CHI PLAY 2023
The Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY 2023)
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The Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY 2023), October 10–13, 2023, Stratford, ON, Canada

CHI PLAY 2023 – Companion Proceedings

Contents - Abstracts - Authors

Frontmatter

Title Page


Welcome to CHI PLAY 2023
CHI PLAY is the international and interdisciplinary annual symposium conference series for researchers and professionals across all areas of play, games, and human-computer interaction (HCI). CHI PLAY highlights and fosters discussion of current high-quality research in games and HCI as the foundation for the future of digital play and identifies new directions for future research and development in HCI and games. This is the tenth edition of the conference, which has proven to be a premier forum for research on leading-edge novel games and playful interaction, gamification, player experience evaluations, tangible play, serious games, exertion games, games user research, user experience design in games, player psychology, gameful design, social game and play systems, play-and-game-developer applications, personalized and adaptive play, and theoretical contributions.

Info
CHI PLAY 2023 Conference Organization


Sponsors



Keynotes

Work Healthy, Play Healthy
Tanya X. Short ORCID logo
(Kitfox Games, Canada)
It is a common irony that game designers often feel they have fallen out of love with the playing of games; in fact, adults of ev- ery industry may feel they have no time for play at all. This talk “Work Healthy, Play Healthy” describes the playful philosophy and practices of a small but thriving independent games studio and its leadership. Drawing from twenty years of experience in the games industry, Tanya X. Short shows how regular indulgence in play and playfulness is not only essential to success and happiness, but a moral imperative and a necessary ingredient in human growth. Decrying the protestant work ethic explicitly, “Work Healthy, Play Healthy” outlines both personal and structural approaches to the pursuit of sustainable, lifelong productivity and happiness in the making of games. With this lens, as one example, the ‘fail fast’ directive of entrepreneurs becomes reinterpreted as a command to play, which always has permission to fail. Tanya X. Short emphasizes the psychological and nigh-spiritual benefits of self-directed play at every level, in all of her roles, from CEO to game designer to activist to mother. This talk provides tools for professionals of all stripes to create windows of workful play.

Publisher's Version
Impactful Synergy: Video Games and Humanity
Kris Alexander ORCID logo
(Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada)
In the ever-changing landscape of video games, unanticipated human connections are formed. This talk “Impactful Synergy: Video Games and Humanity”, invites viewers to investigate these ties by delving into three distinct but interconnected domains. Dr. Alexander explores the extraordinary connection between video games and daily life in a humorous and illuminating manner, deciphering the mysteries behind apparently unrelated topics. “Impactful Synergy” is more than a conversation; it is an invitation to recognize the uncharted territories where video games penetrate our lives. It honors the creativity, originality, and human-centered approach that form the foundation of game design. Recog- nizing that no single game can cater to everyone, Through statistics, substantiation, and satire, Dr. Alexander stresses the significance of making deliberate decisions when designing experiences that resonate with specific communities. Join us for a humorous exploration of the unanticipated connections that make video games a multifaceted and transformative aspect of human life.

Publisher's Version

Work in Progress

Help, My Game Is Toxic! First Insights from a Systematic Literature Review on Intervention Systems for Toxic Behaviors in Online Video Games
Michel Wijkstra ORCID logo, Katja Rogers ORCID logo, Regan L. Mandryk ORCID logo, Remco C. Veltkamp ORCID logo, and Julian Frommel ORCID logo
(Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands; University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)
Toxicity is a common problem in online games. Players regularly experience negative, hateful, or inappropriate behavior during gameplay. Intervention systems can help combat toxicity but are not widely available and or even comprehensively studied regarding their approaches and effectiveness. To assess the current state of toxicity intervention research, we are conducting a systematic literature review about intervention methods for toxic behaviors in online video games. In this work-in-progress, we report the research protocol for this review and the results from a preliminary analysis. We collected 1176 works from 4 digital libraries and performed abstract and full-text screening, resulting in 30 relevant papers containing 36 By analyzing these intervention systems, we found: 1) Most research proposes novel approaches (n =28) instead of analyzing existing interventions. 2) Most systems intervene only after toxicity occurs (n = 31) with few interventions that act before toxicity. 3) Only few interventions are evaluated with players and in commercial settings (n=5), highlighting the potential for more research with higher external validity. In our ongoing work, we are conducting an in-depth analysis of the interventions providing insights into their approaches and effectiveness. This work is the first step toward effective toxicity interventions that can mitigate harm to players.

Publisher's Version
Player-Centric Procedural Content Generation: Enhancing Runtime Customization by Integrating Real-Time Player Feedback
Nancy N. Blackburn ORCID logo, M. Gardone ORCID logo, and Daniel S. Brown ORCID logo
(University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA)
Game content creation poses significant challenges, particularly for indie developers and small teams, as it presents difficulties in scaling to meet diverse player preferences. Adaptable procedural content generation (PCG) provides a promising solution to this issue. Extensive literature exists on adaptable PCG techniques, encompassing both offline (during development) and online (during gameplay) approaches. Building upon this foundation, we propose a novel extension called Player-Centric Procedural Content Generation (PCPCG) as an additional tool for creating unique game experiences based on player preferences. In contrast to runtime adaptable PCG methods, which adapt or learn based solely on in-game data, PCPCG actively involves players in the learning loop by soliciting their feedback. Additionally, it shifts the focus from designers (as in mixed initiative (MI) and co-creative PCG) to the players as providers of learning data, thus operating during gameplay rather than during development. PCPCG possesses three key qualities: 1) real-time operation during gameplay, 2) active participation of players (not designers) in the learning loop, and 3) online learning from player feedback to create engaging and personalized content. It is important to differentiate PCPCG from content creation aids and in-game data adaptable PCGs. While PCPCG falls under the umbrella of adaptable PCG, it goes beyond relying solely on in-game data by incorporating valuable player feedback as a vital information source for content generation. PCPCG introduces a novel and promising approach to runtime procedural content generation by leveraging player feedback to create adaptive and personalized game content. While our proof of concept demonstrates the viability of PCPCG in a Pac-Man domain, further research is required to explore its limitations as the complexity of the possibility space increases.

Publisher's Version
Towards Understanding the Role of Curiosity in Puzzle Design
Neha Thumu ORCID logo, Faith Meacham ORCID logo, and Aline Normoyle ORCID logo
(Haverford College, Haverford, USA; Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, USA)
Curiosity is generally considered to be a large driver of video game players’ motivation and enjoyment. However, it is unclear how much curiosity is driven by intrinsic personality factors versus the game’s design. We explore this question through the lens of the puzzle game, Monument Valley. We create two categories of puzzles. The first category consists of simple puzzles which can be quickly solved. The second category consists of puzzles recreated from the original game. Using these puzzles, we create an online experiment platform that asks players about their innate curiosity for exploration and problem solving and then asks them to play our puzzles. In a small pilot study of this system, we analyzed the time-spent, clicks, ratings, and survey responses of 10 participants. Surprisingly, we found differences in time-spent even with our short puzzles. We also found that our participants spent the largest amount of time with puzzles that could not be solved. These results suggest future directions for research into how curiosity and persistence may be related in the context of puzzle solving.

Publisher's Version Archive submitted (13 MB)
Stackable Music: A Marker-Based Augmented Reality Music Synthesis Game
Max Chen ORCID logo, Shano Liang ORCID logo, and Gillian Smith ORCID logo
(Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, USA)
Augmented reality (AR) allows the rendering of digital content on top of the physical space, which is a promising medium for tangible interaction. Marker-based AR is widely used thanks to its low cost and ease of integration, but the gameful aspect of manipulating the physical AR markers remains understudied. In this paper, we explored the stacking mechanics of transparent AR markers and described the creation of an AR music game called Stackable Music. Stackable Music can be developed, assembled, and set up at the home or office with a printer using several sheets of transparent film and a PC or mobile device with a camera.

