a theory of fun • Raph Koster – lead designer of Ultima Online – creative director of Star Wars Galaxies – http://www.theoryoffun.com /theoryoffun.pdf – http://www.raphkoster.com
a theory of fun• ‘all games are edutainment’ – ‘some games teach spatial relationships (e.g. Tetris)’ – ‘some teach you to explore (Super Mario)’ – ‘some teach you how to aim (FPSs)’ – some teach you to share/cooperate (Farmville) – ‘players seeking to advance in a game will always try to optimize what they are doing’
a theory of fun• ‘We talk so much about emergent gameplay, non-linear storytelling, or about player- entered content. They’re all ways of increasing the possibility space, making self-refreshing puzzles’• So, what is it that makes a game ‘fun’?
the concept of Flow– a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter (Csikszentmihalyi,1990)– “Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and youre using your skills to the utmost”
flow revisited • the ‘holy grail’ of game design • just the right amount of challenge • making a game very hardgamers quit • making a game very easygamers bored
flow revisited • it’s not about the graphics • or the controller • or the franchise (e.g. sports games) • just ask Rovio – makers of Angry Birds – $80M/yr, 600M dl’s
flow revisited • ‘smart’ games adapt to player skill and engagement • keeping them coming back for more • at the end of the day…
what about serious games? • our first activity as children • ‘fun’ and ‘flow’ are a given
what about serious games? • our first activity as children • ‘fun’ and ‘flow’ are a given • best material to teach social skills
what about serious games? • our first activity as children • ‘fun’ and ‘flow’ are a given • best material to teach social skills • but schools fail to capitalize on that
gamification• the best one way to influence player behaviour• include game design elements in non-game contexts
gamification• image by Sebastian Deterding• Bunchball white paper: http://info.bunchball.com/gamification-101/
gamification • in Foursquare, users earn points for check-ins and other activities • leaderboards and badge display enhance competition
gamification • replace ‘check-in’ with, e.g., ‘recycle’ – gamification in the real world
gamification • replace ‘check-in’ with, e.g., ‘recycle’ – gamification in the real world • what happens when badges and rewards are taken away? – open research question
in a nutshell• games provide challenge and fun to players – or should be adapted to do so• fun not always equal to entertainment – the case of serious/learning games• player experience: function of skill, performance and challenge
player personalities• Achievers: players who prefer to gain points, levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding in a game• Explorers: players who prefer discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places
player personalities• Socializers: players who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself• Killers: players who like to …‘club’ other players – They thrive on competition with other players, and prefer fighting them to scripted computer-controlled opponents.
player personalities• Bartle Quotient totals 200% across all categories, with no single category exceeding 100%• A person may score "100% Killer, 50% Socializer, 40% Achiever, 10% Explorer“ – indicating preference to fight people compared to other aspects of gameplay• but…
player personalities• these are self-reported characteristics – mostly refer to what players would prefer to do and not necessarily what they actually do when playing• game genre-specific – and different for single- and multi-player gaming• offer little in terms of adaptation – mostly refer to game mechanics and features
back to the drawing board• what can we model? – and how?• definition of ‘affective computing’ – ‘affective Computing is computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotion or other affective phenomena’ -- Roz Picard, 1995 – ‘a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion’ -- Merriam- Webster’s dictionary
hypothesis• ‘shallow’ treatment – i.e. not as far as ‘personality’, sticking to ‘affect’• identify/track user reactions – facial expressions and gestures, body movements and stance, hand and body expressivity (for whole-body interaction)• relate those to events in the game
hypothesis• ideally, we could identify the players’ stress level (via the ‘observable manifestations’) and their skill level (via their performance)• and cluster those to identify player types – for the particular game genre!• or use them to adapt the game – make it easier for players ‘in distress’ – or harder for players in the verge of boredom
hypothesis• why bother with both affect and performance?• why are players standing still? – is it flow (immersion) or boredom?• or why do they move around? – is it immersion (e.g. in a racing game) or lack of engagement?• remember: Flow skill AND engagement
we’ve covered affect; what else is there?• cognitive models (Gray, 2007) – evaluate why players behave in the way that they do, or conversely to control computer-driven AI (Funge, 1999)• cultural models – “collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another” (Hofstede, 1996) – not necessarily related to player origin or descent (e.g. sub-cultures)
we’ve covered affect; what else is there?• learner models – students motivation strongly linked to learning (Malone and Lepper, 1987) – demographic information and personality understand and predict the student’s learning behavior – demographics (gender), personality (Big 5: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism), goal orientation (performance based on result or mastery on skill), and presence (involvement with the system) (McQuiggan et al., 2010)
in a nutshell• games provide an ideal medium to induce and capture affective interactions• well-designed games bring out different (and valuable!) reactions from players• gaming is a multi-faceted activity – thus, player models are usually detailed• player affect tells us a lot about the game
conflict resolution games • Siren aims to produce a conflict resolution serious game – for 10-14 y.o. children – in school environments
conflict resolution gamesThe life cycle of conflict (Swanstrom and Weissmann, 2005)
conflict resolution games• during escalation, negative emotions are present• cannot use neg. emotions to indicate stress adaptation
conflict resolution games• rather, use estimated emotion to identify where players are in this figure (which phase)
conflict resolution games• and produce content to ‘push’ users towards de-escalation• learning objective of the game!
conflict resolution games• sensed affect can be used to identify player performance – i.e. whether players actually ‘move’ towards resolving the conflict• but which emotions are relevant?• negative vs positive• is that enough for all game genres?
in a nutshell• player affect is genre-dependent• reflects many qualities from the user model• many open research questions• single- vs multi-player• easy to find people to play games – yay!