores. The next steps involve the development of more elaborated variants of the visual and auditory feedback.
Retention is an important success factor for mobile social games. However, in game design, very little literature exists on the impact of game elements and their persuasive effects on user retention. We scraped ten high grossing mobile games and play tested them over the course of two weeks to gather persuasive game mechanics. After categorization and filtering of the persuasive mechanics, we simultaneously relate them to base game mechanics and a corresponding psychological theory from behavioral economics and psychology. Our results help increase the accessibility of using persuasive mechanics for future game developers.
An imaging capsule is a pill-shaped device used to record images of the user's gastrointestinal tract. Existing research mainly focuses on the imaging capsule's functional perspective, while its experiential perspective is usually overlooked. To explore this, we introduce a playful system called InsideOut where the player wears an iPad to display the real-time images of their gastrointestinal tract captured by an imaging capsule. Players can interact with the images by performing bodily movements which are mapped to image transformations such as rotation and scaling. With this work, we aim to inspire game designers and researchers to design playful and engaging experiences around imaging capsules. Our work might further inspire future works using other bodily-integrated technologies to facilitate playful experiences.
Training can be challenging at times, and even more so to users with movement mastery and body awareness issues,. like children with sensory-based motor disorder (SBMD). They often experience less enjoyment when engaging with physical activities. In this project, our goal is to support physical training of children with SBMD through the design of playful training activities and technology. Drawing from our observations during a technology-supported circus training course with circus instructors, we identify play potentials that can inspire future technology and activity design. We surface key elements that supported the emergence of play and playfulness, including strategies used by the instructors, and technology features. We discuss how these can be built on in future design iterations.
Esports organisations and players rely on revenue model based on spectators attention, which makes player and team brands crucial for their success. In this work, we demonstrate our approach to analyse brand value formation based on computational analysis of spectators' discussions of esports players and teams. We show the early results revealing (1) topic patterns of discussions, (2) the influence of transfers from one team to another on the player's brand perception, and (3) the interconnection between personal and team brands on the particular cases from the ongoing study.
Despite many benefits of playing and exercising together in terms of motivation, engagement, and social relationships, many exergames are designed to be single player, while others implement only a facade of social play (e.g., leaderboards). The challenge remains: how can exergames be designed to balance fun, exertion, and social connection? In this work, we ran an embodied sketching activity with multiplayer variations of the Sphery Racer mixed-reality fitness game, allowing us to test physical and social game mechanics. We discuss here: i) preliminary results on how these variations support a rich training and social experience; and ii) the potential of our method to surface interesting design directions. These contributions can inspire others designing in this domain, and support the development of a rich design space for co-located exergames.
Visualization is a valuable tool in problem solving, especially for citizen science games. In this study, we analyze data from 36,351 unique players of the citizen science game Foldit over a period of 5 years to understand how their choice of visualization options are affected by expertise and problem type. We identified clusters of visualization options, and found differences in how experts and novices view puzzles and that experts differentially change their views based on puzzle type. These results can inform new design approaches to help both novice and expert players visualize novel problems, develop expertise, and problem solve.
We explore the effects of pace of an endless runner game on user performance, preference, enjoyment, and engagement in stationary and mobile settings (while walking). Results revealed that game pace affects performance in both settings. The number of attempts increases and the total score decreases exponentially with increasing pace. Enjoyment, engagement, and preference are unaffected, yet most users prefer a slower pace while walking. These findings encourage further research on how to manipulate game pace based on the player's mobility status and physiological state to improve the mobile gaming experience.
Charity streaming is a novel and increasingly popular form of fundraising where content creators stream content during a fixed period of time to raise money and awareness. Many charity streams involve people playing games for a prolonged period of time. In this study, we interviewed charity organizations about what this new form of fundraising means for them and how it is different from traditional fundraising efforts.
The use of games and technologies can be useful in the pediatric units inside the hospitals, but it is important to take into account the needs of the potential users when designing applications and activities. The purpose of this work is to determine which activities are more suitable for such patients based on both their perceptions and the perceptions of their environment inside the hospital, by holding participatory design meetings and individual interviews with hospitalized children.
