Theme 1: Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics

An obvious and important influence on the player’s experience is the physical equipment used to enter and participate in the game. Researchers in this Theme will investigate the role played by various interactive devices and configurations (including interfaces and interaction devices, emerging and disruptive technologies, gameplay mechanics and so on) in the gameplay experience. Our core questions here include the following: How do new interfaces, technologies or interaction devices influence the player’s experience? What modes of interaction do different game technologies afford, and how do these change the player’s experience?

Projects will include:

  • Delivery devices: studying the influence of game devices (scalable/multi-platform), “interaction-agnostic” gaming (experience regardless of device), and optimizing the experience across multiple devices
  • Smart tables/distributed/shared displays: examining how changing viewer/player configurations encourage new modes of interaction and alter the game experience
  • 2D versus 3D/S3D experiences: developing comparisons of different display technologies and assessing their impact on the game experience.

Publications & Presentations

NameTitleThemeMediumInstitution
Etemad, S. A., Arya, A.

"A Customizable Time Warping Method for Motion Alignment."

Proc. 7th IEEE Int. Conf. on Semantic Computing (ICSC'13), Irvine, USA, pp. 387-388, 2013.
Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
"A New Model of Active Video Games”, in proceedings of the IEEE Games and Entertainment Media Conference, Toronto, Canada, October 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Fedorova, Ksenia "Augmented Reality Art and Proprioception: towards a Theoretical Framework", in The Proceedings of the International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA) 2015. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Etemad, Seyed Ali, Ali Arya"Correlation Optimized Time Warping For Motion", The Visual Computer, 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Farzin Farhadi-Niaki, Seyed Ali Etemad, Ali Arya"Design and Usability Analysis of Gesture-based Control for Common Desktop Tasks", 15th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII-13), Las Vegas, USA, July 21-26, 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Peacocke, Margaree, Robert Teather and Jacques Carette"Diagetic vs. Non-Diagetic Game Displays," (extended abstract) 6th IEEE Games, Entertainment and Media Conference, Toronto, Ont. Canada, Oct. 22-24, 2014, Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMcMaster
G Browning, RJ Teather, and J Carette"Differences in Perspective and Software Scaling," (extended abstract) in Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction, p. 128-128. 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMcMaster
G Smith, RJ Teather, J Lass, and J Carette"Effects of Bezel Size in Large Tiled Display Gaming," (extended abstract) in Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Symposium on Spatial User  Interaction, p. 129-129. 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMcMaster
G Smith, RJ Teather, J Lass, and J Carette"Effects of Interior Bezel Size and Configuration on Gaming Performance with Large Tiled Displays" in Proceedings of the IEEE Games, Entertainment and Media Conference (GEM 2015), Toronto, Ont, Canada. p.130-137, Oct. 14-16, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Xiaofeng Yong and Ali Arya"Empirical Study and Design of Multimodal Ambient Assisted Comfort Services for Senior Citizens," Multimedia and Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI), Prague, Czech Republic, 2014. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Peacocke, Margaree, Robert Teather, Jacques Carette and Scott MacKenzie."Evaluating the Effectiveness of HUDs and Diegetic Ammo Displays in First-person Shooter Games" in Proceedings of the IEEE Games, Entertainment and Media Conference (GEM 2015), Toronto, Ont, Canada. p. 138-145, Oct. 14-16, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton, McMaster
Whitson, Jennifer R. "Foucault's Fitbit: Governance and Gamification." In S. Walz and S. Deterding (Eds.), The Gameful World. Boston MA: MIT Press. p. 339-358, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Games that Change BehaviourBook ChapterUWaterloo
Voorhees, G., J. Call and K. Whitlock"From Dungeons to Digital Denizens." In Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games, edited by G. Voorhees, J. Call and K. Whitlock, 11-24. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Newball, Andrés Adolfo Navarro, Isidro Moreno, Edmond Prakash, Ali Arya, Victoria E. Contreras, Víctor Hernan Arcila"Gesture based human motion and game principles to aid understanding of science and cultural practices" Multimedia Tools and Applications, January 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Etemad, S. A., Arya, A."Motion Style Translation with Radial Basis Function Networks", Proc. Int. Conf. on Multimedia and Human Computer Interaction (MHCI'13), Toronto, Canada, No. 36, 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Voorhees, G. "Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Mass Effect: The Government of Difference in Digital Role-Playing Games." In Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games, edited by Gerald Voorhees, Josh Call and Katie Whitlock, 259-277. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Etemad, Seyed Ali, Ali Arya, Avi Parush, Steve DiPaola"Perceptual Validity in Animation of Human Motion: An Inclusive Paradigm", Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 2014. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Etemad, S. A., Arya, A."Perceptually Valid Motion for Avatars", Proc. Int. Conf. on Multimedia and Human Computer Interaction (MHCI'13), Toronto, Canada, No. 72, 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Amirsam Khataei and Ali Arya"Personalized Presentation Builder for Persuasive Communication," presented in Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (SCCI), February 22-23, 2015. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Fedorova, Ksenia"Plasticity and Feedback: Schemas of Indetermination in Cybernetic Diagrams and Contemporary Art", at Society for Literature, Science and Art annual conference, Dallas (October, 8-12, 2014)Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Fedorova, Ksenia"Proprioception and Feedback in Augmented Reality Interfaces", at SCMS, Montreal. March 25-29, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Teather, Robert, Manivanna Thevathasan, and Jacques Carette "Scale Effects in "Bullet Hell'' Games." (extended abstract). 6th IEEE Games, Entertainment and Media Conference, Toronto, Ont. Canada, Oct. 22-24, 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMcMaster
Teather, Robert, Jacques Carette and Manivanna Thevathasan"Uniform vs Non-Uniform Scaling of Shooter Games on Large Displays" in Proceedings of the IEEE Games, Entertainment and Media Conference (GEM 2015), Toronto, Ont, Canada.  p. 257-264, Oct. 14-16, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton, McMaster
Farzin Farhadi-Niaki, Ali Arya, Jesse Gerroir, Seyed Ali Etemad, Robert Laganiere, P. Payeur, Robert Biddle"Usability Study of Static/Dynamic Gestures and Haptic Input as Interface to 3D Games", 6th International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions (ACHI-13), Nice, France, Februray 24 to March 1, 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Weis, Martin“‘Welcome to die’: Video Games and the Resurrectional Impulse.” Digital Terrains. Davis, California. October 30, 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Kaplan, C.“Airpower’s Visual Legacy: Operation Orchard and Aerial Reconnaissance Imagery as Ruses de Guerre,” Critical Military Studies 1:1 (2014): 1-18.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics and Serious Games and Game Based LearningJournal ArticleUC Davis
Scavarelli, Anthony and Ali Arya“An Exploration of Shape in Crowd Computer Interactions” HCII 2015, LA, Aug 2-7, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Langerak,R., M. Zaczynski, A. Whitehead “At the Intersection of Sports and MMORPGs: A New Model of Active Video Games”, in proceedings of the IEEE Games and Entertainment Media Conference, Toronto, Canada, October 2014Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Scavarelli, Anthony and Ali Arya“CINDR: A proposed framework for ethical systems in video games,” Games Media Entertainment (GEM), 2014 IEEE , vol., no., pp.1,5, Oct. 22-24, 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Xiao Du and Ali Arya“Design and Evaluation of a Learning Assistant System with Optical Head Mounted Display” HCII 2015, LA.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Walschots, Natalie“Dungeon Building: Minecraft and the Embodiment of Horror.” The Building Blocks of Life: A Minecraft Colloquium. Concordia University, February 13 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperConcordia
Camlot, Jason“Ethereal: Tangible and Tactile Voice Interface for the iPad.” Poster Presentation, with students Ian Arawjo, Joachim Despland, Mohannad Al Khatib. Graphics, Animation and New Media Conference, Montreal, 2–4 May, 2012.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsPoster PresentationConcordia
Etemad, Seyed Ali, Ali Arya“Extracting Movement, Posture, and Temporal Style Features from Human Motion”, Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, Vol. 7, pp. 15-25, 2013Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Phillips, Amanda“Feminism and Procedural Content Generation: Toward a Collaborative Politics of Computational Creativity.” Coauthored with Gillian Smith, Michael Cook, and Tanya Short. Digital Creativity 27.1 (2016) Special issue, “Post-Anthropocentric Creativity,” ed. Stanislav Roudavski and Jon McCormack. 82-97.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsJournal ArticleUC Davis
Neff, Michael“Modeling Expressive Movement to Create Memorable Characters”, University of Pennsylvania, Oct. 13, 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsInvited TalkUC Davis
Amirsam Khataei and Ali Arya, “Personalized Presentation Builder,” Poster Session, ACM CHI, 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Amirsam Khataei and Ali Arya“Persuasive Presentation Builder: The Individualization Factor,” HCII 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperCarleton
Waldron, Emma“Playing for Intimacy: Love, Lust, and Desire in the Pursuit of Embodied Design.” With Aaron Trammell. In Rated M for Mature: Sex and Sexuality in Video Games, edited by Matthew Wysocki and Evan W. Lauteria, 177-193. New York: Bloomsbury, Cultural and Social InteractionsInteractions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social Interactions; Narrative and Dialogue in GamesBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Alzahrani, Ahmed, A. Whitehead “Preprocessing Realistic Video for Contactless Heart Rate Monitoring Using Video Magnification”, in proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Computer and Robot Vision (CRV), May 2015, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Philips, Amanda“Projecting Histories: Gender, Race, and Memory Manipulation in Remember Me.” National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference. San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Philips, Amanda“Projecting Histories: Gender, Race, and Memory Manipulation in Remember Me.” National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference. San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Bloom, Gina“Prosthetic Avatars: Acting Via Kinect Camera,” American Society for Theatre Research conference, Baltimore, MD (2014). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Arsenault, D., A. Whitehead“Quaternion Based Gesture Recognition Using Worn Inertial Sensors in a Motion Tracking System”, in proceedings of the IEEE Games and Entertainment Media Conference, Toronto, Canada, October 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Philips, Amanda“Shooting To Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games.” War and Gaming Symposium, Library Association of UC Davis, April 2015. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Neff, Michael“State of the Art in Hand and Finger Modeling and Animation”, with Wheatland, Nkenge; Wang, Yingying; Song, Huaguang; Zordan, Victor; and Jörg, Sophie. Computer Graphics Forum , 2015. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Neff, Michael“Temporal Transfer of Locomotion Style”, with Yejin Kim and Myunggyu Kim. ETRI Journal , vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 406-416, Apr. 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Philips, Amanda“The Playful Dead: Mechropolitics and Ragdoll Physics.” National Conference of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. New Orleans, LA, April 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Philips, Amanda “The Playful Dead: Mechropolitics and Ragdoll Physics.” National Conference of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. New Orleans, LA, April 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Sinervo, Kalervo A“Time is Money: social games and the engagement wheel.” Canadian Game Studies Association 2015 Conference. June 3, 2015. Ottawa, Canada.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperConcordia
Bloom, Gina“Videogame Shakespeare: Enskilling Audiences Through Theater-Making Games.” Shakespeare Studies 43, special forum on “Skill,” ed. Evelyn Tribble (2015): 114-27.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUC Davis
Kaplan, Caren “Wartime and Cartographic Space: The View From Above” at “War and Gaming,” UCD Library Association symposium, April 16, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsInvited TalkUC Davis
