Game Ethology 2
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A Methodology for Analyzing Design through the Behaviour of Games

A Methodology for Analyzing Design through the Behaviour of Games

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Game Ethology 2 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Game Ethology The Missing Link: A Methodology for Analyzing Design through Behaviour in Games Katrin Becker, University of Calgary I have found the missing link between the higher ape and civilized man: It is we. Konrad Lorenz
  • 2. Outline
    • Background
    • Are We There Yet?
    • Serious Game Design
    • So What’s the Problem?
      • Game Analysis for Design (A Solution)
    • Finding Masterpieces
      • Studying the Masters
    • Game Ethology
    • Sample Analysis
    • Next?
  • 3. Background (mine)
    • Amateur Naturalist & Ethologist since childhood.
    • Trained in Computer Science
    • CS Instructor 1983-2006
      • Programming, Data Architecture
    • Educational Technologist since 2003
      • Instructional Design
  • 4. Are We There Yet?
    • Do we know enough about game design to stop investigating it?
    • Do we know enough about serious game design to stop researching how to make them?
    • Is design for Serious Games the same as design for Commercial Games?
  • 5. Serious Game Design SIG (and industry?) Industry Credentials Faithfulness to message essential self-consistent, otherwise irrelevant Fidelity SIG (medicine, military, social change, ...) Entertainment (& SENG?) Vantage Point Method secondary to Content (game as receptacle?) In accord with each other (content may be irrelevant) Content / Method Content / Message (what) Player Experience (how) Focus Serious Game Design Game Design Differences
  • 6. So What’s the Problem?
    • Software Engineering?
      • 30+ years and we STILL haven’t found the Grail
    • Theater & Film?
      • Documentary, training, & other non-fiction?
    • Education?
      • Instructional Design?
    How do we make (good) serious games?
  • 7. What’s The Answer?
    • Pontificate (i.e. pull the answer out of your ........).
    • Hire only those with proven records of success.
    • Borrow methodologies from other design disciplines.
    • Study & Analyse Players.
    • Study & Analyse Games.
  • 8. Analysis of Games for Serious Design
    • Players must learn and indeed do learn new things while playing the game.
    • It is possible to examine learning in a digital game without associating what is learned with value-laden education al aims.
    • Successful games are successful at least partially because they already facilitate learning .
    Three fundamental assumptions:
  • 9. Learning in Games
    • All games are about learning.
      • But NOT necessarily about Education
    • Learning is what we DO.
    • Learning is how we win the game.
  • 10. Learning vs. Education
    • Learning
    • Value-Neutral
    • Can be Coincidental
    • Natural
    • Internally Motivated*
    Education Value-Laden Deliberate Coerced/Persuaded Externally Motivated*
  • 11. Learning in Serious Games
    • Learning is still usually how we win the game (or get to the end).
      • About knowledge, skills, attitudes
    • Some exceptions?
      • psDoom [ http://psdoom.sourceforge.net/ ]
        • utility
    • Some are about action or prompting action:
        • Example: FreeRice [ http:// www.freerice.com / ]
        • Drill / quiz / contest
  • 12. Successful Games Facilitate Learning
  • 13. Reigeluth
  • 14. Gardner
  • 15. Gagne
  • 16. Merrill
  • 17. Game Analysis for Design
    • Learn about how to make good games by studying good games.
  • 18. One Approach: Study the Masters
    • They already have it right.
    Why?
  • 19. Studying the Masters
  • 20. Good Games?
    • Data fusion: Combine ranked lists of
    • Annual sales figures NPD Group http://www.npd.com/press/releases/press_070119.html
    • Review sites Best Ofs
      • Game Critics Awards : Best of E3 awards. http:// www.gamecriticsawards.com /
      • Metacritic : http:// www.metacritic.com
      • IGN : (Independent Game Network) Top 100 Editor's Choice http:// www.ign.com /
      • GameSpot : Top Games http:// www.gamespot.com /
      • Gamespy http:// archive.gamespy.com /
      • MobyGames http:// www.mobygames.com
    • IGDA awards
    • AIAS awards
  • 21. Top 25 (as of Dec. 2006) 11 FPS M 5.50 Unreal Tournament 25 7 FPS M 5.94 Halo: Combat Evolved 24 10 RPG T 6.00 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 23 7 Sim E 6.18 Nintendogs 22 8 Strategy M 6.25 Resident Evil 4 21 9 AA E 6.32 Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 20 8 RPG T 6.35 Neverwinter Nights 19 7 FIGHTING T 6.67 Soul Calibur 18 9 ACTION M 6.95 God of War 17 10 MMO M 7.00 World of Warcraft 16 12 AA M 7.04 Deus Ex 15 9 FPS T 7.47 GoldenEye 007 14 10 FIGHTING T 8.03 Metroid Prime 13 11 Sport T 8.18 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 12 11 AA T 8.42 Shadow of the Colossus 11 9 Sim RP 8.50 Spore 10 13 AA R 8.57 Grand Theft Auto III 9 14 Sport T 8.69 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 8 15 AA E 8.78 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 7 10 AA E 8.93 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 6 13 AA R 9.02 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 5 13 AA R 9.47 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 4 13 RTS T 11.08 Black & White 3 13 FPS M 11.17 Halo 2 2 16 AA M 12.70 Half-Life 2 1
  • 22. Methodological Synergy Behavioural Analysis Structural Analysis Ethology Ontological Excavation Game as Object Game Ethology (dynamic) Game Structure (static) Game Design Documents Reverse Engineering Behaviour Studies
  • 23. Methodological Synergy Behavioural Analysis Structural Analysis Ethology Ontological Excavation Game as Object Game Ethology (dynamic) Game Structure (static) Game Design Documents Reverse Engineering Behaviour Studies
  • 24. Ethology
    • Animal Behaviour
  • 25. Ethology
    • Lorenz & Tinbergen credited as the fathers of modern ethology
    • Goes beyond structure
    • Studies subjects in their natural habitats
    • Attempts to answer:
      • Why do they do the things that they do?