Publisher's Version
Controlling Your Voice in a Shouting Match: A Preliminary Study on Fostering Self-Moderation among Gamers through Embodied Play
F. Ria KhanORCID logo and Agnes Romhanyi ORCID logo
(University of California at Irvine, Irvine, USA)
Toxicity and harmful conduct in competitive gaming spaces is a prevalent topic in games research as well as investigating coping strategies and tools for gamers to mitigate its negative effects. These investigations include practicing different forms of emotion self-regulation, specifically in the context of team-based eSports. The fighting game community, however, has yet to be explored in current literature regarding toxic behavior and self-regulation. We address this research gap and explore fostering self-regulation practices among fighting game players by introducing Shouting Match, an alternative controller two-player 2D fighting game that uses shout commands as a core game mechanic. We use novel methods of embodied play, utilizing the expressive vocal culture of the fighting game community and having players practice self-regulation through controlling their vocal expressions. For this work-in-progress, we report on a preliminary user study that evaluates usability and intuitiveness of our current, low-fidelity prototype of Shouting Match. We extended the usability evaluation with a focus group to assess attitudes and collect insights regarding the system's enjoyability, playability, and prospects in emotion self-regulation. Lastly, we define three key considerations through our findings that will inform future directions of Shouting Match and give initial insights for researchers interested in embodied play for prosocial impact.

Publisher's Version Published Artifact Artifacts Available
Grinding to a Halt: The Effects of Long Play Sessions on Player Performance in Video Games
Ioannis Bikas ORCID logo, Johannes PfauORCID logo, Thomas Muender ORCID logo, Dmitry Alexandrovsky ORCID logo, and Rainer Malaka ORCID logo
(University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany; University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, USA; KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany)
An increasing number of people spend considerable amounts of their leisure time on video games. For aspiring eSports athletes and professionals alike, playing for ten to fourteen hours per day to gain proficiency has become the norm. Consequently, musculoskeletal pain and injuries are common among eSports athletes, while the increased risk for various health issues connected to prolonged sitting is often considered to be a necessary sacrifice for mastery. However, studies that show a decrease in player performance due to prolonged task execution have already emerged. These studies use rough estimates of player performance, such as overall win rates or kill-death-assist-ratio (KDA), and are often restricted to a rather modest number of participants. In this paper, we present an observational study that uses nuanced and individual performance metrics to measure performance in a large sample (n=5,000) of League of Legends players. Significant decreases in individual performance relative to the number of consecutively played matches are found and presented. Moreover, a considerable decline in the win rate is observed. This study highlights the potential improvement that the exploration of structured training methods could have on training efficiency and overall health in eSports enthusiasts.

Publisher's Version
Chatterbox Opener: A Game to Support Healthy Communication and Relationships
Wei-Lu Wang ORCID logo, Derek Haqq ORCID logo, Morva Saaty ORCID logo, Yusheng Cao ORCID logo, Jixiang Fan ORCID logo, Jaitun V. Patel ORCID logo, and D. Scott McCrickard ORCID logo
(Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA)
Computer Mediation Communication (CMC) applications are utilized to foster closer relationships between individuals. Various shared experience strategy designs were widely applied to technologies in order to enhance communications and interactions in family relationships. However, there needs to be more research on how shared experience approaches work in different family communication patterns. This paper presents insights into the effectiveness of three types of shared experience approaches for different family communication patterns and design considerations for game design from a diary study of Chatterbox Opener, the game we developed for families and couples to enhance communication orientation.

Publisher's Version
Accessible Play: Towards Designing a Framework for Customizable Accessibility in Games
Pallavi Sodhi ORCID logo, Audrey Girouard ORCID logo, and David Thue ORCID logo
(Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Video games are an important form of entertainment and have become an increasingly popular pastime in the 21st Century. However, many people with disabilities are still excluded from gaming due to accessibility barriers. While some progress has been made in recognizing accessibility as a design value, there is still a significant need for further advancements in game accessibility. Our research analyzes accessibility features in games across genres and platforms (PC, Console, Mobile, VR). Using Interactive Process Modelling (IPM), we map customizable accessibility options available in different games. We present our methodology for conducting interviews with game designers and gamers with disabilities to provide insights into existing options. The research project will result in the development of an accessibility-focused framework for game designers that will enable them to effectively design new customizable accessibility options for their players. Through this research, we aim to contribute to the broader discourse on accessibility and inclusivity in gaming for individuals with disabilities. This work-in-progress paper presents the ongoing progress of our research and invites feedback from the community.

Publisher's Version
Preliminary Study of the Performance of the miniPXI when Measuring Player Experience throughout Game Development
Aqeel Haider ORCID logo, Günter Wallner ORCID logo, Kathrin Gerling ORCID logo, and Vero Vanden Abeele ORCID logo
(KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria; KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany)
Short questionnaires, using only a few items for measuring user experience related constructs, have been used in a variety of domains. In the field of games, the miniPXI is such a validated short version of the player experience inventory (PXI), containing 11 single items to measure 11 different PX-related constructs. Previous validations of the miniPXI were carried out in an experimental setting with existing, fully finished games. In this study, we conduct a preliminary investigation of the potential of miniPXI to evaluate prototypes during game development. We explore differences in PX across two iterations of nine games prototypes, based on input from 16 participants. Findings suggest that the miniPXI is capable of detecting differences between the two prototype versions. In addition, at the level of individual games, the miniPXI is effective at identifying differences in nearly all PX dimensions. However, we also find limited use for the single enjoyment item, and suggest that including alternative measures such as the Net Promotor Score may be more useful. Overall, this work suggests that the miniPXI has the potential to evaluate different iterations of game prototypes, starting from the earliest stages of game development.

Publisher's Version Archive submitted (180 kB)
Unscripted, Unproduced, Unstaged: Audience Perceptions of Authenticity of Microstreamers
Nick Bowman ORCID logo, Yoon Lee ORCID logo, Siyang Chen ORCID logo, Andrew Phelps ORCID logo, Mia Consalvo ORCID logo, and Kelly Boudreau ORCID logo
(Syracuse University, Syracuse, USA; American University, Washington, USA; Concordia University, Montreal, Canada; Harrisburg Institute of Science and Technology, USA)
This work-in-progress investigates the perceived authenticity of microstreaming, a unique form of game streaming characterized by gamers streaming for small audiences with mostly non-monetary motivations. Prior research has identified three markers of authenticity in microstreams: unscripted interactions, low production values, and unstaged backgrounds. This study experimentally manipulates these markers to examine their individual and joint effects on perceived authenticity, as well as enjoyment of the streamed content. The findings will contribute to understanding the factors influencing perceived authenticity in microstreaming and shed light on how audience engage with online content creators.

Publisher's Version
Towards Co-creative Interdisciplinary Exergame Design Processes: A Theory-Based Approach of a VR-Exergame Fall Prevention Training
Celina Retz ORCID logo, Axel Braun ORCID logo, Thomas J. Klotzbier ORCID logo, Sabiha Ghellal ORCID logo, and Nadja Schott ORCID logo
(Hochschule der Medien, Stuttgart, Germany; University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany)
Proactive actions are vital for promoting healthy aging, emphasizing the necessity to to address the physical, cognitive, and emotional needs through discipline-specific expertise. Exergames, with their inherent characteristics, offer the potential to bridge the gap between the disciplines of exertion, user experience, and games. This paper presents a formal co-creative interdisciplinary design process for VR exergame training to provide effective, enjoyable, and meaningful fall prevention training for healthy aging. Our process involves establishing expert-human relations, incorporating discipline-specific approaches and goals, and assigning an active designer for implementation. The approaches are deconstructed into the language of the active designer using a shared thesaurus and translated into the exergame through construction kits. An early-stage player study and expert assessment indicate positive results through our design process.

Publisher's Version
Playing with Friends or Strangers? The Effects of Familiarity between Players in an Asymmetric Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game
Sukran Karaosmanoglu ORCID logo, Tom Schmolzi ORCID logo, and Frank Steinicke ORCID logo
(University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Many people play games to socialize. Previous studies have shown that asymmetric virtual reality (VR) games ---games that utilize and consider differences of various kinds--- can improve users' social and player experience. However, the impact of existing social factors on users' experiences is still unknown in asymmetric games. In this paper, we designed and implemented an asymmetric game in which both players are in VR. In the game, players had to exchange asymmetric information to complete tasks, resulting in a strategic interdependence. We studied how familiarity (friends vs. strangers) affects social and player experience, as well as game performance. In our preliminary between-participants study (N=14), we did not find significant differences between the friend and stranger teams in social and player experience, or game performance. We discuss how asymmetries can be used to create social VR games, and how and why familiarity does (not) affect the experience of players.

