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Computer Games Research

This project describes and documents observational results that arise from the playtesting­-based evaluation of twenty-­six computer games focused on science learning or scientific research. We refer to this little studied genre of computer games as science learning games (SLGs). Our goal was to begin to identify a new set of criteria, play mechanics, and play experiences that give rise to play­-based learning experiences in the realm of different scientific topics.

Project Dates: 
October 2014

The fantasy genre has captivated our attention in popular media for decades, providing us with inspiring imagery of valiant fighters and enchanting spell casters.  Guild Wars 2, a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), introduces a range of races and characters not found in the traditional fantasy genre.  When first experiencing a new fantasy world, does knowledge and information gained from previously consumed media influence players’ interpretations of new fantasy environments?

Research Area(s): 
Project Dates: 
January 2013

Cross-situational personality consistency has been of interest in social psychology since the 1960s. With the advent of the Internet, a new range of “situations” has been presented for investigating human behavior in online environments.

Project Dates: 
October 2012

Anti-social behavior such as flaming and griefing is pervasive and problematic in many online venues. This behavior breaks established norms and unsettles the well-being and development of online communities. In a popular online game, Riot Games's League of Legends, the game company received tens of thousands of complaints about others every day. To regulate what they call "toxic" behavior, Riot devised the "Tribunal" system as a way of letting the community to police itself. The Tribunal is a crowdsoucing system that empowers players to identify and judge misbehavior.

Project Dates: 
April 2012

This research addresses challenges in understanding and developing lightweight, Web-based informal music education environments that bring the complexity and joy of orchestral music to diverse audiences. The challenges span from providing awareness and appreciation of different classical music genres through creation of multi-instrument musical compositions, in ways that are fun and interactive.

Project Dates: 
January 2011

Computer games may well be the quintessential domain for software engineering R&D. Why? Modern multi-player online games (MMOG) must address core issues in just about every major area of Computer Science and SE research and education.

Project Dates: 
January 2010