Arsenault, D., A. Whitehead“Wearable Sensor Networks for Motion Capture”, in proceedings of the IEEE 7th International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment, Turin, Italy, June 2015. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Nogueira, P. A., Rodrigues, R. A., Oliveira, E., & Nacke, L. E.A Hybrid Approach at Emotional State Detection: Merging Theoretical Models of Emotion with Data-Driven Statistical Classifiers. In Proceedings of WI-IAT 2013 (Vol. 2, pp. 253–260). Atlanta, GA, United States: IEEE. doi:10.1109/WI-IAT.2013.117. 2013. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Pajwani, D., B. J. Drenikow, E. Cioca, C. M. Chodan, T. Fong, S. Li, B. Kapralos, and S. DunnA mobile app for emergency contraception awareness and education. 9th IEEE International Conference on Interactive Mobile and Communication Technologies and Learning 2015, Thessaloniki, Greece, November 19-20, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Nogueira, P. A., Rodrigues, R. A., Oliveira, E., & Nacke, L. E. A Regression-Based Method for Lightweight Emotional State Detection in Interactive Environments. In Proceedings of EPIA 2013. Angra do Heroísmo, Açores, Portugal: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Retrieved from http://paginas.fe.up.pt/~niadr/PUBLICATIONS/2013/2013_EPIA.pdf. 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Hess, R.F., Thompson, B. Amblyopia and the binocular approach to its therapy. Vision Research, 114, 4-16. (2015). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Tawadrous, M., A. Hogue, B. Kapralos, and K. CollinsAn interactive in-game approach to user adjustment of stereoscopic 3D settings. In Proceedings of Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXIV, February 3-7, 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA, pp. 1-6. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Wehbe, R. R., & Nacke, L. E.An Introduction to EEG Analysis Techniques and Brain-Computer Interfaces for Games User Researchers. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2013 (pp. 1–16). Atlanta, GA, United States: DiGRA. Retrieved from http://faculty.uoit.ca/nacke/publications/wehbe-nacke-EEG-GUR-DiGRA.pdf. 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Nacke, L. E. An Introduction to Physiological Player Metrics for Evaluating Games. In M. Seif El-Nasr, A. Drachen, & A. Canossa (Eds.), Game Analytics - Maximizing the Value of Player Data (pp. 585–619). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag London. doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-4769-5_26 (Citations: 4) (2013). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsBook ChapterUwaterloo
Ellick, W., Mirza-Babaei, P., Wood, S., Smith, D., & Nacke, L. E. Assessing User Preference of Video Game Controller Button Settings. In Proceedings of CHI EA 2013 (pp. 1107–1112). Paris, France: ACM. doi:10.1145/2468356.2468554. 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Carette, J.Beyond Graphics: more mathematics of building video games. Computational Mathematics Seminar, Oct. 29, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsSeminarMcMaster
Hess, R.F., Thompson, B., Baker, D.H. Binocular vision in amblyopia: structure, suppression and plasticity. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 34 (2), 146-162. (2014). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Nacke, L. Biofeedback Gaming: The Future of Game Interaction. UOIT Virtual Speaker Series, profiled online at: http://tlc.apa.uoit.ca/virtualspeaker/?portfolio=dr-lennart-nackeInteractions and Gameplay MechanicsVirtual Speaker SeriesUWaterloo
Nacke, L. Biofeedback Gaming: The Future of Game Interaction? Talk at Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS 2012), Montreal, QC, Canada. (2012, November). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsKeynote AddressUWaterloo
Mirza-Babaei, P., Nacke, L. E., Fitzpatrick, G., White, G., McAllister, G., & Collins, N. Biometric Storyboards: Visualising Game User Research Data. In Proceedings of CHI EA 2012 (pp. 2315–2320). Austin, TX, United States: ACM. doi:10.1145/2212776.2223795.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Kamaleswaran, R., Wehbe, R.R., Edward Pugh, J., Nacke, L., McGregor, C., James, A. Collaborative multi-touch clinical handover system for the neonatal intensive care unit. Electronic Journal of Health Informatics, 9 (1), art. no. e5. (2015). Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics and Serious Games and Game Based LearningJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Engl, S., & Nacke, L. E. Contextual Influences on Mobile Player Experience–A Game User Experience Model. Entertainment Computing, 4(1), 83–91. doi:10.1016/j.entcom.2012.06.001. (2013). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Nacke, L. Designing Games for the Next Generation of Human Computer Interfaces. Guest lecture at Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada. (2013, March 22). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsGuest LectureUWaterloo
Voorhees, G. with J. Call and K. Whitlock, Eds. Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsBookMultiple Institutions
Wehbe, R. R., Kappen, D. L., Rojas, D., Klauser, M., Kapralos, B., & Nacke, L. E. EEG-Based Assessment of Video and In-Game Learning. In Proceedings of CHI EA 2013 (pp. 667–672). Paris, France: ACM. doi:10.1145/2468356.2468474. 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Valtchanov, D., Hancock, M.EnviroPulse: Providing feedback about the Expected Affective Valence of the Environment. Computer-Human Interaction. 33, 2073-2082. 2015Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsJournal ArticleUWaterloo
Kappen, D. L., Gregory, J., Stepchenko, D., Wehbe, R. R., & Nacke, L.E. Exploring Social Interaction in Co-Located Multiplayer Games. In Proceedings of CHI EA 2013 (pp. 1119–1124). Paris, France: ACM. doi:10.1145/2468356.2468556. 2013. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Marczak, R., van Vught, J., Schott, G., & Nacke, L. E.Feedback-Based Gameplay Metrics: Measuring Player Experience via Automatic Visual Analysis. In Proceedings of ACM IE 2012 (p. 6). Auckland, New Zealand: ACM. doi:10.1145/2336727.2336733. 2012.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Nacke, L. From Body Signals to Brainy Player Insights, 17 July 2015, GamesUR Conference Keynote. London, UK. (2015) Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsKeynote AddressUWaterloo
Nacke, L. From Body Signals to Brainy Player Insights, 27 July 2015, Center*Stage Talk at Center for Human-Computer Interaction, Department of Computer Science, University of Salzburg, Austria https://hci.sbg.ac.at/centerstage-talks-by-lennart-nacke/. (2015) Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsPresentationUWaterloo
Gerling, K. M., Livingston, I. J., Nacke, L. E., & Mandryk, R. L.Full-Body Motion-Based Game Interaction for Older Adults. In Proceedings of SIGCHI 2012 (pp. 1873–1882). Austin, TX, United States: ACM. doi:10.1145/2207676.2208324. 2012.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Nacke, L. E. Games User Research and Physiological Game Evaluation. In R. Bernhaupt (Ed.), Game User Experience Evaluation (pp. 63–86). Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-15985-0_4. (2015). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsBook ChapterUWaterloo
Nogueira, P. A., Rodrigues, R. A., Oliveira, E. C., & Nacke, L. E.Guided Emotional State Regulation: Understanding and Shaping Players’ Affective Experiences in Digital Games. In Proceedings of AIIDE 2013 (pp. 51–57). Palo Alto, CA, United States: AAAI. Retrieved from http://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/AIIDE/AIIDE13/paper/viewFile/7367/7588. 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Mirza-Babaei, P., Nacke, L. E., Gregory, J., Collins, N., & Fitzpatrick, G.How Does It Play Better? Exploring User Testing and Biometric Storyboards in Games User Research. In Proceedings of CHI 2013 (pp. 1499–1508). Paris, France: ACM. doi:10.1145/2470654.2466200. 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Stanfield, B., C. Zerebecki, M. Tawadrous, A. Hogue, B. Kapralos, and K. CollinsImpact of floating windows on the accuracy of depth perception in games. In Proceedings of Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXIV, February 3-7, 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA, pp. 1-8.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Mirza-Babaei, P., & Nacke, L. E. Introducing the Biometric Storyboards Tool for Games User Research. In Proceedings of IEEE GEM 2014. Toronto, ON, Canada: IEEE. 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
MacLaren, V., Harrigan, K., & Dixon, M. Meet the new game: An introduction to Taptix instant ticket vending machines. Journal of Gambling Issues. Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Multimodality in the GameJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Nacke, L. On the Usability of Psychophysiological User Research for the Games Industry. Talk at the Games User Research Summit, San Francisco, CA, United States. (2012, March 6). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsSeminarUWaterloo
Nacke, L. Physiological Game Interaction and Game User Research. Seminar, Queen’s University School of Computing, Kingston, ON, Canada. (2012, March 29). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsSeminarUWaterloo
Zerebecki, C., B. Stanfield, A. Hogue, B. Kapralos, and K. CollinsS3D depth-axis interaction for video games: performance and engagement. In Proceedings of Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXIV, February 3-7, 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA, pp. 1-8.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Cowan, B., S. Khattak, A. Hogue, and B. KapralosScreen space point sampled shadows. Graphics Interface 2012 Poster Presentation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 28-30, 2012. Best Poster Award.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Cowan, B., S. Khattak, A. Hogue, and B. KapralosScreen space point sampled shadows. In Proceedings of the IEEE Games Entertainment and Media (GEM) 2015 Conference, Toronto, Canada, October 14-16, 2015.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Voorhees, G., J. Call and K. WhitlockSeries Introduction – Genre and Disciplinarity in the Study of Games. In Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games, edited by G. Voorhees, J. Call and K. Whitlock, 1-10. NYC: Continuum International Publishing. 2012.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsBook ChapterMultiple Institutions
Lam, J., B. Kapralos, K. Kanev, K. Collins, A. Hogue, and M. JenkinSound localization on a horizontal surface: Virtual and real sound localization. Virtual Reality , Special Issue on Spatial Sound in Virtual and Augmented Reality . (2015 IF: 0.667)Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Lam, J., B. Kapralos, K. Collins, A. Hogue, K. Kanev, and M. JenkinSound localization on table-top computers: A comparison of two amplitude panning methods. ACM Computers in Entertainment 12(2):Article 12, 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Watson, Nic Source vs. Science! How players decode Minecraft. Paper presented at The Building Blocks of Life: A Minecraft Colloquium, Concordia University, Montréal, QC. (2015, February 13). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperConcordia
Northam, Leslie, P. Asente, and C. S. Kaplan. Stereoscopic 3D Image Stylization. Computers and Graphics, Vol. 37, Iss. 5, pp. 389-402, 2013.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Randall, N. The Boardgame Online: Simulating the Experience of Physical Games, in Crawford, G., Gosling, V.K. & Light, B., (eds). Online Gaming: Production, Play & Sociality, Routledge, New York/London, 2012.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUWaterloo
Hess, R.F., Babu, R.J., Clavagnier, S., Black, J.M., Bobier, W., Thompson, B. The iPod binocular home-based treatment for adults: efficiency and compliance. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 97(5):389-98. (2014). Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsJournal ArticleMultiple Institutions
Collins, K., B. Kapralos, and H. Tessler (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Interactive Audio. Oxford University Press Inc., New York, NY, USA, 2014, 624 pages.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsEdited BookMultiple Institutions
Wehbe, Rina R. and Lennart E. Nacke. 2015Towards Understanding the Importance of Co-Located Gameplay. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play(CHI PLAY '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 733-738. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2793107.2810312Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Mirza-Babaei, P., Gale, N., Costa, J. P., Nacke, L. E., & Johnson, D. Understanding Expectations with Multiple Controllers in an Augmented Reality Videogame. In Proceedings of CHI PLAY 2014 (pp.201–206). Toronto, ON, Canada: ACM. doi:10.1145/2658537.2658705. 2014. Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Tondello, Gustavo F., Rina R. Wehbe, Zachary O. Toups, Lennart E.Nacke, and Nicole K. CrenshawUnderstanding Player Attitudes Towards Digital Game Objects. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 709-714. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2793107.2810292. 2015.Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics; Cultural and Social InteractionsConf. PaperMultiple Institutions
Mirza-Babaei, P., Wallner, G., McAllister, G., & Nacke, L. E. Unified Visualization of Quantitative and Qualitative Playtesting Data. In Proceedings of CHI EA 2014 (pp. 1363–1368). Toronto, ON, Canada: ACM. doi:10.1145/2559206.2581224. 2014.Interactions and Gameplay MechanicsConf. PaperUOIT
Edited by Anders Drachen, Mirza-Babaei, Pejman, and Lennart Nacke.Games User Research. Edited by Anders Drachen, Oxford University Press, 2018. Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics,BookMultiple Institutions

