Accepted Papers

Below are the 5 Papers that have been accepted to the workshop.

Political Participation as a Lens for Understanding Co-creation and Exploitation Practices
Patrick Prax
This paper discusses the concepts of participation, exploitation, and co-creation in relationship to each other, presents two examples from participatory game design, and attempts to offer a conclusion that can be useful for researchers and practitioners who are using these concepts in the area of game development. The conclusion points towards the importance of the power positions of the different stake holders in the participatory process for differentiating co-creation and real participation and more exploratory practices and offers a definition of co-creative game design that can be used to understand the extent of player participation in the creation of a game and to make an argument for empowering players in relation to the weight of their contribution.

Older Adults, Would You Play Digital Games for Brain Health? “Yes and No”
Najmeh K Mahni, Bob De Schutter, Kim Sawchuk, Atousa Assadi, Kate Li
Twelve seniors (65-80) participated in a three-session mixed-method study to assess the psychophysiological impact of playing different potentially cognitive enhancing digital games (brain-training, car racing and Exergames). Here, we only report observations from the qualitative assessments using semi-structured interviews that focused on why/if this age-group would be interested in brain-enhancing games, and what features interested them in adoption of ‘serious’ games. We found that our participants did not think that digital games would outweigh the cognitive and health benefits of reading, socializing and exercising in their current lifestyles. However, they considered them an important option for older and less mobile seniors. Instead, they preferred solo ‘relaxing’ games like Solitaire (over brain games) and considered Exergames with age-friendly aesthetics and music to be potentially beneficial. This work underlines the critical importance of including target players in the process of ‘serious’ games design to avoid presumptions about the ‘benefits’ driving the game adoption.

Design Methods for Democratising Mobile Game Design
Mark J. Nelson, Swen E. Gaudl, Simon Colton, Rob Saunders, Edward J. Powley, Peter Ivey, Bianca Pérez Ferrer, Michael Cook.
Playing mobile games is popular among a large and diverse set of players, contrasting sharply with the limited set of companies and people who design them. We would like to democratise mobile game design by enabling players to design games on the same devices they play them on, without needing to program. Our concept of fluidic games aims to realise this vision by drawing on three design methodologies. The interaction style of fluidic games is that of casual creators; their end-user design philosophy is adapted from metadesign; and their technical implementation is based on parametric design. In this short article, we discuss how we’ve adapted these three methods to mobile game design, and some open questions that remain in order to empower end user game design on mobile phones in a way that rises beyond the level of typical user generated content.

Usertesting Without the User: Introducing PathOS, a Framework for AI-Based Games User Research
Samantha Stahlke, Pejman Mirza-Babaei
The use of human participants in game usertesting can be costly, time-consuming, and present challenges for constructing representative player samples. There is a potential that these challenges may be overcome by using computer-controlled agents in place of human users for certain stages of the playtesting process. As a novel usertesting solution, we present PathOS, a conceptualized system for simulating player navigation in games. We explore the use of behavioural modelling to imitate human characteristics such as spatial reasoning and player decision-making, creating proxy “users” able to assist in the evaluation of level designs. Using models of player memory, reasoning, and instinct, we propose that a configurable population of artificial intelligence (AI) players can provide a datarich supplement to current approaches in game user research.

Puzzling the Player: Involvement Through Player Interaction Within The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Jared Hansen
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker may not be known for mentally straining puzzles, but its use of puzzle design invokes a greater sense of player involvement and interaction. This case study examines the various models of puzzle design—such as Sivak’s model of Zelda puzzles, four-step level design, and the teaching cycle—as well as how the level design encourages player involvement through its patterns. By examining the strengths of this game, scholars and developers can better understand how to promote a sense of flow, where players grow along with the difficulty of the game.