Biosignal Datasets for Emotion Recognition

Written by Mike Schaekermann. At the HCI Games Group, we love looking at emotion as a core driver of gameplay experience. One common technique used to find out how players experience a game prototype and what affective responses in-game interaction triggers, is to ask players how they feel after playing the game. For this purpose, different affective dimensions like arousal (i.e., the level of excitement), valence (i.e., good or bad) or dominance (i.e., how much the player felt in control) are often used to quantify subjective phenomena. As you can imagine, these types of self-reports are extremely valuable to iteratively improve a game prototype. However, one drawback of post-hoc questionnaires is that certain types of emotions are temporary bursts of experience which may fade over time. This becomes a problem if the goal is to investigate affective responses in real-time. To work around this problem, the use of biosignals like brain activity (e.g., through electroencephalography or magnetoencephalography), heart rate (e.g., through electrocardiography), skin conductance level, skin temperature or muscular activity (via electromyograms) has been suggested in the literature [1]. A

Three CHI 2016 Papers That Will Change the Way you Think About Game Design

Written by Lennart Nacke. If you work in the field of human-computer interaction, you are probably familiar with the field’s flagship conference: The Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems also known as CHI. The conference attracts between 3,500–4,000 attendees every year (this year 3,876 people attended [2016]) and moves across different international locations. Last year CHI was in Seoul, South Korea, and this year the conference was in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, USA. CHI is an amazing conference that stimulates and moves people who work on the edge of technology innovation. While many of the CHI crowd are returning attendees, this year 50% of people attended for the first time. In addition, the keynotes and important talks were finally archived and live-streamed by SIGCHI. To understand #CHI2016 , I created a word cloud based on all session names (not paper titles) from Mon-Thu. #SIGCHI pic.twitter.com/TgI4ecNZP0 — Tadashi Okoshi (@TadashiOkoshi) May 22, 2016 It's so amazing seeing telepresence robots wandering around catching up with old friends #chi2016 #almostnormal pic.twitter.com/XtuReyYVcV — ACM CHI Conference (@sig_chi) May 10,

15 Ways Gamification Can Be Applied to Education

15 Ways Gamification Can Be Applied to Education

Written by Melissa Stocco. A big challenge teachers face is presenting course material in a way that peaks their students’ interest and engages them to participate. Gamification is a technique teachers can use to get students involved in classroom activities and encourage them to learn course material. Gamification does this by using “game design elements in non-game contexts” (Deterding et al., 2011). Gaming elements help motivate students by making lessons more fun and offering other incentives. For example, students answering questions in the classroom is not a gamified activity, but can be transformed into a gameful design by adding rewards or points for questions that are answered correctly. When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers had a “leaderboard” for the number of books we read that year. If you read a book in your free time, a star was added on beside your name. This gamified our independent reading by creating some healthy competition within the classroom. However, using extrinsic motivation for education is controversial, since students might lose interest once incentives like “stars” are removed. This

Repidly: A Lightweight Tool for the Collaborative Analysis of Biosignals and Gameplay Videos

Written by Mike Schaekermann of the HCI Games Group Analysing physiological biodata is often cumbersome, does often not have a fast turnaround and does not allow for collaborative annotation. In this blog post, I would like to present a lightweight collaborative web application that enables games user researchers, designers, and analysts to easily make use of biosignals as metrics for the evaluation of video games. Over the last few years, an increasing number of studies in the field of games user research (GUR) have addressed the use of biometrics as a real-time measure to quantify aspects gameplay experience (e.g., emotional valence and arousal). However, only few studies explore possibilities to visualize biometrics in a way that yields meaningful and intuitively accessible insights for games user researchers in a lightweight and cost-efficient manner. In effort to fill this gap, we developed a novel web-based GUR tool for the collaborative analysis of gameplay videos, based on biosignal time series data that aims at facilitating video game evaluation procedures in both large- and small-scale settings. In the video games industry, a rapidly growing

Gamification of Physical Activity: Spirit50

Gamification of Physical Activity: Spirit50

Written by Dennis L. Kappen and Lennart E. Nacke HCI Games Group collaborated with Erin Billowits, founder and owner of Vintage Fitness, a Toronto based health and wellness company catering to the fitness training needs of adults of age 50 years and older. Vintage Fitness aimed to engage older adults in daily exercise routines by catering to the specialized needs of  the demographic and tailoring fitness routines based on health conditions of older adults. The HCI Games Group studied the motivations of older adults to engage in physical activities through empirical research  focused on their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to participate in physical activities. Spirit50 was the culmination of analyzing rich qualitative data about older adults motivations to exercise and  implementing an online application catering to older adults fitness with considerations to the physical and technological barriers commonly experienced by an older demographic. In an increasingly digital world, it can be difficult to engage an aging population in the online marketplace while ensuring effective, clear communication with customers and an easily understandable user interface. The online application proposed a novel approach involving the concept of gamification