Publisher's Version Archive submitted (130 MB)
Struggling to Detect Struggle in Students Playing a Science Exploration Game
Xiner Liu ORCID logo, Stefan Slater ORCID logo, Juliana Ma. Alexandra L. Andres ORCID logo, Luke Swanson ORCID logo, Jennifer Scianna ORCID logo, David Gagnon ORCID logo, and Ryan S. Baker ORCID logo
(University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA; University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA)
The real-time detection of when a player is struggling presents an opportunity for game designers to design timely and meaningful interventions, as well as to provide targeted support that improves student learning and engagement. In this paper, we present a struggle detector in the context of students playing the learning game, Wake: Tales from the Aqualab. Using the interaction log data of the game, we engineered four sets of features that captured distinct aspects of gameplay and trained prediction models to identify human-coded cases of students struggling, cross-validating at the student level. Our best-performing detectors have shown some capability in identifying student struggles with modest performance, at an AUC (Area Under the Curve) value of 0.635. We discuss current limitations of this approach, as well as next steps towards providing real-time support within the game.

Publisher's Version
Multimedia Showdown: A Comparative Analysis of Audio, Video, and Avatar-Based Communication
Joseph Tu ORCID logo, Arielle Grinberg ORCID logo, Mark Hancock ORCID logo, and Lennart E. Nacke ORCID logo
(University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)
Our new work culture relies heavily on online meetings and computer-mediated communication (CMC). However, making an online meeting engaging while keeping communication productive is a major challenge. We collected quantitative data from the user engagement scale (UES) and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews to investigate how user engagement differed. Using the gamified web-conferencing platform Gather, we compared four communication channels: (1) audio-only, (2) audio and video (no avatar), (3) audio and avatar (no video), and (4) audio and video and avatar. We began qualitative data analysis using reflexive thematic analysis. Although the UES results did not reveal significant differences, the preliminary results from the thematic analysis such as people prefer communication platforms designed for specific use cases because video makes them feel more self-conscious, while avatars make them feel more represented. Lastly, we provide a work-in-progress applied definition of user engagement in communication channels with their perspective on individual engagement constructs.

Publisher's Version
Construct and Play: Engaging Students with Visualizations through Playful Methods
Magdaléna Kejstová ORCID logo, Christina Stoiber ORCID logo, Magdalena Boucher ORCID logo, Martin Kandlhofer ORCID logo, Simone Kriglstein ORCID logo, and Wolfgang Aigner ORCID logo
(Masaryk University, Brno, Czechia; St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences, St. Poelten, Austria; Austrian Computer Society, Vienna, Austria; Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna, Austria)
This paper describes a playful constructive visualization workshop for students aged 9 to 15. The workshop aims to explore how using playful elements, such as LEGO bricks, physical building blocks, or paper and colored pencils, can increase students' engagement in exploring data through the construction of visualizations. The paper also discusses related work in visualization education and playful teaching methods, such as constructive exercises using plastic tokens or LEGO bricks. Playful learning environments can enhance student motivation and produce the joy of learning. Constructing visualizations manually using playful materials can help students better understand data and interpret visualizations by providing a tangible "object to think'' with.

Publisher's Version
“Better Dead than a Damsel”: Gender Representation and Player Churn
Lauren Winter ORCID logo and Sarah Masters ORCID logo
(University of York, York, UK)
Gender representation in games is an important consideration at least in part due to its pervasiveness, from toxicity shown towards both non-male players and non-male people that work in the industry, to the sexualisation of characters and persistence of tropes like the damsel in distress. Player churn is an important concept for industry as it shows disengagement from the product and can cause the developer to lose income, such as through lost microtransaction revenue, and cause higher acquisition costs to replace the lost players. Despite the first male protagonist appearing on screens in 1968, it took until 1996 for the first female protagonist to be developed in the form of Lara Croft and, despite progress, gender representation in games still has room for improvement. To critically assess and analyse this issue, this paper explores a history of damsels, design of protagonists, gender identity and cultivation theory. To contribute towards the literature on player churn and gender representation, this paper investigated player churn through protagonist gender. A Brunner-Munzel test was conducted to compare the gender of the protagonist (males or non-males) of 48 games with player churn. Gender was identified through either self-identification of the protagonist in-game, or through pronouns used by other characters when referring to them. Player churn was identified as the difference in daily players playing the game averaged over the first 7 days from the release of a game, days 30-37 from release and days 90-97 from release. This data was acquired from SteamDB, which records daily players of games that are played through the Steam client. Whilst no significant difference was found after either 30-37 days or 90-97 days between the two conditions, within the games investigated, those with a male protagonist generally attracted higher initial playerbases and also saw a steeper drop off in these players after both 30-37 days and 90-97 days. Whilst this could indicate that, despite not attracting as many players initially, games with non-male protagonists attract a more loyal playerbase. These results show that investigation of player churn in this way shows promise to quantifying gender representation.

Publisher's Version
StandByMe: A Gamified Educational Platform to Raise Awareness on Gender-Based Violence
Eftychia Roumelioti ORCID logo, Federica Gini ORCID logo, Antonia Laura Philipa Jakobi ORCID logo, Annapaola Marconi ORCID logo, Boglárka Nyúl ORCID logo, Maria Paola Paladino ORCID logo, Gianluca Schiavo ORCID logo, and Massimo Zancanaro ORCID logo
(Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento, Italy; University of Trento, Trento, Italy)
Gamification is a widely used approach in education to boost motivation and facilitate effective learning outcomes. However, its application to sensitive topics remains relatively unexplored. This paper presents the initial steps in designing a gamified educational platform specifically targeting awareness of gender-based violence among youth. The paper outlines the design considerations undertaken for the platform’s development, drawing from theories in social psychology, education, and gamification. By examining insights gathered through stakeholder interviews and initial involvement emerging key aspects of the platform’s design are then discussed. The paper aims to contribute to a better understanding and use of gamification in addressing sensitive topics in education.

Publisher's Version Archive submitted (170 MB)
Faster, Harder? Investigating the Impact of Changing Background Music Speed on Gameplay Performance and Player Experience in an Endless Runner Game
German Schabert ORCID logo, Marc Schubhan ORCID logo, Michael Schmitz ORCID logo, and Maximilian Altmeyer ORCID logo
(Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany; Saarland Informatics Campus, Saarbrücken, Germany; Academy of Fine Arts Saar, Saarbrücken, Germany; German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Saarbrücken, Germany)
Music is ubiquitous in our everyday lives and its tempo can affect our experience and behavior, be it in movies to emphasize a scene, during sports to increase the flow of a workout, or in games to complement the gameplay. While the impact of fixed beats per minute on the latter has already been investigated, we focus on the effect of continuously increasing or decreasing beats per minute of background music during gameplay in an endless runner game on player performance, perceived difficulty and player experience. In our within-subjects design study (n=32), participants played an endless runner game with continuously increasing, decreasing, or constant and no background music. While we found no significant effects in terms of player performance, our findings show that perceived stress, motivation and entertainment were affected by the different music conditions.

Publisher's Version
Behind the Screens: An Exploratory Study on Gamer Types and Identities in Game Jams
Rachel Gorden ORCID logo, Imke Alenka Harbig ORCID logo, Kseniia Harshina ORCID logo, Marie Biedermann ORCID logo, and Mathias Lux ORCID logo
(University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, Austria)
Game jams are events where development teams collaborate to create games in days or weeks, sharing common themes and limitations. However, it is unclear how participants in game jams fit into the larger gaming culture regarding their motivations and identities as gamers. Our paper surveys two game jam populations to determine their player motivation profiles using the Hexad-12 questionnaire, roles in the development teams at a game jam, their correspondence to the gamer and LGBTQ+ identity, and their play-time per week. The results show that the population in our samples does not differ significantly from the one reported in the original Hexad study. We found correlations between the Hexad player types and the development roles at a game jam. People interested in Game/Level Design and people reporting having fun as a reason for attending the game jam were more likely to be Achiever types, people interested in Art were more likely, while those interested in Programming were less likely to be Disruptor types, and the more participants identified as a gamer, the more likely they were Player types, and/or preferred the Game/Level Design role. Furthermore, we found that both samples identified to some extent with the term gamer. Additionally, the more participants leaned towards identifying as a gamer, the more likely they were Players and/or preferred the Game/Level Design hat.