Abstracts

A Customizable Time Warping Method for Motion Alignment

This paper presents Correlation-optimized Time Warping (CoTW) for aligning motion sequences. The proposed method maximizes an objective function based on the correlation of the two sequences. There are several parameters involved in the process, which can be computationally optimized or manually customized. Customization can take place based on the number and/or nature of actions in the sequences. CoTW shows robust performance for aligning simple gait sequences as well as sequences containing several different actions.

Read it in full here.

A New Model of Active Video Games

Read the technical program for the conference here.

Augmented Reality Art and Proprioception: Towards a Theoretical Framework

Augmented reality (AR) technologies illustrate the paradoxes and promises of the mechanisms of identification, simulation, and imagining that increasingly impact lives and experiences of a contemporary human. Augmentation implies a layer of information (visual, textual, auditory) that can be called to appear or disappear on the user’s screen and correlate to the objects or situation in actual environment. In what follows, I focus on the theoretical framework that informs the aesthetics, working principles and critical potential of AR-based artistic projects. I will discuss the specific mechanisms AR projects use to explore the effects of appearing and disappearing, relations of interiority and exteriority, the visible and the tactile, particularly in their relation to the feeling of proprioception.

Read it in full here.

Correlation-optimized time warping for motion

Retrieval and comparative editing/modeling of motion data require temporal alignment. In other words, for such processes to perform accurately, critical features of motion sequences need to occur simultaneously. In this paper, we propose correlation-optimized time warping (CoTW) for aligning motion data. CoTW utilizes a correlation-based objective function for characterizing alignment. The method solves an optimization problem to determine the optimum warping degree for different segments of the sequence. Using segment-wise interpolated warping, smooth motion trajectories are achieved that can be readily used for animation. Our method allows for manual tuning of the parameters, resulting in high customizability with respect to the number of actions in a single sequence as well as spatial regions of interest within the character model. Moreover, measures are taken to reduce distortion caused by over-warping. The framework also allows for automatic selection of an optimum reference when multiple sequences are available. Experimental results demonstrate the very accurate performance of CoTW compared to other techniques such as dynamic time warping, derivative dynamic time warping and canonical time warping. The mentioned customization capabilities are also illustrated.

Read it in full here.

Design and Usability Analysis of Gesture-Based Control for Common Desktop Tasks

We have designed and implemented a vision-based system capable of interacting with user’s natural arm and finger gestures. Using depth-based vision has reduced the effect of ambient disturbances such as noise and lighting condition. Various arm and finger gestures are designed and a system capable of detection and classification of gestures is developed and implemented. Finally the gesture recognition routine is linked to a simplified desktop for usability and human factor studies. Several factors such as precision, efficiency, ease-of-use, pleasure, fatigue, naturalness, and overall satisfaction are investigated in detail. Through different simple and complex tasks, it is concluded that finger-based inputs are superior to arm-based ones in the long run. Furthermore, it is shown that arm gestures cause more fatigue and appear less natural than finger gestures. However, factors such as time, overall satisfaction, and easiness were not affected by selecting one over the other.

Read it in full here.

Diagetic vs. Non-Diagetic Game Displays

The method used to display game information, either overlay or in-game, in first-person shooters, likely has a measurable impact on player performance. Quantitative research is needed in this area, as game designers are pushing for heads-up displays to be as minimal as possible. This is especially important for the smaller screens (such as tablets and even cellular devices), which are now being targeted by this genre. Quantifying the effect of information displays across different screen sizes (small as well as traditional monitors and TVs) will allow for interfaces which improve the user’s performance and gameplay experience.

Read it in full here.

Differences in Perspective and Software Scaling

This study compares differences in visual scale due to perspective (distance) and software scaling. The software scaling method corrected for quantization of the input device and resolution to ensure equivalency in the scaling methods. Results indicate that while perspective yields consistent performance across different scale factors, software scaling did not.

Read it in full here.

Effects of Bezel Size in Large Tiled Display Gaming

Many spatial UI systems (e.g., VR) rely on large displays. One method of building large high-resolution displays is to use multiple HD monitors as tiles in a single large display. The downside is the presence of monitor borders — bezels — between each tile in such a display. We present a study looking at the impact of bezel width on game playing on a large tiled display.

Request the full text here.

Effects of Interior Bezel Size and Configuration on Gaming Performance with Large Tiled Displays

Two experiments are presented on large tiled displays used for fast-action gaming. Using a simulated tiled display, the effects of interior bezel size, and configuration in a top-down arcade style space shooter game with many moving objects is assessed. The experiments also investigate the effect of bezel compensation. The first experiment examines bezel size independent of configuration, using simulated bezel sizes ranging from 0 (i.e., no bezels) to 4 cm in a 3×3 grid configuration. Results of the experiment indicate minimal effects for bezel size and compensation. The second experiment fixed bezel size at 4 cm and instead varies configuration from a single display up to a 3×3 grid of simulated displays. Results of this study indicate that while the 1×2 performed worse in certain metrics, globally, the effects of configuration were similarly small.
Read it in full here.

“Empirical Study and Design of Multimodal Ambient Assisted Comfort Services for Senior Citizens”

The growing size of the aging population is becoming a significant issue for many countries, and the United Nation has proposed “aging-in-place” as a solution, which can be implemented with the help from ambient, assisted living system. Many previous works have focused on the emergency and autonomy services, and lack studies on comfort service. The purpose of this study is to conduct an empirical study of using multimodal interfaces in ambient assisted comfort services for senior citizens targeting participants at their home, with a prototype system that supports both traditional and multimodal interaction methods. Scenarios have been defined that include common tasks such as item finding, communication, media access, and setting calendar events. 15 senior citizens have answered questionnaires and scale rating questions from each performed scenario. The comparison between traditional and multimodal interface were done through a set of evaluation criteria including efficiency (time), pleasantness, fatigue, naturalness, ease of learning, and perceived efficiency. The results showed that all the participants have enjoyed the multimodal interface, and showed better efficiency than traditional interaction method.

Read it in full here.

“Evaluating the Effectiveness of HUDs and Diegetic Ammo Displays in First-person Shooter Games”

We present an experiment comparing five ammunition display methods in first-person shooter (FPS) games. These included both diegetic (in-game) and heads-up display (HUD) options. HUD displays included a bar, icons, and a counter. Diegetic displays were displayed in-game beside the player’s weapon. Two diegetic displays were evaluated: a number and bullets. We compared the performance offered by each ammunition display and player preference towards each. Results indicate that the diegetic “number-in-game” display performed best both in terms of reload time and shots taken between running out of ammunition and reloading. Participants fired an average of 35% fewer shots after running out of ammo with the number-in-game display than with the worst performing display, icons-on-HUD. Reload time was also 26% faster with the number-in-game display than with icons-on-HUD. The number-in-game display was preferred by 70% of participants.

Read it in full here.

Foucault’s Fitbit: Governance and Gamification

In this chapter, Whitson draws from Michel Foucault to frame self-tracking and gamification in terms of the governance of modern liberal nation-states where subjects willingly govern, regulate, and optimize themselves. She introduces the quantification of the self, showing how it is used in gamification movements and how it is leveraged to promote a care of the self, as well as further enrolling individuals in normalization projects. Whitson argues that current gamification projects are not influenced by playful design (and much less a focus on fostering creativity and exploration), but take something entirely different from games: the feedback mechanisms such as leaderboards, damage meters, and point systems that allow users to manage risk as well as pinpoint “approved” routes toward mastery and self-improvement. She concludes with some cautionary thoughts about the difficulty uniting play with non-game governance projects, given that play inherently encourages players to push against, reshape, and find movement between rules, sometimes breaking these rules altogether.

