Magy Seif El-Nasr

Magy Seif El-Nasr
University of California, Santa Cruz | UCSC · Computational Media

PhD

About

237
Publications
134,103
Reads
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3,207
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2014 - present
Northeastern University
Position
  • Affiliate Faculty
August 2007 - August 2011
Simon Fraser University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2003 - August 2007
Pennsylvania State University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (237)
Preprint
To assist game developers in crafting game NPCs, we present EvolvingBehavior, a novel tool for genetic programming to evolve behavior trees in Unreal Engine 4. In an initial evaluation, we compare evolved behavior to hand-crafted trees designed by our researchers, and to randomly-grown trees, in a 3D survival game. We find that EvolvingBehavior is...
Article
Educational technology is shifting toward facilitating personalized learning. Such personalization, however, requires a detailed understanding of students’ problem-solving processes. Sequence analysis (SA) is a promising approach to gaining granular insights into student problem solving; however, existing techniques are difficult to interpret becau...
Chapter
Games have been used to study psychological phenomena in the past. Further, Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) have also been discussed as great platforms to study psychological constructs such as team dynamics, social communication or coordination, personality, and emotions. In this paper, we introduce a new ARG we developed called LUX. LUX is develop...
Article
Full-text available
Self-regulated learning (SRL) is a form of learning guided by the student's own meta-cognition, motivation, and strategic action, often in the absence of an educator. The use of SRL processes and skills has been demonstrated across numerous academic and non-academic contexts including athletics. However, manifestation of these processes within espo...
Chapter
This chapter discusses different clustering methods and their application to game data. In particular, the chapter details K-means, Fuzzy C-Means, Hierarchical Clustering, Archetypical Analysis, and Model-based clustering techniques. It discusses the disadvantages and advantages of the different methods and discusses when you may use one method vs....
Chapter
This chapter introduces the basics of statistics and probability theory that will be used throughout the book. Specifically, it introduces the concepts behind descriptive statistics, including aspects of using visualization of means, medians, and modes, as well as distribution visualizations to understand your data for further analysis. It also int...
Book
This book is aimed at giving readers an introduction to the practical side of game data science and thus can be used a textbook for game analytics or game user research class or as a reference to self learners and enthusiasts. Game data science is a term that we use to denote a process composed of methods and techniques by which an analyst or a dat...
Chapter
This chapter discusses Social Network Analysis, a technique used to analyze social networks within social games as a method to enhance retention in games. We will show how one can use this method by applying it to the problem of retention within the game Tom Clancy’s The Division ( TCTD ). Using the game and the analysis will help you understand ho...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the techniques used to abstract the data from low-level data to features that can be used to visualize and develop models to inform the different stakeholders. These techniques range from (a) knowledge engineering, where expert knowledge is used to develop formulae to compute various measures from low-level data; (b) feature...
Chapter
This chapter discusses more advanced methods for sequence analysis. These include: probabilistic methods using classical planning, Bayesian Networks (BN), Dynamic Bayesian Networks (DBNs), Hidden Markov Models (HMMs), Markov Logic Networks (MLNs), Markov Decision Process (MDP), and Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs), specifically concentrating on LST...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the process of cleaning data and preparing it for further processing. Specifically, the chapter discusses various techniques that you will use, including preprocessing, outlier identification, data consistency, and the normalization or standardization process, used to normalize your data. The chapter further discusses differ...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the topic of this book: Game Data Science. Game data science is the process of developing data-driven techniques and evidence to support decision-making across operational, tactical, and strategic levels of game development, and this is why it is so valuable. This chapter introduces this topic as well as outlines the process...
Chapter
This chapter will introduce the use of Neural Networks (NN) in game data science. Due to the availability of game data and the increase in computational power, the use of NNs and deep networks is on the rise in data science in general, and specifically within the field of game data science. Complex deep networks are used as they can generalize to h...
