Christian Roth

Christian Roth
HKU University of the Arts Utrecht · Interactive Narrative Design / Games and Interaction

PhD Media Psychology/Communication Science

About

49
Publications
33,093
Reads
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618
Citations
Introduction
Media psychologist, researcher, and lecturer​ teaching interactive narrative design and meaningful game design at the University of the Arts Utrecht (HKU). Leading the Minor Interactive Narrative Design at the HKU school Games & Interaction. Co-founder of GameCamp Berlin. I consult on transformative user experience design and evaluation of interactive narratives, games and virtual realities.
Additional affiliations
March 2016 - present
Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Research and teaching on interactive narrative design and user experience evaluation
January 2009 - January 2016
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • PhD
Description
  • Researching user experiences of interactive narratives

Publications

Publications (49)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
An experiment (N = 74) was conducted to investigate the impact of game difficulty and player performance on game enjoyment. Participants played a First Person Shooter game with systematically varied levels of difficulty. Satisfaction with performance and game enjoyment were assessed after playing. Results are not fully in line with predictions deri...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many virtual and alternate reality projects create narrative experiences in the digital medium. These are Interactive Digital Narratives (IDN), a form of expression at the intersection of different artistic approaches, research fields (humanities, computer science), and emerging technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence, virtual reality, generati...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Interactive Narratives in the form of Interactive Theater have the potential to offer a transformational learning experience on societal and political topics. The purposive interactive installation Angstfabriek (Dutch for fear factory) lets visitors experience fear-mongering and the related safety industry, with the goal of eliciting reflection, in...
Chapter
Full-text available
The practice of designing Interactive Digital Narratives [IDN] is often described as a challenge facing issues such as the “narrative paradox” and avoid-ing the unintentional creation of “ludonarrative dissonance”. These terms are expressions of a perspective that takes narrative and interactivity as dichotomic ends of a design trajectory, mirrorin...
Chapter
The design and study of interactive digital narratives (IDN) is a multidisciplinary field. Scholars and practitioners concerned with the topic originate from fields such as literary studies, computer sciences, games studies, media studies, fine art, filmmaking. Consequently, they not only bring a wealth of productive perspectives to the table, but...
Chapter
Initial expectations about the interactive affordances of VR were often inspired by science fiction and technological fantasies rather than based on actual technical possibilities. In these futuristic accounts of VR, interactors would have the opportunity to fully engage with the characters that inhabit the story world, in ways that would feel so n...
Chapter
This paper outlines an approach to describing complexity representation in interactive narratives, in order to understand and evaluate how narrative serious games and similar forms might scaffold cognitive reduction of complexity. We adapt Yoon et al.’s media-agnostic framework for complexity learning to the interactive narrative context. Using the...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, games with a focus on narrative have been a growing area. However, so far, interactive narrative aspects have not been the focus of video game education (with the noted exception of a small number of programs in game writing), which indicates that many narrative designers are self-trained. The insular status means that many designe...
Research
Full-text available
In this full-day workshop, we work with participants on the topic of meaningful interactive narrative and transformative experiences. Presentations on the topics of ludonarrative meaning-making and transformative experiences are combined with a series of interactive exercises and discussions. Participants are asked to consider their own "disorienti...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ares 2036 is a visual novel prototype exploring the circumstances, factors and cognitive biases that come into play in the process of forming opinions. The sci-fi scenario revolves around a potential pandemic on Earth, experienced from the distance of a spaceship on its way to Mars Station Ares. Players experience a situation in which communication...
Chapter
Ares 2036 is a visual novel prototype exploring the circumstances, factors and cognitive biases that come into play in the process of forming opinions. The sci-fi scenario revolves around a potential pandemic on Earth, experienced from the distance of a spaceship on its way to Mars Station Ares. Players experience a situation in which communication...
Chapter
This volume compiles papers from the Young Academics Workshop at the Clash of Realities conferences of 2017 and 2018. The 2017 workshop - Perceiving Video Games - explored the video game medium by focusing on perception and meaning-making processes. The 2018 workshop - Reframing the Violence and Video Games Debate - transcended misleading claims th...
Chapter
Full-text available
Interactive Digital Narratives (IDN) have the capacity to represent multiple, even competing perspectives and to allow audiences to change between them. Such meaningful changes have been defined as agency by Murray [1] transforming the audience into interactors. These experiential qualities of interactive digital narrative (IDN) define the potentia...
Chapter
Interactive Narratives in the form of Interactive Theater have the potential to offer a transformational learning experience on societal and political topics. The purposive interactive installation Angstfabriek (Dutch for fear factory) lets visitors experience fear-mongering and the related safety industry, with the goal of eliciting reflection, in...
Chapter
Full-text available
In recent years, interactive narrative design has become the main activity of a diverse group professionals working in video games, agencies, museums, at broadcasters, and online newspapers. At the same time, there has been no degree program in interactive narrative design, which indicates that many narrative designers are self-trained. By starting...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Netflix production Bandersnatch represents a potentially crucial step for interactive digital narrative videos, due to the platform's reach, popularity, and ability to finance costly experimental productions. Indeed, Netflix has announced that it will invest more into interactive narratives-moving into romance and other genres-which makes Bande...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ludonarrative aspects have not been the focus of video game studies. During the foundational phase of the discipline, the focus was placed on game mechanics and on understanding what distinguishes games from earlier forms like the movie or the novel. In recent years, however, the growing field of narrative-focused games (e.g. Dear Esther (The Chine...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While there have been many discussions about the purpose of game studies programs over the years (e.g., the GDC games Educator summit, the teaching game studies workshops at past DIGRA conferences1 ), relatively few of those discussions resulted in publications on concrete pedagogical strategies. In fact, despite the broadly shared aim of educatin...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper shares the results of an interactive digital narrative (IDN) project, conducted at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. We consider the potential of ‘IDN for change’, before we describe the project, the underlying design approach and the educational approaches. A particularfocus of this paper is on pedagogical considerations. We describe...
Conference Paper
During the last three decades, many successful interactive narrative projects have been realized, including many games. However, the respective design knowledge mostly rests with individual designers, who are self-trained and use private, inaccessible vocabulary. This state of affairs is an obstacle to further development and a considerable challen...
Article
Full-text available