Read the book chapter here.

From Dungeons to Digital Denizens

Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens is a collection of scholarly essays that seeks to represent the far-reaching scope and implications of digital role-playing games as both cultural and academic artifacts. As a genre, digital role playing games have undergone constant and radical revision, pushing not only multiple boundaries of game development, but also the playing strategies and experiences of players.

Divided into three distinct sections, this premiere volume captures the distinctiveness of different game types, the forms of play they engender and their social and cultural implications. Contributors examine a range of games, from classics like Final Fantasy to blockbusters like World of Warcraft to obscure genre bending titles like Lux Pain. Working from a broad range of disciplines such as ecocritism, rhetoric, performance, gender, and communication, these essays yield insights that enrich the field of game studies and further illuminate the cultural, psychological and philosophical implications of a society that increasingly produces, plays and discourses about role playing games.

Order this book here.

“Gesture based human motion and game principles to aid understanding of science and cultural practices”

We present a novel approach for recreating life-like experiences through an easy and natural gesture-based interaction. By focusing on the locations and transforming the role of the user, we are able to significantly maximise the understanding of an ancient cultural practice, behaviour or event over traditional approaches. Technology-based virtual environments that display object reconstructions, old landscapes, cultural artefacts, and scientific phenomena are coming into vogue. In traditional approaches the user is a visitor navigating through these virtual environments observing and picking objects. However, cultural practices and certain behaviours from nature are not normally made explicit and their dynamics still need to be understood. Thus, our research idea is to bring such practices to life by allowing the user to enact them. This means that user may re-live a step-by-step process to understand a practice, behaviour or event. Our solution is to enable the user to enact using gesture-based interaction with sensor-based technologies such as the versatile Kinect. This allows easier and natural ways to interact in multidimensional spaces such as museum exhibits. We use heuristic approaches and semantic models to interpret human gestures that are captured from the user’s skeletal representation. We present and evaluate three applications. For each of the three applications, we integrate these interaction metaphors with gaming elements, thereby achieving a gesture-set to enact a cultural practice, behaviour or event. User evaluation experiments revealed that our approach achieved easy and natural interaction with an overall enhanced learning experience.

Read it in full here.

Motion Style Translation with Radial Basis Function Networks

More information about the conference where this conference paper was presented can be found here.

Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Mass Effect: The Government of Difference in Digital Role-Playing Games

 

Request the full text here.

Perceptual Validity in Animation of Human Motion: An Inclusive Paradigm”, Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds

The crucial concept of modeling and synthesis/control of human motion (including face and body) for animation has been widely studied and explored in the literature. In this regard, the audience’s perception of generated or recorded animation scenes is of critical importance. In this paper, we explore and conceptualize the general notions that need to be taken into account for human motion to maintain perceptual accuracy. We propose a paradigm called Perceptual Validity composed of four major components, which are discussed in detail. The model is concerned with different aspects of the scene such as correct illustration of the stimuli, context, and local/global relations of various visual cues present in human motion. Satisfying all the proposed principles, based on the literature, seems compulsory and vital for synthesis of perceptually valid animation scenes of human motion. We investigate the relative significance of the different components of the paradigm using feedback from expert animators and conduct a case study on one of the components of the paradigm. For further evaluation and exploration, Disney’s principles of animation are discussed and compared against our proposed paradigm. We argue that while there are significant parallels and overlaps, our model is only focused on and more inclusive towards human motion and can therefore provide a valuable set of guidelines for animators in the field of character animation.

Read it in full here.

Perceptually Valid Motion for Avatars

More information about the conference where this conference paper was presented can be found here.

“Personalized Presentation Builder for Persuasive Communication

Presentations are effective ways of communicating information, especially in the field of education, but they might not be equally or fully beneficial and persuasive to all users. Each member of the audience might be interested in a particular topic, come from a different background and profession, and have his or her own personality traits.

In this conceptual paper, we first describe our persuasive personalization model; the Individualization Pyramid based on Yale Attitude Change Approach. The model consists of the following main sections: selecting contents by applying segmentation, adjusting comprehensibility of the text, tailoring the language of the text to fit with user’s personality and recommending content that is associated with user’s personal history within the related subjects. We then propose an enhanced version of our previously published presentation builder, which uses users’ digital traces such as those on social media to personalize presentation content. Finally, we highlight the available tools and algorithms to assist us with developing the system.

Read it in full here.

Plasticity and Feedback: Schemas of Indetermination in Cybernetic Diagrams and Contemporary Art

The paper addresses the problem of representation of the processes of change in dynamic systems, specifically focusing on the mechanisms of feedback and plasticity. How
adequately can diagrams and schemas explain temporal relations and predict behavior in exceedingly complex systems? How can we know and render visible what happens in between the discrete moments in which decisions are made? How does the material medium of signal transference affect the resulting mechanisms and schemas that represent them? The aspect of representation forms here a special tension with what Andrew Pickering (in reference to cybernetics) names performative epistemologies and ontology of unknowability. In this paper I explore the ways of describing the mechanisms of signal transference and feedback loops in three different types of systems – neuronal network, electro-chemical assemblage, and live organism, each of which represents different scale and principles of biophysical organization. In particular, I consider Warren McCulloch’s diagrams of neural circuits, Gordon Pask’s and Stafford Beer’s experiment with chemical computers developing new senses, and a work by a Russian art collective “Where the Dogs Run”, in which the activity of a live mouse
in a labyrinth is determined by the movements of its virtual Doppelgangers

Read it in full here.

Proprioception and Feedback in Augmented Reality Interfaces

Augmented reality (AR) technologies illustrate the paradoxes and promises of the mechanisms of identification, simulation, and imagining that increasingly impact lives and experiences of a
contemporary human. Augmentation implies a layer of information (visual, textual, auditory) that can be called to appear or disappear on the user’s screen and correlate to the objects or situation in actual environment. In what follows, I focus on the theoretical framework that informs the aesthetics, working principles and critical potential of AR-based artistic projects. I will discuss the specific mechanisms AR projects use to explore the effects of appearing and disappearing, relations of interiority and exteriority, the visible and the tactile, particularly in their relation to the feeling of proprioception.

Read it in full here.

Scale Effects in “Bullet Hell” Games

We experimentally evaluate display size in arcade style “bullet hell” shooter games. Two scaling methods were compared: uniform, and non-uniform. Results indicate a strongly linear increase of performance with display diagonal size. This was more pronounced with non-uniform scaling.

Read it in full here.

Uniform vs Non-Uniform Scaling of Shooter Games on Large Displays

We present a study comparing player performance in a shooter game using two different types of scaling across four display sizes. The first scaling type used uniform scaling where increasing the display size also increased the size of all in-game elements by the same factor. The second employed non-uniform scaling where all in-game elements remained fixed in size, but the game environment increased (or decreased) in size. As expected, gameplay becomes much easier at larger scales with non-uniform scaling. Our results quantify this expectation: different difficulty attributes are very well modeled using either linear or power models. We discuss the implications this has on maintaining constant game difficulty and user experience.

Read it in full here.

Usability Study of Static/Dynamic Gestures and Haptic Input as Interface to 3D Games

In this paper, the quality of the interaction of users with a 3D game using different modalities is studied. Three different interaction methods with a 3D virtual environment are considered: a haptic 3D mouse, natural static gestures (postures), and natural dynamic (kinetics) gestures. Through a comprehensive user experiment the pre-defined natural gestures were compared to each other and also to a haptic interface which is designed for the same game. The experiments analyze precision (error), efficiency (time), ease-of-use, pleasantness, fatigue, naturalness, mobility, and overall satisfaction as evaluation criteria. User-selected ranks of importance  were also used as weight values for evaluation criteria to measure the overall satisfaction. Finally, the user experiment presents a learning curve for each of the three input methods which along with the other findings can be a good source for further research in the field of natural multimodal Human-Computer Interaction.
Request the full text here.
Airpower’s Visual Legacy: Operation Orchard and Aerial Reconnaissance Imagery as Ruses de Guerre

The images contained in the Operation Orchard public archive represent a convergence of technologies, politics, and warcraft that can only emerge across a century of air power. Their interpretation refers to older modes of camouflage and deceptive practices from the espionage and tactical manuals of an earlier era in modernity even as the virtual and digital practices of the twenty-first century appear to destabilize the powers of legitimation that have come to surround the iconic reconnaissance photograph. Sincerely or disingenuously, media and analysts alike accept the circulation of reconnaissance imagery as objective news imbued with the legitimating aura of documentary material. If we accept the image as full of information that can be deciphered definitively, a kind of ground truth, we close off the possibility of learning from other sources or even from the complex state of uncertainty itself. In this context, we might have to concede that deception is not so much the obliteration of facts, as Virilio maintained just after the first Persian Gulf War, but the profuse and uneven dissemination of fact as visual data.

 Read it in full here.

An Exploration of Shape in Crowd Computer Interactions

In this paper we explore crowd-computer interactions using a crowd shape generated from participating crowd members, both simulated and non-simulated, in three main shape forms (blobby, precise, and a combination of the two) to explore whether such an interactive form, and which of the three forms, can be both a viable and interesting method of having many people collaboratively interacting with large public displays in public spaces.

Read it in full here.

At the Intersection of Sports and MMORPGs: A New Model of Active Video Games

The challenge of designing an active video game that is an effective means by which to promote physical activity while at the same time is an engaging video game has been met with varied success. The key to overcoming this challenge is to approach design from the perspective that active video games are a unique combination of traditional video games and sports. By combining models of engagement – or flow – in both video games and sports a novel model of active video games is proposed. The proposed model highlights the element of institutionalization as absent from existing models of active games while it is ubiquitous in sports. From the proposed model stems the hypothesis that a successful active video game will support styles of play that vary along dimensions of physicality, competition, and institutionalization.

Read it in full here.

CINDR: A proposed framework for ethical systems in video games

In this paper, we will propose CINDR, a video game ethics framework, and use it as a semantic context for examining and classifying several example video games that represent various video game genres. Consequently, we will discuss ways in which the gaming industry could, in the future, create games while seriously considering the ethical issues virtual worlds can cause for players and their communities.

