A Method for Tearing Apart and
Quantifying Elements of Game
     Design in Exergames
Ernesto Ramirez, Marc Adams, Simon J....
What I’m playing...
Exergames: What’s the Point?
       Traditional Video Games




                  3
Exergames: What’s the Point?
       Traditional Video Games




 Fun         Challenging         Exciting

               ...
4
SEDENTARY
    4
The Exergame Difference

          Movement
          Activity
          Interactive
          Experience


              ...
What makes people play?
Limited knowledge of the theoretical principles of game
playing behavior.
Adherence may be linked ...
What makes people play?
 Limited knowledge of the theoretical principles of game
 playing behavior.
 Adherence may be link...
Theoretical Principles
      The ABC’s of Operant Theory




                   7
Theoretical Principles
             The ABC’s of Operant Theory
     A
Antecedent
  Stimuli

 Prompting
 Modeling
   Goals...
Theoretical Principles
             The ABC’s of Operant Theory
     A                   B
Antecedent            Behavior
...
Theoretical Principles
             The ABC’s of Operant Theory
     A                   B                      C
Antecede...
Why Use Operant Theory?
  Games provide a unique “closed-loop” environment to examine
  the interactions between theoretic...
A: Antecedents


In game play antecedents typically function as:
   Instructions
   Modeling of behavior
   Visual and aud...
Antecedent Examples
Antecedent Examples

                 Instructions




  Instructions
Antecedent Examples
Antecedent Examples




Continuous modeling of behavior
B: Behavior
Exergame behavior is quite different from traditional games
B: Behavior
  Exergame behavior is quite different from traditional games


Traditional Games



  Thumb & Finger
B: Behavior
  Exergame behavior is quite different from traditional games


Traditional Games                             ...
Dimensions of Behavior
Form/Topography - What is the behavior?
Frequency - How many times does the behavior occur?
Rate - ...
Behavior Examples




   Topography: What is the action?
Behavior Examples




   Topography: What is the action?
        Left and Right Jab
Behavior Examples


Games can
change behavior
by influencing
dimensions
Behavior Examples

                  Level   Hits   Time   Rate
Games can           1
                    2
              ...
C: Consequences & Contingencies
   Stimuli or feedback recieved during game play


   Reinforcement can be used to increas...
Contingency Examples

   For each hit (positive reinforcement)
       Point increase
       Punching sounds
       Red hal...
The Process

Independent Coding
Coding Agreement Analysis
Coding the Codes
Independent Coding

Trained research assistants
Play games
Watch recorded game play
Record observations in “real words”
Identifying Contingencies
Identifying Contingencies
Each time the player knocks down one white pin, the game: BEHAVIOR
       Presents an increment of 120 points +R
Each time...
Qualitative Analysis

   Game “codes” are analyzed for
      Theoretical construct
      Construct dimension
      Additio...
Qualitative Analysis: Coding the Codes
“For each punch on the boxing bag, the game
presents a red visual halo at punch loc...
Qualitative Analysis: Coding the Codes
   “For each punch on the boxing bag, the game
   presents a red visual halo at pun...
Qualitative Analysis: Coding the Codes
   “For each punch on the boxing bag, the game
   presents a red visual halo at pun...
Why?
Develop system of understanding game design
   can be applied to all games
Determine what game players enjoy
Discover...
Next Steps
Identify high and low fidelity games
   Associated behavioral principles
Investigate game play in children using...
Other interesting dimensions
We are aware that Operant Theory doesn’t cover everything
   Motivation
   Persuasion
   Inte...
Other interesting dimensions
We are aware that Operant Theory doesn’t cover everything
   Motivation
   Persuasion
   Inte...
Acknowledgements


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
& Games for Health Initiative
University of California, San Diego
All of...
Thank you
    erramirez@ucsd.edu
    Twitter: @e_ramirez


     Center for Wireless
and Population Health Systems
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Deconstructing Exergames