In this paper, we present the development of an attractive and immersive system of digital interactive play that allows people to move, respond, and use their imagination without the need for wearable technology. We prototyped elements of the system and confirmed its effects. The key theme for this work is that play is important for humans because it can foster personal and social development. The development of computer games has caused people to forego opportunities for physical activity and socialization through play. We worked to develop an attractive system of interactive play to promote physical activity and allow anyone to participate. In this paper, we evaluated the effects of interactive elements of the system on player experience.
Despite their immense popularity in the gaming industry, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games are notorious for creating a divide among gamers, with their millions of daily players often deciding to play only one game in the genre - a trait which is certainly uncommon in comparison to other genres. Through the use of semi-structured interviews with players from four different MOBAs, this paper explores not only the features present in MOBA games which encourage players to pick them up, but also the often subtle differences in community, mechanics, and psychology between games within the genre, all of which play a significant part in both enticing new players, and forcing them to transition to another game early on in the process.
Flow is a state of deep engagement that is highly related to the learning experiences. One of the biggest challenges in this field is to provide automatic and implicit students' flow experience identification in educational systems, contributing to the educational systems design and evaluation improvement. In this paper, we propose a theory-driven based conceptual model, associating student's interaction data logs with each of the flow experience dimensions, towards the automatic flow identification. The main result indicates that eight different kinds of data logs can be associated with the nine original flow experience dimensions and provide the automatic students' flow experience identification. As a future study, we aim to design an educational system capable of obtaining student's data logs conducting a data-driven based study to validate our theoretical study.
In recent years there has been major growth in the use of gamification in education. It can be utilized to develop assignments or learning environments. Lots of studies have already proven the positive impact of introducing such tools to students. This paper examines how gamification techniques can be used in the electrical engineering course. It describes the developed tool, future opportunities and possible extensions. The CLR: Current Surf is a nice illustration of combining visualizations with game elements to create highly motivating learning environments. It provides students with a choice of a way of exploring new material: active learning by interacting with a visualization tool, which helps to simulate the altering of circuit's components values, or learning new concepts while passing levels in the gamified environment. Future steps of the project will include the evaluation and gathering students' feedback.
This paper describes the design of a collaborative game, called Rainbow Agents, that has been created to promote computational literacy through play. In Rainbow Agents, players engage directly with computational concepts by programming agents to plant and maintain a shared garden space. Rainbow Agents was designed to encourage collaborative play and shared sense-making from groups who are typically underrepresented in computer science. In this paper, we discuss how that design goal informed the mechanics of the game, and how each of those mechanics affords different goal alignments towards gameplay (e.g. competitive versus collaborative). We apply this framework using a case from an early implementation, describing how player goal alignments towards the game changed within the course of a single play session. We conclude by discussing avenues of future work as we begin data collection in two heavily diverse science museum locations.
Outsourcing effortful problems as microtasks has been successfully implemented by various human computation serious games or GWAP. Still, most of the academic ap-proaches validate their results by conducting laboratory studies. While these have the potential to assess proposed techniques thoroughly with respect to quantitative and qualitative measures, they are prone to the often under-estimated experimenter bias. In a large-scale field study(n= 713), we collect practically relevant empirical data about the quality of player behavior in a human computation serious game and classify the results as useful, insufficient or deliberately disruptive executions. Due to the drastic proportion of disruptive behavior (20.2%), we particularize explanations for this kind of behavior and discuss counteracting measurements.
Previous studies and video games have shown that human spatial reasoning is flexible and can naturally accommodate non-Euclidean spaces. In particular, hyperbolic space has been an effective interface for navigating large, complex datasets. In this study, we seek to test human navigation of hyperbolic space through an immersive virtual reality (VR) game. The game design is minimalistic and focused on navigation and walking. We designed Euclidean and hyperbolic versions of two levels, one based on path-following and the other on path-planning across a branching structure. Initial user testing suggests that people can navigate in hyperbolic virtual environments without major disorientation and may navigate branching structures more intuitively than in Euclidean space.