Publisher's Version Archive submitted (65 MB)
Digitally-Induced Altered States of Consciousness and Playful HCI: Future Research Agenda of a Novel Perspective
Anatolii Belousov ORCID logo, Terho Ojell-Järventausta ORCID logo, Mila Bujić ORCID logo, Joseph Macey ORCID logo, and Juho Hamari ORCID logo
(Tampere University, Tampere, Finland; University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Due to the increasing availability and efficiency of digital technologies humanity has reached a point where digitally altering consciousness might become ubiquitous, echoing in all areas of the functioning of society. In addition to the already familiar functions in terms of conveying information, enabling experiences, and extending our realities, there is an emerging field of digitally-induced altered states of consciousness (DIAL). Precursors of the societal impact of DIAL technologies include various examples from binaural beats to video games that provide invaluable insights into forthcoming DIAL technologies. Although individual changes in consciousness through digital means have been studied for decades, they have been limited to the reach of technology. We suggest the field DIAL denotes the class of all digital technologies exploited for inducing altered states of consciousness (ASC). It supports a focused and holistic approach to anticipating futures and astute actions. We highlight the need for a detailed and full-fledged examination by demonstrating existing and hypothetical examples of their impact on Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal (PESTEL) contexts. Based on these reflections we outline a potential research agenda to elicit discussions within the interdisciplinary community.

Publisher's Version
Spectator LF Streamer: Facilitating Better Stream Discovery through Spectator Motivations and Stream Affordances
Laura Herrewijn ORCID logo and Sven Charleer ORCID logo
(AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Antwerp, Belgium)
This paper explores game spectator needs, and proposes design choices aimed at enhancing the exploration and discovery experience on game streaming platforms. It does so by combining insights from previous game streaming research with a new survey study conducted among Twitch users (N = 124) to understand how to use spectator characteristics, searching behaviour, motivations and stream(er) affordances as a way to control and enhance the search experience. Preliminary results from the survey are presented, as are a set of initial design goals to improve the spectator experience based on the uncovered findings. Moving forward, these design goals will be evaluated and refined through user interviews and an iterative user-centred design process of prototypes.

Publisher's Version
Exploration of Player Emotions, Behaviours, and Individual Differences across Game Difficulty Levels in a Turn-Based Strategy Game
Yufei Cao ORCID logo, Penny Sweetser ORCID logo, and Xuanying Zhu ORCID logo
(Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)
Player emotion is a crucial aspect of the video game experience, as games employ interactive environments that elicit a diverse range of both negative and positive emotions. These emotions vary among players due to individual differences, ultimately shaping their unique emotional perceptions and influencing behaviours within the game environment. This study aims to investigate the dynamic emotional responses experienced by players during gameplay and exploring the correlation between player traits and behaviours. By utilising a turn-based strategy game, we employed a combination of self-report measures and behavioural observations to assess players’ emotional changes across varying game difficulty levels. Our results revealed that the hard game session elicited higher levels of arousal and negative emotion in players compared to the easy game session. Furthermore, we observed that players with a low extroversion tendency exhibited a higher inclination towards exploration behaviour in the game. This research provides initial insights into the complex interplay between player emotions, in-game behaviour and individual differences across game difficulties.

Publisher's Version
Video Games to Study and Improve Collaboration Skills
Hainan Yu ORCID logo and Pedro Cardoso-Leite ORCID logo
(University of Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg)
This research project aims to design and develop video games for studying and improving collaboration and collaboration skills. To this end, we reviewed the scientific literature across many disciplines, including psychology, computer science, and game theory. This literature review led to key insights and an attempt to develop a framework grounded in Reinforcement Learning Theory with the ambition of integrating a diversity of disparate scientific results but also to provide a lens through which to study existing multiplayer games as well as drive the development of research video games for studying and improving collaboration and collaboration skills. We will review commercial multiplayer games to identify key concepts and mechanics that game designers use for engaging collaborative gameplay. We will then develop game prototypes based on both our theoretical framework and our video game reviews and conduct small-scale user tests to help us identify the most promising ideas and to iteratively update the framework and game design for future large-scale experimental studies. Here we present key ideas behind this project; it is still in its early stages and could greatly benefit from discussions with the CHI-Play community.

Publisher's Version
Beyond Equilibrium: Utilizing AI Agents in Video Game Economy Balancing
Vahid Ranandeh ORCID logo and Pejman Mirza-Babaei ORCID logo
(Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, Canada; University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada)
In the era of "Games-as-a-Service," a large number of game studios face the challenge of creating immersive virtual economies that offer enjoyable experiences for players. Evaluating game economies and sustaining their balance can be a complex and costly task, which often relies on human play-testers. To address this, our work explores the utilization of simulated AI players as a viable solution. This Work in Progress article presents our preliminary analysis of fundamental entities that construct game economies and the variables of these entities that impact different aspects of player experience. The focus is on five basic economic entities: Currency Sources, Inventories, Converters, Currency Sinks, and Traders. By examining these entities and their defining factors, we determine their influence on player experience. Subsequently, we propose AI Agents that are capable of playing games with a variety of play styles and adjusting the mentioned variables, ultimately enhancing the player experience based on the developers' goals. This approach offers game developers a cost-effective means of evaluating and optimizing in-game economies, without having to spend excessive time and money on human testers. Our research contributes to the development of coherent virtual economies by providing fast and accurate feedback, reducing costs, and making economy balancing more accessible to indie developers.

Publisher's Version
GMap: Supporting Free-Form Text Entry of Game Titles in Games User Research
Aqeel Haider ORCID logo, Qiantong Gao ORCID logo, Kathrin Gerling ORCID logo, and Vero Vanden Abeele ORCID logo
(KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany)
The input of free-form text is frequently utilized in surveys for game-related research. While this provides flexibility, it also presents the challenge of dirty data, which includes spelling errors, missing series titles, and unofficial yet popular abbreviations inputted by the user. The manual resolution of these anomalies is impractical and resource-intensive. To address this issue, a fuzzing string machine-based game mapping system was designed and evaluated using 1,096 game titles input by users. GMap-R, a real-time autocomplete game title system to aid runtime user entry, was also created and evaluated using 150 game titles provided by 30 participants, each of whom listed their five favorite games twice. With GMap-R, the correct mapping percentage increased to 98.67%. These preliminary evaluations indicate that the proposed strategy can significantly enhance the cleansing and input of game titles’ free-form text. In turn, this helps to conserve resources when obtaining unsupervised data through online studies.

Publisher's Version
From Interviews to Experience Sampling: Understanding Subjective Experience of Player Effort through Diverse Methodologies
Shruti Agrawal ORCID logo and Girish Dalvi ORCID logo
(IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India)
Understanding of player experiences in games necessitates acknowledging the role of mental effort, which intertwines with sentiments like fun, immersion, and frustration. This study adopts a qualitative approach from a constructivist perspective to gain insights into the subjective experiences of effort in gameplay. To capture the intricate nature of player effort, we iteratively employed a range of data collection methods, including post-gameplay interviews, written narratives, speculative modification discussions, and experience sampling techniques. Each method provided unique insights into different facets of effort, enabling a comprehensive understanding of the subjective dimensions involved. These methods were carefully assessed based on their depth of insights, the nature of data collected, participant engagement, researcher’s bias, and practical feasibility. The study uncovered that focus group interviews effectively distilled complex ideas, while retrospective methods had limitations in capturing associated emotions. In contrast, experience sampling, particularly when written in the first person, provided a detailed description of the nuanced dynamics of effort and other related emotions throughout the gameplay experience.

Publisher's Version
Meaningful Play and Malicious Delight: Exploring Maldaimonic Game UX
Katie SeabornORCID logo and Satoru Iseya ORCID logo
(Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan; Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro-ku, Japan)
Maldaimonia is a new experiential concept that refers to self-actualization and self-expression through egocentric, destructive, and/or exploitative activities. Still, it is unclear whether maldaimonia is an actual facet of real experience. As a subversive orientation, it may be rare or socially challenging to discuss openly. However, video games provide a space in which people can be expressive in different ways without the same repercussions as in real life. Indeed, game spaces may be one of the few contexts in which to study maldaimonic experiences. In this study, we examined whether and how maldaimonia exists as a feature of game user experiences by analyzing critical self-reports of gaming activities, confirming its existence. We contribute this new construct to work on "dark play" in games research.

