Some more embodiment analyses

Here are some more (explorative) analyses from the embodiment data used the Embodiment in character-based video games.

I collected also workload data using raw Nasa TLX when gathering data for EFA and CFA, but then I did not use workload data in analyses. My assumption was that workload would correlate with the embodiment, but did not look at this.

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Introduction from “Game Research Methods: An Overview”

Introduction from Lankoski & Björk, 2015. Game Research Methods: An Overview. ETC Press.
The book is available as free PDF

Printed copies can be bought at least from:

Petri Lankoski & Staffan Björk

This volume is about methods in game research. In game research, wide variety of methods and research approaches are used. In many cases, researchers apply the method set from another discipline to study games or play because game research as discipline is not yet established as its own discipline and the researchers have been schooled in that other discipline. Although this may, in many cases, produce valuable research, we believe that game research qualifies as a research field in its own right. As such, it would benefit game researchers to have collections of relevant research methods described and developed specifically for this type of research. Two direct benefits of this would be to illustrate the variety of methods that are possible to apply in game research and to mitigate some of the problems; each new researchers has to reinvent how methods from other fields can or need to be adjusted to work for game research.

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Game Research Methods: An Overview edited by Lankoski & Björk

Our edited collection just came out from ETC Press.

Print and free pdf available:

An overview presentation at slideshare:

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Analysis for design

A lecture about who to analyse (board) games using statistics, probability theory and simulations.

Link to the slides if Slide Share plugin does not work:

Scripts used to analyse games and visualise data:

Research on game characters

Schröter & Thon, Video Game Characters: Theory and Analysis, Diegesis 3, 2014,

Abstract: This essay develops a method for the analysis of video game characters based on a theoretical understanding of their medium-specific representation and the mental processes involved in their intersubjective construction by video game players. We propose to distinguish, first, between narration, simulation, and communication as three modes of representation particularly salient for contemporary video games and the characters they represent, second, between narrative, ludic, and social experience as three ways in which players perceive video game characters and their representations, and, third, between three dimensions of video game characters as ‘intersubjective constructs’, which usually are to be analyzed not only as fictional beings with certain diegetic properties but also as game pieces with certain ludic properties and, in those cases in which they function as avatars in the social space of a multiplayer game, as representations of other players. Having established these basic distinctions, we proceed to analyze their realization and interrelation by reference to the character of Martin Walker from the third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Development 2012), the highly customizable player-controlled characters from the role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda 2011), and the complex multidimensional characters in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic (BioWare 2011-2014).

Vella, Player and Figure: An Analysis of a Scene in Kentucky Route Zero in Nordic Digra 2014,

Abstract: Discussions of the relation between the player and the figure under her control have identified a duality between the figure as ‘avatar’ and ‘character’. This paper argues that two separate dualities are being conflated: an ontological duality in the figure, by which it is both self and other for the player, and a duality in the player’s relation to it, which can be both subjective and objective. This insight is used as the basis for developing a two-axis model that identifies four aspects to the player-figure relation. This model is then put to work on a close analysis of a scene in Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer 2013), which will serve to demonstrate the dimensions of the player-figure relation.

Johansson, Strååt, Warpefelt & Verhagen, Analyzing the Social Dynamics of Non-Player Characters, Frontiers in Gaming Simulation,

Abstract: Much of the current research into artificial intelligence (AI) for computer games has been focused on simple actions performed by the characters in games (such as moving between points or shooting at a target, and other simple strategic actions), or on the overarching structure of the game story. However, we claim that these two separate approaches need to be bridged in order to fully realize the potential of enjoyment in computer games. As such, we have explored the middle ground between the individual action and the story – the type of behavior that occurs in a “scene” within the game. To this end we have established a new model for that can be used to discover in what ways a non-player character acts in ways that break the player’s feeling of immersion in the world.

Both Parts of the Finland Symposium Special in Simulation and Gaming is Out

Symposium: Development of a Finnish Community of Game Scholars (in December 2013, 44:6 and February 3014, 45:1 issues)

  • J. Tuomas Harviainen,  Timo Lainema,  Jaakko Suominen, and Erno Soinila. Development of a Finnish Community of Game Scholars (available free, DOI=10.1177/1046878113513533)
  • Kimmo Oksanen. Subjective Experience and Sociability in a Collaborative Serious Game
  • Janne Paavilainen, Juho Hamari, Jaakko Stenros, and Jani Kinnunen. Social Network Games: Players’ Perspectives
  •  Carolina Islas Sedano, Verona Leendertz, Mikko Vinni, Erkki Sutinen,  and Suria Ellis. Hypercontextualized Learning Games: Fantasy, Motivation, and Engagement in Reality
  • Lauri-Matti Palmunen, Elina Pelto, Anni Paalumäki, and Timo Lainema.
    Formation of Novice Business Students’ Mental Models Through Simulation Gaming
  • Simo Järvelä, J. Matias Kivikangas, Jari Kätsyri, and Niklas Ravaja. Physiological Linkage of Dyadic Gaming Experience
  • Benjamin Cowley, Ilkka Kosunen, Petri Lankoski, J. Matias Kivikangas, Simo Järvelä, Inger Ekman, Jaakko Kemppainen, and Niklas Ravaja. Experience Assessment and Design in the Analysis of Gameplay
  • Hanna Wirman. Gender and Identity in Game-Modifying Communities

Experience Assessment and Design in the Analysis of Gameplay by Cowley et al

Experience Assessment and Design in the Analysis of Gameplay is available in Simulation and Gaming (online first version).


We report research on player modeling using psychophysiology and machine learning, conducted through interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers of computer science, psychology, and game design at Aalto University, Helsinki. First, we propose the Play Patterns And eXperience (PPAX) framework to connect three levels of game experience that previously had remained largely unconnected: game design patterns, the interplay of game context with player personality or tendencies, and state-of-the-art measures of experience (both subjective and non-subjective). Second, we describe our methodology for using machine learning to categorize game events to reveal corresponding patterns, culminating in an example experiment. We discuss the relation between automatically detected event clusters and game design patterns, and provide indications on how to incorporate personality profiles of players in the analysis. This novel interdisciplinary collaboration combines basic psychophysiology research with game design patterns and machine learning, and generates new knowledge about the interplay between game experience and design.

Keywords: game design, gameplay patterns, psychophysiology, personality profiles, PPAX framework.

The word cloud of the article's frequently used words.
The word cloud of the article’s frequently used words.


Full reference:

  • Cowley, Kosunen, Lankoski, Kivikangas, Järvelä, Ekman, Kemppainen, Ravaja, forthcoming. Experience Assessment and Design in the Analysis of Gameplay. Simulation and Gaming. DOI=10.1177/1046878113513936