Read it in full here.

Design and Evaluation of a Learning Assistant System with Optical Head Mounted Display

The rapid increase in the use of wearable technologies, especially Optical Head-Mounted Display (OHMD) devices, suggests potentials for education and requires more scientific studies investigating such potentials. In particular, the issue of information access and delivery in classrooms can be of interest where multiple screens and objects of attention exist and can cause distraction, lack of focus and reduced efficiency. This study explores the usability of a single OHMD device, as an alternative to individual and big projected screens in a classroom situation.

Read it in full here.

 

Extracting Movement, Posture, and Temporal Style Features from Human Motion

Small variations in biological motion responsible for perception of characteristics, styles, or affects of the person performing the actions, are referred to as secondary features. This paper presents a novel method for separating and extracting spatiotemporal sets of secondary features from human motion data. The technique employs a dataset of sequences and identifies a corresponding neutral sequence through maximizing a similarity index based on correlation. Specific control points or temporal cues are then distributed through the input sequence. Distribution is carried out with the goal of maximizing an objective function successive to time warping. The optimized set of cues are used to reconstruct the neutral component of the signal using cubic splines. Accordingly, both spatial (movement and posture) and temporal secondary features are extracted from the stylistic input sequence. To illustrate one of the possible applications of the proposed technique, style translation is carried out. We illustrate that our proposed system can be used to extract various classes of secondary features from different actions such as walking, jumping, and running.

Read it in full here.

Feminism and Procedural Content Generation: Toward a Collaborative Politics of Computational Creativity.

Games now inhabit a space where creativity is no longer centered around human authorship. The use of procedural content generation has been embraced by industry, academics and fans as a means for reducing labor cost, providing additional replayable content for players, investigating computational creativity in a complex and multifaceted domain and enabling new kinds of playable experiences. This incorporation of computational creative labor confuses authorship, labor politics and responsibility for rhetoric embedded in the procedures by complicating the way in which the computer is portrayed to users, researchers and other developers. We can apply feminist methodologies attentive to questions of difference and power in systemic structures in order to better understand each of these questions in turn. This article presents an analysis of the post-anthropocentric phenomenon of computer creativity within games, via a feminist analysis of procedural content generating algorithms, its role in game design and its public portrayal.

Read it in full here.

Personalized Presentation Builder

Presentations are effective ways of communicating information, especially in the field of education, but they might not be equally or fully beneficial and persuasive to all users. Each member of the audience might be interested in a particular topic, come from a different background and profession, and have his or her own personality traits.

In this conceptual paper, we first describe our persuasive personalization model; the Individualization Pyramid based on Yale Attitude Change Approach. The model consists of the following main sections: selecting contents by applying segmentation, adjusting comprehensibility of the text, tailoring the language of the text to fit with user’s personality and recommending content that is associated with user’s personal history within the related subjects. We then propose an enhanced version of our previously published presentation builder, which uses users’ digital traces such as those on social media to personalize presentation content. Finally, we highlight the available tools and algorithms to assist us with developing the system.

Read it in full here.

Playing for Intimacy: Love, Lust, and Desire in the Pursuit of Embodied Design

Read it in full here.

Preprocessing Realistic Video for Contactless Heart Rate Monitoring Using Video Magnification

This research seeks to improve the outcomes of Eulerian Video Magnification in real life scenarios. We address the core requirement in Eulerian Magnification that the person in the video be completely still. The proposed system pre-processes the video in multiple stages using subject targeting and stabilization. The resulting video is better suited to Eulerian Magnification restrictions. Our method enables the use of magnification in a variety of applications where motion is present such as monitoring the heart rate of a person using a treadmill. Stabilization, which is the core element of our research, was achieved through two methods. First, we used face tracking to generate a stabilized video with limited motion. Second, feature detection, extraction, and matching with skin selection were used to produce a stabilized video that is ready to be processed for measuring heart rate. However, skin tone and illumination in the environment adversely affected the results. Since heart rate is monitored by counting the subtle changes in skin redness related to blood flow, managing the skin’s redness helps to produce more accurate results.

Read it in full here.

Projecting Histories: Gender, Race, and Memory Manipulation in Remember Me

Social justice scholarship has long theorized how memory influences power structures, just as science fiction has long explored the fantasy of control through memory manipulation. In the procedural virtual worlds of video games, such fantasies may be realized: memory can become an actionable digital space that the gamer can alter at will. This paper will trace how the relationship between Nilin (the mixed race female protagonist of the 2013 title Remember Me), the gamer, and the memories that they inhabit and manipulate together offers a compelling restaging of how technology can influence the power dynamics of narrative, history, and identity.

For more information on the conference where this paper was presented, visit here.

Quaternion based gesture recognition using worn inertial sensors in a motion tracking system

Wearable wireless devices and ubiquitous computing are expected to grow significantly in the upcoming years. Standard inputs such as a mouse and keyboard are not well suited for these more on-the-go style systems. Gestures are seen as an effective alternative to these classical input styles. In this paper we examine two recognition gesture algorithms that use an inertial sensor worn on the forearm. The recognition algorithms use the sensor’s quaternion orientation in either a Hidden Markov Model or Markov Chain based approach. A set of six gestures were selected to fit within the context of the active game. Despite the fact that the Hidden Markov Model is one of the most commonly used methods for gesture recognition, our results found that the Markov Chain algorithm outperformed the Hidden Markov Model. The Markov Chain algorithm obtained an average accuracy of 95%, while also having a faster computation time, making it better suited for real time applications.

Read it in full here.

Shooting To Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games

The headshot burst into the cultural imaginary with the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and it has been remediated from historical anxieties about execution and brain death to the eye-popping spectacle of the exploding head to video games, where it has entered a regime that holds virtuosic reflexes as the highest form of capital. By examining the textual and technological history of the headshot, this article develops a theory of mechropolitics: a way of thinking about political death worlds as they operate in the mechanics of video games and digital simulations. Moving beyond questions of whether violence in video games has a direct effect on aggression, mechropolitics mobilizes aesthetic and social justice critique to unmask the affective structures operating within digital death worlds. These prioritize twitch reflexes and offer few consequences—precisely the scenarios that render events like police shootings both legible and likely.

Read it in full here.

State of the Art in Hand and Finger Modeling and Animation

The human hand is a complex biological system able to perform numerous tasks with impressive accuracy and dexterity. Gestures furthermore play an important role in our daily interactions, and humans are particularly skilled at perceiving and interpreting detailed signals in communications. Creating believable hand motions for virtual characters is an important and challenging task. Many new methods have been proposed in the Computer Graphics community within the last years, and significant progress has been made towards creating convincing,
detailed hand and finger motions. This state of the art report presents a review of the research in the area of hand and finger modeling and animation. Starting with the biological structure of the hand and its implications for how the hand moves, we discuss current methods in motion capturing hands, data-driven and physics-based algorithms to synthesize their motions, and techniques to make the appearance of the hand model surface more realistic. We
then focus on areas in which detailed hand motions are crucial such as manipulation and communication. Our report concludes by describing emerging trends and applications for virtual hand animation.

Read it in full here.

Temporal Transfer of Locomotion Style

Timing plays a key role in expressing the qualitative aspects of a character’s motion; that is, conveying emotional state, personality, and character role, all potentially without changing spatial positions. Temporal editing of locomotion style is particularly difficult for a novice animator since observers are not well attuned to the sense of weight and energy displayed through motion timing; and the interface for adjusting timing is far less intuitive to use than that for adjusting pose. In this paper, we propose an editing system that effectively captures the timing variations in an example locomotion set and utilizes them for style transfer from one motion to another via both global and upper-body timing transfers. The global timing transfer focuses on matching the input motion to the body speed of the selected example motion, while the upper-body timing transfer propagates the sense of movement flow — succession — through the torso and arms. Our transfer process is based on key times detected from the example set and transferring the relative changes of angle rotation in the upper body joints from a timing source to an input target motion. We demonstrate that our approach is practical in an interactive application such that a set of short locomotion cycles can be applied to generate a longer sequence with continuously varied timings.

Read it in full here.

 

Videogame Shakespeare: Enskilling Audiences Through Theater-Making Games

This paper explores the way Shakespeare is being adapted in analog and digital games, focusing on a subgenre of games that aim to build players’ theatrical experience.

Read it in full here.

Wearable Sensor Networks for Motion Capture

This work presents the development of a full body sensor-based motion tracking system that functions through wearable inertial sensors. The system is comprised of a total of ten wearable sensors and maps the player’s motions to an onscreen character in real-time. A hierarchical skeletal model was implemented that allows players to navigate and interact with the virtual world without the need of a hand-held controller. To demonstrate the capabilities of the system, a simple virtual reality game was created. As a wearable system, the ability for the users to engage in activities while not being tied to a camera system, or being forced indoors presents a significant opportunity for mobile entertainment, augmented reality and interactive systems that use the body as a significant form of input. This paper outlines the key developments necessary to implement such a system.

Read it in full here.

A Hybrid Approach at Emotional State Detection: Merging Theoretical Models of Emotion with Data-Driven Statistical Classifiers

With the rising popularity of affective computing techniques, there have been several advances in the field of emotion recognition systems. However, despite the several advances in the field, these systems still face scenario adaptability and practical implementation issues. In light of these issues, we developed a nonspecific method for emotional state classification in interactive environments. The proposed method employs a two-layer classification process to detect Arousal and Valence (the emotion’s hedonic component), based on four psychophysiological metrics: Skin Conductance, Heart Rate and Electromyography measured at the corrugator supercilii and zygomaticus major muscles. The first classification layer applies multiple regression models to correctly scale the aforementioned metrics across participants and experimental conditions, while also correlating them to the Arousal or Valence dimensions. The second layer then explores several machine learning techniques to merge the regression outputs into one final rating. The obtained results indicate we are able to classify Arousal and Valence independently from participant and experimental conditions with satisfactory accuracy (97% for Arousal and 91% for Valence).

Read it in full here.

