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IE Tables of Contents: 0607080910121314

Proceedings of the 2012 Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment

Fullname:Proceedings of the 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Playing the System
Editors:Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath; Charles Walker; Chek Tien Tan
Location:Auckland, New Zealand
Dates:2012-Jul-21 to 2012-Jul-22
Standard No:ISBN: 978-1-4503-1410-7; ACM DL: Table of Contents; hcibib: IE12
Links:Conference Website
GameFlow heuristics for designing and evaluating real-time strategy games BIBAFull-Text 1
  Penelope Sweetser; Daniel Johnson; Peta Wyeth; Anne Ozdowska
The GameFlow model strives to be a general model of player enjoyment, applicable to all game genres and platforms. Derived from a general set of heuristics for creating enjoyable player experiences, the GameFlow model has been widely used in evaluating many types of games, as well as non-game applications. However, we recognize that more specific, low-level, and implementable criteria are potentially more useful for designing and evaluating video games. Consequently, the research reported in this paper aims to provide detailed heuristics for designing and evaluating one specific game genre, real-time strategy games. In order to develop these heuristics, we conducted a grounded theoretical analysis on a set of professional game reviews and structured the resulting heuristics using the GameFlow model. The resulting 165 heuristics for designing and evaluating real-time strategy games are presented and discussed in this paper.
An investigation of Vladimir Propp's 31 functions and 8 broad character types and how they apply to the analysis of video games BIBAFull-Text 2
  Andrew Brusentsev; Michael Hitchens; Deborah Richards
This paper is concerned with answering the following question: "Is Vladimir Propp's Model (31 Functions and 8 Broad Character Types) a valid model with which to analyse games from a variety of gaming genres?" More specifically what genres of games can be analysed by this model and in what terms? Can the model only be used to analyse the story arcs of games or can it also be used for analysis of level narrative and even perhaps for dialogue between the player character and computer controlled characters? In this paper, Propp's Model will be used to analyse selected games from a variety of genres in terms of character archetypes, story arc, level narrative and character dialogue. The ability of the model to cope with in-game player decisions will also be examined. The validity of the model as a video game analysis tool is assessed and recommendations given on which video game genres the model is most applicable.
Performing design analysis: game design creativity and the theatre of the impressed BIBAFull-Text 3
  Truna Aka J. Turner; David Browning; Gordon Moyes
We report and reflect upon the early stages of a research project that endeavours to establish a culture of critical design thinking in a tertiary game design course. We first discuss the current state of the Australian game industry and consider some perceived issues in game design courses and graduate outcomes. The second section presents our response to these issues: a project in progress which uses techniques originally exploited by Augusto Boal in his work, Theatre of the Oppressed. We appropriate Boal's method to promote critical design thinking in a games design class. Finally, we reflect on the project and the ontology of design thinking from the perspective of Bruce Archer's call to reframe design as a 'third academic art'.
Personalised gaming: a motivation and overview of literature BIBAFull-Text 4
  Sander Bakkes; Chek Tien Tan; Yusuf Pisan
This article focuses on personalised games, which we define as games that utilise player models for the purpose of tailoring the game experience to the individual player. The main contribution of the article is a motivation for personalised gaming, supported by an extensive overview of scientific literature. The motivatin concerns (a) the psychological foundation, (b) the effect on player satisfaction, (c) the contribution to game development, and (d) the requirement for achieving ambitions. The provided overview of scientific literature goes into the subject of player modelling, as well as eight adaptive components: (1) space adaptation, (2) mission/task adaptation, (3) character adaptation, (4) game mechanics adaptation, (5) narrative adaptation, (6) music/sound adaptation, (7) player matching (multiplayer), and (8) difficulty scaling. In the concluding sections, the relationship to procedural content generation is discussed, as well as the generalisation to other domains.
A feasibility study in using facial expressions analysis to evaluate player experiences BIBAFull-Text 5
  Chek Tien Tan; Daniel Rosser; Sander Bakkes; Yusuf Pisan
Current quantitative methods of measuring player experience in games are mostly intrusive to play and less suited to natural, non-laboratory play environments. This paper presents an initial study to validate the feasibility of using facial expressions analysis for evaluating player experiences. It builds on a prior position that video-based computer vision techniques can provide a less intrusive and more versatile solution for automatic evaluation of game user experiences. A user study was performed on an initial group of participants in a first-person puzzle shooter game (Portal 2) and a social drawing trivia game (Draw My Thing), and the results are shown to support our position.