In this paper we introduce the first results from the multidisciplinary Smart Sports Exercises project. Building on a thorough background and the aims of the project, we present our approach and discuss the outcomes of a context analysis and the first design iterations. We propose a model spanning the known 'Augmenting to Transforming' sports dimension, and add a dimension spanning 'Skill-specific to Integrative' exercises, and finish with the description and rationale for six interactive concepts that will form the basis for the next phase of the project.
For many, healthy sleep is either not a priority or not a possibility, a deficit which has far-reaching consequences. We explore the potential for "sleepy games" as a genre of transformational games with embedded content, relevant in both the digital and physical design space. We present design challenges unique to sleepy games, synthesized through an iterative design process. Lights Out, one of nine sleepy games created, provides an example of our insights in context.
In recent years, game worlds are getting increasingly larger. With their expansion, the number of characters populating these virtual environments promotes a vast interaction space. To guarantee that interactions between characters do not compromise players' experience, they must exhibit coherent social behavior. Currently, game developers rely on scripted content to create the illusion of social behavior. However, we argue that a heavy authoring approach does not suit the generation of large populations of characters. In this work, we will use a computational model called Cognitive Social Frames to understand how players perceive and interpret the social dimensions of game characters' actions. In this document, we describe how we applied a socio-cognitive agent architecture to a population of game characters. Using a game-like environment, we intend to study what aspects of social behavior are perceived by players as relevant when generating societies in games. We elaborate on a proposal for a user study that will focus on the adjustment of characters' behavior based on their interpretation of the world and the coherence of their actions within groups of characters.
In this paper we present an early Apprenticeship Learning approach to mimic the behaviour of different players in a short adaption of the interactive fiction Anchorhead. Our motivation is the need to understand and simulate player behaviour to create systems to aid the design and personalisation of Interactive Narratives (INs). INs are partially observable for the players and their goals are dynamic as a result. We used Receding Horizon IRL (RHIRL) to learn players' goals in the form of reward functions, and derive policies to imitate their behaviour. Our preliminary results suggest that RHIRL is able to learn action sequences to complete a game, and provided insights towards generating behaviour more similar to specific players.
In this paper, we present the results from an experiment designed to evaluate the user experience of five different control schemes (buttons, steering wheel, joystick, joystick+button and accelerometer-based tilting) in a 2D top-down racing mobile game designed specifically for children. The experiment was conducted with 24 children from ages 6 to 14, both male and female, and with different levels of experience with mobile devices and mobile gaming. We present the results from our observations from the participants' interaction with the game as well as the results from a questionnaire and interview. Results indicate that the joystick controller provides a better experience than the proposed alternatives to inexperienced players.
Prior research has used player rating systems to balance difficulty in human computation games (HCGs) without having to modify their levels by assigning ratings to levels to indicate level difficulty. Skill chains have also been used to define difficulty progressions for such games. Both these methods typically involve associating a level with a single rating or set of skills as being representative of the difficulty of both the in-game mechanics of the level and the complexity of the task that it models, taken together as a single unit. Though effective, this may not be suitable for HCGs where the game and the task being modeled require different sets of skills and abilities. To this end, we introduce a disjoint skill model that separately tracks game and task skill and difficulty in a 2D platformer HCG. We find that the disjoint model enables players to solve more difficult tasks compared to a baseline model.
A large body of literature is concerned with models of presence-the sensory illusion of being part of a virtual scene-but there is still no general agreement on how to measure it objectively and reliably. For the presented study, we applied contemporary theory to measure presence in virtual reality. Thirty-seven participants explored an existing commercial game in order to complete a collection task. Two startle events were naturally embedded in the game progression to evoke physical reactions and head tracking data was collected in response to these events. Subjective presence was recorded using a post-study questionnaire and real-time assessments. Our novel implementation of behavioral measures lead to insights which could inform future presence research: We propose a measure in which startle reflexes are evoked through specific events in the virtual environment, and head tracking data is compared to the range and speed of baseline interactions.