A mobile app for emergency contraception awareness and education

As emergency contraception (EC) pills become more easily accessible to the general public, women are able to purchase contraception with less – or completely without – guidance from medical professionals. Public knowledge about a more effective option, the copper IUD, is poor and access is difficult. Many women are resorting to the familiar and highly available, EC pills rather than an alternative that may better suit their needs. Here we present an interactive and engaging mobile-based application (M-app) which aims to increase awareness and knowledge of both EC methods and thereby support the user’s informed choice. The goal of the M-app is not to “make” the choice for the user, but rather, to enable the user to make her own well-informed decision.

Read it in full here.

A Regression-based Method for Lightweight Emotional State Detection in Interactive Environments

With the popularity increase in affective computing techniques the number of emotion detection and recognition systems has risen considerably. However, despite their steady accuracy improvement, they are yet faced with application domain transferability and practical implementation issues. In this paper, we present a novel methodology for modelling individuals’ emotional states in multimedia interactive environments, while addressing the aforementioned transferability and practical implementation issues. Our method relies on a two-layer classification process to classify Arousal and Valence based on four distinct physiological sensor inputs. The first classification layer uses several regression models to normalize each of the sensor inputs across participants and experimental conditions, while also correlating each input to either Arousal or Valence. The second classification layer then employs decision trees to merge the various regression outputs into one optimal Arousal/Valence classification. The presented method not only exhibits convincing accuracy ratings – 89% for Arousal and 84% for Valence – but also presents an adaptable and practical approach at emotional state detection in interactive environment experiences.

Read it in full here.

Amblyopia and the binocular approach to its therapy

There is growing evidence that abnormal binocular interactions play a key role in amblyopia. In particular, stronger suppression of the amblyopic eye has been associated with poorer amblyopic eye visual acuity and a new therapy has been described that directly targets binocular function and has been found to improve both monocular and binocular vision in adults and children with amblyopia. Furthermore, non-invasive brain stimulation techniques that alter excitation and inhibition within the visual cortex have been shown to improve vision in the amblyopic eye. The aim of this review is to summarize this previous work and interpret the therapeutic effects of binocular therapy and non-invasive brain stimulation in the context of three potential neural mechanisms; active inhibition of signals from the amblyopic eye, attenuation of information from the amblyopic eye and metaplasticity of synaptic long term potentiation and long term depression.

Read it in full here.

An interactive in-game approach to user adjustment of stereoscopic 3D settings

Given the popularity of 3D film, content developers have been creating customizable stereoscopic 3D experiences for the user to enjoy at home. Stereoscopic 3D game developers often offer a ‘white box’ approach whereby far too many controls and settings are exposed to the average consumer who may have little knowledge or interest to correctly adjust these settings. Improper settings can lead to users being uncomfortable or unimpressed with their own user-defined stereoscopic 3D experience. We have begun investigating interactive approaches to in-game adjustment of the various stereoscopic 3D parameters to reduce the reliance on the user doing so and therefore creating a more pleasurable stereoscopic 3D experience. In this paper, we describe a preliminary technique for interactively calibrating the various stereoscopic 3D parameters and we compare this interface with the typical slider-based control interface game developers utilize in commercial S3D games. Inspired by standard testing methodologies experienced at an optometrist, we’ve created a split-screen game with the same stereoscopic 3D game running in both screens, but with different interaxial distances. We expect that the interactive nature of the calibration will impact the final game experience providing us with an indication of whether in-game, interactive, S3D parameter calibration is a mechanism that game developers should adopt.

Read it in full here.

An Introduction to EEG Analysis Techniques and Brain-Computer Interfaces for Games User Researchers

Games User Research (GUR) can provide meaningful insights into the study of games. As a part of GUR, we focus on the area of cognitive psychology and discuss electroencephalography (EEG) as an evaluation technique for games. We want to introduce game researchers to EEG when studying the cognitive side of player experience and discuss how it can benefit game studies. In this paper, we review EEG techniques before providing researchers with information about general EEG setup and methodology, EEG data collection, preparation, and analysis. Techniques reviewed have been used in medical applications, research, brain-computer interaction (BCI) and human-computer interaction (HCI) applications. In addition, future ideas for applications of EEG techniques in game studies are discussed. We outline how to use different EEG analysis techniques for game research and it is our hope to make these techniques more understandable for the game studies community and to demonstrate their merit for games user research.

Read it in full here.

An Introduction to Physiological Player Metrics for Evaluating Games

Evaluating affective user experience in games is an important component of the growing field of game user research, because compelling gameplay experiences incorporate meaningful and, therefore, emotional player decisions. This makes evaluating player emotions and player visceral physiological reactions a fascinating field of study for game researchers. With their recent success in the human factors domain, physiological metrics, which complement game metrics, have been successfully used to study player engagement and emotion in research and industry. This chapter provides a brief introduction to and primer of physiological measures currently used in game research and discusses the benefits and challenges of this quantitative method of game user research.

Read it in full here.

Assessing User Preference of Video Game Controller Button Settings

Only very few studies exist linking preference in controller usage to physiological effects and user experience (UX). While many games already feature different controller layouts, there is a lack of research on whether giving control to participants over their button choices affects their UX in the game. In our study, participants were given two predetermined button configurations for playing FIFA 12. Their preferences were assessed through electroencephalography (EEG) and a Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ). Our results show no significant difference in EEG intensity between participants using their preferred or non-preferred button settings. Preference also appears to have no significant effect on subjective feelings assessed by the GEQ. We have identified three distinct factors that may have potentially compromised this study. These findings could help to structure future research in this area.

Read it in full here.

Beyond Graphics: more mathematics of building video games

As expected, graphics pipelines and physics engines are replete with mathematics. But there is much more applicable mathematics to the building of video games. In this talk, I will outline applications of mathematics to optimal construction of UI layout, analysis of “good game-design principles”, shaping sound, and player modelling. If time permits, some soon-to-happen research in my G-ScalE lab will be outlined that finds more applications of mathematics to the construction of video games.

For more information on the Computational Methods Seminar visit here.

Binocular vision in amblyopia: structure, suppression and plasticity

The amblyopic visual system was once considered to be structurally monocular. However, it now evident that the capacity for binocular vision is present in many observers with amblyopia. This has led to new techniques for quantifying suppression that have provided insights into the relationship between suppression and the monocular and binocular visual deficits experienced by amblyopes. Furthermore, new treatments are emerging that directly target suppressive interactions within the visual cortex and, on the basis of initial data, appear to improve both binocular and monocular visual function, even in adults with amblyopia. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of recent studies that have investigated the structure, measurement and treatment of binocular vision in observers with strabismic, anisometropic and mixed amblyopia.

Read it in full here.

 

Biometric Storyboards: Visualising Game User Research Data

Player experience is difficult to evaluate and report, especially using quantitative methodologies in addition to observations and interviews. One step towards tying quantitative physiological measures of player arousal to player experience reports are Biometric Storyboards (BioSt). They can visualise meaningful relationships between a player’s physiological changes and game events. This paper evaluates the usefulness of BioSt to the game industry. We presented the Biometric Storyboards technique to six game developers and interviewed them about the advantages and disadvantages of this technique.
Request the full text here.

Collaborative multi-touch clinical handover system for the neonatal intensive care unit

Background: A critically ill infant admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit requires complex, critical, and coordinated care performed by multidisciplinary healthcare teams. Since the infant is not monitored by an individual over the entire duration of stay, clinical handover enables the necessary transfer of health information between physicians involved in the care.

Objective: Handover at present is largely conducted in an informal and ad hoc way. Many handover mnemonics have been developed to support efficient transfer of critical information. These mnemonics, however, remain largely unused.

Methods: A qualitative study in a quaternary neonatal intensive care unit, at The Hospital for Sick Children was undertaken to understand clinical handover and derive usability requirements. This is then used to inform a high level design of a multi-touch tabletop application for handover the design was then evaluated against senior neonatologists and neonatal fellows using rapid prototyping methods.

Results: The results of the qualitative study showed that an effective handover application should at minimum include: tight integration with workflow and the physical environment, intuitive and simplicity, and minimalistic design following the ‘less is more’ philosophy.

Conclusion: There is a need to optimize handover such that the information transferred is standardized, and the loss of information and/or misinformation is minimized. We argue that natural user interface design employed in the proposed design will result in improved care and less information loss during clinical handover.

Read it in full here.

Contextual influences on mobile player experience – A game user experience model

In this paper we are discussing a new model of mobile gameplay experience with a special focus on contextual influences of play in ubiquitous environments. The model was developed based on prior general gameplay models which were extended and refined based on the results and personal experiences taken from several evaluative user field studies with mobile games. The experimental results point to two different playing contexts: home and mobile, which were evaluated with a gameplay experience questionnaire (GEQ). The GEQ showed significant difference in negative affect and immersion between mobile and home setting, which are moderated by several influencing contextual factors. This leads us to propose a contextual gameplay experience model that accounts for spatial, temporal, social, cultural, and psychological influences in an external context. The implications of the contextual gameplay model are discussed in light of future research.

Read it in full here.

Dungeons, Dragons and Digital Denizens: Digital Role-playing Games

Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens is a collection of scholarly essays that seeks to represent the far-reaching scope and implications of digital role-playing games as both cultural and academic artifacts. As a genre, digital role playing games have undergone constant and radical revision, pushing not only multiple boundaries of game development, but also the playing strategies and experiences of players.

Divided into three distinct sections, this premiere volume captures the distinctiveness of different game types, the forms of play they engender and their social and cultural implications. Contributors examine a range of games, from classics like Final Fantasy to blockbusters like World of Warcraft to obscure genre bending titles like Lux Pain. Working from a broad range of disciplines such as ecocritism, rhetoric, performance, gender, and communication, these essays yield insights that enrich the field of game studies and further illuminate the cultural, psychological and philosophical implications of a society that increasingly produces, plays and discourses about role playing games.

Order the book here.

EEG-Based Assessment of Video and In-Game Learning

People often learn game-related information in video games by taking turns playing and watching each other play. This type of in-game learning involves both obser-vation and imitation of actions. However, games are also made to be learnt individually during gameplay. Our study seeks to assess which is more effective for learning: just playing a game yourself or watching somebody play it first. We compare two gameplay situ-ations: playing a digital game before watching a game-play video and playing a digital game after watching a gameplay video. Using a between-participants design, to measure learning effectiveness we recorded Mu rhythms, which are indirectly linked to mirror neuron activation during imitation learning. We also analyze hemispheric frontal alpha asymmetry. Our results indi-cate that presentation order of the video game matters and players are more aroused when watching a game-play video before playing.

Read it in full here.

