Game design research: An overview

Petri Lankoski and Jussi Holopainen

In: Lankoski, P. and Holopainen, J., eds., 2017. Game design research. An introduction to theory & practice. ETC Press, pp.1-24. Available at http://press.etc.cmu.edu/index.php/product/game-design-research/ (Printed book, e-pub, or free PDF)

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Game design aims to solve a design problem of “how do we create this specific game?” The main goal of this process is a game; new understanding about game development and game design is merely a by-product of that process. In game design research the aim is to uncover new facts and insight about game design, design processes, or games as designed objects; that is, to gain new knowledge and understanding about game design. Game research, on the other hand, is an umbrella term for all kinds of research studying games (as artifacts), play, or players (cf. Lankoski and Björk, 2015b)Design research, or design studies as it is also called, has been gaining momentum since the beginning of 20th century, although its history can be traced back millennia (e.g., Aristotle’s Poetics, circa 335 BCE and Vitruvius’ De architectura circa 15 BCE). While the history of games is long, little is known about the design of early games. Some information about evolution of certain games exists (e.g., Parker, 2006). Elizabeth Magie’s Landlord’s game (1903) is one of the early examples where there is data about its design, such as that the game is designed based on an economical theory by Henry George.

Forthcoming – Game design research: Theory & practice

Something Jussi Holopainen and I have been working on: Lankoski, P. and Holopainen, J. forthcoming. Game design research: An Introduction to Theory & practice. ETC Press.

Table of contents of the book:

  1. Game design research: An overview / Petri Lankoski and Jussi Holopainen
  2. Epistemological underpinnings of game design research / Laureline Chiapello
  3. Multidisciplinary game design research: Ontologies and other remarks / Annakaisa Kultima
  4. De-coding games through historical research in art and design / Christopher W. Totten
  5. Investigating game design methods and models / Joris Dormans and Jussi Holopainen
  6. Games design research through game design practice / Paul Coulton and Alan Hook
  7. Game design mise-en-scène practice: Intention and means in JEU SERAI / Emmanuel Guardiola and Stéphane Natkin
  8. Gaps of uncertainty: A case for experimentation in serious game design frameworks / Niels Quinten, Steven Malliet and Karin Coninx
  9. Experimental game design / Annika Waern and Jon Back
  10. Going indie: Methods for understanding indie production / Alyea Sandovar
  11. Critical practices in game design / Jess Marcotte and Rilla Khaled

Some more embodiment analyses

Here are some more (explorative) analyses from the embodiment data used the Embodiment in character-based video games.

I collected also workload data using raw Nasa TLX when gathering data for EFA and CFA, but then I did not use workload data in analyses. My assumption was that workload would correlate with the embodiment, but did not look at this.

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Embodiment in character-based video games

Petri Lankoski


This is author’s version of the paper. The authoritative version is available via ACM.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2994310.2994320.

The paper is presented at AcademicMindtrek’16, October 17-18, 2016, Tampere, Finland (c) 2016 ACM. ISBN978-1-4503-4367-1/16/10… and published in the conference proceedings.


Abstract

Embodiment is used to denote the sense that something is a part of one’s body. The sense of own body is argued to relate to the sense of agency of one’s own actions and of the ownership of the body. In this sense of own body can incorporate something external to the body, such as simple tools or virtual hands. The premise of the study is that the player-characters and game controllers get embodied in a similar to a tool or a virtual hand. In order to study embodiment, a psychometric scale is developed using explorative factor analysis (n=104). The scale is evaluated with two sets of data (n=103 and n=89) using confirmatory factor analysis. The embodiment scale ended to having two dimensions: controller ownership and player-character embodiment. Finally, the embodiment scale is tested and put into action in two studies with hypotheses 1) embodiment and players’ skills correlate and 2) the sense of presence and embodiment correlate. The data (n=37 and n=31) analysed using mixed effects models support both hypotheses.

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