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Understanding expectations with multiple controllers in an augmented reality videogame


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Player experiences and expectations are connected. The presumptions players have about how they control their gameplay interactions may shape the way they play and perceive videogames. A successfully engaging player experience might rest on the way controllers meet players' expectations. We studied player interaction with novel controllers on the Sony PlayStation Wonderbook, an augmented reality (AR) gaming system. Our goal was to understand player expectations regarding game controllers in AR game design. Based on this preliminary study, we propose several interaction guidelines for hybrid input from both augmented reality and physical game controllers.
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Understanding Expectations with Multiple Controllers
in an Augmented Reality Videogame
Pejman Mirza-Babaei1, Nathan Gale1, Joao P. Costa1,Lennart E. Nacke1, Daniel Johnson2
1HCI Games Group, Faculty of Business and IT, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000
Simcoe St. N, Oshawa, ON, Canada
2Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia,,,,
Player experiences and expectations are connected. The
presumptions players have about how they control their
gameplay interactions may shape the way they play and
perceive videogames. A successfully engaging player expe-
rience might rest on the way controllers meet players’ ex-
pectations. We studied player interaction with novel con-
trollers on the Sony PlayStation Wonderbook, an augment-
ed reality (AR) gaming system. Our goal was to understand
player expectations regarding game controllers in AR game
design. Based on this preliminary study, we propose several
interaction guidelines for hybrid input from both augmented
reality and physical game controllers.
Author Keywords
Games; User Experience; Player Experience; Games User
Research; Controllers; Augmented Reality; Wonderbook;
ACM Classification Keywords
H.5.2 [Information Systems]: User Interfaces; K.8.0 [Gen-
eral]: Games – Personal Computing;
Users are highly engaged by products or services they de-
sire. Games provide some of the most desirable technical
platforms of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). There-
fore, studying user experience in games, or more aptly
called player experience, can provide great insights about
player expectations and desires [11]. As part of player expe-
rience research, we are using evaluation methods from HCI
to try and find optimally engaging game designs and to
evaluate player experiences [20]. In games, play and en-
joyment are the primary goals of the interaction taking
place. The accomplishment of tasks remains secondary to,
or integrated with, these primary fun goals. Thus, while a
task may motivate engagement with productivity applica-
tions, engagement with videogames must be motivated by
attractive, engaging or pleasurable interactions [15]. One of
the main components of any interaction with a system, is
the way its user interface works. For videogames, the expe-
rience outside of a game has traditionally revolved around
the buttons, sticks, and discs featured on game controllers.
In particular, the buttons of traditional video game control-
lers (e.g., a joypad or a gamepad) allow a player’s inten-
tions to be translated and mapped onto physical actions and
game interaction.
Videogames have moved beyond the screen. Traditional
consoles had to adapt as mobile phones created player ex-
perience in everyday contexts. New virtual reality hardware
like the Oculus Rift allow for new forms of output that do
not even necessarily involve the television screen as an out-
put medium anymore. In addition, augmented reality (AR)
games and new physical controllers are commonplace now
for the gaming consoles of this generation (e.g., Microsoft’s
Xbox One, Sony’s Playstation 4 or Nintendo’s Wii U). We
believe there is huge potential in designing games for these
new input and output modalities. For example, we imagine
that these modalities can offer existing players more intui-
tive and satisfying interactions. They also potentially offer
easier access to videogames for new audiences, who are
less experienced with traditional control methods. However,
current game designers are lacking focused investigations
that can help to establish interaction design guidelines for
these novel games. We address this lack by providing an
initial study of players using the Sony Wonderbook aug-
mented reality system.
Studies have investigated the influence of control schemes
of different consoles on player enjoyment [5, 9, 13] and
support user preference for traditional button-driven con-
trols compared to more advanced control schemes. One
strong proposed influence on player experience is the user’s
perceived preference for a product or technique. Users ap-
pear to be more effective at using an interaction technique
they prefer. For example, Nielsen and Levy [14] found
problem solving was greatly improved when participants
used their preferred interaction technique over any other.