EnviroPulse: Providing feedback about the Expected Affective Valence of the Environment

Interacting with nature is beneficial to a person’s mental-state, but it can sometimes be difficult to find environments that will induce positive affect (e.g., when planning a run). In this paper, we describe EnviroPulse—a system for auto-matically determining and communicating the expected affective valence (EAV) of environments to individuals. We describe a prototype that allows this to be used in real-time on a smartphone, but EnviroPulse could easily be in-corporated into GPS systems, mapping services, or image-based systems. Our work differs from existing work in af-fective computing in that, rather than detecting a user’s affect directly, we automatically determine the EAV of the environment through visual analysis. We present results that suggest our system can determine the EAV of envi-ronments. We also introduce real-time affective visual feedback of the calculated EAV of images, and present re-sults from an informal study suggesting that real-time visual feedback can be used for induction of affect.

Read it in full here.

Exploring social interaction in co-located multiplayer games

Games have always been a social activity. Playing digital games affords spending time with people; helps build personal connections between individuals and helps to redefine the personality of the player while in play. Games also enable to build the concept of togetherness as a means to foster and enhance the concept of social connectedness, mutual dependencies, collaboration, community living and social interaction. We present a work in progress digital game installation to create multi-level social interactions between the player, the spatial game environment and the digital game. We discuss MagicDuel, a multiplayer digital game, where we are in the process of evaluating the socio-spatial contextual relationship between the players, the audience and gameplay elements for this specific digital game.

Read it in full here.

Feedback-based gameplay metrics: measuring player experience via automatic visual analysis

Using gameplay metrics to articulate player interaction within game systems has received increased interest in game studies. The value of gameplay metrics comes from a desire to empirically validate over a decade of theorization of player experience and knowledge of games as ludic systems. Taking gameplay metrics beyond formalized user testing (i.e. with the aim of improving a product) allows researchers the freedom of examining any commercially available game without the need to have access to the game’s source code. This paper offers a new methodology to obtain data on player behavior, achieved through analyzing video and audio streams. Game interface features are being analyzed automatically, which are indicative of player behavior and gameplay events. This paper outlines the development of this methodology and its application to research that seeks to understand the nature of engagement and player motivations.

Read it in full here.

From Body Signals to Brainy Player Insights

Games User Researchers are often skeptical when it comes to using brain and body sensors, but as the cost of sensor technologies continues to drop, it is time to consider the potential insights that we might gain from using these signals in our work. In this talk, Dr. Nacke briefly introduces the most common physiological measures that are used in Games User Research, and discusses the challenges in obtaining a clean signal and usable data from different low-cost devices. Additionally, he then makes recommendations for signal cleaning procedures and briefly talks about the analysis made possible with different physiological sensors. He also demonstrates the conclusions that may be inferred from some of these data when compared to other Games User Research methods, such as behavioural observation. Lastly, Dr. Nacke introduces some of his own visualization methods for quickly comprehending the meaning of physiological sensor data.

Watch the presentation here.

Full-Body Motion-Based Game Interaction for Older Adults

Older adults in nursing homes often lead sedentary lifestyles, which reduces their life expectancy. Full-body motion-control games provide an opportunity for these adults to remain active and engaged; these games are not designed with age-related impairments in mind, which prevents the games from being leveraged to increase the activity levels of older adults. In this paper, we present two studies aimed at developing game design guidelines for full-body motion controls for older adults experiencing age-related changes and impairments. Our studies also demonstrate how full-body motion-control games can accommodate a variety of user abilities, have a positive effect on mood and, by extension, the emotional well-being of older adults. Based on our studies, we present seven guidelines for the design of full-body interaction in games. The guidelines are designed to foster safe physical activity among older adults, thereby increasing their quality of life.

Read it in full here.

Games User Research and Physiological Game Evaluation

This chapter introduces physiological measures for game evaluation in the context of games user research (GUR). GUR consists of more than playtesting game; it comprises a collection of methods that allow designers to bring their creations closer to the initial vision of the player experience. With the prices of physiological sensors falling, and the advancement of research in this area, physiological evaluation will soon become a standard tool in GUR and game evaluation. Since mixed-method approaches are of increasingly prominent value, this chapter describes core GUR methods with a special focus on physiological evaluation, keeping in mind both benefits and limitations of the approach in academic and industrial applications.

Read it in full here.

Guided Emotional State Regulation: Understanding and Shaping Players’ Affective Experiences in Digital Games.

Designing adaptive games for individual emotional experiences is a tricky task, especially when detecting a player’semotional state in real time requires physiological sensing hardware and signal processing software. There is currently a lack of software that can identify and learn how emotional states in games are triggered. To address this problem, we developed a system capable of understanding the fundamental relations between emotional responses and their eliciting events. We propose time-evolving Affective Reaction Models (ARM), which learn new affective reactions and manage conflicting ones. These models are then meant to provide information on how a set of predetermined game parameters (e.g., enemy and item spawning, music and lighting effects) should be adapted, to modulate the player’s emotional state. In this paper, we propose and describe a framework for modulating player emotions and the main components involved in regulating players’ affective experience. We expect our technique will allow game designers to focus on defining high-level rules for generating gameplay experiences instead of having to create and test different content for each player type.

Read it in full here.

How Does It Play Better? Exploring User Testing and Biometric Storyboards in Games User Research

Improving game design is a hard task. Few methods are available in games user research (GUR) to test formally how game designs work for players. In particular, the usefulness of user tests (UTs) for game designers has not been fully studied in the CHI community. We propose a novel GUR method called Biometric Storyboards (BioSt) and present a study demonstrating how a Classic UT and a BioSt UT both help designers create a better gameplay experience. In addition, we show that BioSt can help designers deliver significantly better visuals, more fun, and higher gameplay quality than designing without UTs and that classic UTs do not provide this significant advantage. Our interviews support the idea that BioSt provides more nuanced game design improvement. The design implication is that a game designed with the BioSt method will result in high gameplay quality.

Read it in full here.

Impact of floating windows on the accuracy of depth perception in games. In Proceedings of Stereoscopic Displays and Applications

The floating window technique is commonly employed by stereoscopic 3D filmmakers to reduce the effects of window violations by masking out portions of the screen that contain visual information that doesn’t exist in one of the views. Although widely adopted in the film industry, and despite its potential benefits, the technique has not been adopted by video game developers to the same extent possibly because of the lack of understanding of how the floating window can be utilized in such an interactive medium. Here, we describe a quantitative study that investigates how the floating window technique affects users’ depth perception in a simple game-like environment. Our goal is to determine how various stereoscopic 3D parameters such as the existence, shape, and size of the floating window affect the user experience and to devise a set of guidelines for game developers wishing to develop stereoscopic 3D content. Providing game designers with quantitative knowledge of how these parameters can affect user experience is invaluable when choosing to design interactive stereoscopic 3D content.

Read it in full here.

Introducing the Biometric Storyboards Tool for Games User Research

Evaluating and communicating affective user experience in games is an important component of the growing field of games user research (GUR). An important goal for the game industry and researchers alike is the successful unification of physiological measurements and player experience reports to generate meaningful insights, which is challenging due to the varying natures of the data. In this paper, we present a tool that facilitates GUR with a method called Biometric Storyboards (BioSt). The tool allows GUR professionals to visualize relationships between changes in a player’s physiological state, a player’s self-reported experience, and in-game events. This paper focuses on the BioSt development stages and the final BioSt tool that we present to facilitate the creation implementation of BioSt and its analysis procedure.

Read it in full here.

On the Usability of Psychophysiological User Research for the Games Industry

In this presentation from the 2012 Games User Research Summit, Dr. Nacke talks about physiological research methods for games and why this matters for examining user experience with physiological measures.

View Dr. Nacke’s presentation slides here.

An introduction to video instant ticket vending machines

Video Instant Ticket Vending Machines (V-ITVMs) are a new form of electronic gambling machine currently being introduced to the North American markets of Ontario, Maryland, Missouri and New Mexico. The present paper is intended to raise awareness among regulators, problem gambling researchers, and clinicians about the nature of these games. These V-ITVMs resemble slot machines and present audiovisual content along with the sale of the tickets. We discuss several potentially harmful features of these games, ones which may promote problem gambling behaviour, such as fast continuous play, losses disguised as wins, near misses, deceptive bonus rounds, and a tendency to promote false beliefs among players who are vulnerable to disordered gambling behaviour. Effective programs for problem gambling prevention and treatment should be implemented as vital parts of any initiative to introduce V-ITVMs.

Read it in full here.

S3D depth-axis interaction for video games: performance and engagement

Game developers have yet to embrace and explore the interactive stereoscopic 3D medium. They typically view stereoscopy as a separate mode that can be disabled throughout the design process and rarely develop game mechanics that take advantage of the stereoscopic 3D medium. What if we designed games to be S3D-specific and viewed traditional 2D viewing as a separate mode that can be disabled? The design choices made throughout such a process may yield interesting and compelling results. Furthermore, we believe that interaction within a stereoscopic 3D environment is more important than the visual experience itself and therefore, further exploration is needed to take into account the interactive affordances presented by stereoscopic 3D displays. Stereoscopic 3D displays allow players to perceive objects at different depths, thus we hypothesize that designing a core mechanic to take advantage of this viewing paradigm will create compelling content. In this paper, we describe Z-Fighter a game that we have developed that requires the player to interact directly along the stereoscopic 3D depth axis. We also outline an experiment conducted to investigate the performance, perception, and enjoyment of this game in stereoscopic 3D vs. traditional 2D viewing.

Read it in full here.

Screen space point sampled shadows

It is no surprise that shadow mapping and its variations are the defacto standard for shadow generation in video games. Shadow maps are easy to compute in real-time and its many variants produce high quality shadows at interactive rates. With simple filtering techniques or by incorporating multiple shadow maps per area light source, soft-shadows can also be produced at interactive rates depending on the scene complexity. Despite these benefits, there are still a number of limitations inherent with shadow mapping-based techniques. More specifically, these algorithms are prone to sampling and aliasing problems, they cannot handle omnidirectional point light sources properly, and they require a shadow map to be rendered for each light source thus limiting the number of shadow-casting lights in the scene. In this paper, we propose a novel method for generating shadows that overcomes the issues inherent in traditional shadow mapping techniques. Our technique involves neither rendering the scene from the point of view of the light, nor expensive extrusions of the geometry. Instead, shadows are calculated in screen space using a series of depth textures that are shared by all of the lights, allowing the method to render a high number of shadow-casting light sources at real-time frame-rates on modern hardware.

