Please note: This PhD defence will be given online.
Rina R. Wehbe, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
Supervisor: Professor Edward Lank
Alongside productivity and communication, computers are a valuable tool for diversion and amusement. In my thesis, I explore how to create compelling experiences during playful interactions. I explore, first, how to manage aspects of difficulty and character behaviour in the design of simple games to create more immersive experiences. My work on calibration of game difficulty, and enemy behaviour contribute insight regarding the potential of games to create engaging activities, which inspire prolonged play sessions. Further work in my dissertation explores how players interact with in-game entities they perceive as human, and explores the boundaries of acceptable player interaction during co-located gaming situations. My early work gives rise to deeper questions regarding perspectives on co-players during gaming experiences. Specifically, I probe the question of how players perceive human versus computer-controlled teammates during a shared gaming experience. Additionally, I explore how game design factors in the context of a tightly-coupled shared multi-touch large display gaming experience can influence the way that people interact and, in turn, their perspectives on one another to ask: ‘how can games be used persuasively to inspire positive behaviours and social interaction?’
Issues of perspectives are a theme I carry forward in my work by exploring how game dynamics — in particular the use of territoriality — can be used to foster collaborative behaviours in an exercise game. To explore the possibilities of using games for purpose, I present two proof-of-concept games designed to elicit positive health behaviours physically (i.e., games designed to inspire physical exertion or exergames), psychologically (i.e., games designed to inspire learning and self-reflection), and socially (i.e., games designed to increase positive social interaction and pro-social behaviours). I explore how gaming can be used to overcome stigmatisation through the design of a game which seeks to educate players about mental health and wellness. Overall, my thesis provides insight on designing games to engage players, learn new information, skills, and lead to reflective self-improvement. By exploring games as a means for positive healthy behaviour, the work in my thesis demonstrates the potential for games to go beyond entertainment and move towards games as an environment which persuades players to consider new information, ideas, and opportunities.
To join this PhD presentation on Zoom, please go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84739572510?pwd=TnEwR2lkejhHciszZlYvTzFpZTR4QT09.
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