An essential feature of game design is to break down goals
and add tasks for players that lead them from onboarding
toward mastery. Games have a clear set of goals for the
challenges they present. A consequence of such clearness is
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the expectation for immediate feedback while the player
engrosses in feelings of flow and immersion [12], progress-
ing from one challenge to the next – more difficult – one, in
the process accumulating greater skills and abilities. Hence,
a core part of player experience would then be the interface
through which a player interacts with a game and with other
players. Immediate feedback from this interface is crucial
for the player. The lack of feedback may break the state of
flow that keeps the player engaged. Often, a central part of
game interfaces and therefore of player experience is the
game controller. Games have evolved over time, and so
have the input controllers they require. The interactions
with games and their level of abstraction, or naturalness,
have changed in an attempt to create more engaging and fun
Interactions can thus be of different nature [3, 16]. Some
can be of symbolic nature, by abstracting and reducing
game actions like jumping to something as pressing a but-
ton to jump. In contrast to symbolic interactions, it is also
possible to have iconic interactions, where natural motion
of our body plays a central role, like performing the same
actions for playing a tennis videogame (e.g., in Wii Sport)
as in real life. Hence, these distinct interactions might cre-
ate different controller shapes or affordances, which affect
player expectations in regards to how they may differently
operate [8]. For example, the Sony move controller sug-
gests the affordance of being gripped and potentially being
swung (like a racket or a sword). In contrast, a hypothetical
controller, shaped like a disc might suggest to the player it
can be interacted with by wielding it like a shield or throw-
ing it like a discus.
Skalski et al. [19] provide a comparison between various
game controllers regarding the naturalness of the mapped
actions and how this correlates to enjoyment. The more
natural the game controller feels, the greater the enjoyment
should be for the player. Research exploring the impact of
controller naturalness has shown that – while players of
racing game may report greater flow, presence, autonomy
and intuitiveness for naturally-mapped controllers (e.g.,
steering wheels) – players may still perform better with
non-natural devices, such as traditional controllers [10].
The connection between more naturally-mapped controller
interface and greater immersion has also been found in the
context of mobile videogames [2]. Nevertheless, the way
we feel if a controller is natural is different for each indi-
vidual, and natural motion might not work equally well [9].
According to Gregersen and Grodal [6], the theme of a
game and its representation in the game controller is equal-
ly important as a part of the gameplay experience. Accu-
rately representing game actions in the game controller is
important, but recreating certain elements of the game’s
theme in the controller itself can further increase the inter-
est and engagement in the game, while meeting player ex-
pectations [17]. An example for a case of harmonious use
of theme and affordances is Ishii et al.’s PingPongPlus [7].
It is an augmented game of table tennis that is played with
real paddles, providing accurate physical and intentional
affordances. These affordances also fit into the theme of the
Sony PlayStation’s Wonderbook controller is an AR book
featuring pages with different fiducial markers (see Figure
1). It also uses motion input objects like PlayStation Move
controller and/or the player’s hand gestures to interact with
it. Few researches have looked at similar interaction para-
digms, which would use two controllers in a similar fashion
that Wonderbook and Move controllers do it. For example,
Rohs in handheld AR games [18], and Billinghurst et al in
the MagicBook with handheld display, which created at the
Sony Computer Science laboratories in 2001 [1].
Yet, as these interaction paradigms become more popular,
key issues remain to be explored. It is not yet fully under-
stood how players perceive and experience the affordances
of multiple controllers used together in a game. It is also not
clear how well the controller combination in Wonderbook
articulates the available mapped actions. One unique aspect
of the Wonderbook system is the use of a physical book as
an interaction channel. There is a potential to assume inter-
acting with the book (as a game input device) may create
some expectations for users [4] as most can be assumed to
have a long and established relationship with books. How-
ever, it is not clear whether users’ established expectations
would be met during their interactions within an AR game.
