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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Embodiment in character-based video games

Petri Lankoski

This is author’s version of the paper. The authoritative version is available via ACM.DOI:

The paper is presented at AcademicMindtrek’16, October 17-18, 2016, Tampere, Finland (c) 2016 ACM. ISBN978-1-4503-4367-1/16/10… and published in the conference proceedings.


Embodiment is used to denote the sense that something is a part of one’s body. The sense of own body is argued to relate to the sense of agency of one’s own actions and of the ownership of the body. In this sense of own body can incorporate something external to the body, such as simple tools or virtual hands. The premise of the study is that the player-characters and game controllers get embodied in a similar to a tool or a virtual hand. In order to study embodiment, a psychometric scale is developed using explorative factor analysis (n=104). The scale is evaluated with two sets of data (n=103 and n=89) using confirmatory factor analysis. The embodiment scale ended to having two dimensions: controller ownership and player-character embodiment. Finally, the embodiment scale is tested and put into action in two studies with hypotheses 1) embodiment and players’ skills correlate and 2) the sense of presence and embodiment correlate. The data (n=37 and n=31) analysed using mixed effects models support both hypotheses.

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Confidence intervals & credible intervals

This is a note for me.

Confidence intervals: “Are the observed data x reasonable given the hypothesised values of θ?” == P(θ| x)


Credible intervals: “What values of θ are reasonable given the observed data x?” == P(x| θ)

Those are related as “P(θ| x) = P(θ)P(x| θ)”

Credible intervals are part of Bayesian approach.

Tutorial: 1st-person sneak in Unity 5, part 8

It is time to create a start menu for the game. For that, we need a scene. After creating the scene, rename the scene file to “start_screen” or something like that.

(Scroll down for the links to previous parts of this tutorial.)

Add the scene to the build settings (File->Build Settings…)

Make sure that start_screen scene is scene number zero (that scene will be loaded when the game starts).

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About my formal education & stuff

As there seems to be some interest of my eduction, I thought to add a short note about that so that this is out here.

I have Masters degree in New Media (art & design). That degree includes 60-70% computer science, mathematics, and multimedia (that was at that time formal languages, signal processing, virtual reality, etc.). The rest of my Masters are interactive storytelling, management and game design.

My doctorate is in Art and Design in department focusing on new media which means obligatory studies in the philosophy of art and aesthetics, and some HCI. Of course, research literature & methods part of studies were about games.

Beside my Master studies I worked as software designer for almost five years developing network management systems (e.g. data visualisation and management tools) with C++, X/Motif, SQL, and Perl.

Part of my work in academia, I have been developing games for teaching and research (location-aware mobile games, games/interactive narrative for interactive television, …).

Call for Chapters: Game Design Research Collected Edition

Edited by Petri Lankoski and Jussi Holopainen

The aim of this collection is to provide an introductory book to all who wants to study game design—with the focus on games, components, systems, game development, etc.—as part of research or development. Design has been a study topic in various fields where design methods has been in focus of enquiry (e.g., Jones, 1970). In game design, an early look at the design if Crawford’s (1984) book The art of game design.

The three more specific aims are to 1) situate the game design research within and alongside general design research, 2) situate game design research within games research, and 3) provide methodology and methods with concrete case studies as examples to guide anyone interested in game design research.

Design research has moved to cover more general questions of studying design: for example,  how we study design, what methods we can use to study design and what is design along with the more fundamental questions such as what kind of knowledge design research produces. This is apparent in areas outside games. For example, Groat and Wang (2004) cover research methods in architecture to analyze design processes and works.

According to Blessing and Chakrabarti (2009) design research has gone through three overlapping phases: The Experiential phase lasting until end of 1950s where senior designers wrote about their own experiences in designing. The Intellectual phase from 1960s until about 1980s where the emphasis was on providing a robust logical foundation for design and on the methods and principles of design. In the Empirical phase from 1980s forward the aim has been to understand how designers really work by conducting empirical studies both in the laboratory and in the wild.

The history of game design research seems to have followed the same phases from Crawford’s 1984 seminal The Art of game design being an example of the experiential phase to the recent empirical studies of game design (see for example Kultima 2010, Hagen 2009, Peltoniemi 2009; O’Donnell, 2014). In addition, researchers have also started to look using game design as research methodology where game design is used intentionally to study specific aspect of design. This kind of approaches are in akin to what Koskinen et al. (2011) call constructive design research.

Nigel Cross has defined design research as “development, articulation and communication of design knowledge” (Cross 1999, p.5). Cross argues further that the design knowledge resides in people, processes, and artifacts resulting in three different domains of design knowledge: design epistemology (the study of designerly ways of knowing), design praxiology (the study of practices and processes of design) and design phenomenology (the study of the form and function of the resulting artifacts). The studies in game design research can be positioned accordingly.

