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Emotions and Agents in Games


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Presentation about the role of emotions in the player experience and the creation of believable interactive autonomous characters. Delivered at Instituto Superior Técnico and Faculdade de Ciências of University of Lisbon on December 2014.

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Emotions and Agents in Games

  1. 1. Emotions and Agents in Games Rui Prada
  2. 2. Who am I? Professor at Ins0tuto Superior Técnico Dep. Computer Science and Engineering Applica0on Area on Games h5p:// 7 years, 2 courses >200 students, > 50 game prototypes
  3. 3. Who am I? Senior Researcher at INESC-­‐ID Intelligent Agents and Synthe0c Characters Group h5p://gaips.inesc-­‐
  4. 4. Who am I? Sociedade Portuguesa de Ciências dos Videojogos (Est. 2009) Co-­‐Founder and Current President Promo0ng Knowledge and understanding CollaboraHon of peers Teaching and research
  5. 5. Author of Who am I? Design e Desenvolvimento de Jogos Carlos MarHnho, Pedro Santos, Rui Prada FCA, 2014 h5ps://
  6. 6. Who am I? Avid Player Game Collector h5ps://
  7. 7. Player Experience h5ps://
  8. 8. Experience? Why? Gameplay Experience Games are means to live experiences Voluntary Subjec0ve Game Designer Player
  9. 9. Experience? Why? Experience Design for the Gameplay experience A good game is one that promotes a good experience Player Game Designer
  10. 10. Experience? What? 1. Doing/Performing 2. Feeling/Assessing 3. Remembering/Learning
  11. 11. Fulfill a dream Do something that cannot be done Feel special Live and acquire something unique Player Experience
  12. 12. Crafting the Experience Doing/Performing Create moHvaHon, opportuniHes, incenHves for acHon Feeling/Assessing Promote interesHng choices Define consequences of choices Remembering/Learning Promote re-­‐use and combinaHon
  13. 13. Pleasure h5p://­‐110303
  14. 14. A Good Experience A good experience elicits pleasure Brain rewards “desirable” situaHons and behaviours
  15. 15. Pleasure: Satisfaction of Needs Achievement. Achieve milestones, finish tasks. Power. Have an impact on the world, improve skill. Affilia0on. Maintain posiHve interacHons with others. Avoidance. Self-­‐preservaHon, seeking certainty. Balance Novelty and Control
  16. 16. Pleasure: Emotions Internal sensa0ons linked to assessment of situaHons People have needs of emo0onal regula0on (to relax or get excited) Regulate engagement (a5enHon and moHvaHon)
  17. 17. Emotions and Engagement If something has emo0onal impact it is relevant!
  18. 18. Primary Emotions Anger Fear Disgust a. b. c. Surprise Happiness Sadness d. e. f.
  19. 19. Eliciting Emotions Achieve a desirable situaHon Complete a level Give the players what they desire Nice rewards (e.g. rare items) Achieve an undesirable situaHon Lose something important Lose an opportunity Stronger if the situaHon is irreversible
  20. 20. Eliciting Emotions Obstruct/deny players’ goals Hurt/damage what they like The blame is not a5ributed enHrely to the self Belief that the situaHon is recoverable Promote anHcipaHon of an undesirable situaHon Threaten what is important for the player Creates tension PotenHates other emoHons (e.g. Happiness)
  21. 21. Eliciting Emotions Create unexpected situaHons Framed in the expectaHons of players and uncertainty PosiHve or negaHve surprises Create uncomfortable situaHons Not clearly undesirable, but to avoid Social disgust: related to social values
  22. 22. Which Emotions? All emoHons ma5er Go beyond primary emoHons Social emo0ons (Guilt, shame, pride, love…)