We report here a study to that explores these issues. As an
outcome of this study, we propose early design guidelines
for interactions with these types of controllers, based on the
observations we collected from our participants. Should
there be increasing interest in utilizing controller combina-
tions such as this when developing games, the insight that
this article provides can help improve player experience.
Moreover, game developers and designers may also find
these insights helpful when utilizing a combination of such
input systems when designing a new game.
We conducted a study of the PlayStation Wonderbook and
the PlayStation Move controllers (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. The Wonderbook and Move Controllers.
The Game: Book of Spells
Book of Spells is a game based in the Harry Potter universe
that uses the Wonderbook and the PlayStation Move con-
troller. The intent of the game is to make players feel as a
part of the wizard world. The story itself is Miranda Gos-
hawk’s Book of Spells, an old textbook used to teach the
readers a variety of different charms and spells. The Move
controller takes on the look of wand, chosen by the player,
and the Wonderbook takes on the look of the old spell book
(see Figure 2). Players must learn each spell in the chapter
and complete the chapter tests, which involve all the previ-
ously learnt spells, to advance in the game.
Figure 2. Book of Spells game screenshot, exhibiting the Won-
derbook and Move controllers overlaid with 3D imagery.
The Controllers
As explained above, this game and its interactions are a
hybrid combination of controllers. The Wonderbook acts as
an interactive AR play mat, allowing the player to flip
through the pages, rotate and fold the book while looking at
the television to follow the gameplay (or its instructions).
As the game uses the Playstation Move Camera, it is im-
portant for the player to keep the fiducial markers (Won-
derbook) and the Move controller visible to the camera at
all time.
In the case of the studied game, the Wonderbook adopts the
appearance of an old spell book on the television, blending
in with the theme of the game while hiding its more techno-
logical appearance (Figure 1 and Figure 2). Flipping
through the pages of the books proceeds or retrocedes the
level presented to the player, while moving it in certain
angles allows the player to perform intended in-game ac-
tions, such as lifting the book to dry after soaking it with a
water-making spell.
The PlayStation Move controller exhibits a wand-like ap-
pearance, which reinforces its integration into the theme of
the game, features various buttons for input, while being
motion-tracking capable. The players can interact with the
Wonderbook through this wand, by pointing it at certain
key directions exhibited in the game, while pressing specif-
ic buttons, or by flicking or drawing gestures. For most of
these interactions, verbal, visual and haptic feedback is pro-
vided by the game.
The Participants and the Playtest
For the purpose of our case study, we recruited six partici-
pants [P1 to P6] who frequently played videogames and
were familiar with the Harry Potter stories. Players were
selected carefully so that none had used the Wonderbook
before. They were recruited using our University’s mailing
list and their participation was voluntary. Individual user
test sessions were conducted in our dedicated game labora-
tory. The participants played the game on a Sony
PlayStation 3 connected to a 55” display. The participants
were seated on a couch, while they had the Wonderbook
resting on a coffee table directly in front of them. Video
cameras captured the player, and real-time game footage
was digitally streamed in a single screen for live viewing in
an isolated observation room and recorded for analysis
(Figure 2 shows a screenshot from recorded gameplay vid-
eo and participants seating position).
Before starting the study, the players signed an informed
consent form, and were provided with a brief explanation
about the study. The players were asked to play both sec-
tions of the first chapter (about 45 minutes). They were told
that the study is not about how well they can play the game
and were asked to play the game as if they are at home in
their own living room. Before the test started all the save
files (from pervious study) were removed so each player
would experience the game from the beginning (including a
standard animated introduction about the Wonderbook and
basic interaction as part of the game’s loading process).
After they finished both sections of the first chapter (all six
players completed the test) the recording was stopped and
the participant were asked questions (in the form of a semi-
structured interview) about their experience with the game
and controllers (e.g., features they liked and did not like).
After this, the players were thanked for their participation
and left.
Two evaluators observed and analyzed the gameplay ses-
sions separately, noting players’ gameplay experience in
regards to the observed interactions, the players’ comments
and their moments of notable satisfaction or frustration in a
‘double-expert’ approach. Their findings were collated and
summarized with identical issues combined, providing our
own list of findings.