The book is going to have two thematic parts:

What is game design research

  • epistemology of game design research
  • design knowledge & knowledge in design research
  • aesthetics in design
  • game design vs game design research (the role and contribution of game design research)
  • game design research and games research

Conducting game design research

  • validation of game design research
  • methods in game design research (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, historical, simulations, prototypes)
  • Norm critical design, politics/ethics of design
  • Case studies

Other suitable topics are considered as well.

In the more philosophical or theoretical oriented submissions we would like to see contributions addressing design research in games in contrast to more general theoretical or philosophical arguments about design or design research exemplified with games.

The submission should contain 1000-1500 (without references) words overview of chapter. In addition, include references to 2-4 your research publications that relate to the proposed chapter. We aim for chapters that are 6500–8500 words.

Email proposal to Petri Lankoski ( as plain text (no attachments).


  • chapter overview: Dec 11, 2015
  • full chapter draft: May, 2016

About editors

Petri Lankoski (D.Arts) is an associate professor at Södertörn University where he teaches game development and research. His research focuses on games and emotions, game character design, and game design. Petri also develops games as part of the research. His publications include Character-driven game design  (published by Aalto University) and Game research methods: An overview (book edited with Staffan Björk, published by ETC Press).

Jussi Holopainen (PhD) is a games researcher working for Games and Experimental Entertainment Laboratory in RMIT University’s Centre for Game Design Research. His current research interests include experimental game design, empirical studies of game design practices, and games for behavioral change. He has authored or co-authored several pieces on game design, most notably Patterns in Game Design, and was a co-organizer of the Game Design Research Symposium at ITU Copenhagen in 2004.


Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004). Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media.

Blessing, L. T. M., & Chakrabarti, A. (2009). DRM, a Design Research Methodology. Springer London. doi:10.1007/978-1-84882-587-1.

Crawford C. (1984). The Art of Computer Game Design. McGraw-Hill.

Cross, N. (1999). Design Research: A Disciplined Conversation. Design Issues, 15(2), 5–10.

Groat, L.N. & Wang, D. (2004). Architectural Research Methods, 2nd ed. Wiley.

Jones, J.C. (1970). Design Methods. John Wiley & Sons.

Hagen, U. (2011). Designing for player experience: How professional game developers communicate design visions. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 3(3), 259–275.

Koskinen, I., Zimmerman, J., Binder, T., Redstrom, J., & Wensveen, S. (2011). Design Research Through Practice: From the Lab, Field, and Showroom. Elsevier.

Kultima, A. (2010). The organic nature of game ideation. In Proceedings of the International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology – Futureplay ’10 (p. 33). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/1920778.1920784.

Lankoski, P. (2011). Character-driven game design: A design approach and its foundations in character engagement. Taik Books.

Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2015) Game Research Methods: An Overview. ETC Press.

O’Donnell, C. (2014). Developer’s Dilemma: The Secret World of Video Game Creators. MIT Press.

Peltoniemi, M. (2009). Industry Life-Cycle Theory in the Cultural Domain: Dynamics of the Games Industry. Tampere University of Technology.

Some notes about the freedom of expression, games & critique

(I was first thinking to write a short essay with this title, but this turned to be loosely related thoughts about the topic.)

  • Freedom of expression has newer covered using expression to harm someones reputation and slander a person.
  • Freedom of expression is threatened if people are afraid to express their opinions, even if they don’t need to be afraid of a government prosecution.
  • While companies should have right to choose what publish (and sell), there are cases where this is not so. Monopolies (even de facto monopolies) or utilities are different when their choices can control what others can publish. For example, Comic Book Association was a in practice working as a censor even the US government was not giving them legal power to prevent certain kinds of expressions in comic books. That said, a website does not need to publish what they don’t want. It would be stretching the concept of censorship to call all editorial decisions not to publish (or edit something out) as censorship. However, there are plenty of cases where editorial rights can be used unethically.
  • A mob going after publication or reviewer when the mob disagree with the reviewer’s opinion (especially if someone in the mob threatens the reviewer) can be part of creating an atmosphere of fear that threatens the freedom of expression.
  • It should be natural that developers can create games as they like and critics can criticize the games as they like (as long as they don’t break laws). Also it is ok to disagree with a critique. However, spamming, threats, and name-calling are not productive forms to show the disagreement. Freedom of expression does not include name-calling (in many cases) or threats.
  • A review is an opinion. A good review provides well-argued point of view to a game. The review is not meant to be a product description. This is how reviews of literature, film, music or comics are by tradition. Game criticism is a young (compared to,especially, literature criticism). The language and approaches used are still developing.