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Deconstructing Exergames

  1. 1. A Method for Tearing Apart and Quantifying Elements of Game Design in Exergames Ernesto Ramirez, Marc Adams, Simon J. Marshall, Greg J. Norman, Lindsay Dillon, Susan Caparosa Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems
  2. 2. What I’m playing...
  3. 3. Exergames: What’s the Point? Traditional Video Games 3
  4. 4. Exergames: What’s the Point? Traditional Video Games Fun Challenging Exciting 3
  5. 5. 4
  6. 6. SEDENTARY 4
  7. 7. The Exergame Difference Movement Activity Interactive Experience 5
  8. 8. What makes people play? Limited knowledge of the theoretical principles of game playing behavior. Adherence may be linked to psychological constructs: Enjoyment, Pleasure, Motivating, etc. Personal & Social factors related to game play environment. 6
  9. 9. What makes people play? Limited knowledge of the theoretical principles of game playing behavior. Adherence may be linked to psychological constructs: Enjoyment, Pleasure, Motivating, etc. Personal & Social factors related to game play environment. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ACTUAL GAME? 6
  10. 10. Theoretical Principles The ABC’s of Operant Theory 7
  11. 11. Theoretical Principles The ABC’s of Operant Theory A Antecedent Stimuli Prompting Modeling Goals 7
  12. 12. Theoretical Principles The ABC’s of Operant Theory A B Antecedent Behavior Stimuli Desired Prompting Undesired Modeling Goals 7
  13. 13. Theoretical Principles The ABC’s of Operant Theory A B C Antecedent Behavior Consequences Stimuli Stimuli Desired + Reinforcement Prompting Undesired - Reinforcement Modeling Punishment Goals Extinction 7
  14. 14. Why Use Operant Theory? Games provide a unique “closed-loop” environment to examine the interactions between theoretical principles and behavior. Interactions between contingencies and behavior can be closely examined. Games provide immediate feedback on behavior. Exergames have not been previously examined within this well known theoretical context 8
  15. 15. A: Antecedents In game play antecedents typically function as: Instructions Modeling of behavior Visual and audible signals that inform player a
  16. 16. Antecedent Examples
  17. 17. Antecedent Examples Instructions Instructions
  18. 18. Antecedent Examples
  19. 19. Antecedent Examples Continuous modeling of behavior
  20. 20. B: Behavior Exergame behavior is quite different from traditional games
  21. 21. B: Behavior Exergame behavior is quite different from traditional games Traditional Games Thumb & Finger
  22. 22. B: Behavior Exergame behavior is quite different from traditional games Traditional Games Exergames Run Step Swing Throw Thumb & Finger Punch Dodge
  23. 23. Dimensions of Behavior Form/Topography - What is the behavior? Frequency - How many times does the behavior occur? Rate - Number of behavior responses over time Intensity - The “force” of the response Duration - Length of continuous behavior Latency - Period between game stimuli and player response
  24. 24. Behavior Examples Topography: What is the action?
  25. 25. Behavior Examples Topography: What is the action? Left and Right Jab
  26. 26. Behavior Examples Games can change behavior by influencing dimensions
  27. 27. Behavior Examples Level Hits Time Rate Games can 1 2 20 25 10 10 2.00 2.50 change behavior 3 45 15 3.00 4 55 15 3.67 by influencing 5 80 20 4.00 6 90 20 4.50 dimensions 7 125 25 5.00 8 140 25 5.60 9 180 30 6.00 10 200 30 6.67
  28. 28. C: Consequences & Contingencies Stimuli or feedback recieved during game play Reinforcement can be used to increase desired behavior(s) Gain points for correct play (+) Reduce speed of game (-) Penalties/Punishment can be used to decrease incorrect behavior(s) Loss of points Negative sounds and images
  29. 29. Contingency Examples For each hit (positive reinforcement) Point increase Punching sounds Red halo at punch site Screen shakes Player does not pass level ( positive punishment) “Failed” text on screen Negative sounds
  30. 30. The Process Independent Coding Coding Agreement Analysis Coding the Codes
  31. 31. Independent Coding Trained research assistants Play games Watch recorded game play Record observations in “real words”
  32. 32. Identifying Contingencies
  33. 33. Identifying Contingencies
  34. 34. Each time the player knocks down one white pin, the game: BEHAVIOR Presents an increment of 120 points +R Each time the player knocks down one gold pin, the game: BEHAVIOR Presents an increase of 240 points +R Presents an ‘energizing sound’. +R Presents “SUPERMODE” +R Presents music associated with SUPERMODE +R Decreases game pace (slows down) +R Presents cumulative count of pins +R Each time the player knocks down one black pin, the game: BEHAVIOR Presents “Penalty” + punish Decrease of 1 ball in stock - punish Presents negative sound + punish During SUPERMODE (ANTECEDENT), each time a player knocks down a white pin, the game: BEHAVIOR Presents an increment of 150 points +R Resets SUPERMODE time counter +R Adds one point to the pin count +R Adds 1 point to the bonus fraction +R When fraction = 1, bonus ball awarded +R
  35. 35. Qualitative Analysis Game “codes” are analyzed for Theoretical construct Construct dimension Additional details
  36. 36. Qualitative Analysis: Coding the Codes “For each punch on the boxing bag, the game presents a red visual halo at punch location.”
  37. 37. Qualitative Analysis: Coding the Codes “For each punch on the boxing bag, the game presents a red visual halo at punch location.” •Theoretical construct •Construct dimension •Additional details
  38. 38. Qualitative Analysis: Coding the Codes “For each punch on the boxing bag, the game presents a red visual halo at punch location.” •Theoretical construct Contingency •Construct dimension Positive Reinforcement •Additional details Continuous Reinforcement
  39. 39. Why? Develop system of understanding game design can be applied to all games Determine what game players enjoy Discover how game design is linked to actual game play Adherence and Sustainability
  40. 40. Next Steps Identify high and low fidelity games Associated behavioral principles Investigate game play in children using identified games Correlate principles and game play Identify core principles related to adherence
  41. 41. Other interesting dimensions We are aware that Operant Theory doesn’t cover everything Motivation Persuasion Interactivity Social Connections and Cooperation
  42. 42. Other interesting dimensions We are aware that Operant Theory doesn’t cover everything Motivation Persuasion Interactivity Social Connections and Cooperation But no one study can do it all!
  43. 43. Acknowledgements Robert Wood Johnson Foundation & Games for Health Initiative University of California, San Diego All of our coders and game players
  44. 44. Thank you erramirez@ucsd.edu Twitter: @e_ramirez Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems

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