Nevermind: a video game powered by your biometrics

Nevermind is a biofeedback-enhanced adventure horror game that takes you into the dark and twisted world of the subconscious.

As you explore surreal labyrinths and solve the puzzles of the mind, a biofeedback sensor will monitor how scared or stressed you become moment-to-moment. If you let your fears get the best of you, the game will become harder. If you’re able to calm yourself in the face of terror, the game will be more forgiving.

Nevermind strives to create a haunting gameplay experience that also teaches you how to be more aware of your internal responses to stressful situations. If you can learn to control your anxiety within the disturbing realm of Nevermind, just imagine what you can do when it comes to those inevitable stressful moments in the real world.

See the project page.

Designing the experience of Elite: Dangerous

In this interview, Louise McLennan – Senior UX Designer at Frontier Developments – discuss the design challenges of a video game such as Elite: Dangerous.

About the game – Frontier Developments released Elite: Dangerous in December 2014, after a successful Kickstarter campaign. For this game, they further developed the concepts of trading and combat that were part of the original version of Elite, which Acornsoft released in 1984. However, Elite: Dangerous offers both a massively multiplayer, persistent world of online play, as well as single-player gaming. The game’s user experience evolves many of the same designs and concepts that the original game introduced, and many of its current players are part of the older demographic who played the original game.

Read the interview on UXMatters.

survival shooter game

Time Pressure As Video Game Design Element And Basic Need Satisfaction

Abstract – Over the last few decades, with the help of technological advancements in computational power and improvements in interaction design, video games have been prominent instruments for entertainment. With increasing number of players, researchers mainly have focused on revealing underlying psychological reasons behind gaming. By applying Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in gaming context, it is concluded that satisfactions of three basic intrinsic needs, namely, autonomy, competence and relatedness, are the predictors of motivation to play video games.

However, only a few studies focused on game features supporting each of these three basic needs. Game developers might make use of the discovery of the specific game features contributing specific need satisfactions while designing games in which motivation and engagement are ensured.

In this thesis, the relations between time pressure which is one of the commonly used game design element and autonomy and competence need satisfactions are observed. In an experimental design, time pressure is manipulated to establish two conditions (no time pressure in control group and time pressure in experimental group) by implementing countdown mechanics in a 3D survival shooting game. Mediating effects of autonomy and competence on the associations between time pressure and intrinsic motivation, flow, engagement, performance and enjoyment are also observed.

Results showed that, although there was a significant difference in perceived time pressure of players, no significant differences were found in autonomy and competence need satisfactions between two conditions. Similarly, no differences in intrinsic motivation, engagement, performance and enjoyment between two conditions were revealed. The only significant difference was found in flow between iv control and experimental conditions such that the participants in the experimental condition experienced more flow than those in the control condition. However, there were significant differences in flow and engagement among a subgroup of experimental condition, who failed to complete the goal in the game in the specified time limit, and other subgroups (both in control and experimental groups) who successfully completed the game in the given time. Competence and performance decreased with the increase in perceived time pressure within experimental group but the differences did not reach significance. On the other hand, flow and engagement were enhanced with the increase in perceived time pressure.

These findings give us the idea that there may be an optimal time limit in which autonomy and competence are maximized and positively correlated, and thus intrinsic motivation, flow, engagement, performance and enjoyment are promoted throughout game play

Download the full thesis.

Yıldırım, Irem Gökçe Time Pressure As Video Game Design Element And Basic Need Satisfaction, MSc Thesis, Department of Modeling and Simulation Supervisor, August 2015, 57 pages

How and why games work | loop scheme

Philipp Zupke: How and why games work

In this post,  Philipp Zupke discusses how games work and what makes them so engrossing. Based on the works of Raph Koster’s  “Theory of Fun” And Daniel Cooks’ “Feedback System”, his analysis offers an insight on fun and learning, loop, strategies, goals and player agency.

Learn more about the topic by watching “Defining Gameplay: Between structure and chaos” by Alexandre Mandryka (Ubisoft).

Read the full article.




Using game mechanics for field evaluation of prototype social applications: a novel methodology

In this paper, Amon Rapp, Federica Cena, Cristina Gena, Alessandro Marcengo and Luca Console present “a novel methodology to evaluate a social media application in its formative phase of design. Taking advantage of the experiences developed in the Alternate Reality Games, we propose to insert game mechanics in the test setting of a formative evaluation of a prototypical social system. As a use case, we present the evaluation of WantEat, a prototypical social mobile application in the gastronomical domain. The evaluation highlighted how the gamification of a field trial can yield good results when evaluating social applications in prototypical status. From a methodological point of view, gamifying a field trial overcomes the cold start problem, caused by the absence of active communities, which can prevent the participation of users and therefore the collection of reliable data. Our experience showed that the gamification of a field evaluation is feasible and can likely increase the quantity of both browsing actions and social actions performed by users. Based on these results, we then are able to provide a set of guidelines to gamify the evaluation session of an interactive system”.

Download the research.

Learning from Mixed-Reality Games: Is Shaking a Tablet as Effective as Physical Observation?

Researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University have published a study on the power of educational games with a “tangible” side.

Using the Microsoft’s Kinect  to enhance an educational game about elementary physics, they have found that the introduction of physical objects “along with Kinect improved the effectiveness of learning by nearly five times compared to an equivalent screen-only experience”.

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