Emotional Attachments for Story Construction in Virtual Game Wolds
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Emotional Attachments for Story Construction in Virtual Game Wolds

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    Emotional Attachments for Story Construction in Virtual Game Wolds Emotional Attachments for Story Construction in Virtual Game Wolds Presentation Transcript

    • Emotional Attachments for Story Construction in Virtual Game Wolds DIGRA 2009 London, UK Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari Gotland University, Sweden
    • Outline • mind module • game prototype • play test • results • use of results • current and future work
    • Background of experiment - sentiments What if: Avatars had emotions about other entities in a VGW (MMORPG)? • Emotions as results of experiences in a VGW: agency, memory emotionally loaded memories = sentiments. • Different emotional attachments - sentiments - for individual story lines different avatars. systemic part • Emotions to affect game play so that they can affect of game play players’ choice of action - achievements - motivates become part of the deep structure of the world usage in play
    • • Research Question • How can sentiments - emotional attachments - be used in a VGW? • Experimental setup • The Mind Module: a semiautonomous agent architecture for avatars • A Virtual Game World Prototype: World of Minds, as a paper prototype.
    • The Mind Module • Spreading Activation Network of Affect nodes • Semiautonomous agent architecture. • Semiautonomous agents are partly controlled by their players, and partly controlled by context-sensitive action potential and expression possibilities, as well as by varying degrees of autonomous reactions to in-game situations specific to the VGW the agents inhabits.
    • Affect Nodes of MM
    • Personality Trait Nodes Define avatar personality Traits: Five Factor Model
    • Emotion Nodes 16 Active emotion nodes define how an avatars feels ‘right now’
    • Mood Define how you feel today
    • Sentiment An emotional disposition towards a specific object or class of objects. Define how avatar generally feels about specific things
    • Player might realise it is a good idea to RUN!
    • World of Minds Summary • Prototype virtual game world where the personalities of the inhabitants are the base for the game mechanics. • When interacting with other characters, the action potential depend upon the player character's current mood and personality
    • Basic Game Play of WoM • Players need to defeat physical manifestations of negative mental states by using • Spells • Affective actions • The spells available to the character depends on personality • The affective actions available to the character depends on the current mood.
    • Play Test
    • Play test research questions • How can sentiments be used in VGWs? • I started with looking at differences experienced by players depending on the origin of a sentiment. • Three approaches for instantiating sentiments for avatars were tried in the test: • An emotion was attached to a random object. • In a fictive scenario players chose an object for the emotion fear. • When players interacted with a puppeteered NPC sentiments were instantiated as effects of the nature of the interaction.
    • Experimental procedure • Evaluation of the game design via a paper prototype • During the play tests, the test leader walks individual players through a paper simulation of several scenarios. • Players are asked to think aloud while playing the game; additionally, the test leader stops the game at several points and conducts interviews. (User-Centred Design, where the user's experience is a main driver for design, Rapid prototyping, iterative design)
    • Experimental procedure Each player: • Filled in a short (less than ten questions) survey on demographic data and previous gaming experience. • Took the IPIP-NEO Personality test and emailed the results to the test leader. • Filled in a short survey about their experience taking the personality test and their opinions about the use of personality traits for avatar creation. • Participated in the play-test, which took between 1 and 1.5 hours. Each play-test session consisted of playing five scenarios, and answering questions in two interviews, one in the middle, and one at the end of the play-test. Each session was videotaped. • Filled in two more short surveys, one focused on sentiment objects, and the other on general impressions of the experience. Data analysis using Transana, transcription and coding of videotaped material (15 hours).
    • Sentiment instantiation • Random sentiment (sc 1) • Sentiment by choice (sc 1) • Sentiment by interaction (sc 2)
    • Sentiment interaction Player guides avatar through an environment with sentiment objects to reach a goal. Proximity affect emotion (sc 3) Player finds the NPC Teresa in a state of distress: attacked by a manifestation of Confusion. The avatar’s and Teresa ‘remember’ each other, and in proximity get a slight increase of the emotion of the sentiments they have towards each other. (helpful when dealing with the foe) (sc 4)
    • Results
    • Players’ preferences Players preferred (8 of 10) the sentiments instantiated as results of interaction above those randomly assigned and the chosen ones. “This one made the most sense [pointing at the sentiment towards Teresa], the satisfaction. Because with Teresa I had a history with her, whereas I did not have much of a history with these other things. I have a history with the garden gnome, but it seems just as likely it could have been any of these other objects”. Inclination among participants to, when asked, prefer options with highest possible agency.
    • Think-aloud • Teresa and the sentiment towards her: accepted at face value. She was explored rather than questioned. • The chosen and the randomly assigned sentiments: discussed and interpreted. • Players tried to explain “Why does my avatar feel like this about that?” • “I'm angry at socks, because you always lose that one in the dryer, then you end up with mismatched socks.”
    • Observation of Interaction 1 • Several players requested more information of the back-story during the play test. • Explanations of story-related events and elements gave the players better understanding of the systemic mechanics. • The players’ understanding of the mechanics seemed to be intertwined with the meaning they could attribute to the events in terms of the back story of the world.
    • Observation of Interaction 2 • In the play-test participants accepted several game-play mechanics at face value. • That geographical proximity of their PC to a sentiment object would affect their PC’s state of mind was one such mechanic. This was observed when players: • navigated a board of objects to reach a goal; • were affected by their sentiment to Teresa in her proximity when they met the second time in the test.
    • Use of Results current work
    • Lessons • Each object need to be anchored in the deep structure, even in a small play test. Insufficient perceived relevance of objects hinders understanding of game mechanics • Instantiation: • sentiments ‘by choice’ - can be interesting used akin to ‘life path’ systems in table top RPGs • some participants displayed great enthusiasm coming up with back-stories for the randomly assigned sentiments • However, sentiments instantiated by interaction were the most promising and will be developed and tested further
    • Pataphysic Institute • The use of sentiments in the next VGW prototype iteration use the results from the WoM test: • Usage of sentiment proximity effect as planned • Addition of formalised relationship-sentiments • Ex. proximity to friends give ‘belonging’ • Will test (with game mastering) usage of sets of sentiments rather than singular use. • Ex. Infatuation is a combination of Interest/ Excitement/Amusement and Joy towards another character.
    • What can be useful for other projects?
    • General Conclusions 1(2) • Goals/drives/motivations expressed as emotional attachments: Interaction in play-test indicated that players found this ‘natural’ • Proximity effect of sentiments on mental state was accepted at face value. • Players’ understanding of objects relevance to back-story and deep story structure can have an effect on how well the general game mechanics of a VGW is understood.
    • General Conclusions 2(2) • Instantiation of ‘drives/emotions’ make more sense to players if they are results of interactions. This may open up for plots emerging from previous interactions among players. • Game mastering of authored sets of sentiment may open up for plot-modelling among player groups. This remain to be confirmed in play tests.
    • Future directions • Explore how/if emotional attachments can be an approach to emergent story construction in multi-player games (both avatar-driven and game mastered): • Formulate different types of sets of sentiments. Emotionally valenced relationships among characters and objects. “Object of Desire” “Triangular drama” • Play-testing game mastered scenarios with authored sets of sentiments - game mastered plots. • Identification of potential successful approaches for further implementations. (Additions to existing deep story structures, that are incorporated into the game mechanics. )
    • dwarf fortress Thank you for listening please contact me if you would be interested in helping out by participating in the next study: mirjam.eladhari@hgo.se