      • What good does it do them?
  • 26. Ethology
  • 27. Ethology
    • Causation . What are the stimuli that elicit the response, and how has it been modified by recent learning?
    • Function : How does the behaviour impact on the animal's chances of survival and reproduction?
    • Development : How does the behaviour change with age, and what early experiences are necessary for the behaviour to be shown?
    • Evolution : How does the behaviour compare with similar behaviour in related species, and how might it have arisen through the process of phylogeny?
  • 28. Game Ethology
    • Causation (interaction) . [How does it work?] What are the stimuli that elicit the response, and how has it been modified by recent interaction?
    • Development (flow) : [How does it develop?] How does the behaviour change over the life of the game, and what early experiences are necessary for the behaviour to be shown?
    • Evolution : [How it ‘evolve’?] How does the behaviour compare with similar behaviour in related games, and how might it have arisen through the process of evolution?
    • Function (purpose) : [What is it for?] How does the behaviour impact on the game’s chances of success (survival) and sequels?
  • 29. How To Do Game Ethology
    • Measuring behaviour.
    • Field Notes (What does the game do?)
  • 30. Types of Behaviour n/a no Short -medium no State un-ordered yes level or game events & bouts Theme un-ordered yes medium several bouts Bout ordered no Short - medium several steps Event n/a no short single act Step Sequential Interruptible Duration Compound Type
  • 31. Types of Behaviour
  • 32. Measures (coding)
    • Duration : measure of the length of real time an event takes.
      • those that would be experienced under normal uninterrupted play circumstances
    • Instigator : What was the action that started the event?
      • Random, Time-Triggered, Player-Instigated, Choose Option, Choose Next, State Driven ( A particular condition is met), Other
    • Entry Event : provides details of the actions that triggered the event.
    • Terminator : same as the entry actions.
    • Exit Event : details of the exit action.
    • Location : Games exist in a finite space and often behaviours are connected to specific locations. Other times events can occur in various locations. Both can be significant.
    • Scene Description : Where is the action taking place? Describe scene; any non-interactive or static objects on the screen should be described.
    • Behavioural Description : plain-English description of the actions that comprise the event. Any sounds or music; which other characters or objects are in the scene and whether they are active participants in the interaction or not. The actions of the player should be described.
    • Dialogue : Transcribe any dialogue or other messages that are part of the behaviour.
  • 33. So What?
    • Basis for comparisons
        • Same genre, Sequels, ‘Good’ games, Old games, Competitors
      • Build structured body of knowledge on good games (that can be compared against)
    • Augment early phase playtesting
    • Answer fundamental questions of our time
      • Do good games provide more or fewer choices (Events) than lesser games?
      • How long are cut scenes in good games?
    • Guiding questions during design
    Why am I doing this? What is it good for?
  • 34. Sample Analysis Gardening in Animal Crossing
  • 35. Behaviour Type Examples
    • Theme: Gardening
    • Bout: water all the flowers in the village
    • Event: water a flower
    • Step: pour
    • State: flower health
  • 36. Analysis: Ethology, Causation (Interaction)
    • Stimuli for players:
    • Watering can is a basic tool
    • Flowers, weeds appear
    • Flowers go brown
    • Residents tell me to look after flowers
    • Game stimuli:
    • Planting flowers creates more, generates new colours
    • Consistent maintenance increases score
    • Running over flowers destroys them
    • Watering brown flowers revives them
    • Picking brown flowers destroys them
    Not especially interesting at first glance, but behaviour BECOMES interesting when Reviewed in light of other aspects. What are the stimuli that elicit the response, and how has it been modified by recent interaction? (What makes it do that?)
  • 37. Analysis: Ethology, Development (Ontogeny, Game Flow)
    • ‘ First level’ tutorial
    • Flowers must be planted*
    • Very little change in the game over the life of the game  the change is almost all in the player
    • Effect is predictability.
    • Few penalties beyond immediate one (next ‘day’).
    • Jacob’s Ladders appear when the balance is right, but not every day.
    • Rewards include new colours, Jacob’s Ladders, golden rose, golden watering can
    How does the behaviour change over the life of the game (like from level to level), and what early experiences are necessary for the behaviour to be shown?
  • 38. Analysis: Ethology, Evolution
    • Previous animal crossing (with adaptations for platform)
    • Limited RPG style / sim ancestors
      • Harvest Moon
    • Format:
      • Changes in choices (options include only those that make sense)
      • Pockets
      • Currency
    • More informative when looking at multiple games.
    How does the behaviour compare with similar behaviour in related games, and how might it have arisen through the process of evolution?
  • 39. Analysis: Ethology, Function (purpose) – how does it support game’s goals?
    • Cultivation
    • Collections
    • Bells for flowers
    • Experience.....
    • Obvious penalties for misses (natural consequences)
    • Effort is rewarded
    How does the behaviour impact on the game’s chances of success (survival) and sequels? For Serious Games: How does the behaviour advance or help the game’s purpose?
  • 40. Next
    • New approach
      • Needs refinement
    • Has potential to add to understanding of games in new ways.
  • 41. Thanks!
    • Questions?