Dominic Kao

Dominic Kao
Purdue University | Purdue

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39
Publications
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221
Citations

Publications

Publications (39)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The premise that "good" games embody sound pedagogy in their designs, even if incorporation was not deliberate, suggests that commercial entertainment games may also hold surprising educational potential. However, there is limited research exploring the potential learning experiences that entertainment games can provide, as well as how such uninten...
Article
Full-text available
Background Previous work has identified that the benefits of learning with videogames and learning from simulations. However, recent meta‐analytic work has also identified that little research directly compares learning with videogames and learning with simulations. Objectives This study examines two learning technologies and their corresponding p...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Avatar customization is known to positively affect crucial outcomes in numerous domains. However, it is unknown whether audial customization can confer the same benefits as visual customization. We conducted a preregistered 2 x 2 (visual choice vs. visual assignment x audial choice vs. audial assignment) study in a Java programming game. Participan...
Preprint
Full-text available
Avatar customization is known to positively affect crucial outcomes in numerous domains. However, it is unknown whether audial customization can confer the same benefits as visual customization. We conducted a preregistered 2 x 2 (visual choice vs. visual assignment x audial choice vs. audial assignment) study in a Java programming game. Participan...
Article
Full-text available
Avatar identification is one of the most promising research areas in games user research. Greater identification with one's avatar has been associated with improved outcomes in the domains of health, entertainment, and education. However, existing studies have focused almost exclusively on the visual appearance of avatars. Yet audio is known to inf...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual reality (VR) has disrupted the gaming market and is rapidly becoming ubiquitous. Yet differences between VR and traditional mediums, such as controllers that are visible in the virtual world, enable entirely new approaches to instruction. In this paper, we present four studies, each using a different VR game. Within each study, we compared...
Article
Full-text available
We have evaluated four locomotion interfaces, namely natural walking (NW), omnidirectional treadmill (OT), walk-in-place (WiP), and joystick (JS). In this within-group study, an avoidance movement task with a virtual character was performed by all participants for each examined interface. Our study considers that natural walking is the most realist...
Article
Full-text available
Effectance—the basic positive experience of causing effects—provides a promising explanation for the enjoyment derived from novel low-challenge game genres featuring ample ‘juicy’ feedback. To date, game researchers have studied effectance using a little-validated 11-item scale developed by Klimmt, Hartmann, and Frey. To test its dimensionality and...
Article
This between‐group study investigated participants' experiences of tactile feedback patterns when asked to hug a virtual character. Five experimental conditions were developed, one with no tactile feedback and four with tactile feedback. The participants were placed in a virtual city and informed they would be meeting a virtual friend, who they wer...
Article
Full-text available
Surveillance is ubiquitous. It is well known that the presence of other people (in-person or remote, actual or perceived) increases performance on simple tasks and decreases performance in complex tasks (Zajonc 1965). But little is known about these phenomena in the context of video games, with recent advances finding that they do not necessarily e...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this article we describe Hack.VR, an object-oriented programming game in virtual reality. Hack.VR uses a VR programming language in which nodes represent functions and node connections represent data flow. Using this programming framework, players reprogram VR objects such as elevators, robots, and switches. Hack.VR has been designed to be highl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Help facilities have been crucial in helping users learn about software for decades. But despite widespread prevalence of game engines and game editors that ship with many of today's most popular games, there is a lack of empirical evidence on how help facilities impact game-making. For instance, certain types of help facilities may help users more...
Article
Full-text available