Publisher's Version
LEVI: Exploring Possibilities for an Adaptive Board Game System
Joseph Tu ORCID logo, Derrick M. Wang ORCID logo, Ekaterina Durmanova ORCID logo, and Lennart E. Nacke ORCID logo
(University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)
Visual impairment can create accessibility barriers for players in board games because information about the gameplay is often communicated through visuals. We present LEVI, a standalone adaptive board game system (ABGs) using RFID technology to adapt the gameplay experience for board games for players with or without visual impairment. As many hybrid board game systems often require costly resources (digital elements) which may not be accessible to the user, we considered low-cost alternatives to our solution. Given the various gameplay styles in board games, we mainly focus on audio adaptation for this game system. We present an evaluation of our current proof-of-concept game system and future possibilities of using our adaptive board game system.

Publisher's Version
Balancing Video Games: A Player-Driven Instrument
Johannes PfauORCID logo and Magy Seif El-Nasr ORCID logo
(University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, USA; University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, USA)
Video game balancing is a controversial and highly debated topic, especially between players of online games. Whether a game is sufficiently balanced greatly influences its reception, satisfaction, churn rates and success. In particular, different ideologies of balance can lead to worse player experiences than actual imbalances. This work succeeds a fine-grained investigation about the attitudes of the Guild Wars 2 community regarding balancing factors, and introduces a player-driven quantitative tool to approximate closer configurations of balance that could optimize player experience and satisfaction. After an initial evaluation, theoretical constellation outputs of this tool improved players’ perception of the balance between in-game build options – where aggregated opinions of (n = 64) players even showed benefits over individual opinions, indicating a potential “wisdom of the crowd” effect.

Publisher's Version
Foot-Based Game Controller to Improve Interaction between Participants
Oliwia Sowińska ORCID logo, Anna Kubczak ORCID logo, Julia Dominiak ORCID logo, Natalia Walczak ORCID logo, and Laurent Babout ORCID logo
(Lodz University of Technology, Łódź, Poland; University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland)
Trying to improve the international experience of studying abroad, we focused on a solution that would foster social interactions among students. We created a prototype of a game controller employing interactive floor and vertical display, which would allow players to use their natural body movements and interact with each other during the game. We have designed a high-fidelity prototype of a foot controller for a two-person game and have made a preliminary evaluation of the system.

Publisher's Version
Kawaii Game Vocalics: A Preliminary Model
Katie SeabornORCID logo, Katja Rogers ORCID logo, Somang Nam ORCID logo, and Miu Kojima ORCID logo
(Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan; University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada)
Kawaii is the Japanese concept of cute++, a global export with local characteristics. Recent work has explored kawaii as a feature of user experience (UX) with social robots, virtual characters, and voice assistants, i.e., kawaii vocalics. Games have a long history of incorporating characters that use voice as a means of expressing kawaii. Nevertheless, no work to date has evaluated kawaii game voices or mapped out a model of kawaii game vocalics. In this work, we explored whether and how a model of kawaii vocalics maps onto game character voices. We conducted an online perceptions study (N=157) using 18 voices from kawaii characters in Japanese games. We replicated the results for computer voice and discovered nuanced relationships between gender and age, especially youthfulness, agelessness, gender ambiguity, and gender neutrality. We provide our initial model and advocate for future work on character visuals and within play contexts.

Publisher's Version

Perspectives on Play

The Ludic Potentials of Player Data
Günter Wallner ORCID logo and Michael Lankes ORCID logo
(Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria; University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg, Austria)
Player data has become a crucial element in game development and research. However, its direct integration as a diegetic element within games remains largely unexplored. This paper aims to inspire the games community by highlighting the potential of using player data for creating new interactions and play experiences. We raise technical, design, psychological, and ethical questions and argue for using player data more boldly and ambitiously, empowering players to shape their experiences and the game through their own data. By doing so, data transforms from being an analytical to a creative asset, seamlessly enhancing the exchange between games and players.

Publisher's Version
Biofeedback-Driven Multiplayer Games: Leveraging Social Awareness and Physiological Signals for Play
Joshua Newn ORCID logo and Madison Klarkowski ORCID logo
(Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK; University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada)
This paper proposes the formalisation of social awareness as a design dimension for multiplayer biofeedback-driven games. The CHI Play community has shown a growing interest in exploring the potential of biofeedback and physiological sensing for playful experiences and player-computer interaction. Building on existing multiplayer games that integrate biofeedback for play in the literature, we demonstrate how awareness complements existing multiplayer game design dimensions (mode, setting) and further propose research and design directions to advance this area of study.

Publisher's Version
Jank Accounts: We Should Study `Broken' Games
Dan Bennett ORCID logo and Elisa D. Mekler ORCID logo
(IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)
We argue that HCI games research can benefit by understanding experiences of "jank". Jank is a gaming vernacular term for game-elements that are somehow “off”: sloppy, glitchy, or clumsy. Examples include frustrating control schemes, primitive visuals, absurd physics errors, and NPCs with wooden, alienating behaviour. Importantly, ‘jank’ is no straightforward term of abuse: players use the term appreciatively, even with affection. Attention to the ``paradox'' of jank-appreciation can help us understand the limits of usability in understanding player experience. It can clarify conditions which foster reflection and appreciation of adversity, and shed light on games as aesthetic experiences.

Publisher's Version
Ludic Reenactment in Queer Game: Queer Affect and Queer Histories
Haoran Chang ORCID logo
(York University, Toronto, Canada)
In this short paper, I will argue that ludic reenactment in the queer game creates a queer time reflecting the emotions of the queer experiences by looking at a small indie game Bottoms Up: A Historical Gay Bar Tycoon by Mo Cohen. Rather than seeing ludic reenactment as a representation of the past, player’s decision makings create different narratives of the past which becomes a queer micro-world building. The multiple histories do not present the past loyally, yet they form as “Anarchive”, re-enacting the oppressive past for re-orienting queer history.

Publisher's Version
The Cost of Reward: A Critical Reflection on the `What', `How', and `Why' of Gamification for Motivation in Sports
Dees Postma ORCID logo, Armağan Karahanoğlu ORCID logo, Robby van Delden ORCID logo, and Dennis Reidsma ORCID logo
(University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands)
Sports is greatly valued both for its internal benefits (e.g., joy and fulfilment) and its external benefits (e.g., physical health). Still, many people struggle to find or uphold the motivation to practice sports. To ameliorate this issue, researchers in the field of SportsHCI have been actively exploring various gamification strategies. In this contribution, we critically reflect on the 'what', 'how', and 'why' of gamification in sports. We argue against the use of gamification for 'quick wins', instead we argue that gamification can only be truly successful if it supports the spontaneous, self-sustained, and autotelic propensity in people to play sports.

Publisher's Version
Vulnerability and Play: Exploring the Mundane Ways in Which Games Might Harm Players
Martin Johannes Dechant ORCID logo, Max Valentin Birk ORCID logo, and Kathrin Gerling ORCID logo
(University College London, London, UK; Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands; KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany)
The games research community strongly focuses on games as a medium that benefits players, and predominantly views negative effects through the lens of permanent vulnerability. In this paper, we argue that this is a narrow perspective which no longer aligns with how policy makers and other fields view the construct, and limits our research community in how we understand the potential harms of play: First, We deconstruct vulnerability and question who is vulnerable in which context, and then we explore the relationship between vulnerability, game design, and mundane types of harm. We conclude with challenges and opportunities for our community.

Publisher's Version
Plant Play
Silvia Ruzanka ORCID logo
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, USA)
Can plants play games? Considering what play might mean for “the more-than-human” can provide alternate perspective for what play means for ourselves as humans. It can also open a way for rethinking relations between ourselves and other entities that share our world. Kara Stone argues for the importance of considering play for non-human players, drawing on feminist and posthumanist philosophy. In this paper I take a similar approach of speculative imagining of plants as players, our relation to plants and to plant-being, and present an example of a videogame artwork designed for a plant to play.