Read it in full here.

Series Introduction – Genre and Disciplinarity in the Study of Games

Read it in full here.

Sound localization on a horizontal surface: virtual and real sound source localization

As the technology improves and their cost decreases, tabletop computers and their inherent ability to promote collaboration amongst users are gaining in popularity. Their use in virtual reality-based applications including virtual training environments and gaming where multi-user interactions are common is poised to grow. However, before tabletop computers become widely accepted, there are many questions with respect to spatial sound production and reception for these devices that need to be addressed. Previous work (Lam et al. in ACM Comput Entertain 12(2):4:1–4:19, 2014) has seen the development of loudspeaker-based amplitude panning spatial sound techniques to spatialize a sound to a position on a plane just above a tabletop computer’s (horizontal) surface. Although it has been established that the localization of these virtual sources is prone to error, there is a lack of ground truth (reference) data with which to compare these earlier results. Here, we present the results of an experiment that measured sound localization of an actual sound source on a horizontal surface, thus providing such ground truth data. This ground truth data were then compared with the results of previous amplitude panning-based spatial sound techniques for tabletop computing displays. Preliminary results reveal that no substantial differences exist between previous amplitude panning results and the ground truth data reported here, indicating that amplitude panning is a viable spatial sound technique for tabletop computing and horizontal displays in general.

Read it in full here.

Sound localization on table-top computers: A comparison of two amplitude panning methods

Tabletop computers (also known as surface computers and smart tables) have been growing in popularity for the past decade and are poised to make inroads into the consumer market, opening up a new market for the games industry. But before tabletop computers become widely accepted, there are many questions with respect to sound production and reception for these devices that need to be explored, particularly when it comes to multimedia consumption on the devices. For example, which loudspeaker setups should be used to take into consideration the multi-user nature of tabletop computers, and which panning method(s) maximize the spatial localization abilities of the user(s)? Previous work suggests that a quadraphonic diamond-shaped loudspeaker configuration—whereby a loudspeaker is placed at each of the four sides of the tabletop computer—leads to more accurate localization results when compared with a traditional quadraphonic loudspeaker configuration—whereby a loudspeaker is placed at each of the four corners of the tabletop computer. Given this preference for a diamond loudspeaker configuration, we examine two amplitude-panning methods (bilinear interpolation and inverse distance) for spatializing a sound on the (horizontal) surface of the table-computer with a diamond loudspeaker configuration. Results from the study detailed in this paper indicate that there are no significant differences between the two methods and that both methods are prone to error.

Read it in full here.

Source vs. Science! How players decode Minecraft

Minecraft play practices reveal a type of analytic play in which significant work is invested in discovering esoteric details about the game, without necessarily providing practical prescriptions for optimizing play. This paper proposes the term “procedural elaboration” to describe such activities and the knowledge thereby produced. In contrast to the existing concept of
theorycrafting, the products of procedural elaboration are primarily descriptive rather than prescriptive. However, this knowledge is far from trivial or banal. I argue that these knowledgemaking
activities can be explained through two functions of procedural elaboration. First, it provides players with a tool for dealing with the threatening inscrutability of some procedural game systems. Second, it acts as a ritual form of communication that helps to solidify a coherent Minecraft player community, while also establishing a social order within that community.
Subsequently, I consider why players persist in using specifically experimental methods in procedural elaboration, even though the online availability of decompiled Minecraft source code
means that the rules are not fully hidden as they are in most other games. I argue that the experimental method persists for these reasons: because it does not require specialized programming skills; because the gameplay already casts scientific experimentation as play; and because the iterative nature of Minecraft’s development has produced source code that is structured
in a way that resists direct deciphering.

Read it in full here.

Stereoscopic 3D Image Stylization

We present a method for stylizing stereoscopic 3D images that guarantees consistency between the left and right views. Our method decomposes the left and right views of an input image into discretized disparity layers and merges the corresponding layers from the left and right views into a single layer where stylization takes place. We then construct new stylized left and right views by compositing portions of the stylized layers. Because the new left and right views come from the same stylized source layers, our method eliminates common stylization artifacts that cause viewer discomfort. We also present a stereoscopic 3D painterly rendering algorithm tailored to our layer-based approach. This method uses disparity information to assist in stroke creation so that strokes follow surface geometry without ignoring painted surface patterns. Finally, we conduct a user study that demonstrates that our approach to stereoscopic 3D image stylization leads to images that are more comfortable to view than those created using other techniques.

Read it in full here.

Consistent Stylization and Painterly Rendering of Stereoscopic 3D Images

We present a method for stylizing stereoscopic 3D images that guarantees consistency between the left and right views. Our method decomposes the left and right views of an input image into discretized disparity layers and merges the corresponding layers from the left and right views into a single layer where stylization takes place. We then construct new stylized left and right views by compositing portions of the stylized layers. Because the left and right views come from the same source layers, our method eliminates common artifacts that cause viewer discomfort. We also present a stereoscopic 3D painterly rendering algorithm tailored to our layerbased approach. This method uses disparity information to assist in stroke creation so that strokes follow surface geometry without ignoring painted surface patterns. Finally, we conduct a user study that demonstrates that our approach to stereoscopic 3D image stylization leads to images that are more comfortable to view than those created using other techniques.

Read it in full here.

The iPod binocular home-based treatment for amblyopia in adults: efficacy and compliance

BACKGROUND:
Occlusion therapy for amblyopia is predicated on the idea that amblyopia is primarily a disorder of monocular vision; however, there is growing evidence that patients with amblyopia have a structurally intact binocular visual system that is rendered functionally monocular due to suppression. Furthermore, we have found that a dichoptic treatment intervention designed to directly target suppression can result in clinically significant improvement in both binocular and monocular visual function in adult patients with amblyopia. The fact that monocular improvement occurs in the absence of any fellow eye occlusion suggests that amblyopia is, in part, due to chronic suppression. Previously the treatment has been administered as a psychophysical task and more recently as a video game that can be played on video goggles or an iPod device equipped with a lenticular screen. The aim of this case-series study of 14 amblyopes (six strabismics, six anisometropes and two mixed) ages 13 to 50 years was to investigate: 1. whether the portable video game treatment is suitable for at-home use and 2. whether an anaglyphic version of the iPod-based video game, which is more convenient for at-home use, has comparable effects to the lenticular version.

METHODS:
The dichoptic video game treatment was conducted at home and visual functions assessed before and after treatment.

RESULTS:
We found that at-home use for 10 to 30 hours restored simultaneous binocular perception in 13 of 14 cases along with significant improvements in acuity (0.11 ± 0.08 logMAR) and stereopsis (0.6 ± 0.5 log units). Furthermore, the anaglyph and lenticular platforms were equally effective. In addition, the iPod devices were able to record a complete and accurate picture of treatment compliance.

CONCLUSION:
The home-based dichoptic iPod approach represents a viable treatment for adults with amblyopia.

Read it in full here.

Towards Understanding the Importance of Co-Located Gameplay

Analyzing the social context present in a gameplay environment and its effect on player experience can provide insights informing the design and social value of games. We investigate the influence of social condition (cooperative or competitive play with a human player versus computer-controlled character) on player experience. The study controlled for co-presence by ensuring that another individual attending to the same stimulus was present in all conditions. Although physiological measures were not significant, subjective measures of arousal and pleasure were significantly different under varying conditions.

Read it in full here.

Understanding Expectations with Multiple Controllers in an Augmented Reality Videogame

Player experiences and expectations are connected. The presumptions players have about how they control their gameplay interactions may shape the way they play and perceive videogames. A successfully engaging player experience might rest on the way controllers meet players’ expectations. We studied player interaction with novel controllers on the Sony PlayStation Wonderbook, an augmented reality (AR) gaming system. Our goal was to understand player expectations regarding game controllers in AR game design. Based on this preliminary study, we propose several interaction guidelines for hybrid input from both augmented reality and physical game controllers.

Read it in full here.

Understanding Player Attitudes Towards Digital Game Objects

Humans collect; we examine this behavior in digital game contexts to understand how players’ penchant for collecting items can inform game design. As part of an ongoing research agenda to understand player attitudes towards digital game objects, we conducted an online survey about player habits with interviews as future work. We present an initial analysis of our data. Our findings suggest that players value game objects most in Role-Playing Games (RPGs). Utility and Enjoyment were cited as the main reasons for a digital game objects’ value, followed by Investment, Self-Expression and Memory. Dyes or color-changing features; physical placement adjustments; and naming or name-changing features were the most frequent personalization features desired for game object customization. We aim to improve game design through a deep understanding of player motivations regarding their game objects.

Read it in full here.

Unified Visualization of Quantitative and Qualitative Playtesting Data

A major challenge in studying player experience is tying together the results of quantitative and qualitative games user research (GUR) data. For example, combining data from players’ physiological measures with questionnaire or interview results and in-game movement data into a single report is not straightforward because the underlying data is often in different formats. Visualization techniques can facilitate the understanding of relationships among these data sets. Although various visualization techniques have already been introduced in GUR, most of these techniques only focus on displaying large amounts of data captured directly via telemetry without integrating qualitative or contextual data on players’ emotional experience. Hence, here we propose a novel visualization approach to triangulate the above mentioned mixed data sources.

Read it in full here.

Games User Research

Games live and die commercially on the player experience. Games User Research is collectively the way we optimise the quality of the user experience (UX) in games, working with all aspects of a game from the mechanics and interface, visuals and art, interaction and progression, making sure every element works in concert and supports the game UX.

This means that Games User Research is essential and integral to the production of games and to shape the experience of players. Today, Games User Research stands as the primary pathway to understanding players and how to design, build, and launch games that provide the right game UX.

Until now, the knowledge in Games User Research and Game UX has been fragmented and there were no comprehensive, authoritative resources available. This book bridges the current gap of knowledge in Games User Research, building the go-to resource for everyone working with players and games or other interactive entertainment products. It is accessible to those new to Games User Research, while being deeply comprehensive and insightful for even hardened veterans of the game industry. In this book, dozens of veterans share their wisdom and best practices on how to plan user research, obtain the actionable insights from users, conduct user-centred testing, which methods to use when, how platforms influence user research practices, and much, much more.

Order the book here.