Sequencing task difficulty and variety can be a powerful tool for increasing engagement in online citizen science platforms. The abundance of available participant data presents great promise for machine learning oriented approaches to making tasks more engaging for participants. We present a web game for image matching called Tile-o-Scope Grid, and explore using a Q-learning based algorithm to generate a policy for sequencing level difficulties. Recruiting players using Amazon Mechanical Turk, we gathered data to train and evaluate approaches to sequencing level difficulties in Tile-o-Scope Grid. Comparisons of our Q-learning based algorithm with uniform random and greedy baselines suggest potential for using reinforcement learning for citizen science image labeling.
Gameplay experience is shaped by players' expectations towards the game and how game features are presented to them. We created two modified versions of the classic TETRIS game: one that adapts game difficulty based on players' performance and one that additionally adapts to players' eye movements. An initial analysis of exploratory study results indicates that eye-movement-based adaptive difficulty in TETRIS might not affect player performance and that framing the use of adaptive difficulty might only have a limited influence on both players' game experience and perceived competence.
GameFlow is a widely used model of player enjoyment, with hundreds of applications to designing and evaluating games and game-like experiences since its first publication. Despite its widespread use, there has been limited evaluation of the GameFlow model and previous evaluations have focused on expert reviews from researchers with expertise in player experience. In this paper, we present a study in which 12 different stakeholders (developers, players, researchers, and journalists) conducted expert reviews on a game under development using the GameFlow criteria and provided feedback on the model. We reflect on several key points of improvement for future versions of the GameFlow model and criteria.
Trust is a key component of high functioning virtual work teams. This study investigates the effectiveness of a commercial digital game in developing trust in virtual teams compared to a typical virtual team icebreaker. To achieve this, we outline important trust-building aspects that a game must have and identify the commercial digital game Spaceteam as a suitable candidate. Our results show that Spaceteam is more effective at developing trust in virtual teams compared to social icebreaker, indicated by differences in trusting behaviour. We did not find differences in perception of team trust or moderating effects of dispositional trust. Our findings suggest that digital games with trust-building aspects enable the verification of early trusting beliefs through gameplay, which in turn develops trust among team members. As these games are robust against individual differences in dispositional trust, it is applicable across any team composition. Our findings support the use of digital games as viable trust-building tools for virtual work teams.
It is increasingly understood how fun is an essential aspect in interaction for children in or beyond game play, as well as supporting learning and other activities involving children, e.g., for participatory design. While it is often proclaimed that such activities are fun for children participants, empirical evidence is hard to come by as measuring fun is not straightforward. Currently available assessment tools suitable for adolescents are scarce. FunQ is a recently developed measurement tool specifically designed for adolescents for the assessment of the experienced fun. Here we discuss ongoing work for adapting FunQ - to Spanish and Dutch. We report on the process followed to adapt the questionnaire; the reliability measures based on the initial results (ωoverall-SP= 0.876 and ωpartial-SP= 0.859; ωoverall-NL= 0.819 and ωpartial-NL= 0.804); and discuss our findings in reflection of the current state of the adaptation procedure.
Recently, interest in streaming and esports has flourished, placing increased emphasis on the spectator experience. We argue that by escaping the boundaries of the screen and incorporating a physical aspect, another stimulatory and social dimension, which heightens the interaction with the data and positively contributes to spectatorship, can be added. This paper reports on the design of Modata, a tangible visualization of Dota 2 matches that projects gameplay data onto a tangible representation of the Dota map. We report on the design process of Modata, explore the preferred type of interaction, and report on first user feedback collected through surveys and hands-on experience with a prototype of the concept. Results indicate that most (88%) of the asked participants see value in augmenting the game's experience by visualizing in-game data and translating it into the physical world.
Educational video games have the potential to promote students' motivation in mathematics learning, which is often considered as one of the most difficult and important subjects for elementary school students. Augmented Reality (AR) games can enhance math learning motivation and collaboration between students-students and students-teachers in classroom settings, allowing them to learn different aspects and gain deeper understanding of the learning content. In this study, we propose a collaborative AR game for elementary school math classroom, called MathBuilder. The goal of MathBuilder is to motivate students in the learning activities and help them to collaborate and communicate more with their classmates and teachers in the classroom. In this paper, we present the design and the development of the game, discuss the potentials of the game in the future together with the result of a preliminary user study.