Feedback-based gameplay metrics: measuring player experience via automatic visual analysis BIBAFull-Text 6
  Raphaël Marczak; Jasper van Vught; Gareth Schott; Lennart E. Nacke
Using gameplay metrics to articulate player interaction within game systems has received increased interest in game studies. The value of gameplay metrics comes from a desire to empirically validate over a decade of theorization of player experience and knowledge of games as ludic systems. Taking gameplay metrics beyond formalized user testing (i.e. with the aim of improving a product) allows researchers the freedom of examining any commercially available game without the need to have access to the game's source code. This paper offers a new methodology to obtain data on player behavior, achieved through analyzing video and audio streams. Game interface features are being analyzed automatically, which are indicative of player behavior and gameplay events. This paper outlines the development of this methodology and its application to research that seeks to understand the nature of engagement and player motivations.
A novel agent based control scheme for RTS games BIBAFull-Text 7
  Matt Cabanag; Deborah Richards; Michael Hitchens
So far, the main focus of AI research around RTS games has been towards creating autonomous, virtual opponents to compete against human beings or other autonomous players. At the same time, popular commercial titles are increasing their emphasis on micro-management; neglecting development towards further autonomy. This paper proposes a simple reactive agent that is proficient in combat tasks. This agent will be the basis of individual units; forming the backbone of a multiagent system. Built on this is a novel control scheme that is designed to aid a human player; deferring all strategic decisions to the controller. Finally, the paper will show the results of experiments designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed control scheme.
Providing both physical and perceived affordances using physical games pieces on touch based tablets BIBAFull-Text 8
  Dan Burnett; Paul Coulton; Adam Lewis
Whilst capacitive touch screen phones and tablets, such as the iPhone and iPad, are increasingly becoming one of the main forms of gaming platform, the nature of the touch interface and the lack of physical feedback are seen as limitations. In this research we investigate how physical game pieces can be used to augment tablet games to provide both physical and perceived affordance through direct tangible interaction. After devising a scheme for the creation of such games pieces that can support both static and dynamic interaction, the concept is demonstrated through the creation of an air hockey game that uses an iPad as the table and is played with physical air hockey mallets that interact with the iPad surface and a virtual puck. Not only are the physical hockey mallets perceived to add considerably to the enjoyment of the game, such game pieces can be easily created using 3D printing and conductive cloth to provide a range of functionality..
Usability attributes in virtual learning environments BIBAFull-Text 9
  Deborah Richards; Iwan Kelaiah
The emphasis of many studies investigating Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), including our own, has been on evaluating whether learning has occurred and in determining what factors might have influenced learning. Participants are typically asked to perform certain tasks and answer many questions about their characteristics, preferences, experiences and what they learnt. But what do participants see as relevant to tell us; perhaps they think we have missed something important? To answer this question, we chose three diverse studies, concerning realism, interactivity and immersion, and analyse the free-text comments to see if any patterns could be found in what users were wanting to tell us. Based on the analysis and literature, we suggest a set of categories and usability attributes to be considered when designing and evaluating VLEs.
Understanding player experience finding a usable model for game classification BIBAFull-Text 10
  Jasper van Vught; Gareth Schott; Raphaël Marczak
Digital games receive an age restriction classification rating based on their depiction of harmful content and its presumed impact on players. While classification processes serve as predictors of the subsequent interactions between player and game text they remain largely inferential and an exercise in caution. Confounded by the medium's interactive nature, we argue that classification processes would benefit from research that provides empirical accounts of the interactive experience of games. This paper presents findings taken from a research project with the aim of operationalizing over a decade of Game Studies theorization on the distinct quality of games. The intention is to produce an empirically validated model of media 'usage,' capable of informing regulation processes and the classification of games (within a New Zealand context). Here we draw on findings achieved from one component of our mixed methodology research design [37] -- A structured diary method that was employed to allow game players to chronicle different elements of their gameplay experience with a single text as they progressed through it. The findings serve to highlight the applied value of Game Studies' theory and its capacity to account for the 'actual' experience of play and the ways game texts are activated under the agency of players once they enter everyday life and culture.
