Introduction from “Game Research Methods: An Overview”

Introduction from Lankoski & Björk, 2015. Game Research Methods: An Overview. ETC Press.
The book is available as free PDF

Printed copies can be bought at least from:

Petri Lankoski & Staffan Björk

This volume is about methods in game research. In game research, wide variety of methods and research approaches are used. In many cases, researchers apply the method set from another discipline to study games or play because game research as discipline is not yet established as its own discipline and the researchers have been schooled in that other discipline. Although this may, in many cases, produce valuable research, we believe that game research qualifies as a research field in its own right. As such, it would benefit game researchers to have collections of relevant research methods described and developed specifically for this type of research. Two direct benefits of this would be to illustrate the variety of methods that are possible to apply in game research and to mitigate some of the problems; each new researchers has to reinvent how methods from other fields can or need to be adjusted to work for game research.

Read more

JGVW Special Issue: Experiencing Games

I just got a copy of the special issue Experiencing games: Games, play and players of the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds edited by Waern, Thorhauge, Verhagen, and me (the online version should come out by the end of December).

Special issue TOC:

  • Lankoski, Waern, Thorhauge, Verhagen: Introduction to special issue: Experiencing Games: Games, play and players, pp. 175-180. DOI=10.1386/jgvw.3.3.175_7.
  • Kivikangas et al.: A review of the us of psychophysiological methods in game research, pp. 181-199. DOI=10.1386/jgvw.3.3.181_1.
  • Norgard: The corporeal-locomotive craftsman: Gaming in World of Warcraft, pp. 201-218. DOI=10.1386/jgvw.3.3.201_1.
  • Montola: The painful art of extreme role-playing, pp. 219-237. DOI=10.1386/jgvw.3.3.175_7. DOI=10.1386/jgvw.3.3.219_1.
  • Waern: ‘I’m in love with someone that doesn’t exist!’ Bleed in the context of a computer game, pp- 239-257. DOI=10.1386/jgvw.3.3.239_1.
  • Hagen: Designing for player experience: How professional game developers communicate design visions, pp. 259-275. DOI=10.1386/jgvw.3.3.259_1.

(I add direct links to dois when the online versions are available.)

Player Character Engagement in Computer Games

My article  Player Character Engagement in Computer Games came out. Here is the abstract:

This article argues how players can control a player character influence interpretation and facilitate engagement within a game. Engagement with player characters can be goal-related or empathic, where goal-related engagement depends on affects elicited by goal-status evaluations whereas characters facilitate empathic engagement. The concepts of recognition, alignment, and allegiance are used to describe how engagement is structured in games. Recognition describes aspects of character interpretation. Alignment describes what kind of access players have to a character’s actions, knowledge, and affects. Allegiance describes how characters elicit sympathy or antipathy through positive or negative evaluation of the character.

Keywords: game characters, player character, engagement, empathy, goals

Games and Culture July 2011 vol. 6 no. 4 291-311, doi: 10.1177/1555412010391088

AI Design for Believable Characters via Gameplay Design Patterns

Lankoski, Johansson, Karlsson, Björk & Dell’Acqua, AI Design for Believable Characters via Gameplay Design Patterns just game out. Here is the abstract:

We address the problem of creating human-like, believable behavior for game characters. To achieve character believability in games, the game designer needs to develop that character so that it fulfills as many aspects of believability as possible. With believable behavior we mean that the game is consistently structured in terms of narration or gameplay so that it is possible to build and maintain coherent relations between the actions of the characters. In this paper, we first analyze the general patterns for game characters design in detail concentrating on the aspects that are relevant to the AI design. Then, we present an agent architecture that we are developing, and discuss how this architecture can address the identified design patterns.

Keywords: non-player character, artificial intelligence, design pattern, believability, gameplay, agent architecture, decision making, knowledge base, perception, emotion, appraisal.

The piece is the book Business, Technological and Social Dimensions of Computer Games: Multidisciplinary Developments edited by Cruz-Cunha, Carvalho & Tavares and published by IGI Global.

I am pleased with out chapter. However, the book is rather expensive; I hope that it is not a write only publication.

Research on Game Characters, part 2

I continue my literature search on game character. Some things I have missed, popped up:

  • Hefner, D., Klimmt, C. and Vorderer, P., 2007. Identification with the Player Character as Determinant of Video Game Enjoyment. Entertainment Computing. Springer. DOI=10.1007/978-3-540-74873-1_6.
  • Christoph, K., Dorothée, H. and Peter, V., 2009. The Video Game Experience as “True” Identification: A Theory of Enjoyable Alterations of Players’ Self-Perception. Communication Theory, 19: 351–373. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2009.01347.x

It seems my reading list grows.