Game Research

Blog by the game research group

UX of AI in games workshop at FDG2019

We are organizing another AI & Games focussed workshop at this year’s Foundations of Digital Games conference:
2019 Workshop on User Experience of Artificial Intelligence in Games @ FDG

How do players experience Artificial Intelligence (AI) in games? How do they feel about the AI, and how is what the AI does communicated to the player? Is there interaction with the AI, and if so, who takes the lead? Is this a social experience, a believable one? Is the AI creative, or at least perceived as such? And finally, is the AI making the game experience better?

AIs fill many roles in games, from companions to antagonists, from storytellers to architects and game testers. With all the recent focus and technical advances in AI this is likely to increase, and the recent popularity of artificial intelligence is moving AIs to the foreground of games. This raises many questions — and in this workshop, we want to look at those surrounding the player’s user experience with artificial intelligence in its many forms.
The 2019 Workshop on User Experience and Artificial Intelligence encompasses the intersection between UX and AI as it manifests in games. We wish to act as a point of interaction between researchers specialized within these fields, in the hope that this will help facilitate research that allows for the creation of more interesting and robust AI-based game experiences.

This workshop aims to build a community centered on this by putting forward demonstrations of work in the integration of these two areas, as well as models and theories that can be used to create understanding where the areas intersect. We especially welcome demonstrations of work in progress or work showcasing new ideas. We are interested in realized prototypes, demons and applications — especially designed created to explore hypotheses. We are also open to philosophical and humanities-based approaches and provocative ideas.

The workshop is co-located and organized with the 2019 Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) conference in San Luis Obispo, California, USA (August 26-30, 2019).

Here is the full CFP:
Call for Papers to the 2019 Workshop on User Experience of Artificial Intelligence in Games @ FDG

Best Full Paper Award at ICIDS 2018

Re-Tellings: The Fourth Layer of Narrative as an Instrument for Critique by Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari was awarded the Best Full Paper Award at the 11th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2018, Dublin, Ireland, December 5–8, 2018.


The fourth layer of narrative in Interactive Narrative Systems (INS), such as games, is the players’ re-tellings of the stories they have experienced when playing. The occurrence of re-tellings can be considered as an indicator for a well designed INS and as an instrument of critique – the experiences of play are important and memorable to such a degree to the players that they find them worthy to tell others about. The notion of the fourth layer is added to the structural model of IN Systems having (1) a base architectural layer giving conditions for a (2) second layer of narrative design, while a (3) third layer is the narrative discourse – eg. the unique, session-specific played or traversed sequences of events. In relation to this, the Story Construction model is described.

Gamifying the perfect employee – A zombie in the organisation?

The paper “Gamifying the perfect employee – A zombie in the organisation?
by Mikolaj Dymek was presented at the 36th Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism and the 7th Australasian Caucus of the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism conference, August 17-20 2018, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan

This paper explores zombies as a rewarding avenue of inquiry on the notion of so-called gamification within organisational settings, and in particular as analogy for its users and players – the organisational strive to mold the “perfect employee” transmutes its characteristics into that of the zombie. The analysis centres on implicit and explicit conceptualisations of gamification players/users (Hibbert, 2003; Ayllon and Azrin, 1968; Kazdin and Bootzin, 1972; Asplund, 1987) in gameful/playful systems such as organisations (Huotari and Hamari, 2017), as a departure point, to propose that many assumptions of players/users are based on generalisations that reduce the nature of the player/user to the point of dehumanised subjects with voracious and simplistic driving forces, which lends itself to analogies of “zombification” of users.


DiGRA 2018 Proceedings Online

The  Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message are now online at the DiGRA Digital Library.

Here is a direct link to what I presented in Italy in July:

There are also a few slides available from the talk I gave here:


2018 DiGRA Distinguished Scholars

Petri Lankoski has been selected as one of 2018 DiGRA Distinguished Scholars.

In 2016 DiGRA established the Distinguished Scholars program to recognize senior scholars in the field of game studies who have been at the forefront of the development of rigorous scholarship, the establishment of game studies and game development programs, and who have made significant contributions to DiGRA itself as an organization.
The complete list of DiGRA Distinguished Scholars:

The Impact of Design approaches presented at Making Games Seminar in Tampere

Petri Lankoski and I presented the working paper “The Impact of Design Approaches” at the 14th  Game Research Lab Spring Seminar “Making Games” in Tampere in April.  Our working paper maps and examines the impact of different design approaches, illustrating and demonstrating the mapping by giving concrete example from three game design case studies

The setup of the seminar is such that the participants read each others papers before the event, and then spend ample time for each paper at the seminar to give constructive feedback and commentary.

I made some watercolor notes at the seminar:

Day 1 part 1

Day 1 part 2

Day 2 part 1

Day 2 part 2


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