Publisher's Version
Technology, Movement, and Play Is Hampering and Boosting Interactive Play
Robby van Delden ORCID logo, Dennis Reidsma ORCID logo, Dees Postma ORCID logo, Joris Weijdom ORCID logo, Elena Márquez Segura ORCID logo, Laia Turmo Vidal ORCID logo, José Manuel Vega-Cebrián ORCID logo, Ana Tajadura-Jiménez ORCID logo, Annika Waern ORCID logo, Solip Park ORCID logo, Perttu Hämäläinen ORCID logo, José Maria Font ORCID logo, Mats Johnsson ORCID logo, Lærke Schjødt Rasmussen ORCID logo, and Lars Elbæk ORCID logo
(University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands; HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht, Netherlands; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Leganés, Spain; University College London, London, UK; Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Aalto University, Espoo, Finland; Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden; University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
In this paper, we highlight how including technology, movement or play can boost a design process but with unbalanced amounts can also hamper the process. We provide a set of examples where we miscalculated the amount of technology, movement, or play that was needed in a design activity in such a way that it became counterproductive and for each example mention possible adaptations. Finally, we highlight three existing approaches that can balance the overabundance of technology, movement, and play in design processes: activity-centered design, somaesthetic design, and perspective-changing movement-based design.

Publisher's Version
Super Synthesis Pros., or Why CHI PLAY Needs Research Synthesis
Katie SeabornORCID logo
(Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan)
Games user research is a-booming—or maybe a-goomba-ing—with a boundless parade of papers popping up from every nook and pipe. We may need a super power—or super method—from another world. I outline three motivations for jump-starting research synthesis in games user research. I argue that: research synthesis will validate this field of study and enrich primary research (meta-scholarship); we must level up both primary and secondary research (education); and we should reflect this epistemological stance in community structures and adopt established tools and protocols (standardization). I offer power-ups to get the toads rolling.

Publisher's Version
Link, User-Centred Designer: Game Characters as Transcendent Models
Katie SeabornORCID logo
(Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan)
Games allow us to construct and explore identities and offer us role models, good and bad. Game characters are a reflection of us–players and creators alike–or could be. But do games also encode identities, values, and orientations that transcend diegetic categories and player self-insertion? I explore the notion of game characters as conduits of transcendent models through the case study of Link from the Legend of Zelda series. I propose that designers embed tacit, nondiegetic patterns of praxis and complex value models, such as user-centred design, when crafting the embodiment of characters in gameplay, even unawares.

Publisher's Version

Interactivity Track

Trouble Maker: Truth or Dare Prompt Generator Based on Markov Chain
Yibo Fu ORCID logo, Yuqing Liang ORCID logo, and Harpreet Sareen ORCID logo
(The New School, New York, USA; Parsons School of Design, New York City, USA)
As a classic party game, Truth or Dare players always face the challenge of continuously devising clever prompts by themselves, where prompts can often get repetitive or hard to think up quickly. We present Trouble Maker, an open-source physical device that generates whimsical truth-or-dare prompts using Markov chain with a single button press. Our device autonomously generates surprising and unpredictable prompts using a lightweight machine learning algorithm that is printed instantly. ML-prompt generation and thermal printer are integrated altogether as a tangible artifact. Results from the preliminary user study show prompts based on our method amused and surprised players, and the device increased the overall playfulness and engagement of the game.

Publisher's Version Video
GameAware Streaming Interfaces
Noor Hammad ORCID logo, Erik Harpstead ORCID logo, and Jessica Hammer ORCID logo
(Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA)
We present three game demos built using our game streaming system, MARS (Metadata Augmented Real-time Streaming). Current streaming interfaces fall short of providing viewer interaction mechanisms beyond the chat channel. Additionally, personalized interaction, where viewers can independently interact with the game content being streamed, is not widely supported. We used MARS to render real-time metadata from the game being streamed onto an overlay that viewers can interact with. In building MARS, we enabled the creation of novel viewing experiences and established a design space that needs to be explored further. We created three demo games to showcase MARS' capabilities; a tower defense game with contextual information available for viewers, a visual novel with accessibility features enabled, and an asymmetric cooperative game requiring the streamer and viewers to work together. The focus of this paper is on motivating our design decisions for the demos and what potential they hold for playful experiences in live streaming. To this end, we use three games as probes into this yet unexplored design space, with the end-goal of creating novel stream experiences using the MARS system.

Publisher's Version
Game with Breathing Control System for Learning Circular Breathing
Shiina Takano ORCID logo and Arinobu Niijima ORCID logo
(NTT Corporation, Yokosuka, Japan)
We demonstrate a game with a breathing control system designed to teach circular breathing, an advanced technique used by wind instrument players. Circular breathing allows players to produce continuous sound beyond the duration of a single breath by exhaling through the mouth while simultaneously inhaling through the nose. However, mastering this technique traditionally requires repetitive and often monotonous practice. To address this, we present a novel approach to skill acquisition that leverages gameplay with our breath control system, Fulow. Fulow uniquely controls the user's exhalation involuntarily through facial vibrations, eliminating the need for users to consciously control their exhalation. This innovative feature allows users to effortlessly perform circular breathing. Interaction with Fulow through our designed breathing games is expected to facilitate easy and enjoyable learning of circular breathing, demonstrating the potential of human augmentation technologies as novel game controllers for skill acquisition through gameplay.

Publisher's Version
Lottery and Sprint: Generate a Board Game with Design Sprint Method on AutoGPT
Maya Grace Torii ORCID logo, Takahito Murakami ORCID logo, and Yoichi Ochiai ORCID logo
(University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan)
In this paper, we introduce "Lottery and Sprint", a board game creation methodology that cooperates human design intuition with the structured Design Sprint framework executed by the AutoGPT system. By aligning AI-driven processes with human creativity, we aim to facilitate a collaborative game design experience. A user study is conducted to investigate the playability and enjoyment of the generated games, revealing both successes and challenges in employing systems like AutoGPT for board game design. Insights and future research directions are proposed to overcome identified limitations and enhance computational-driven game creation.

Publisher's Version Published Artifact Info Artifacts Available

Student Game Design Competition

Climate Connected: An Immersive VR and PC Game for Climate Change Engagement
Daniel Fernández Galeote ORCID logo, Nikoletta-Zampeta Legaki ORCID logo, and Juho Hamari ORCID logo
(Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
Climate change poses a serious threat to human well-being and life on Earth. To avoid global warming's worst consequences every effort is needed, which requires cognitively, affectively and behaviorally engaging of as many of us as possible. However, climate change engagement is far from easy or simple, with manifold personal and contextual variables affecting our connection with the issue. Because of this, games and gamification have been proposed as visual, interactive, and motivating methods to support people in their engagement journey. Despite dozens of climate change-relevant digital games existing, some configurations are under-explored, including messaging frames such as health, engagement dimensions beyond knowledge, technologies such as immersive virtual reality (VR), and controlled experimental research methods. In this article, we present Climate Connected: Outbreak, a story-based single-player game for immersive VR and traditional computer screens that approaches climate change as a planetary health and well-being issue and supports players in their affective and behavioral connection to it. The game takes place in 2050 and connects day-to-day objects with systemic issues. Two versions can be played, one featuring an unnamed distant place and the other located in Tampere, Finland. The game has been used in research and has led to nuanced understandings of the players' experience, as well as learning, attitude, and self-efficacy gains.

Publisher's Version Archive submitted (680 MB)
CookT: A Fast-Paced Collaborative Cooking Game with Interactive Objects
Hendrik Janter ORCID logo, Nicolas Pirson ORCID logo, Liesl Spruyt ORCID logo, Wouter Coenen ORCID logo, Jasper De Kepper ORCID logo, Jeroen Wauters ORCID logo, Maria Aufheimer ORCID logo, Nianmei Zhou ORCID logo, and Luc Geurts ORCID logo
(KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Group T, Leuven, Belgium; KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany)
CookT is a chaotic, tangible interactive multiplayer video game where three players are immersed in the role of chefs. In a race against the clock, the chefs need to finish orders by completing standard tasks. These tasks are completed by using tangible user interfaces, each with their intended purpose as they represent different kitchen utensils, workstations and plates. The chefs need to employ good communication skills and navigate through the chaotic playing area to earn the highest possible profits for their restaurant. This game was designed through the application of guidelines, advice and findings from articles in the field of Human Computer Interaction. By means of play tests the game was evaluated and further improved upon, providing both players and spectators an enjoyable experience.