Most of the scientific literature on computer games aimed at offering or aiding in psychotherapy provides little information on the relationship between the game's design and the player's cognitive processes. This article investigates the use of Bloom's taxonomy in describing a psychotherapeutic game in terms of knowledge level and cognitive proces...
Article
In recent years, game narrative has emerged as an area for novel game concepts and as a strategy to distinguish a particular title. However, innovation in this area comes primarily from indie companies and individual efforts by noted designers. There is a lack of trained specialists ready to produce interactive narrative experiences. Many existing...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we describe narrative game design as an area for empirical research and aim to promote additional work in this area. The focus of our paper is therefore on the process. We start by discussing the relationship between the design of the narrative aspects of video games vs. non-narrative aspects, as well as in comparison to earlier narr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reports on an aspect of a long-term project to create a body of evidence-based interactive narrative design methods. In this context, we discuss aspects of formal design descriptions as a basis for a quantitative approach to verify the effects of design choices on the experience of audiences. Specifically, we discuss the notion of ‘desig...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
With the renewed interest in VR, new questions arise for content creators, as existing cinematic practices cannot simply be transferred. In this paper, we describe two experiments investigating which voice-over perspective elicits the best sense of presence for viewers of cinematic VR content. For the first experiment different voice-over narration...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In the context of this paper we take design knowledge as the methods applied by the creators (for example game designers in the case of games) of interactive experiences in contrast to for example the design of authoring tools or the design of game engines and similar computational systems. Such knowledge about rule-based game design is widespread...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper outlines a roadmap for interactive narrative research that integrates disparate parts while focusing on identifying and experimentally veri‐ fying IDN design conventions and on developing a pedagogy to further the devel‐ opment of a professional discipline of IDN creators. This effort connects several key areas, in which the authors have...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study investigates whether an interactive surround video is perceived as more enjoyable when there is some auditory feedback on interactive moments. We constructed a questionnaire that measured presence, effectance, autonomy, flow, enjoyment, system usability, user satisfaction and identification, filled in by two groups of respondents who had...
Article
Full-text available
Through interaction with the virtual environment and virtual characters, users are able to influence the storyline of many games. The design choice for the style of interactivity can thereby have a crucial influence on the user's experience. However, only a few approaches evaluate different interaction modalities for one system to investigate the i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Using both manual and automatic content analysis we analyzed 100 collected screen plays of 50 users of the IS system Façade, coding the extent to which users stayed “in character”. Comparing this measure for first and second exposure to Façade revealed that users stay significantly less in character during second exposure. Further, related to a set...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Interactive storytelling (IS) is a promising new entertainment technology synthesizing preauthored narrative with dynamic user interaction. Existing IS prototypes employ different modes to involve users in a story, ranging from individual avatar control to comprehensive control over the virtual environment. The current experiment tested wh...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Interactive Storytelling (IS) is a promising new entertainment technology synthesizing pre-authored narrative with dynamic user interaction. Research on user experiences in IS is sparse. The current experiment tested whether different player expectations regarding the impact of their actions yield different user experiences by framing user agency a...
Conference Paper
Identifying with video game characters is one potentially important process in game enjoyment. Based on a theoretical model of video game identification as transformed self-perception, cognitive processes in video game identification were explored. An experiment with N = 60 male players revealed that increased cognitive accessibility of character-r...
Article
Full-text available
While replay value is a common term in interactive entertainment, psychological research on its meaning in terms of user experiences is sparse. An exploratory experiment using the interactive drama "Façade" was conducted (n=50) to examine shifts and continuities in entertainment-related user experiences between first and second exposure to the same...
Article
Full-text available
Advances in gaming and other entertainment technologies are evolving rapidly and create new conceptual challenges for understanding and explaining the user experiences they can facilitate. The present article reports a prospective study on a particularly promising entertainment technology of the future: Interactive storytelling (IS). Integrating va...
Conference Paper
How human users perceive and interact with interactive story-telling applications has not been widely researched so far. In this paper, we present an experimental approach in which we investigate the impact of different dialog-based interaction styles on human users. To this end, an interactive demonstrator has been evaluated in two different versi...
Conference Paper
This workshop has been dedicated to discussing the user experience of Interactive Digital Stories (IDS) and the empirical measurement of it. Although technology development has made substantial progress, theory and empirical studies on the user perspective have not received much attention in the community so far. The workshop has introduced a measu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
At the intersection of multimedia, artificial intelligence, and gaming technology, new visions of future entertainment media arise that approximate the “Holodeck” ® idea of interactive storytelling. We report exploratory experiments on the user experience in a ‘classic', foundational application of interactive storytelling, “Façade” (Mateas & Stern...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This workshop is dedicated to discussing the user experience of an emerging new type of entertainment computing: Interactive stories. Technology development in Interactive Storytelling (IS) has made substantial progress recently, but theory and empirical studies on the user perspective have not received much attention in the entertainment computing...
Article
Two experiments tested the prediction that video game players identify with the character or role they are assigned, which leads to automatic shifts in implicit self-perceptions. Video game identification, thus, is considered as a kind of altered self-experience. In Study 1 (N = 61), participants either played a first-person shooter game or a racin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
With the increasing number of prototypes and market applications of interactive storytelling, the understanding and optimization of how end users respond to computer-mediated interactive narratives is of growing importance. Based on a conceptual model of user experiences in interactive storytelling, a measurement instrument for empirical user-base...
Article
Narrative-rich game genres such as role playing games and adventure games aim at specific dimensions of user enjoyment. Technology development in "Interactive Storytelling" will enrich such narrative-based player experiences in the near future, yet the conceptualization and empirical assessment of how players respond to interactive narrative and th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A conceptual account to the quality of the user experience that interactive storytelling intends to facilitate is introduced. Building on socialscientific research from ‘old’ entertainment media, the experiential qualities of curiosity, suspense, aesthetic pleasantness, self-enhancement, and optimal task engagement (“flow”) are proposed as key elem...

