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Can a Paper-Based Sketching Interface Improve the Gamer Experience in Strategy Computer Games?

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The field of sketching interface design in regards
to video game is relatively young and has not been investigated in great depth. Freepad is a custom paper-based MIDI musical interface. We describe an extension to Freepad that supports user customization for real time strategy games. Using only a webcam, a pen and a sheet of paper, players can design their own interface by drawing shapes and linking them to simple or complex actions in the game. In an user study, we use this extended Freepad to explore the potential of sketching interfaces in strategy video games. Our results indicate that using Freepad improves the efficiency of players and their enjoyment in this kind of games.

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Can a Paper-Based Sketching Interface Improve the Gamer Experience in Strategy Computer Games?

  1. 1. ENGAGING THE WORLD Can a Paper-Based Sketching Interface Improve the Gamer Experience in Strategy Computer Games? Matthieu Macret Alissa N. Antle Philippe Pasquier mmacret@sfu.ca aantle@sfu.ca pasquier@sfu.ca
  2. 2. •  Conquest: The player has to destroy the enemy bases, take the resources and expand her territory. •  Exploration: The player has to explore the game map to find new resources and locate enemies. •  Economy: The player has to exploit resources, develop her bases and trade. Real Time Strategy Games (RTS) 3 Challenge: Deal with these activities simultaneously and in real time.
  3. 3. •  Starcraft I and II •  Warcraft III •  3.5 millions of players weekly online. •  E-sport (world championships) •  New challenge for gaming AI •  Challenging for HCI community RTS- Why bother ? 4 © Blizzard Entertainment
  4. 4. •  Can an paper-based sketching interface improve the gamer experience in strategy computer games? – In this work, we focus on paper-based sketching interfaces. – A user study is presented. HCI in RTS 5
  5. 5. •  Paper MIDI interface developed by the Metacreation, Agents and Multi-Agent System (MAMAS) lab: –  Chun, S. and Hawryshkewich, A. and Jung, K. and Pasquier, P., Freepad: A Custom Paper-based MIDI Interface, Proc. New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference, 2010 Freepad: Paper MIDI Interface 6
  6. 6. Freepad: Paper MIDI Interface 7
  7. 7. •  Link shapes to keystrokes instead of MIDI notes •  Advantages: •  Provide  users  with  op/ons  regarding  the  design  of  their   custom  interface   •  Examples:     –  Basic  ac/ons:  build  3  marines.   –  More  advanced  ac/ons:   »  Rush:  Build  10  marines  and  5  firebats  and  send  them  in  the   enemy  base.   »  Siege:  Build  3  tanks  and  deploy  them  around  the  enemy   base.     Freepad extension for RTS 8
  8. 8. Quality   Descrip3on   For  RTS   Accessibility   Requires  only  a  webcam,  a   sheet  of  paper  and  a  piece  of   soFware.     No  extra  hardware  needed  to   play.   Simplicity  /   Flexibility   Draw  your  interface  and  set   it  quickly  using  a  GUI.     -­‐   Don’t  add  too  many   unnecessary  configura/on     steps  before  playing.   -­‐   The  interface  can  evolve  in  the   same  /me  than  the  player’s   level.     Customiza3on   Infinity  of  different  possible   interfaces.   One  interface  =  one  game  style   Why Freepad ? 9
  9. 9. Freepad setup process 10
  10. 10. SET 11
  11. 11. DRAW 12
  12. 12. SET SHORTCUT AND PLAY 13
  13. 13. In-game 14
  14. 14. •  KM: Keyboard and Mouse •  KMF: Keyboard, Mouse and Freepad User study design: Configurations 15
  15. 15. •  Ns: number of units produced by second •  Game replays are analyzed from: – http://www.starcraft-replay.com/ •  Data shows that Ns is significantly higher for winners than for losers. We use Ns as a metric to measure efficiency Efficiency: Measurement 16
  16. 16. •  Gameflow (Sweetser et al.) «In RTS, player enjoyment pivotes on mastering, scheduling and coping with the numerous tasks. » Freepad has the potential to better distribute the player’s focus on the numerous tasks of the game. Enjoyment 17
  17. 17. 1.  The player will be more efficient playing the game in KMF configuration than in KM configuration. 2.  The player will find the game more enjoyable to play in KMF configuration than in KM configuration. User study design: Hypotheses 18 KM: Keyboard and Mouse KMF: Keyboard, Mouse and Freepad
  18. 18. Map: “Steppe of war” 19
  19. 19. •  The participants received a presentation of the game and how to use the different controllers. •  They were asked to draw their own interface. •  Each participant was asked to play the map twice once in KM configuration and once in KMF configuration. •  Finally they were asked to fill up a Likert scale questionnaire. Procedures 20
  20. 20. Study - Figures 21 Mean   SD   Nb  of  par3cipants   11   Age   24.76   2.53   Player  experience   2 3 4 51Novice Expert
  21. 21. 1)  Using the Freepad, I am more efficient in the game. 2)  It is more enjoyable to play with the Freepad than only with the keyboard and the mouse. 3)  I am interested in customizing my own Freepad interface to play in a strategy video games 7-points Likert scale questionnaire 22 2 3 4 5 6 71 2 3 4 5 6 71 2 3 4 5 6 71 Strongly disagree Strongly agree Strongly disagree Strongly disagree Strongly agree Strongly agree
  22. 22. Efficiency: Results 23 Ns   Mean   SD   KM   0.22   0.08   KMF   0.4   0.12   Wilcoxon → t(15) = 33.000, p < 0.01 Players  using  Freepad  are  more  efficient  in  the  game  than  players  using  solely  the   keyboard  and  the  mouse.    
  23. 23. •  Keyboard rarely used in KMF configuration. •  Most participants used common shapes such as squares, circles or triangles as provided as example. Observations and questionnaires 24
  24. 24. •  Better distribute most of the different tasks the player has to perform (Conquest and Economy) between the keyboard, the mouse and Freepad. •  More parallelism in the actions the player can perform. •  Player more efficient when using Freepad Conclusions 25
  25. 25. •  Freepad –  The sheet of paper can’t be moved (but can be reused). –  Limited to closed shapes. –  Keystrokes triggering technique does not get access to advanced game functionalities (Ex.: micro-management, etc.) •  Experience design –  Within-subjects design •  problem  of  asymmetric  skill  transfer   –  The metric is likely only appropriate in this very specifically constrained game type –  User study size (although stats do not lie) Limitations 26
  26. 26. •  Study interface customization for RTS. •  Used new kind of customizable interface (Kinect, Leap…) •  Apply the same principle to other tasks than RTS (word editing softwares, graphic editing softwares, etc.) Future works 27
  27. 27. •  Freepad software available at: –  http://www.metacreation.net/freepad Matthieu Macret Alissa N.Antle Philippe Pasquier mmacret@sfu.ca aantle@sfu.ca pasquier@sfu.ca Questions ? 28

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