Publisher's Version Video
Exploring the Significance of Iterative Design: A Case Study of L'île Archéo
Arnaud Lescure ORCID logo, Nickolas Ménard ORCID logo, Nathan Hemez ORCID logo, Kevin Lavigne-Bourque ORCID logo, Pierre Tousignant ORCID logo, Yannick Francillette ORCID logo, and François-Xavier Dupas ORCID logo
(Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Montréal, Canada; Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, Canada; Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada)
This article presents a scientific exploration of the importance of level design work in shaping an immersive and captivating player experience. Using the collaborative project 'L’île Archéo' (Archeo) as a case study, we examine the iterative nature of the game design. We delve into the challenges encountered during the design process and how level design, specifically the implementation of the dramatic arc storytelling model, played a pivotal role in overcoming production hurdles. The article highlights the interplay between theory and practice in game design and the lessons learned from this reflective approach.

Publisher's Version
The Sea Is a Sky: Towards a Poetry of Motion
Juan Francisco Lam ORCID logo, Spencer Henry ORCID logo, Kalli Melilli ORCID logo, Ryan Garrett ORCID logo, and Hyo Jeong Kang ORCID logo
(University of Florida, Gainesville, USA)
This paper presents "The Sea is a Sky," an immersive virtual reality (VR) poetry experience that takes inspiration from the Cuban poem "Del Otro Lado Del Mar," which translates to "on the other side of the sea." In this VR game, players are transported into the journey of a Cuban immigrant as they leave their homeland in search of a better future in America. Through physical actions such as crawling, swimming, and rowing within the VR environment, players embody the struggles and challenges faced by the immigrant protagonist. Throughout the experience, they encounter visionary hallucinations and hear messages of hope for the future as they navigate the vast ocean. However, the game also highlights the tragic reality of many Cuban immigrants who have lost their lives while attempting to cross the treacherous sea. The theme of drowning serves as a poignant symbol of their plight. The development of "The Sea is a Sky" involved collaboration among students from diverse disciplines, including English Literature, Computer Science, and Digital Arts. The project aims to achieve two primary objectives: raising awareness about social issues related to refugees and immigrants, and pushing the boundaries of game design by creating an engaging experience for younger generations to connect with poetry through the medium of virtual reality. While poetry has the inherent power to evoke deep reflection, it often struggles to resonate with younger individuals in its traditional forms. By harnessing the potential of virtual reality, our project seeks to expand the horizons of traditional poetry and explore innovative ways of experiencing it in the digital realm. The design and implementation of our VR experience not only offer a unique and engaging approach to poetry but also have the potential to inform future applications of VR in digital poetry and the cultivation of empathy among audiences.

Publisher's Version
Memeopoly: An AI-Powered Physical Board Game Interface for Tangible Play and Learning Art and Design
Quincy Kuang ORCID logo, Feifei Shen ORCID logo, Cathy Mengying Fang ORCID logo, and Annie Dong ORCID logo
(Harvard University, Cambridge, USA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)
Playtime holds great significance in the holistic development of children and young teens, both physically and mentally. Engaging with physical toys and participating in outdoor sports fosters essential skills such as spatial interaction, socialization, and communication in the real world. However, contemporary entertainment that targets young people is predominantly screen-based media, offering simulated worlds, captivating narratives, and interactive experiences. Consequently, children and teens spend substantial amounts of time indoors, preoccupied with online activities and digital content consumption. This paradigm shift towards digital entertainment poses developmental challenges due to the absence of tangibility and face-to-face interaction. This paper introduces Memeopoly, a novel AI-powered physical board game that synergies the strengths of tangible playtime with the dynamism and interactivity of the digital realm. Integrating AI technology into the traditional play framework augments the interactive nature of physical toys, enabling a richer and more engaging game-play environment. We designed our AI system in the game to harness and empower human creativity to generate unforeseen story lines personalized to players' unique preferences, thereby cultivating a thrilling gaming experience that surpasses the static and generic narratives typically found in traditional board games.

Publisher's Version Video
Lux: A Game to Promote Good Lighting Practices among the General Public
Marie-Ève Côté ORCID logo, Thomas Bergeron ORCID logo, Virginie Juteau ORCID logo, Kevin Lavigne-Bourque ORCID logo, Pierre Tousignant ORCID logo, Yannick Francillette ORCID logo, and François-Xavier Dupas ORCID logo
(Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Montréal, Canada; Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, Canada; Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Light pollution is a growing problem. It is characterized by the excessive presence of artificial light, particularly as a result of urbanization and industrialization. This pollution has numerous consequences for the environment and society. In this paper, we present the Lux serious game, which aims to teach players to always question the correct orientation of a light bulb in order to reduce its impact and also to limit the use of blue light. It also aims to show players the impact of light pollution on animals.

Publisher's Version
Increasing Player Coupling in an Asymmetric Racing Game
Ensor Hieronymous Moriarty ORCID logo, Nathan Perriman ORCID logo, Josh Rutledge ORCID logo, Jack Taylor ORCID logo, and T.C. Nicholas Graham ORCID logo
(Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada)
Asymmetric games create unique and engaging player experiences that can draw together players from multiple demographics. But maintaining a strong level of interaction between different player roles poses a challenge, which is exacerbated in competitive games. This paper seeks to find solutions to this problem in the context of RaceTrap, a competitive asymmetric racing game. RaceTrap com- bines card-playing and racing elements, where one player uses cards to create obstacles and the other tries to avoid these obstacles while driving in Virtual Reality. We address the central challenge of coupling, or maintaining a high level of awareness and inter- action between the roles. The paper reviews existing approaches to coupling in asymmetric cooperative games, and highlights the needs for an improved coupling in competitive asymmetric games. We present features implemented in RaceTrap to improve coupling. These solutions highlight the importance of coupling in the emerg- ing field of asymmetric games.

Publisher's Version
Fit to Draw: An Elevation of Location-Based Exergames
Roshni Saxena ORCID logo, Zachary Gaydos ORCID logo, Morva Saaty ORCID logo, Derek Haqq ORCID logo, Priyanka Nair ORCID logo, Gary Grutzik ORCID logo, Wei Lu Wang ORCID logo, and Jaitun Patel ORCID logo
(Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA)
Many location-based games have a multiplayer aspect; however, this is typically inconsequential to the actual gameplay, which is usually geared toward a single-player experience. Thus, we present Fit to Draw, a multiplayer location-based exergame that combines simple picture-guessing gameplay with physical movement. While other location-based games have the gameplay elements tangentially related to physical movement, Fit to Draw requires players to walk outdoors to draw a picture based on a given word. Companion players then guess what other players drew to earn points, providing a multiplayer and social experience that many other location-based games do not have. The goals of Fit to Draw are to motivate users to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, socialize, and have an opportunity to be creative.

Publisher's Version Video

Doctoral Consortium

Cool Little Playable Things: Supporting Transformational Games Outside Formal Contexts
Kutub Gandhi ORCID logo
(Northeastern University, Boston, USA)
Many transformational games are designed not to be required in schools or by parents, but to be stumbled upon by passionate, self-motivated learners. Designing these ``discovered transformational games'' yields different challenges and affordances than games developed for more formal contexts; however, the academic literature provides little guidance for these designers. I aim to analyse existing discovered transformational games --- as well as design my own --- in order to better understand the design process of these games. Research outputs will include design advice and support that will be distributed in accessible formats such as blog posts and videos, focused towards designers who may not have experience building transformational games.

Publisher's Version
The Future of Generative AI: How GenAI Would Change Human-Computer Co-creation in the Next 10 to 15 Years
Yuxuan Huang ORCID logo
(City University of Hong Kong, KOWLOON, Hong Kong)
The past few years have witnessed a remarkable advancement in the field of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), a technology capable of generating new content based on input prompts and existing knowledge. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way of human-computer co-creation. However, existing research on GenAI has primarily focused on technical aspects, and more research is needed from a design perspective, mainly through speculative and critical design. Therefore, this study aims to explore how GenAI would transform human-computer co-creation in the next 10 to 15 years by means of design fiction and playful critical design. The study will involve (co-)speculative workshops utilizing design fiction, followed by focus groups to gather insights. In addition, this research will examine the user experience issues of interacting with functional GenAI prototypes through playful critical design.