We identify the following as overarching game design con-
sideration in our findings:
Accurate or inaccurate mapping of actions on the
Move controller and the Wonderbook
Positive or negative match between player expecta-
tions and game interactions
Verbal communication’s terminologies or language
We observed that accurately mapping gestures to the Move
controller was the most ambiguous area for the players.
Some players had difficulty in performing the required mo-
tions, mostly caused by inaccuracy in tracking the spells
gesture. This happened not only because players were exe-
cuting the gestures too fast (or too slow) for it to be correct-
ly tracked, but also because some required gestures were
too complex for the players to remember and recall or they
did not match to the players’ expectation. Moreover, the
camera angle required tracking of both book and controller
on the same scene made it difficult for the players to cast
certain spells or move the wand around to skip text. Finally,
we observed inconsistencies in interactions between spells
requiring flicking motions and those requiring reaching for
Despite having more consistence performance in interac-
tions when involving the Wonderbook (such as rotating,
tilting or pointing to virtual object on the pages), similar
issues were still observed across our players. For example,
the game replaces the Move controller’s image with that of
a wand that is longer in size (as shown in Figure 2). This
transfers players’ focal point of interaction to the tip of the
virtual wand and not the tip of the physical controller. We
observed situations where this disparity led to some issues
when players had to point to (interact with) virtual objects
above the book’s surface. There were also in-game situa-
tions where players had to use their hand to interact with
virtual objects. This inconsistency between the sources of
interactions also created issues for the players learning
when to use their actual hands or the Move controller. Our
result shows that in most cases players tend to try to use the
controller until they are told otherwise explicitly.
Since our players were familiar with the Harry Potter uni-
verse, they had initial expectations about how a magic wand
should work in game. Expectations were also present for
how to interact with the book, as it is a well-known medi-
um. For example, P4 felt that the books flipped imagery in
the television screen was upsetting and caused a break in
the believability of interacting with a real book.
Moreover, we observed several reactions in relation to the
match between players’ expectations and in-game actions.
The value of matching player expectations in an in-game
actions operated at mulitiple levels. At one level, when the
actions required to complete a spell matched player
expectations in terms of using real-world metaphors and
existing knowledge/experiences that can help players
understand game mechanics. For example in the water-
making spell, where the players expressed satisfaction and
pleasure. At another level of abstraction, players enjoyed
the match between the game and their recollections of
Harry Potter mythology from the books and films, for
example, enjoying having to speak aloud a popular Harry
Potter spell.
In contrast, when learning new incantations the game would
sometimes recognize background noises as the correct pro-
nunciation causing confusion and shattering expectations.
Other ambiguities were also present in context specific situ-
ations. One of the players, P4, explicitly noted a false (or
insincere) positive reinforcement within the game. When
this player did not cast the spell correctly, the game posi-
tively reinforced this failure by saying “Well done! But try
to do it again!”. As another example, we observed partici-
pants frequently lifted the book towards themselves (instead
of tilting the book towards the Move camera placed above
television) to take a glance inside a virtual hole (as part of
the game’s storyline) (See Figure 3 below). Although they
were interacting with the book in a different fashion, play-
ers reported that actions like this make this controller feel
like something much more foreign than a traditional book.
Figure 3. Players need to tilt the book towards television
These types of issues can be seen as a consequence of con-
trollers not matching with the players’ expectations of using
real-world metaphors and existing knowledge as explained
earlier. The pre-conceived notion of how books, wands, or
spells work influenced the expectations players had and
shaped the way they interacted.
Various mapped actions used similar controller gestures,
but different buttons, causing confusion among the players,
and thus breaking the fun experience of the game. An ex-
ample of this is that a button has to be pressed to cast a spell
(as an action button) within a game scene, whereas a differ-
ent button has to be pressed to interact with the book (as an
action button), on a scene where no spells have to be cast.