Playful Interactions at CHI PLAY 2015

Playful Interactions at CHI PLAY 2015

The HCI Games Group attended and presented several works at CHI PLAY 2015, the second edition of the ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play. CHI PLAY is an international and interdisciplinary conference for researchers and professionals of all areas of play, games, and human-computer interaction, which fosters discussion of current high quality research in games and HCI as foundations for the future of digital play. This year the conference took place in London, UK, from the 5th to the 7th of October. If you played #chiplaygue at #chiplay15 we'd love to hear your feedback: https://t.co/F2F0hBdidi (this little survey will take you < 5 min) — Gustavo Tondello (@GustavoTondello) October 9, 2015 Continue reading to hear about the experience of our researchers during CHI PLAY 2015. Dr. Lennart Nacke Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo and Director of the HCI Games Group Having started CHI PLAY together with a couple of senior human-computer interaction and games researchers in 2014, it was great to see the conference move to Europe and grow in popularity and size. We had

The HCI Games Group will be at CHI PLAY 2015

The HCI Games Group will be at CHI PLAY 2015 next week in London, UK! If you are going to the Conference, come play our game CHI PLAYGUE with us! CHI PLAYGUE is a conference game designed to facilitate interaction among strangers and encourage social networking. To defend from a cybernetic alien invasion, each participant of CHI PLAY 2015 will have to interact with as many other participants as they can, to build Earth’s defenses. We hope that they will find this a playful opportunity to meet new people and get to know their work. To play this game, you will need to download the app to your smartphone, and a QR Code that will function as your ID. You will interact with other players by scanning their QR Code with your phone. Cards with the QR Code will be distributed during CHI PLAY 2015 by the HCI Games members: Gustavo Tondello, Rina Wehbe, and Lennart Nacke. The team with the highest score by the end of the Conference — Earthlings or Aliens — will be the winner. And those

Flashlights Off! – A Left 4 Dead 2 Game Review

Flashlights Off! – A Left 4 Dead 2 Game Review

  By: Amanda Leo, Samantha Stahlke, Rylan Koroluk, and Rina Wehbe             Left 4 Dead 2 is a cooperative first-person shooter game developed by Valve Corporation and released in 2009. The immense popularity of the Left 4 Dead (L4D) series has inspired  the release of a comic and a large collection of fan-made games and DLC (downloadable content). L4D itself started as a fan-created mod of Half-Life 2, with the development later taken over by Valve. With reviews of 9/10 from IGN.com, 9/10 from GameSpot, 4/5 from Common Sense Media, and 4.5/5 from Metacritic, it is one of the most highly-rated collaborative first-person shooter games of all time. While using the game’s single-player mode is thrilling and features excellent team and enemy AI, many reviewers suggest that the game’s strength is revealed through its multiplayer experience. This has raised the curiosity of what exactly makes Left 4 Dead 2’s multiplayer so enjoyable to play? The HCI Games Group decided to play, analyze, and review the cooperative experience of Left 4 Dead 2.

The Gameful World

The Gameful World

The Gameful World is a book that aims to examine the key challenges of gamification and the ludification of culture, or, as presented by the editors, the Gameful World. It contains essays from more than 50 acknowledged experts representing both academia and industry. The collection is edited by Steffen P. Walz, Associate Professor and Director of the Games and Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEElab) at the School of Media and Communication at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and Director of RMIT’s GEElab Europe in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Sebastian Deterding, Assistant Professor in the Game Design Program at Northeastern University, and associate at the international design agency Hubbub. The book begins with an introduction to the Gameful World, in which the editors review the historical context for the rise of games and gamification in modern culture. From then on, the analysis is organized in three broad parts. The first part, “Approaches”, presents several different views used to frame and define gamification, which include the ludic century, behavioural psychology, motivation, economics, ethics, and aesthetics, among others. It also boldly includes a sceptical

The Ultimate First Person Shooter Game Simulator

The Ultimate First Person Shooter Game Simulator

There are many methods of combining various technologies with the goal of enhancing an experience, especially within the context of user immersion. The Gadget Show, a television program based out of the United Kingdom, looks at many of these combinations of technology both inside and outside of video game applications. In an episode focused on game immersion they explored the limits of realistic simulation in a first-person shooter.