The Surrogate Body in Play
Within media theory and, particularly, film studies, Voss has determined how cinematic experiences rely on the viewer to lend their body as a surrogate body to enable the film to actualise. I argue, that this is similarly, albeit across different axes, the case in digital games; arguably even more so as players not only lend their affective reception, but literally more or less abstract actions that are strictly tied to the context of playing particular games in particular settings. — with Kathrin Gerling (KU Leuven)
(Non-)Experiences — Playing Idle Games
Idle (or Incremental) games are characterised by limited levels of player activity. They progress with little or no external input, incentivise waiting and require players to ‘play at planning’. While there exist theoretical considerations of how to define this type of game and its characteristics, to date, little exploration into the experiences players have when (not) interacting with idle games is available. Through interviews in group settings with self-identified players of idle games, I explore the reflective first-person perspective on these experiences. The design and development of a novel idle game will then be used to augment this data by observing players in different ways (personally, through log data etc.) and engaging with them through Cultural Probes. Additionally, we will also use a validated Player Experience Questionnaire to contrast the different types of experiences constructed by the various instruments. This supports a larger argument of aiming at an understanding of experiences as intangible and driven by different stakeholders. — with Lennart Nacke, Andrew Cen (University of Waterloo), Sultan Alharthi, Z Toups (NMSU), Tess Tanenbaum (UCI Irvine) and Jessica Hammer (Carnegie Mellon)
Social Play Technologies (Project Assistant, TU Wien, 2017–2019)
This project (ongoing until 2020) investigates how technology can help support social play activities in mixed, co-located groups of autistic and neuro-typically developing children, aged 6 to 8 years. We aim to develop smart play objects, which can intelligently react to social situations to scaffold interactive play experiences of autistic children and their typically developing peers. For such objects to be meaningful to different children, it is key to involve them actively in their design.
OutsideTheBox (Project Assistant, TU Wien, 2014–2019)
With OutsideTheBox we thought laterally and outside of typical boxes and categorisations. We designed new technologies with children with autism which are not exclusively driven by the effects of a disability, but engage children in all their diversity and with all their differences.
Looking at Games (Masters’ Project, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, 2013/2014)
Gameplay Experience is affected by several attributes of games. Amongst them, two have been chosen here to look into further: Technological novelty and Framing. The work shows a development process for a digital game directly using eye movements for adaptation (next to conventional adaptation) and an extensive user study where the game has been presented in two different ways to players. Results of the study indicate that performance is more affected by eye movement based adaptation, that framing and adaptation have an influence on gameplay experience (at least in some settings) and that framing shapes expertise as measured by eye movements in conventionally adapted games. These are put in perspective and discussed thoroughly with an outlook on the future of research in eye movement based adaptation.
Navigation of Blind Players in Text-Based Games (Honours Project, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, 2012)
With the assistance of screenreaders and specialised client software, blind players are able to play text based games. In multiplayer online versions they can also do so with other players. However, in their everyday lives as well as in games, blind and sighted players interact differently with their environment. Text-based games are usually written by sighted gamers with a focus on textual representation of visual features. An exception is the game Blind, which was an entry to the Interactive Fiction Competition 20115. It relies heavily on the textual representation of sounds and feedback given through sound and touch instead of visual representation. There are two different fundamental ways of navigating through a textual world: ego-centric coordinates (such as left, right, forward and backwards) or cardinal coordinates (such as north, south, east and west). When examining immersion, this fact raises the following research question: Which of these coordinate systems in text based games creates a gameplay that is more immersive for blind players and which is more immersive for sighted players?