These feelings are attributed to the inconsistency of the
actions that players have to perform, as well as to the lack
of guidance provided by the game.
We also observed various issues related to how players per-
ceived language in the given instructions during the game.
For example, there is one spell within the game that creates
light. Sometimes players had to cast this spell for the first
time and were prompted to “turn on the lights”. Given that
this game uses computer vision technology to track both the
book and the wand controllers, this instruction seemed to be
confusing. Some players mistook this with having to turn
on the lights of the room to improve the computer vision
capabilities of the game.
Storytelling was equally considered to be an important fac-
tor, especially as the game involves a book as the controller.
Even though the game relied heavily on trying to invoke
memories of the books and movies only two participants
showed any interest while the rest tried to skip through
from reading story related texts (and narration comment-
ing). P4, the player most interested in the story, turned off
the narration commenting that if the game involves a book,
it should be about reading and not having it read. P5 stated:
“it would be more interesting and fun to have a spell sand-
box, where player could cast the spells they wish”; instead
of having limited interactions throughout the storyline.
This study was of an exploratory nature, trying to under-
stand and provide initial guidelines for the design of games
involving hybrid input from both AR and physical control-
Based on our results, we provide five primary points fol-
lowed by detailed explanation for the implementation and
integration of the two-part interaction paradigm, summa-
rized in Table 1.
Guideline #1 - Interactions should be robust
Guideline #2 – Mapped actions should be consistent
Guideline #3 – Actions should match user expectations
Guideline #4 – Instruction Language should be clear and
contextually supported
Guideline #5 – Storyline should bind the experience
Table 1. Proposed Initial Design Guidelines.
Guideline #1 – Interactions should be robust
We observed some situations where the interactions re-
quired by players were poorly supported by the technology
and unsuccessful as a result. For examples, players had
placed the book in certain positions that caused the fiducial
markers to be blocked from the camera, causing the virtual
imagery to disappear, leading to player confusion and bro-
ken gameplay. Similar issues were present when players
had to perform a gesture with the Move controller in a way
that was hard for the camera to track (e.g., in the edges of
camera view). Exposing the players to these limitations
impoverish the game experience and should be minimized
by either changing designs (e.g., modifying the level de-
sign), or steering players away from these potential pitfalls
(e.g., replacing these interactions).
Guideline #2 – Mapped actions should be consistent
By having an input system that consists of two controllers,
we looked at how well the mapped actions of both were
closely intertwined. Several issues arose due to irregularity
in button mapping, and movement tracking with partici-
pants citing the use of the Move as inconsistent. We pro-
pose that the actions that are provided within a hybrid game
are kept in a consistent and natural manner. They should
not be a showcase of the technological capabilities, but
should instead prioritize consistency as well as being di-
rected towards players’ expectations, another guideline that
we propose.
Guideline #3 – Actions should match user expectations
Some of the mapped actions leveraged by the controllers,
like brushing off dust from the virtual book, did not raise
problems in the players’ expectations. However, some in-
teractions that involved moving or displacing the book,
such as peeking at a virtual hole in the book, broke the
players’ expectations. Based on this we suggest that where
games rely on player expectations it is important that these
expectations be well established or commonly understood
by players.
Guideline #4 – Instruction Language should be clear
and contextually supported
Various interaction mistakes resulted from the poor prompt-
ing of actions. To increase the success of the game, these
instructions should be understandable and contextualized.
This requirement also extends to instructions regarding how
to manipulate the controllers. By providing clear instruc-
tions that cannot be subject to multiple interpretations,
player’s dissatisfaction, confusion and frustration can be
avoided. For example, as mentioned in the result section,
players made some mistakes, in response to unclear lan-
guage. This error could have been avoided by visually
prompting the tilting motion. Designing games that rely on
narrative, or on instruction and prompting, should not leave
room for ambiguities and contextual interpretations.
Guideline #5 – Storyline should bind the experience
We recognize that storytelling is often a complementary
element to player experience with this hybrid controller.