Chapter
This chapter discusses several classification and regression methods that can be used with game data. Specifically, we will discuss regression methods , including Linear Regression , and classification methods, including K-Nearest Neighbor, Naïve Bayes, Logistic Regression, Linear Discriminant Analysis, Support Vector Machines, Decisions Trees , an...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the topic of how one can use visualization techniques to analyze game data. Specifically, the chapter delves into the development of heatmaps to analyze spatio-temporal data. The chapter also discusses spatio-temporal visualizations and state-action transition visualizations. We also discuss two visualization systems that we...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on two specific steps in the machine learning process, called model validation and model evaluation. Specifically, model validation is the step used to tune the hyperparameters of the model. Here, we often integrate a cross-validation process, which we discuss in detail in this chapter. Model evaluation, on the other hand, is t...
Chapter
This chapter is devoted to sequence game data analysis. It will first define what sequence data is and how it is represented, and then delve more deeply into how to develop models from such data. Sequence analysis has a lot of utility and is important as it conserves the sequence of player actions and can shed light on how players solved different...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes the takeaways from the different chapters of this book on the game data science process we introduced in Chapter 1. It shares some notes and experiences that can help you when embarking on using the methods discussed in this book. As a conclusion chapter, it will also delve into important topics that are not discussed in oth...
Preprint
Full-text available
Data is becoming an important central point for making design decisions for most software. Game development is not an exception. As data-driven methods and systems start to populate these environments, a good question is: can we make models developed from this data transparent to users? In this paper, we synthesize existing work from the Intelligen...
Article
Currently, there is no formal taxonomy for the activities that users engage in when interacting with and making meaning from spatio-temporal game data visualizations. As data visualization, especially spatio-temporal visualization, becomes more popular for game data analytics, it becomes increasingly crucial that we develop a formal understanding o...
Conference Paper
AI technologies are enabling the development of not only active tools that provide decision-support, but also interactive tools that seek human input and feedback. As interactive tools facilitate human-AI interaction, their design needs to be informed by human-centric requirements, that is, the needs of the users of such tools. In the context of en...
Preprint
Game AI designers must manage complex interactions between the AI character, the game world, and the player, while achieving their design visions. Computational co-creativity tools can aid them, but first, AI and HCI researchers must gather requirements and determine design heuristics to build effective co-creative tools. In this work, we present a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Game AI systems need the theory of mind, which is the humanistic ability to infer others' mental models, preferences, and intent. Such systems would enable inferring players' behavior tendencies that contribute to the variations in their decision-making behaviors. To that end, in this paper, we propose the use of inverse Bayesian inference to infer...
Preprint
Full-text available
Outcome-driven studies designed to evaluate potential effects of games and apps designed to promote healthy eating and exercising remain limited either targeting design or usability factors while omitting out health-based outcomes altogether, or tend to be too narrowly focuses on behavioral outcomes within a short periods of time thereby less likel...
Preprint
Full-text available
Pervasive health games have a potential to impact health-related behaviors. And, similar to other types of interventions, engagement and adherence in health games is the keystone for examining their short- and long-term effects. Many health-based applications have turned to gamification principles specifically to. enhance their engagement. However,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding player strategies is a key question when analyzing player behavior both for academic researchers and industry practitioners. For game designers and game user researchers, it is important to gauge the distance between intended strategies and emergent strategies; this comparison allows identification of glitches or undesirable behaviors...
Preprint
Full-text available
While work in fields of CSCW (Computer Supported Collaborative Work), Psychology and Social Sciences have progressed our understanding of team processes and their effect performance and effectiveness, current methods rely on observations or self-report, with little work directed towards studying team processes with quantifiable measures based on be...
Conference Paper
Physical activity (PA) is crucial for reducing the risk of obe- sity, an epidemic that disproportionately burdens families of low- socioeconomic status (SES). While fitness tracking tools can in- crease PA awareness, more work is needed to examine (1) how such tools can help people benefit from their social environment, and (2) how reflections can...