  23. 23. Pleasure: Learning Playing is a learning ac0vity (players learn controls, mechanics, strategies, story…)
  24. 24. Learning Support learning in your game Balance guidance and self-­‐explora0on
  25. 25. Learning The experience is ruined if There is nothing to learn It is impossible to learn (noise, sensory overload) There is no interest in the things learnt (are not applied in the game)
  26. 26. Types of Pleasure Visceral: moHon, heat, relaxaHon Cogni0ve: problem solving, memory challenges Social: social status, sense of belonging, interacHng with others Moral: follow ideals, moral code
  27. 27. Types of Pleasure Mechanics, Dynamics and AestheHcs
  28. 28. MDA: Sensation h5p://­‐limbo_1958
  29. 29. MDA: Fantasy h5p://­‐players.jpg
  30. 30. MDA: Narrative h5ps://
  31. 31. MDA: Challenge h5p://­‐/77222_NSMBWiiU_Boss-­‐05-­‐620x.jpg
  32. 32. MDA: Fellowship h5ps://­‐c/4136435012
  33. 33. MDA: Discovery h5ps://
  34. 34. MDA: Expression h5p://­‐Manor-­‐280667402
  35. 35. MDA: Submission h5ps://
  36. 36. Progression h5ps://
  37. 37. Progression The experience changes with Hme
  38. 38. Managing the Progression Challenge and Novelty (keep the learning)
  39. 39. The Flow Flow Channel Skill Level Experience Degree of Challenge Skill Level Anxiety Boredom Experience
  40. 40. Agents in Games h5p://­‐The-­‐sims-­‐2-­‐336146712
  41. 41. Agents Autonomous enHHes ProacHve ReacHve DeliberaHve
  42. 42. Interactive Agents Interact with people Become characters
  43. 43. Characters Social Roles Purpose IdenHty EmoHons Personality
  44. 44. Characters Promote Social Experience
  45. 45. Believability Coherent behaviour Fit the context Meet the expecta0ons (The Media EquaHon)
  46. 46. Believability Suspension of disbelief “Illusion of Life”
  47. 47. Believability: Visual
  48. 48. Believability: Behavioural
  49. 49. Models For Believable AI h5p://­‐of-­‐ArHficial-­‐Intelligence-­‐0007-­‐382222119
  50. 50. SGD Model Group dynamics Personality: OCEAN PosiHon in the group InteracHon dynamics: IPA
  51. 51. SGD Model Social RelaHons Influence and A5racHon Balance
  52. 52. Perfect Circle
  53. 53. Social Power PotenHal force towards change: beliefs, behaviour Influence = Power -­‐ Resistance
  54. 54. Social Power Reward Coercion LegiHmate Referent Expert
  55. 55. Social Theater
  56. 56. DIMA Model IdenHty Layered: personal, social (group memberships) salience = accessibility x fit
  57. 57. DIMA Model Intergroup relaHonships EmoHonal appraisal In-­‐group bias
  58. 58. Volcano Island
  59. 59. SID Model Social Importance InteracHon Dynamics Claim and Confer
  60. 60. SI Model: Culture Individualism/collecHvism Power distance Uncertainty avoidance Long term/short term orientaHon Masculinity/femininity Indulgence/restraint
  61. 61. Traveller
  62. 62. EMYS Robotic Player Physical embodiment Face to face interacHon Verbal and non-­‐verbal behaviour: gaze, a5enHon
  63. 63. EMYS Robotic Player EmoHonal appraisal: luck, social relaHons, state of the game Social memory: players and past experiences Social roles: helper, dominator
  64. 64. EMYS Robotic Player
  65. 65. Conclusions h5p://­‐in-­‐a-­‐bo5le-­‐post-­‐bo5le-­‐413680/
  66. 66. Games are means for experience Emo0ons and learning have a crucial role Believable agents may improve the social experience of games Concluding
  67. 67. Concluding People have social expecta0ons of agents To achieve believability: idenHty personality, emoHons, social awareness, social skills, social needs, balanced behaviour
  68. 68. Contacts h5p://gaips.inesc-­‐ h5p:// h5p://