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
I'm going to invest in new lab equipment and will need to track point of gaze for user experience studies of interactive narratives. What are your experiences with eye tracking and video games etc.?
Question
I've once read about this computer based test that showed participants different pictures with diverse emotionally loaded content (e.g. positive and negative situations such as suffering people and animals). If I remember right, the times participants looked at these pictures were measured, claiming that watching negative stimuli longer relates to less empathy.
Does anyone know how this test is called and where I can obtain it or the stimuli themselves? The pictures might be from the IAPS stimulus set (http://csea.phhp.ufl.edu/media.html), can anyone confirm?
Which tests to measure empathy in a computer lab setting would you suggest? I'm rather interested in state empathy than any trait measurements.

Network

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
This project aims to map the current (up to 2017) terrain of authoring tools for interactive digital narrative (IDN), compare them along several axes and perform a more extensive phenomenological inquiry into using some of them to author IDN projects. Axes of comparison range from their current availability and community of practice to the export formats, but pays specific attention to the narratological ontologies that are realised in the tools and available for authors to employ in the design process. The end result of the project aims to draw recommendations for users of such tools as well as tool makers.
Project
Can interactive narratives be employed for the cognitive reduction (understanding) of hypercomplex, interconnected issues?
Project
Identifying pedagogic approaches for Interactive Narrative Design. What novel teaching approaches prepare students and professionals in "inventing the medium," in creating new forms of narrative expression.