Preprint
Full-text available
AI technologies are enabling the development of not only active tools that provide decision-support, but also interactive tools that seek human input and feedback. As interactive tools facilitate human-AI interaction, their design needs to be informed by human-centric requirements, that is, the needs of the users of such tools. In the context of en...
Preprint
Full-text available
The rapid increase in the availability of player data and the advancement of player modeling technologies have resulted in an abundance of data-driven systems for the domain of esports, both within academia and the industry. However, there is a notable lack of research exploring how players use their data to gain expertise in the context of esports...
Preprint
Full-text available
The role of AI in esports is shifting from leveraging games as a testbed for improving AI algorithms to addressing the needs of the esports players such as enhancing their gaming experience, esports skills, and providing coaching. For AI to be able to effectively address such needs in esports, AI agents require a theory of mind, that is, the abilit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Searching for relative mobile user interface (UI) design examples can aid interface designers in gaining inspiration and comparing design alternatives. However, finding such design examples is challenging, especially as current search systems rely on only text-based queries and do not consider the UI structure and content into account. This paper i...
Preprint
Full-text available
In 2020, the rapid spread of COVID-19 forced many people to self-isolate, resulting in struggles with mental health [60], and an increase in gaming [3]. In this paper, we seek to examine how individuals used digital games during the quarantine. We conducted a two-tier qualitative study where we used a thematic analysis of tweets to derive questions...
Article
Full-text available
Procedural Content Generation is widely used in games, however , its use in educational puzzle games has been limited. These types of games present common challenges such as solvability and non triviality, but also the extra challenge of preserving intended learning goals. In this paper, we present a modular constructive approach to generate levels...
Preprint
Modeling players' behaviors in games has gained increased momentum in the past few years. This area of research has wide applications, including modeling learners and understanding player strategies, to mention a few. In this paper, we present a new methodology, called Interactive Behavior Analytics (IBA), comprised of two visualization systems, a...
Preprint
In recent years, the games industry has made a major move towards data-driven development, using data analytics and player modeling to inform design decisions. Data-driven techniques are beneficial as they allow for the study of player behavior at scale, making them very applicable to modern digital game development. However, with this move towards...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many successful games rely heavily on data analytics to understand players and inform design. Popular methodologies focus on machine learning and statistical analysis of aggregated data. While effective in extracting information regarding player action, much of the context regarding when and how those actions occurred is lost. Qualitative methods a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Reflection is a critical aspect of the learning process. However, educational games tend to focus on supporting learning concepts rather than supporting reflection. While reflection occurs in educational games, the educational game design and research community can benefit from more knowledge of how to facilitate player reflection through game desi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years, the games industry has made a major move towards data-driven development, using data analytics and player modeling to inform design decisions. Data-driven techniques are beneficial as they allow for the study of player behavior at scale, making them very applicable to modern digital game development. However, with this move towards...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many successful games rely heavily on data analytics to understand players and inform design. Popular methodologies focus on machine learning and statistical analysis of aggregated data. While effective in extracting information regarding player action, much of the context regarding when and how those actions occurred is lost. Qualitative methods a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Reflection is a critical aspect of the learning process. However, educational games tend to focus on supporting learning concepts rather than supporting reflection. While reflection occurs in educational games, the educational game design and research community can benefit from more knowledge of how to facilitate player reflection through game desi...
Conference Paper
Physical activity (PA) is critical for reducing the risk of obesity, a prevalent health concern that burdens low-socioeconomic status (SES) households. While self-tracking apps can increase PA, encouraging app engagement remains a challenge, thus limiting the app's efficacy. To understand how to better support caregiver's motivation to use family h...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Game environments are being used in multiple fields to study human behavior. Just as experimental studies of human behavior are affected by their methods, games are affected by the authoring platforms and tools used to make them. We examine how the diversity of a cast of characters made available to students of game design and psychology may have i...
