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Audio Habits and Motivations in Video Game Players

Katja Rogers and Michael Weber. 2019. Audio Habits and Motivations in Video Game Players. In Proceedings of Audio Mostly (AM’19). ACM. doi:10.1145/3356590.3356599

Abstract

Game music is increasingly being explored in terms of empirical effects on players, but we know very little about how players actually perceive and use background music in games, and why. We conducted a survey (N=737) to gain an understanding of players' in-the-wild audio habits and motivations, which can inform future research and industry practices regarding game audio design. The results indicate a wide variance in players' estimation of the importance of music in games. Further, we identify and provide evidence for the comparatively new multitasking phenomenon: a substantial number of players who do not listen to games' provided background music, often in favour of additional/parallel media usage. Based on these findings, we discuss implications for game audio design, ground existing common knowledge with empirical support, and delineate future research directions.

Effects of Background Music on Risk-Taking and General Player Experience

Katja Rogers, Matthias Jörg, and Michael Weber. 2019. Effects of Background Music on Risk-Taking and General Player Experience. In Proceedings of the 2019 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’19). ACM. doi:doi.org/10.1145/3311350.3347158

Abstract

Music affects our emotions and behaviour in real life, yet despite its prevalence in games, we have a limited understanding of its potential as a tool to explicitly influence player experience and behaviour in games. In this work, we investigate whether we can affect players' risk-taking behaviour through the presence and attributes of background music. We built a game that operationalizes risk behaviour by repeatedly giving players the choice between a safe but less rewarding course, and a risky but potentially more rewarding course. In a mixed-design user study (N=60), we explored the impact of music presence, tempo, and affective inflection on players' in-game risk behaviour and overall player experience. We found an effect of music presence on risk behaviour in the first playthrough, i.e., in the absence of other prior knowledge about the game. Further, music affect and tempo affected player immersion, as well as experienced mastery and challenge. Based on these findings, we discuss implications for game design and future research directions.

ExerCube vs. Personal Trainer: Evaluating a Holistic, Immersive, and Adaptive Fitness Game Setup.

Anna-Lisa Martin-Niedecken, Katja Rogers, Laia Turmo Vidal, Elisa D. Mekler, and Elena Márquez Segura. 2019. ExerCube vs. Personal Trainer: Evaluating a Holistic, Immersive, and Adaptive Fitness Game Setup.. In Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’19). ACM. doi:10.1145/3290605.3300318

Abstract

Today's spectrum of playful fitness solutions features systems that are clearly game-first or fitness-first in design; hardly any sufficiently incorporate both areas. Consequently, existing applications and evaluations often lack in focus on attractiveness and effectiveness, which should be addressed on the levels of body, controller, and game scenario following a holistic design approach. To contribute to this topic and as a proof-of-concept, we designed the ExerCube, an adaptive fitness game setup. We evaluated participants' multi-sensory and bodily experiences with a non-adaptive and an adaptive ExerCube version and compared them with personal training to reveal insights to inform the next iteration of the ExerCube. Regarding flow, enjoyment and motivation, the ExerCube is on par with personal training. Results further reveal differences in perception of exertion, types and quality of movement, social factors, feedback, and audio experiences. Finally, we derive considerations for future research and development directions in holistic fitness game setups.

Exploring Interaction Fidelity in Virtual Reality: Object Manipulation and Whole-Body Movements

Katja Rogers, Jana Funke, Julian Frommel, Sven Stamm, and Michael Weber. 2019. Exploring Interaction Fidelity in Virtual Reality: Object Manipulation and Whole-Body Movements. In Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’19). ACM. doi:10.1145/3290605.3300644

Abstract

High degrees of interaction fidelity (IF) in virtual reality (VR) are said to improve user experience and immersion, but there is also evidence of low IF providing comparable experiences. VR games are now increasingly prevalent, yet we still do not fully understand the trade-off between realism and abstraction in this context. We conducted a lab study comparing high and low IF for object manipulation tasks in a VR game. In a second study, we investigated players' experiences of IF for whole-body movements in a VR game that allowed players to crawl underneath virtual boulders and "dangle'' along monkey bars. Our findings show that high IF is preferred for object manipulation, but for whole-body movements, moderate IF can suffice, as there is a trade-off with usability and social factors. We provide guidelines for the development of VR games based on our results.

Take Back Control: Effects of Player Influence on Procedural Level Generation.

