A Framework of Player Objects in Virtual Environments

Willumsen Ea Christina
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Based on data gathered from an analysis of 99 digital single-player games, this paper presents a framework named the PO-VE model for analysing player objects in virtual environments. Player objects are understood as objects integrated in the virtual environment which constitute the player’s point of control and thus frame their actions in the game system. A necessary distinction is made between player object and the presentation of characterisation, separating the notion of “character” from player object, which yields certain analytical benefits. The PO-VE model, which consists of 16 different categories and thus provides a high-granularity analysis tool, is presented using two primary examples from the data set – The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and VVVVVV – and discussed in relation to its potential applications, limitations, and contributions to the more theoretical domain of game studies.


A Typology of Rumble

Willumsen Ea Christina Jacevic Milan
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

Rumble is a feature of most modern games published for home consoles, yet no existing studies on rumble and haptic feedback consider its various manifestations and functions in digital games. Likewise, analytical frameworks for understanding digital games tend to overlook rumble as a significant component of the game object or experience. Building on analyses of nine games from the PlayStation family of home consoles, this paper explores rumble as a two-level semiotic structure, consisting of a feedback source and (a) level(s) of operation. The two components are suggested as the base for a typology that accounts for the specific feedback source – environment, object, interface, or body – and its specific levels of operation as ludic, dramatic, technical, or an overlap of any of these. We present examples of each type to discuss the uses, applications, and limitations of the framework in relation to both analysis and design.


Is My Avatar MY Avatar? Character Autonomy and Automated Avatar Actions in Digital Games

Willumsen Ea Christina
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This paper will explore the borders between the avatar and character dimensions of the player figure, as outlined by Vella (2015), particularly in cases where this line is blurred. Through investigation of five different examples, I suggest we use the measures of avatar control and character complexity to study the relationship between avatar and character in a given instance. Avatar control refers to the amount of agency the player has in a given instance in a game compared to the default mode of agency, whereas character complexity builds on transmedia and literary theory approaches to characters, to explore what constitutes complexity of the character in question. The analysis allows us to assess whether the instance can be considered representing either character autonomy or automated avatar actions, and in turn may help us understand the relationship between the player, the avatar, and the character.


Source Code and Formal Analysis: A Hermeneutic Reading of Passage

Willumsen Ea Christina
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

White-box analysis of video games is not an integrated part of the formal analysis. Rather, few scholars have investigated how an analysis of the source code can inform a hermeneutic reading of the game. In this paper I will present a reading of the source code of Passage (Rohrer, 2007), argue for why a focus on authorial intention is unnecessary when investigating the symbolism and metaphors of a game, and illustrate how the white-box analysis can inform the formal analysis of the executed game. Finally, I shall discuss how the source code relates to the game as a ‘work’, and how it can be used for studies of symbolism and metaphors. Thus I will conclude that it is indeed a valuable method for game studies, albeit needing more studies on the textual relation between executed game and source code.