This paper describes the personalization challenges that are faced when designing a gameful experience for groups of visitors in a cultural site. We present our approach to account for different player paces between members of the same group, by introducing short, in-game activities. We discuss the relationships between player types, personality traits, and game elements to visitor attitudes and styles, summarizing results from our prior work and related literature. Finally we describe our first steps towards implementing intra-group personalization functionalities, designing a series of activity types that are targeted to different player types and visitor styles.
Intrinsic motivation is a key factor in facilitating enjoyment and engagement in video games. In recent years, various approaches have been introduced by the industry to raise motivation of players. One of the most prominent methods in modern games comes in the form of Achievements which are defined as optional meta-objectives that players can obtain by fulfilling tasks in the game. However, Achievements are designed uniformly regardless of the player's personality, play style or general preferences. Therefore, individual differences between players are ignored which can diminish the motivational impact of Achievements. To tackle this problem, this paper proposes the design of adaptive Achievements based on specific archetypes extracted from the BrainHex player typology. For the validation of this approach, we developed a simple Action-RPG which included adaptive Achievements. In a comparative study (n=28) we found that adaptation of Achievements leads to an increase of motivational aspects such as perceived effort/importance and sense of reward & individualization.
We explore virtual environments and accompanying interaction styles to enable inclusive play. In designing games for three neurodiverse children, we explore how designing for sensory diversity can be understood through a formal game design framework. Our process reveals that by using sensory processing needs as requirements we can make sensory and social accessible play spaces. We contribute empirical findings for accommodating sensory differences for neurodiverse children in a way that supports inclusive play. Specifically, we detail the sensory driven design choices that not only support the enjoyability of the leisure activities, but that also support the social inclusion of sensory-diverse participants. The participants displayed behaviors in the multi-user version consistent with their behaviors in the single user version with the addition of social behavior. We tie these techniques to game design mechanics to iterate on our efforts to support inclusive game development. Preliminary results are discussed.
Certain digital games hold promise as interventions for training spatial skills, a subset of cognitive skills essential for success in STEM fields. However, not much is known about what features of these games are relevant to training spatial skills. Without such knowledge, it is impossible to design spatial skill training games with confidence that they will be effective. In addition, existing games for spatial skill training are not designed to appeal to those who stand the most to benefit from them: students with low spatial skill. In this work, we present a new and improved version of Homeworld Bound, a game designed as a testbed for studying spatially relevant game features. Our updated version is grounded in spatial skill theory and designed to appeal to low spatial skill university students. We present our future plans for analyzing the training effectiveness and player experience of this new game, Homeworld Bound: Redux.
We uncover how geographically distributed players of tabletop role-playing games engage narrative, ludic, and social aspects of play. Our existing understandings of tabletop role-playing games are centered around co-located play on physical tabletops. Yet, online play is increasingly popular. We interviewed 14 players, experienced with online virtual tabletops. Our findings reveal the seams-points where media, activities, and technology intersect-within virtual tabletop environments that enable distributed players to shift among collaborative storytelling, applying game rules and mechanics, and socially interacting with each other.
The prisoner's dilemma is a well-studied game, with much information available about successful strategies. In this work we explore how players make decisions within an iterative version of the game, played against varying opponents in a closed environment. We present an app-facilitated social deduction game for eight or more players based upon the prisoner's dilemma (PD). Players sat along a table and played PD, with the results causing players to move up or down the table, potentially facing a new opponent each round. We highlight which sources of information were most important to players when deciding whether to betray or cooperate, as well as deciding whether their opponent was trustworthy. Based upon player-reported data, we find players used five sources of information in the social deduction game. Data suggests that facts provided to players about their opponents are often overlooked in favour of information gained during social interaction or from events that occurred previously in the game.