An investigation of player to player character identification via personal pronouns BIBAFull-Text 11
  Michael Hitchens; Anders Drachen; Deborah Richards
The player character is an important feature of many games, where it is through the character that the player interacts with game world. There has been considerable interest in the relationship between the player and the player character. Much of this work has examined the identification of players with their characters, generally taking either a textual analysis approach, or has been empirical work that has explicitly identified the idea of identification through survey instruments, etc. The work presented here takes a different empirical approach, focusing on the use of various pronoun forms (first, second, third) as an indication of the relationship between player and character. Results indicate that the presence of story and information about the player character had no effect on identification with the plater character. However, characteristics of the players, particularly gender and general experience in playing video games, did have a statistically significant affect, indicating that different levels of identification are more dependent on the player than on the game. This indicates that players are not a homogeneous group with respect to player character identification and is an important consideration for designers to recognise.
Challenging reality using techniques from interactive drama to support social simulations in virtual worlds BIBAFull-Text 12
  Deborah Richards; Nicolas Szilas
Simulations of social situations have great potential to be applied to many of the social problems that we find in society and organisations. Social simulations can do more than provide experience and transfer current best practice; they may be used to transform current social realities. As many educationalists, organizations and researchers are finding, Virtual Worlds (VWs) provide an environment for conducting person to person social simulations. In this paper we consider a more challenging form of social simulation in VWs involving intelligent social interactions between humans and computer-based non-player characters in VWs, known as intelligent virtual agents (IVAs). However, using IVAs to simulate social behavior requires some reconsideration of the role that reality plays and challenges the definition of a simulation as a representation of reality. By bringing in the element of fiction (non-reality) often associated with drama, narrative and storytelling together with virtual worlds, we can relax some of the constraints associated with reality and go beyond reality. In beyond reality simulations, we actually use simulations to exaggerate aspects of the real world in order to emphasize a particular learning concept or even to break the rules, strategies, roles and operators which apply in the real world.
Designing a game for occupational health and safety in the construction industry BIBAFull-Text 13
  Stefan Greuter; Susanne Tepe; J. Fiona Peterson; Frank Boukamp; Kimberley d'Amazing; Kalonica Quigley; Rhys van der Waerden; Thomas Harris; Tim Goschnick; Ron Wakefield
Safety in the construction industry is important because people continue to be injured on construction sites. To address this, the Australian construction industry and its regulator, the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, have required that anyone who intends to work on a construction site must complete an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) construction induction process.
   One quite complex section of the construction induction training deals with the identification of hazards and the management of hazards through controls to prevent workers from injury. There is a multitude of worksite hazards and many OH&S controls.
   A key challenge for OH&S training is to engage learners. Serious Games are a promising vehicle to engage learners and enhance their retention of important concepts. This paper reports on the design decisions and the development of an informative and entertaining game, which is intended to motivate users to learn about workplace hazards. The game is also intended to help users retain their knowledge of workplace hazards and their management, and to assist with knowledge transfer into the real world.
Experiences with design patterns for oldschool action games BIBAFull-Text 14
  Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
This article discusses the application of an Alexandrian pattern language to the design of interactive systems. It grew out of an University course titled A Pattern Approach to Action Game Design, which was offered as an elective in the Creative Technologies program at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, in 2011. We sketch out the idea of design patterns and describe our experiences with the process of using them for designing oldschool action games, that is, finding patterns, making a language, using it for creating several game designs and realizing one of these designs collaboratively. We discuss the concept of the course and present our pattern language and the game we made. While the language is arguably more like a patchy pattern collection, the various game designs quite loose and the realized game unfinished, the process was challenging and intense, and offered students a new perspective on design. In the spirit of design patterns, we only did what the task at hand required, not artificial exercises. We attempted to connect theory and practice in a natural, direct way as we presented, discussed and used everything we did in order to continue our journey. Our course was not aimed at fixed or frozen products, but on a process that was constantly in flux through collaboration by people who interact and share a common pattern language, use, test, revise and refine it while moving on.