Whenever the previous guidelines are met, the story of the
game, and the recollection of memorable moments from
another medium the game draws from, will increase both
the success of the game and of the controllers. In the case of
Harry Potter, which is a well-known story, whenever a rec-
ollection occurred, players exhibited joy and excitement.
Future iterations could look at the variations of the interac-
tion with younger players, larger sample size and in a more
natural environment. We expect not only that they will in-
teract differently, but also that they may show different
interests in other aspects of gameplay. Looking at longer
play sessions might identify different types of issues than
those we observed.
The Wonderbook is supported by other games, which use it
as the main controller. Our future interest is to study these
new interactions, improving or enhancing our proposed
guidelines. For future work, in order to create more general
guidelines, it will be useful to analyze games, which use a
similar controller combination, but do not use the Move
controller (e.g., in Diggs Nightcrawler), the Wonderbook or
even neither. A game that uses fiducial marker cards with
the Move controller would be another example. Neverthe-
less, with our preliminary study, we have proposed primary
initial guidelines on which future research can build on.
This research was supported by UOIT, NSERC, SSHRC
IMMERSe and GRAND NCE for supporting this research.
We would like to thank our participants for their contribu-
tions to this study.
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Conference Paper
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Our everyday technologies could have appeared terrifying to our ancestors: instantaneous disembodied communication, access to knowledge, objects with ‘intelligence’ that talk to us (and each other). Black boxes and intangible entities are omnipresent in our homes and lives without our necessarily understanding the hidden flows of data, unknown agendas, imaginary clouds, and mysterious rules that govern them. Have humanity's ways of relating to the unknown throughout history gone away, or have they perhaps transmuted into new forms? In an ongoing project, we have inventoried examples, encounters and reflections on contemporary technology, framed through the perspective of the haunted, spectral and otherworldly. In this paper, we excerpt this collection to illustrate the value and opportunity of an unfamiliar, disquieting perspective in helping to frame the frictions, beliefs and myths that are emerging around interactions with everyday technologies. We posit and demonstrate ‘spooky technology’ as an accessible framework to reflect and respond to our increasingly entangled relationships with technology.
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The community of video game researchers has been rapidly evolving for the past few years, extending and modifying existing methodologies used by the HCI community to the environment of digital games. This one-day workshop investigates two areas that must be addressed to continue advancing the field: mixed method frameworks which integrate two or more techniques within a single study; and reporting as an integral part of the research process. The outcome of the workshop will be an archive of both the workshop submissions and the materials (posters and group productions). This will extend the discussion of topics beyond the workshop, and serve as a platform for future use and work. This one day workshop will bring together contributions from practitioners and academics in a yet untapped area of games user research.
Conference Paper
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Improving game design is a hard task. Few methods are available in games user research (GUR) to test formally how game designs work for players. In particular, the usefulness of user tests (UTs) for game designers has not been fully studied in the CHI community. We propose a novel GUR method called Biometric Storyboards (BioSt) and present a study demonstrating how a Classic UT and a BioSt UT both help designers create a better gameplay experience. In addition, we show that BioSt can help designers deliver significantly better visuals, more fun, and higher gameplay quality than designing without UTs and that classic UTs do not provide this significant advantage. Our interviews support the idea that BioSt provides more nuanced game design improvement. The design implication is that a game designed with the BioSt method will result in high gameplay quality.
