Analyzing the believability of game character behavior using the Game Agent Matrix

Warpefelt Henrik Johansson Magnus Verhagen Harko
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

In recent years there has been significant improvement in the simpler actions performed by characters in computer games – such as navigating the world and attacking enemies and similar actions. In previous work, the ability of NPCs to adapt to changing circumstances was found to be inadequate in many circumstances. In order to validate these findings we have studied a total of 20 games, observing NPC behavior in each of the games in many different situations, ranging from everyday town life to combat. Using the Game Agent Matrix, we found a number of different behavior categories related to the social context of the agent and its behavior within that context indicating a gap between the most convincing behavior was focused around navigating the world, using tools and using language, as well as more complex behavior such as social sanctions and ranking, connected to the narrative of the game. The middle ground, containing behaviors such as dynamic group formation and the ability to perceive the actions of others were generally seen as unconvincing.


Demystifying guilds: MMORPG-playing and norms

Verhagen Harko Johansson Magnus
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

One of the most influential gaming trends today, MassivelyMulti Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), poses newquestions about the interaction between the players in thegame. Previous work has introduced concepts such ascommunity, commons, and social dilemma to analyzesituations where individual choices may result in sub-optimal global results. We propose to use the concept ofnorms instead.Modelling the players and groups of players in these gamesas normative systems with the possibility to create normsand sanction norm violations, we can analyze the differentkind of norms that may deal with the trade-off betweenindividuals, groups, and society at large.We argue that our model adds complexity where we findearlier concepts lacking some descriptive or overstretchingwhen trying to analyze the balance between individualplayers and the game playing society.


Social Play? A study of social interaction in temporary group formation (PUG) in World of Warcraft

Eklund Lina Johansson Magnus
2010 DiGRA Nordic '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International DiGRA Nordic Conference: Experiencing Games: Games, Play, and Players

One of the main components and reasons for the success of the Massive Multiplayer Online Games genre (MMOG) is that these games are seen as arenas for social interaction. The focus of this paper is the phenomenon of “Pick up Groups” (PUGs), a neglected aspect of online gaming. How is the social interaction structured in these temporary groups? The results of a participant observation study reveal a low level of social interaction between PUG players. Communication is held to a minimum and dungeons completed at high speed. Even in the event of downtime, interaction is rare. What little interaction has been observed is divided into instrumental and sociable interaction. A higher level of sociable interaction was found when several players from the same guild played together in the same group. But looking at greetings and goodbyes, normally used to acknowledge an ongoing social situation, we see that the social engagement in most PUGs is low. In summary, social interaction in PUGs, if any, is mainly instrumental, making these temporary groups unsocial game experiences; something not normally associated with group play in the MMOG genre.


And Justice for All – the 10 commandments of Online Games, and then some…

Johansson Magnus Verhagen Harko
2010 DiGRA Nordic '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International DiGRA Nordic Conference: Experiencing Games: Games, Play, and Players

As part of our research project on the social aspects of gaming and more in particular the structuring of behavior in online multiplayer games using norms and rules, we present an overview of the type of rules used by clans and guilds in both MMOGs and FPS games. Not surprisingly, both genre and player motivation play a role in the selection and creation of rules. We also note that one of the types of behavior addressed in many rules, griefing, needs a more sophisticated analysis than used in previous game research. We conclude by presenting a set of “game commandments” that summarize the rule sets analyzed.