Agent-based museum and tour guides: applying the state of the art BIBAFull-Text 15
  Deborah Richards
Agent-based architectures and Intelligent Virtual Agents have been used to support education and exploration of objects and places of interest such as exhibitions, museums and historical or cultural sites. We present a number of issues from this body of work including: agent versus user control, education versus entertainment, navigation of semantically enriched objects, believable agents and the role of explanation. Key findings are applied to the design of user-agent interactions for Virtual Saarlouis, an historic garrison town.
Beyond arcade machines: students building interactive tangible installations BIBAFull-Text 16
  Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
In a University course on phenomenology, embodiment and tangible interaction, students were asked to design and build installations that can be played. This article describes some of their works and the concept of the course. The results are critically discussed. The aim of the course was to invite and motivate students to connect phenomenological ideas with their own work. Students were invited to uncover phenomenological theories, to explore them on their own and to integrate their findings with their practice. We attempted to establish a feedback loop of practical work and theoretical reasoning, in a natural way, a holistic approach. The course appears to have worked to get basic ideas of phenomenology across and to offer students a new perspective. The relevance and significance of phenomenological concepts for interaction design were shown. Many students successfully explored these and found their own access and focus. The works show some interesting ideas, and it is exciting to see first use of this powerful position in students' own creative work within the domain of interactive systems.
Patterns of digital game-play in Australian high school students BIBAFull-Text 17
  Sandy Muspratt; Thomas H. Apperley
This paper examines the varieties of digital play practices among students in two high schools in Victoria, Australia, in order to get a situated understanding of the patterns of youths' out-of-school gaming practices, and the role the respondents perceived these practices have in their lives. In this study we analysed survey questions that were administered to approximately three hundred and thirty respondents across the two schools. The questions focused on the technical details of play, particular games played, and students' attitudes towards games. The questions dealing with students' attitudes and perceptions of their play practices were analysed using factor analysis and cluster analysis. The factor analysis revealed three factors, interpreted as: Competition, Creation and Socialization. The cluster analysis on these three dimensions revealed five clusters -- primarily social, primarily creative, primarily competitive, overall positive, and overall negative. The clusters were associated with other variables, in particular, students' gender, amount of time they spent playing games, and access to technology.
Videogame control device impact on the play experience BIBAFull-Text 18
  Mitchell McEwan; Daniel Johnson; Peta Wyeth; Alethea Blackler
New types of control devices for videogames have emerged and expanded the demographics of the game playing public, yet little is known about which populations of gamers prefer which style of interaction and why. This paper presents data from a study that seeks to clarify the influence the control interface has on the play experience. Three commercial control devices were categorised using an existing typology, according to how the interface maps physical control inputs with the virtual gameplay actions. The devices were then used in a within-groups experimental design aimed at measuring differences in play experience across 64 participants. Descriptive analysis is undertaken on the performance, play experience and preference results for each device. Potential explanations for these results are discussed, as well as the direction of future work.
Flourishing and video games BIBAFull-Text 19
  Kellie Vella; Daniel Johnson
Studies dedicated to understanding the relationship between gaming and mental health, have traditionally focused on the effects of depression, anxiety, obsessive usage, aggression, obesity, and faltering 'real life' relationships. The complexity of game genre and personality aside, this review aims to define a space for a positive relationship between video game play and wellbeing by applying current video game research to the criteria that defines the wellbeing construct 'flourishing' [1]. Self-determination theory (SDT), and flow provide context, and areas of overlap are explored.
Personality & video game genre preferences BIBAFull-Text 20
  Nicole Peever; Daniel Johnson; John Gardner
This research has been conducted to ascertain whether people with certain personality types exhibit preferences for particular game genres. Four hundred and sixty-six participants completed an online survey in which they described their preference for various game genres and provided measures of personality. Personality types were measured using the five-factor model of personality. Significant relationships between personality types and game genres were found. The results are interpreted in the context of the features of particular game genres and possible matches between personality traits and these features.
"Box Me Dumb Human" installation BIBAFull-Text 21
  Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
In this article, the Box Me Dumb Human installation is described. In this installation, a large leather bunny puppet with red glowing eyes is boxed by the player, while insulting/motivating him/her with arguments taken from the AI debate. The player is fighting for all that is good about humanity, what distinguishes it from abstract mechanism, and he/she is fighting against the machine or system.