We propose "eGenjiko," a gaming system for Genjiko (Japanese traditional scent-matching game) utilizing a computer-controlled censer and a tablet device. Genjiko is a scent-matching game in which players smell five scents and guess which are identical. The game is so simple and attractive that even a beginner can enjoy. However, aromatic wood and utensils such as a censer used in traditional Genjiko are very costly and they are definitely not affordable for beginners. In this study, we developed a gaming system named eGenjiko that conforms to real Genjiko's rules. The system has a computer-controlled censer that selects randomly five scents and diffuses them. After smelling all the scents, a player answers the matching pattern of five scents using simple notation by drawing on a tablet PC. Then the system returns the correct answer. Using our eGenjiko, a single player who is not familiar with Genjiko can enjoy the game casually, without inviting other players.
Video games of all genres make heavy use of notifications as a means of alerting the user to important information. Cooking task management games such as Overcooked and Cook Serve Delicious force the user to manage multiple tasks at the same time and make use of notifications when the player is close to running out of time. In this paper, we present an empirical evaluation of several common notification types with respect to how they affect player performance. Our results provide a supporting argument for the use of notifications in games, as well as provide a foundation for further investigation into the effects of notifications.
Uninformed actions in privacy and security settings of mobile devices might cause data leaks. In many occasions, users may not be aware of such issues due to lack of knowledge on the topic. To raise interest and awareness towards this issue, extra effort might be needed. Game-based learning has proven to be an effective approach in terms of motivation and promotion of understanding. Humour is also considered to have the ability to create a positive attitude to the subject matter and reduce anxiety. To examine the interplay of games and humor, we developed What Could Go Wrong, a humorous decision-making game that helps users to better understand the consequences of applying security changes on a mobile device. We conducted a preliminary study comparing the game to two more models (a serious animated video and a humorous animated video), to analyze its impact on user's motivation as well as raising awareness of the topic. Our user study (n=21) shows that the game-based approach is more successful in engaging and raising awareness.
This paper presents an Augmented Reality (AR) pervasive game that aims to promote learning about the plants in our local environment. Players collect plants in their locale, grow them at home as they grow a real plant, and compose an AR garden with them. The game combines physical elements (i.e. a plant pot with sensors, RFID tags containing plant information) with virtual ones (i.e. AR representations of the plants). The final objective of this research is to investigate how the game experience is affected when moving from the virtual to the real world some components of the game, such as its context, its challenge or its reward. We aim to study if educational benefits can still be obtained when the game is only semi-integrated in the real world.
Through a literature review, we explore fantasy in serious games, the function of fantasy, and what contributes to fantasy. This research firstly regards fantasy as a game characteristic, focusing on the definition of fantasy in games. We find two directions: Mental activities and Artifacts. We construct a taxonomy of fantasy from multiple aspects. This classification can help game researchers and designers understand what fantasy is, and how it can be applied in serious games. This classification enables our next step, to conduct a review of experimental studies, testing whether and how the involvement of fantasy improves the effectiveness of serious games.
We propose a Situated Play Design (SPD) workshop aimed at exploring how culture and traditions can guide playful design. Using food as an accessible starting point, we invite scholars from diverse communities to share, analyze, and make creative use of playful traditions, and prototype new and interesting eating experiences. Through hands-on engagement with traditions, play and technology, we will discuss strategies to make designerly use of forms of play that are embedded in culture. The outcomes of the workshop will be twofold: First, in response to recent calls for increasingly situated and emergent play design methods, we explore strategies to chase culturally-grounded play. Second, we produce an annotated portfolio of "play potentials" to inspire the design of future food-related technologies. The workshop will contribute to enriching the set of tools available for designers interested in play and technologies for everyday-use, in and beyond the food domain.
Digital games are a hugely popular activity enjoyed for the diverse experiences and relationships that they offer players. In 2019, games are more accessible to an increasingly diverse audience of disabled players through both new gaming technology and in-game options that allow people to tune their experiences. As a significant cultural medium, it is also challenging perceptions of disability in how characters are depicted. In this workshop, we aim to understand better the research challenges in making games for and with disabled players. We explore opportunities in games and disability through the lens of the new Disability Interaction (DIX) manifesto.