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Affective Ludology, Flow and Immersion in a First-Person Shooter: Measurement of Player Experience

Lennart E. Nacke and Craig A. Lindley. 2009. Affective Ludology, Flow and Immersion in a First-Person Shooter: Measurement of Player Experience. In Loading...: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association 3, 5. .

Abstract

Gameplay research about experiential phenomena is a challenging undertaking,given the variety of experiences that gamers encounter when playing and whichcurrently do not have a formal taxonomy, such as flow, immersion, boredom, andfun. These informal terms require a scientific explanation. Ludologists alsoacknowledge the need to understand cognition, emotion, and goal- orientedbehavior of players from a psychological perspective by establishing rigorousmethodologies. This paper builds upon and extends prior work in an area forwhich we would like to coin the term "affective ludology." The area isconcerned with the affective measurement of player-game interaction. Theexperimental study reported here investigated different traits of gameplayexperience using subjective (i.e., questionnaires) and objective (i.e.,psychophysiological) measures. Participants played three Half-Life 2 game leveldesign modifications while measures such as electromyography (EMG),electrodermal activity (EDA) were taken and questionnaire responses werecollected. A level designed for combat-oriented flow experience demonstratedsignificant high-arousal positive affect emotions. This method shows thatemotional patterns emerge from different level designs, which has greatpotential for providing real-time emotional profiles of gameplay that may begenerated together with self- reported subjective player experience descriptions.