Preprint
Timelines are commonly represented on a horizontal line, which is not necessarily the most effective way to visualize temporal event sequences. However, few experiments have evaluated how timeline shape influences task performance. We present the design and results of a controlled experiment run on Amazon Mechanical Turk (n=192) in which we evaluat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Timelines are commonly represented on a horizontal line, which is not necessarily the most effective way to visualize temporal event sequences. However, few experiments have evaluated how timeline shape influences task performance. We present the design and results of a controlled experiment run on Amazon Mechanical Turk (n = 192) in which we evalu...
Article
Full-text available
Player imitation, in which an AI agent attempts to mimic a specific player's actions, can expand the possibilities for automated playtesting and adaptive AI. Prior work on player imitation, however, has been limited to relatively simple domains. Real-time strategy (RTS) games require complex, strategic decision-making, but previous research on them...
Conference Paper
Modeling players' behaviors in games has gained increased momentum in the past few years. This area of research has wide applications, including modeling learners and understanding player strategies, to mention a few. In this paper, we present a new methodology, called Interactive Behavior Analytics (IBA), comprised of two visualization systems, a...
Conference Paper
Visualization is a valuable tool in problem solving, especially for citizen science games. In this study, we analyze data from 36,351 unique players of the citizen science game Foldit over a period of 5 years to understand how their choice of visualization options are affected by expertise and problem type. We identified clusters of visualization o...
Chapter
Effectively communicating information about the diegetic boundary of a story world is critical to interactive narratives in games. It is crucial to the player’s ability to reason about how the game establishes and limits their options for interaction. However, games have proven difficult to apply traditional models of diegesis to, due to their inte...
Conference Paper
Teamwork is becoming an important element of gameplay. Many games nowadays incorporate teamwork in one form or another. As a result, many game researchers have investigated aspects of teamwork. However, we have yet to develop effective surveys to gauge how people strategize or problem solve together within different games, and how such games enable...
Conference Paper
Games research is a growing interdisciplinary field. As with many interdisciplinary fields, early career faculty often confront many questions concerning the tenure process and evaluation of their interdisciplinary work. While there have been several publications on guidelines or best practices for evaluating interdisciplinary research, addressing...
Conference Paper
When studying the impact of interactive narratives, especially in high impact, sensitive domains such as education and health, it is important that the narrative design as a whole is reported in sufficient detail to allow for analysis and replication. However, the design of interactive narrative applications is often insufficiently documented and r...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many studies have already shown that games can be a useful tool to make boring or difficult tasks more engaging. However, with serious game design being a relatively nascent field, such experiences can still be hard to learn and not very motivating. In this paper, we explore the use of learning and motivation frameworks to improve player experience...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There are several educational games and tools that teach programming. However, very few offer a deep understanding of Computer Science concepts such as Abstraction, Modularity, Semantics, and Debugging. We present May's Journey, an educational game that supports learning of basic programming concepts, where players solve puzzles and interact with t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Interactivity and player experience are inextricably entwined with the creation of compelling narratives for interactive digital media. Narrative shapes and buttresses many such experiences, and therefore designers must construct compelling narrative arcs while carefully considering the effects of interaction on both the story and the player. As th...
Conference Paper
Wearable activity trackers can encourage physical activity (PA)-a behavior critical for preventing obesity and reducing the risks of chronic diseases. However, prior work has rarely explored how these tools can leverage family support or help people think about strategies for being active-two factors necessary for achieving regular PA. In this 2-mo...
Poster
Full-text available
One way to prepare research-literate citizens is to engage them in designing research studies. However, this feat is challenging and has many practical barriers. We present StudyCrafter, a new platform that makes human behavior research more accessible by using game design and gameplay as a framework for research design and participation. In a qual...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games have received increasing popularity recently. In a match of such games, players compete in two teams of five, each controlling an in-game avatar, known as heroes, selected from a roster of more than 100. The selection of heroes, also known as pick or draft, takes place before the match starts and alterna...
Conference Paper
A growing number of new games utilize rewind as a narrative mechanic and there is an increasing need for a reliable way to understand and evaluate storytelling in such games. This paper builds on previous work by conducting narrative interaction focused analysis on rewind mechanics in commercial video games, and focuses on rewind as a form of narra...