Publisher's Version Archive submitted (20 MB)
Education, Entertainment, and Engagement in Museums in the Digital Age
Nellie Seale ORCID logo
(University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
At the intersection of human-computer interaction and museum studies exists a unique opportunity to explore games as an interactive tool. Visitor interest in museums is flagging and as audiences’ values shift, so must museums’. While museums have increasingly adopted interactive technologies to engage visitors, these efforts have not yet fully realised museums’ potential in creating immersive and educational experiences that cater to the evolving expectations of modern audiences. This research will investigate how digital technologies can facilitate immersive museum game experiences. By examining the current state of technologically mediated interactive experiences in museums, and museums’ use of games more broadly, a design methodology for museum games can be constructed.

Publisher's Version
Designing for Digital Hybridisation of Theatre
Gerard T. Mulvany ORCID logo
(Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
This doctoral consortium submission presents a research program investigating the transition to digital hybridisation in theatre, specifically focusing on passive and active modalities facilitated by game-engine technologies. By adopting a "research through design" methodology, three theatre productions are being hybridised in collaboration with Malthouse Theatre to explore the potential of hybridisation in theatre and its impact on the evolving landscape of digital experiences in the performing arts. Each production employs a pragmatist approach and Research through Design methodology, supplemented by participant studies, to comprehensively explore hybridisation design practices and evaluate their effectiveness. Although participant study results are pending, existing publications provide initial insights into the projects. The ultimate goal of this research is to contribute to the understanding of design processes and practices in digital hybridisation, thus advancing the field of contemporary theatre and digital experiences.

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When Games Become Inaccessible: A Constructive Grounded Theory on Stuckness in Videogames
Francesca Foffano ORCID logo
(University of York, York, UK)
A player feeling stuck is a player who risks abandoning a game and all their progress. Currently, this experience is an under-explored area in literature and is mostly approached from an expert perspective. A better understanding from a player's perspective could bring new light on how to correctly identify when it happens and support the player in overcoming the obstacles. We particularly miss information if and how stuckness arises in different genres of games, as in the case of narrative or decision-making games where most goals will depend on the personal preference of the player. We present here a first qualitative study using a constructive grounded theory approach to understand how players experience stuckness. So far we conducted 9 interviews with players and contributed with 1) Thematic analysis of when and why stuckness arises with 37 examples. 2) An in-progress theory that demonstrated that stuckness is experienced in four phases (expectations, unprogress, evaluation, and resolution) and depends on the expectation of a fair and meaningful game. 3) Presenting different types of stuckness, including stuckness caused by expectation, game design balance, social interaction, or accessibility to the game challenge.

Publisher's Version
Action RPG Game Space Created by Listening: Spatial Exploration and Cognition without Vision
Miyuki Tanaka ORCID logo
(Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)
Game design has been video-driven, and sound has been treated as something that augments the effects of video. On the other hand, for people with visual impairment to play video games, they need to be able to control the game without vision, but there have been few video games that serve this function. However, The Last of Us: Part II, released in 2020, made a global splash by allowing gamers with visual impairment to play and complete the game without the help of a sighted person. Using the video of a blind gamer playing this game and his own commentary, this study analyzes the role and effect of accessibility features in enabling play and discusses how visually impaired people could grasp the game space through sound to determine the next action.

Publisher's Version Video
Understanding Women’s Success in eSports in the MENA Region
Jihane Floriane ElHarizi ORCID logo
(Mohamed V University, Rabat, Morocco)
The current study seeks to understand women’s success in eSport through an analysis of their living experience (5 to 10 per country) within the eSport industry in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. If little is known about the female gaming community in that region, the absence/lack of data in MENA where eSport is unequally developed offers a rare opportunity to: Identify women who are active/successful in eSports and explore from their different paths what works and what doesn’t in term of female inclusion in the industry.

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DHH People in Co-located Collaborative Multiplayer AR Environments
Sanzida Mojib Luna ORCID logo
(Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, USA)
Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) people often require assistive environments or technologies while communicating, and there have been several technologies and studies to serve this purpose, namely augmented reality (AR). Although technical aspects and users’ behavior with these technologies have been covered in plenty of prior literature, very few studies have paid attention to how DHH people communicate, collaborate, and coordinate in co-located collaborative AR environments. After reviewing the literature, I present a primary agenda consisting of an iterative research plan that uses qualitative and quantitative methodologies to address the knowledge gap. Furthermore, I discuss the initial findings from my previous research, followed by suggestions for future work.

Publisher's Version

Connections Track

Workshop on Understanding and Combating the Problematic Side of Play
Julian Frommel ORCID logo, Guo Freeman ORCID logo, Janelle E. MacKenzie ORCID logo, Daniel Johnson ORCID logo, and Regan L. Mandryk ORCID logo
(Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands; Clemson University, Clemson, USA; Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)
Digital gaming and playful environments are often viewed as entertainment computing technologies that aim to create fun, engaging, and positive experiences for children and adults alike. Yet, there is an increasing interest in research that protects players from the problematic side of gaming and playful environments, such as toxicity and harassment, dark patterns and deceptive design, problematic gaming and addiction, discrimination, incubation of extremism, and ethical considerations. However, behaviors that some consider negative or harmful may not be intended or even perceived as such by others. Therefore, this workshop aims to encourage researchers, industry practitioners, and game designers to bring in a wide variety of perspectives on how to articulate problematic play, what factors lead to the subjective nature of the problematic side of play, and approaches to combat harm across gaming and playful contexts while reinforcing potentially beneficial aspects of what can be ambiguously defined as problematic by others.

Publisher's Version
Methodological Challenges, Risks, and Ethical Implications in Game Research
Arianna Boldi ORCID logo, Selina Cho ORCID logo, Yubo Kou ORCID logo, Amon Rapp ORCID logo, and Max V. Birk ORCID logo
(University of Torino, Torino, Italy; University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA; Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Researcher protection is a growing concern within game research. Researchers who investigate game communities are subject to online harassment, exacerbating the lack of information available in preparation for academic work. In this workshop, we invite researchers to share their experiences and thoughts on methodological challenges and risks that they faced or anticipate facing.

Publisher's Version
Using Open Game Data to Understand Game-Based Learning
Erik Harpstead ORCID logo, David Gagnon ORCID logo, Magy Seif El-Nasr ORCID logo, and Luke Swanson ORCID logo
(Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA; University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA; University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, USA)
The field of Game-Based Learning has contributed advances that help us understand how people learn from gameplay, in what context they might learn best, and what domains might be best suited to playful learning. While there has been a growth in our understanding of theory and development in educational game design, there has been a relatively less work done in developing common methods and approaches for understanding learning in games. This is particularly apparent in contexts where gameplay is highly complex, where learning might only be apparent across a range of player behaviors. The field of Game Analytics has tools that could be leveraged in this space, however, they have not generally been applied to questions of learning. To address this need for further common techniques within the field we have created the Open Game Data Project with the goal of fostering a community of researchers who are interested in understanding approaches to game-based learning analytics and working toward a common toolbox of methods.
This session will showcase this growing community with a masterclass in the form of an open consulting session with the game based learning analytics researchers. In this session, a developer from Field Day will come to a panel of experts with a game based learning research question that they are interested in exploring. The experts will then work with them to determine how best to approach the problem, both in instrumentation of data, engineering of data features, and development of analytic strategies. The goal of doing this consulting session in public will be to serve as a worked example of how experts think about approaching this space and expose attendees to tools and methods that exist in the context of a grounded case. Attendees will come away with an impression of different methods and techniques and infrastructural supports that exist as well as join the growing community.

Publisher's Version
The Role of Generative AI in Games Research
Cody Phillips ORCID logo, Nico Trick ORCID logo, Lennart Nacke ORCID logo, and Regan Mandryk ORCID logo
(University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada; University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada; University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)
Generative artificial intelligence (generative AI) has seen a meteoric rise in capability, popularity, and use. As the popularity of this technology grows, protocols are being developed around how to manage the use of generative AI in academic spaces. It is imperative that the games and play research community join this important conversation, and discuss the appropriateness of using generative AI in both digital games, and our own academic works.

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