NOP performance BIBAFull-Text 22
  Nolwenn Hugain-Lacire
NOP is a French collective developing and questioning "New Orchestra Practices". The collective's first project, NOP.nz, has been taking place in New Zealand since May 2011 and uses a specific device; the Meta-Mallette. This paper introduces the whole project, presents the goals of NOP.nz project and the musical device Meta-Mallette. The performance proposed during the IE conference will engage the participants into new digital orchestra practices, playing a creation for joystick orchestra by Serge de Laubier, a French composer.
SARTRE: a case-based poker web app BIBAFull-Text 23
  Ian Watson; Jonathan Rubin; Glen Robertson
In this paper, we present a web implementation of a poker bot, called SARTRE, which uses case-based reasoning to play Texas Hold'em poker. SARTRE uses a memory-based approach to create a betting strategy for two-player, limit Texas Hold'em. Hand histories from strong poker players are observed and encapsulated as cases that capture specific game state information. Betting decisions are generalised by retrieving and re-using solutions from previous similar situations. SARTRE participated in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 IJCAI Computer Poker Competition's where the system was thoroughly evaluated by challenging a range of other computerised opponents. SARTRE can now be challenged online.
Case-based learning by observation: preliminary work BIBAFull-Text 24
  Glen Robertson; Ian Watson
In this paper, we present an agent which uses case-based reasoning to play the real-time strategy game StarCraft. Cases are gathered through observation of human actions in particular situations, which are extracted from game log files. Cases are then used by a domain-independent case-based reasoning framework to make in-game actions based on human actions in similar situations. This work aims to demonstrate a method for more easily creating better agents in real-time strategy games.
Quests to mastery BIBAFull-Text 25
  Stephanie Beth
A documentary film, US AND THE GAME INDUSTRY (2012) comes to you as curious field research into some works by touted international independent games developers. Three years in the making it focuses on 2D and 3D aesthetic. The games are at the more succinct end of game design scales. Set within minimal systems adherence or within seeming new phases of game asceticism, the film sustains inquiry into design purpose and the principles of dynamic play.
   There are five developers featured. Their games are deliverable to PC/Mac, Play Station 3, the I-pad or I- phone, the DS and for server supported play. All are high caliber participants in computer science and conceptual thinking, born near the early 1980's. They carry with them expansive formative experience with computer game forms. They attended American universities; Cornell, North Western, Stanford, USC and Parsons; one recently graduated with a Phd at IT, Copenhagen. One American resident is Chinese born. A fifth developer is born and educated in Australia. For this group familiarity with algorithms and decades of temporal lives with computers for play was the norm. These characters as a social group who have not only experienced thousands of hours with rules of play but are players as consumers who have now switched to development. They were challenged by boredom and by opportunity, who, ignoring other explosions such as gamification trends, set off to wield connoisseur status and provide elegant ideas for universal appeal. They, against the tide of 'the market', are almost recluses for months and years repeatedly so as to focus individual attention on the complexity of code, the exquisite natures of flow and games' potentials for human satisfactions.
   Robin Hunicke is Executive Producer of JOURNEY. (thatgamecompany) and Jenova Chen is creative director. This company's latest game is an adventure game held to the form of a mono myth. Zach Gage (SpellTower) is a concept artist and a relative newcomer to games design. SpellTower is a word game trumping word games. Alexander Bruce (Demruth) has been working five years on one adventure experience for the mind, Antichamber. It uses non-euclidean geometry. Douglas Wilson (Die Gute Fabrik), is producing a swamp opera this year titled MUTAZIONE. Jason Rohrer, developer of short games these last four years is to reveal his next game, THE CASTLE DOCTRINE in the film.
   These developers and their retinues stand as unique in their investment in one-off game development. Their works represent the edge of critical review. This cluster is a brief representation of people making games sophisticated enough that many are taking pause with them in the ride of life and cultural selection. Their scrutiny and élan with dynamism, puzzles, myth and story speak of riches to be tackled and felt.
   The filmed subjects are presented in interviews, with their work and in dialogues with some peers. Other designers and developers in support are: Richard Lemarchand and Nicholas Fortugno. Also, Austin Wintory, composer for JOURNEY and designers and engineers of the JOURNEY team active during 2009-2012.