Suit The System To The Player: A Methodology for Physical Creativity

Friedhoff Jane
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The PS Move, Kinect, and Wii tout their technological capabilities as evidence that they can best support intuitive, creative movements. However, games for these systems tend to use their technology to hold the player to higher standards of conformity. This style of game design can result in the player being made to 'fit' the game, rather than the other way around. It is worthwhile to explore alternatives for exertion games, as they can encourage exploration of long-dormant physical creativity in adults and potentially create coliberative experiences around the transgression of social norms. This paper synthesizes a methodology including generative outputs, multiple and simultaneous forms of exertion, minimized player tracking, irreverent metaphors, and play with social norms in order to promote. Scream 'Em Up tests this methodology and provides direction for future research.


The strenuous task of maintaining and making friends: Tensions between play and friendship in MMOs

Eklund Lina Ask Kristine
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

This empirically driven study concerns the creation and maintenance of friendships in online gaming. Social interaction and community building are integral to online game-play, yet maintaining and making friends within a gaming context is not without its conflicts. Through analyses of interview data (n=52) combined from two research projects concerning MMO-gaming this study presents three ideal type portraits of gamers. The portraits illustrate different struggles of balancing friendships, a challenging game experience, and everyday-life. Specifically they look at the relationship between social design and social play; everyday-life and contexts of play; and ‘player burnout’, when players leave the game. Results emphasise how friendships and everyday-life constrains affect how we play, our preferences towards play, and who we play with online. The study concludes that maintaining and making friends in an online game can be a strenuous task limited by both a rational game structure and everyday-life.


A Cognitivist Theory of Affordances for Games

Cardona-Rivera Rogelio E. Young R. Michael
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Affordances, broadly construed as opportunities for action, have been used to explain game-related phenomena in a variety of different contexts. This paper presents a cognitivist theory of affordances, which is general enough that it subsumes several related theories, yet precise enough that it provides a useful lens through which to view games. The framework is a re-contextualization of older work that unifies approaches taken in the fields of ecological psychology, interaction design, and human-computer interaction. The Cognitivist Theory of Affordances in Games is thus a theoretical contribution, which synthesizes several views by presenting three independent manipulable entities that are relevant to the study of games: 1) real affordances, what actions are possible in a game, 2) perceived affordances, what actions players perceive possible in a game, and 3) feedback, perceptual information introduced in the game by its designers to advertise real affordances in the hopes of eliciting accurate perceived affordances.


Game Design and Business Model: an Analysis of Diablo 3

Prax Patrick
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

This paper develops a theoretical framework for analyzing if a certain feature of the design of a game has been introduced to increase the financial profit created over a specific revenue stream. The framework is created from existing theory and consists of the points 1. Revenue Generation, 2. Game Design and Business Model Integration, and 3. Problematic Game Design. If all these points are given for a certain design feature than it has been implemented into the game to increase revenue. This framework is the used to analyze the design of the successful PC game Diablo 3. Diablo 3 features an auction house that allows players to trade their virtual items for real money while the owner of the game, Blizzard Entertainment, collects a fee for every transaction. The analysis shows that the economy of Diablo 3 is designed to increase the revenue of the real-money market place.


Incongruous Avatars and Hilarious Sidekicks: Design Patterns for Comical Game Characters

Dormann Claire Boutet Mish
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Integrating humour in games or designing humorous games can be challenging but rewarding. Contributing to practical knowledge of these contexts, we examine the role and value of humour in game character design. We begin with a brief review of main theories of humour. Next, we outline our methodology, describing steps taken to develop game design patterns on humour. From our investigation, we present a classification of comic characters and discuss a sampling of patterns for characters, highlighting design considerations particular to these. Then we enrich our collection by situating our character patterns within the comic worlds the characters inhabit. Our intent is to create tools that game designers can use for laughter-inducing entertainment, to generate new, amusing gameplay experiences.


The Pretence Awareness Contexts and Oscillating Nature of Coaching Frames

Harrop Mitchell Gibbs Martin Carter Marcus
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Drawing on data from three studies, this paper argues that the learning and teaching of player coaching is an important frame of temporary motivation for players during gameplay. Furthermore, play framed temporarily as a coaching experience exhibits what Fine (1983) called the oscillating nature of engrossment and operates under the same kind of pretence awareness context (Glaser & Strauss, 1964) that he described in relation to role-playing games. We argue the teaching of a new game, or parts of a game, is a fleeting yet recurring experience, with participants oscillating between regular mundane everyday play and coaching new players. The coach and other players are often expected to continue play as if they had not seen any strategically important information during their time coaching and learning. This is of course a pretence, the implications of which are explored.


The Long Decade of Game Studies: Case of Finland

Sotamaa Olli Suominen Jaakko
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Given the young age of game studies, the recent history and development of the field remains largely unstudied. This paper takes a closer look at 34 games-related Finnish doctoral dissertations published between 1998 and 2012. The metareview explores the diverse starting points scholars have taken to study games during the years. The results show that instead of any particular national focus, the studies rather connect to topical international discussions and debates. While a trend towards acknowledging an autonomous discipline can be identified over the studied period, the studies also contribute to a variety of other fields.


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.


Untangling Twine: A Platform Study

Friedhoff Jane
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

As mainstream games require increasingly larger technical teams and more complex software, there has been a move in the opposite direction: that is, the development of game-making tools that “are being designed with people who aren't professional coders in mind.” While Twine is not the only platform designed to facilitate the creation of interactive stories, it has evolved into the primary hotbed for games exploring personal experiences, especially those dealing with issues like marginalization, queerness, and discrimination. This paper examines Twine from a platform studies perspective to understand how it supports and facilitates more experimental works. The platform's development history, documentation, UI, method of content generation, and distribution model combine to create a tool that facilitates these kinds of works. Twine’s reference materials (oriented not toward code and problem solving, but to affirmation of the individual experience as the basis of a game), user interface (analogous to common brainstorming/writing techniques), orientation toward vignette (with the genre's subversive potential) and open distribution model (free to download, free to share, and exported as HTML) make the platform a uniquely-accessible tool for creating highly personal games. Analyzing Twine in this way allows game researchers to understand the importance of Twine’s design to the creation of such works, in turn illustrating factors that platform developers may use to guide future software.


Learning and Enjoyment in Serious Gaming – Contradiction or Complement?

Wechselberger Ulrich
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Research has mainly neglected to examine if the possible antagonism of play/games and seriousness affects the educational potential of serious gaming. This article follows a microsociological approach and treats play and seriousness as different social frames, with each being indicated by significant symbols and containing unique social rules, adequate behavior and typical consequences of action. It is assumed that due to the specific qualities of these frames, serious frames are perceived as more credible but less entertaining than playful frames – regardless of subject matter. Two empirical studies were conducted to test these hypotheses. Results partially confirm expectations, but effects are not as strong as assumed and sometimes seem to be moderated by further variables, such as gender and attitudes. Overall, this article demonstrates that the educational potential of serious gaming depends not only on media design, but also on social context and personal variables.