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Digital gaming has become one of the largest entertainment sectors worldwide, increasingly turning the medium into a promising vehicle for advertisers. As a result, the inclusion of advertising messages in digital games or in-game advertising (IGA) is expected to grow steadily over the course of the following years. However, much work is still needed to maximize the effectiveness of IGA. The aim of the study was to contribute to IGA effectiveness research by analyzing the impact of two factors on the processing of IGA in terms of brand awareness. The primary objective was to investigate the effect of a person's sense of involvement related to the control and movement mechanisms in a game (i.e., kinesthetic involvement). A within-subjects experiment was conducted in which control over a racing game was varied by manipulating game controller type, resulting in two experimental conditions (symbolic versus mimetic controller). Results show that the variation in game controller has a significant effect on the recall and recognition of the brands integrated into the game, and that this effect can be partially brought back to players' perceived control over the game: when a game is easier to control, the control mechanisms require less conscious attention, freeing attentional resources that can be subsequently spent on other elements of the game such as IGA. A second factor that was taken into account in the study was brand prominence. The influence of both the size and spatial position of in-game advertisements was examined. Findings demonstrate that there are significant changes in effectiveness between different types of placements. Spatial position seems to be the most important placement characteristic, with central brand placements obtaining the highest recall and recognition scores. The effect of ad size is much smaller, with the effectiveness of the large placements not differing significantly from the effectiveness of their smaller counterparts.
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This investigation examines how video game interactivity can affect presence and game enjoyment. Interactivity in the form of natural mapping has been advocated as a possible contributor to presence experiences, yet few studies to date have investigated this potential. The present work formulates a preliminary typology of natural mapping and addresses how several types of mapping impact the experience of a video game, with the expectation that more natural mapping leads to increased spatial presence affecting enjoyment. Two studies were conducted. In the first study, 48 participants played a golfing video game using one of two controller types (Nintendo Wiimote or gamepad). In the second, 78 participants played a driving video game using an even more natural controller (steering wheel) or one of three other controller types. Participants then completed measures of perceived naturalness, presence, and enjoyment. Results of both studies were generally consistent with expectations.
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New types of control devices for videogames have emerged and expanded the demographics of the game playing public, yet little is known about which populations of gamers prefer which style of interaction and why. This paper presents data from a study that seeks to clarify the influence the control interface has on the play experience. Three commercial control devices were categorised using an existing typology, according to how the interface maps physical control inputs with the virtual gameplay actions. The devices were then used in a within-groups experimental design aimed at measuring differences in play experience across 64 participants. Descriptive analysis is undertaken on the performance, play experience and preference results for each device. Potential explanations for these results are discussed, as well as the direction of future work.
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An increasing amount of games is released on multiple platforms, and game designers face the challenge of integrating different interaction paradigms for console and PC users while keeping the core mechanics of a game. However, little research has addressed the influence of game controls on player experience. In this paper, we examine the impact of mouse and keyboard versus gamepad control in first-person shooters using the PC and PlayStation 3 versions of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. We conducted a study with 45 participants to compare player experience and game usability issues of participants who had previously played similar games on one of the respective gaming systems, while also exploring the effects of players being forced to switch to an unfamiliar platform. The results show that players switching to a new platform experience more usability issues and consider themselves more challenged, but report an equally positive overall experience as players on their comfort platform.
The controls for digital games understandably have an important part in building up the gaming experiences that people have. Whilst there is substantial work on innovative controllers for consoles, like the XBox Kinect, relatively little has been done to understand the effect of the different control mechanisms that can be used to play games on mobile devices like smartphones. A well-defined framework of naturalness has emerged as potentially useful concept in area of game controllers. This paper reports two experiments that look at how the naturalness of the game controls influences the experience of immersion in mobile games. It seems that where there is an a prior natural mapping, this will improve immersion in the game but in the absence of a prior mapping, naturalness alone is not sufficient to account for immersion. This opens up the need for a more thorough investigation of this area.
Aim-assistance techniques have been shown to work for player balancing in 2D environments, but little information exists about how well these techniques will work in a 3D FPS game. We carried out three studies of the performance of five different aim assists in an Unreal-based game world. The assists worked well in a target-range scenario (study 1), but their performance was reduced when game elements were introduced in a walkthrough map (study 2). We systematically examined the relationships between realistic game elements and assist performance (study 3). These studies show that two techniques -- bullet magnetism and area cursor -- worked well in a wide variety of situations. Other techniques that worked well were too perceptible, and some previously-successful techniques did not work well in any game-like scenario. Our studies are the first to provide empirical evidence of the performance of aim assist techniques in 3D environments, and the first to identify the complexities in using these techniques in real FPS games.