Julian Frommel, Dietmar Puschmann, Katja Rogers, and Michael Weber. 2019. Take Back Control: Effects of Player Influence on Procedural Level Generation.. In Extended Abstracts Publication of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’19 Extended Abstracts). ACM. doi:doi.org/10.1145/3341215.3356288

Abstract

Many games use procedural content generation (PCG) to create varied game experiences without having to create all content manually. They allow varying degrees of player influence on generation, from retaining all control to giving full control to players over a number of parameters. Despite the prevalence of PCG in commercial games, little research has examined how player influence on PCG parameters affects their experience. We present a preliminary study examining the effect of three degrees of player influence on PCG parameters of game levels, by means of a dungeon crawler game featuring 22 parameters for level design. Participants played the game with varying degrees of control (none, limited, high) over those parameters and reported subjective player experience measures. The results show that degree of influence affects player experience; high control elicits significantly higher autonomy than the other conditions. While future research disentangling agency and challenge is necessary, our preliminary findings suggest that player control over PCG features potentially improves experience by eliciting increased autonomy.

Towards Socially Immersive Fitness Games: An Exploratory Evaluation Through Embodied Sketching

Anna-Lisa Martin-Niedecken, Elena Márquez Segura, Katja Rogers, Stephan Niedecken, and Laia Turmo Vidal. 2019. Towards Socially Immersive Fitness Games: An Exploratory Evaluation Through Embodied Sketching. In Extended Abstracts Publication of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’19 Extended Abstracts). ACM. doi:10.1145/3341215.3356293

Abstract

Despite many benefits of playing and exercising together in terms of motivation, engagement, and social relationships, many exergames are designed to be single player, while others implement only a facade of social play (e.g., leaderboards). The challenge remains: how can exergames be designed to balance fun, exertion, and social connection? In this work, we ran an embodied sketching activity with multiplayer variations of the Sphery Racer mixed-reality fitness game, allowing us to test physical and social game mechanics. We discuss here: i) preliminary results on how these variations support a rich training and social experience; and ii) the potential of our method to surface interesting design directions. These contributions can inspire others designing in this domain, and support the development of a rich design space for co-located exergames.

Emotion-based Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment Using Parametrized Difficulty and Self-Reports of Emotion

Julian Frommel, Fabian Fischbach, Katja Rogers, and Michael Weber. 2018. Emotion-based Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment Using Parametrized Difficulty and Self-Reports of Emotion. ACM. doi:10.1145/3242671.3242682

Abstract

Research has shown that dynamic difficulty adjustment (DDA) can benefit player experience in digital games. However, in some cases it can be difficult to assess when adjustments are necessary. In this paper, we propose an approach of emotion-based DDA that uses self-reported emotions to inform when an adaptation is necessary. In comparison to earlier DDA techniques based on affect, we use parameterized difficulty to define difficulty levels and select the suitable level based on players' frustration and boredom. We conducted a user study with 66 participants investigating performance and effects on player experience and perceived competence of this approach. The study further explored how self-reports of emotional state can be integrated in dialogs with non-player characters to provide less interruption. The results show that our emotion-based DDA approach works as intended and yields better player experience than constant or increasing difficulty approaches. While the dialog-based self-reports did not positively affect player experience, they yielded high accuracy. Together, these findings indicate our emotion-based approach works as intended and provides good player experience, thus representing a useful tool for game developers to easily implement reliable DDA.

Textile Manager: Design and Development of a Persuasive Game about Sustainable Textile Production

Katja Rogers, Michael Olah, and Michael Weber. 2018. Textile Manager: Design and Development of a Persuasive Game about Sustainable Textile Production. In CHI EA '18: Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM. doi:10.1145/3170427.3188623

Abstract

Textile production is a large and profitable industry that still struggles with issues relating to environmental impact and societal concerns like labour rights. Incorporating sustainable practices to reduce these issues will be highly beneficial for future generations. Potential measures exist on both an industry and company level, as well as in the purchase behaviour of individual consumers. We present Textile Manager, a persuasive game designed to encourage players to consider their own textile-related behaviour. Based on expert interviews, we discerned goals for a persuasive game to create awareness about issues in traditional textile production. Textile Manager presents a proof-of-concept prototype that was evaluated with a pre-post exposure study. We report findings regarding persuasive effect, voluntary information quests, and visualization of consequences for player decisions to contribute towards the persuasive technology research community.

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