“Juiciness” is a term that has been widely used to describe the positive feedback (both visual/audial) present in digital games. However, few empirical investigations have looked at how juiciness concretely impacts players. In this paper, we perform a study (N = 3018) in which we compare four identical versions of an action role-playing game with v...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Time of day effects have been observed for the last five decades in cognitive tasks, athletic performance, and even ethical behavior. However, in the context of games, little is known about how time of day influences preference or performance. We present a first study (N=504) to explore how preference and perceived performance vary over the course...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we describe JavaStrike¹. JavaStrike is a Java development and execution environment that was developed from scratch inside Unity. The engine currently supports classes, functions, inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, key-value stores, and much more. JavaStrike allows code to be displayed, executed, and debugged in the virtual world...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Avatar identification is a topic of increasingly intense interest. This is largely because avatar identification can promote a wide variety of outcomes: game enjoyment, intrinsic motivation, quality of made artifacts, and more. Yet we still understand very little about how different avatar types affect users. Here, we contribute one of the few high...
Article
Loot boxes are garnering increased attention in both the industry and media. One focal point of the discussion is whether loot boxes should be considered a form of gambling [1]. While parallels can be drawn between loot boxes and random reward schedules, researchers have argued that the “glorification” aspect of loot boxes that have heightened play...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One focus of researchers has been on the growth mindset, or the belief that intelligence is malleable (Dweck, 2006). This study explores whether merely having a username that draws upon a growth mindset (e.g., HardWork) can improve outcomes over a username that draws upon a fixed mindset (e.g., GoodGenes). A total of 1876 participants played three...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In our study (N=2189), we divided participants into 6 badge conditions: 1) Role model badges (e.g., Einstein), 2) Personal interest badges (e.g., Movies), 3) Achievement badges (e.g., "Code King"), 4) Choice, 5) Choice with badges always visible, and 6) No badges. Participants played a CS programming game, then used an editor to create their own le...
Thesis
Full-text available
With the current proliferation of educational games, MOOCs, and with the pervasive use of virtual identities such as avatars in systems ranging from online forums to virtual reality simulations, it is increasingly important to understand the impacts of avatars. Over two years, I led an initiative in MIT's Imagination, Computation, and Expression (I...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents an overview of the MazeStar platform for Computer Science education. MazeStar is both a game (Mazzy) that teaches programming concepts like loops and conditionals, and a game editor which allows players to create and share their own game levels. By playing and creating, players are using computing concepts (e.g., block structuri...
Article
This paper presents an overview of the MazeStar platform for Computer Science education. MazeStar is both a game (Mazzy) that teaches programming concepts like loops and conditionals, and a game editor which allows players to create and share their own game levels. By playing and creating, players are using computing concepts (e.g., block structuri...
Article
Full-text available
The results of over twenty-five years of research seem clear: the addition of seductive visual details in video games hinders performance of learners (Garner, Gillingham, & White, 1989; Thalheimer, 2004; Rey, 2012). Yet, countless other research results propose the opposite: that visual embellishments and well-designed ambiguity instead improve lea...
Article
Full-text available
Avatar research has almost exclusively explored avatars that remain the same regardless of context. However, there may be advantages to avatars that change during use. A plethora of work has shown that avatars personalized in one’s likeness increases identification, while object-like avatars increase detachment. We posit that in certain situations...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The color red has been shown to hinder performance, motivation, and affect in a variety of contexts involving cognitively demanding tasks. Teams wearing red have been shown to impair the performance of opposing teams, present even in online gaming. Although color is strongly contextual (e.g., red-failure association), its effects are posited to be...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Encouragement (e.g., 'You're doing well') given at regular intervals improves performance in a variety of sporting domains. This improvement is regardless of the actual performance of participants. However, it has not been studied how this type of encouragement can affect players of video games. In the current study (N = 662), we look at the follow...
Article
Full-text available
Studies show that using role models can boost academic performance of learners (Lockwood, 2006; Marx & Roman, 2002). In this paper, we describe an experiment (N=1067) exploring the impacts of varying types of avatar on engagement in an educational game. The different conditions include role models and (c) the non-role model case of simple geometric...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Studies show that role models can boost academic performance. In this paper, we describe an experiment (N = 890) exploring the use of (a) scientist role models, (b) athlete role models and (c) simple geometric shapes, as game avatars. Using the Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ), we find that over all participants, the use of avatars that looked l...

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