ACII 2011 Workshop: Emotion in Games


Computer games research has recently experienced the adoption of its own technological advancements (rich interactivity, 3D graphical visualisation and role playing game-style incentive structures) by an increasing number of domains (e-commerce, news reading, web 2.0 services, and human-computer interfaces). The capability of games delivering enhanced user immersion and engagement defines the driving force behind this adoption. Inevitably, games are unique elicitors of emotion and the study of user experience in those environments is of paramount importance for the understanding of gameplay internal mechanics.

Capturing, analyzing and synthesizing player experience in both traditional screen-based games and augmented- and mixed-reality platforms has been a challenging area within the crossroads of cognitive science, psychology, artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction. Additional gameplay input modalities such as 3D acceleration (e.g. Nintendo Wii and smartphones), image and speech (e.g. Microsoft Kinect) enhance the importance of the study and the complexity of player experience. Sophisticated techniques from artificial and computational intelligence can be used to recognize the affective state of player, based on multiple modalities of player-game interaction, and to model emotion in non-playing characters. Multiple modalities of input can also provide a novel means for game platforms to measure player satisfaction and engagement when playing, without necessarily having to resort to post-experience and off-line questionnaires. For instance, players immersed by gameplay will rarely gaze away from the screen, while disappointed or indifferent players will typically show very little response or emotion. Adaptation game techniques can also be used to maximise player’s experience, thereby, closing the affective game loop: e.g. change the game soundtrack to a vivid or dimmer tune to match the player’s powerful stance or prospect of defeat; from the point of view of non-player characters, an injured or frustrated opponent will look down when facing defeat, informing the users about its status, much in the way a human opponent would be expected to. In addition to this, procedural content generation techniques may be employed, based on the level of user engagement and interest, to dynamically produce new, adaptable and personalised content (e.g. a new level in a platform game, which poses enough challenge to players, without disappointing them).

This workshop is the first of its series in ACII and build on related workshops and special sessions in other venues, such as the Simulation of Adaptive Behaviour (SAB) 2006 and Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) 2007 workshops and the IEEE Computational Intelligence in Games (CIG) 2008 special session on player satisfaction, the special session on Emotion in Games in IEEE CIG 2010 and VS Games 2011 and the Networking Session on Research and Development on Serious Games during the ICT Event 2010 and tutorials on 'affective computing in game design' at Gameon-NA 2008 and at DigiPen (2009).

An "Emotion in Games" special issue proposal has already been accepted by the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing. The special issue will be published mid-2013 (with a submission deadline in summer 2012) and the authors of the best papers presented in the workshop will be invited to submit extended versions of their work to the special issue.

This workshop is sponsored by the FP7 STREP project Siren:"Social games for conflIct REsolution based on natural iNteraction" and is organized in coordination with the newly formed ‘Emotion in Games’ Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Humaine Association and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Task Force on Player Satisfaction Modelling.

Workshop topics

  • Natural interaction in games
    • controlling games with hand and body gestures, body stance, facial expressions, gaze and physiology
    • sonification in games
    • speech recognition and prosody analysis of players
    • mapping low-level cues to affect and emotion
    • mapping non-verbal cues to player satisfaction

  • Emotion in player experience
    • affective player modelling
    • artificial and computational intelligence for modelling player experience
    • adapting to player affect/player experience
    • optimizing for/adapting to player satisfaction
    • adaptive learning and player experience
    • affect-driven procedural content generation

  • Emotion modelling in non-player characters
    • emotion synthesis for affective non-player characters
    • modelling effects of emotions on non-player character decision-making
    • affective influences on task and objectives planning for non-player characters
    • alternatives for expressing emotions in non-player characters

  • Higher-level concepts
    • user engagement, attention and satisfaction
    • maximising user engagement
    • social context awareness and adaptation
    • affective and behavioural states in gaming
    • psychology of gaming
    • ethics and morality in player and non-player characters

  • Game-based corpora (naturally evoked or induced emotion)
  • The workshop aims at bringing together researchers and practitioners in affective computing, user experience research, social psychology and cognition, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and multi-modal interfaces and databases that will advance the state-of-the-art in player experience research, affect induction, sensing and modelling and affect-driven game adaptation. It will also provide new insights on how gaming can be used as a research instrument to induce and capture affective interactions with single and multiple users, mobile and ubiquitous devices and model affect- and behaviour-related concepts, building on concepts such as flow and engagement, and helping operationalize them. Human-robot interaction and technology-enhanced learning have also significant relation to gaming, as possible fields of application, but also as research fields which can benefit from gaming as an interaction paradigm.

    Program Committee

    Ruth Aylett (Heriot-Watt University, United Kingdom)
    Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze (University College London, United Kingdom)
    Rafael Bidarra (TU Delft, The Netherlands)
    Antonio Camurri (University of Genova, Italy)
    George Caridakis (University of Central Greece, Greece)
    Marc Cavazza (University of Teesside, United Kingdom)
    Magy Seif El-Nasr (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
    Hatice Gunes (Imperial College, United Kingdom)
    Dirk Heylen (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
    Stefanos Kollias (ICCS-NTUA, Greece)
    Anton Nijholt (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
    Catherine Pelachaud (CNRS/TELECOM ParisTech, France)
    Aggelos Pikrakis (University of Piraeus, Greece)
    Alexandros Potamianos (Technical University of Crete, Greece)
    Julian Togelius (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
    Asimina Vasalou (University of Bath, United Kingdom)
    Gualtiero Volpe (University of Genova, Italy)

    Workshop organizers

    Georgios Yannakakis (IT University, Denmark) – yannakakis AT
    Ana Paiva (Instituto Superior Técnico/INESC-ID, Portugal) – Ana.Paiva AT
    Kostas Karpouzis (National Technical University of Athens, Greece) – kkarpou AT
    Eva Hudlicka (Psychometrix Associates, Inc., USA, U.S. liaison) – hudlicka AT

    Accepted papers

    1. Hector P. Martinez and Georgios N. Yannakakis. Analysing the Relevance of Experience Partitions to the Prediction of Players' Self-Reports of Affect
    2. Hiran Ekanayake, Per Backlund, Tom Ziemke, Robert Ramberg and Kamalanath Hewagamage. Assessing Performance Competence in Training Games
    3. Josephine Anstey. Improvisation, Emotion, Video Game
    4. Noor Shaker, Georgios Yannakakis, Stylianos Asteriadis and Kostas Karpouzis. A Game-based Corpus for Analysing the Interplay between Game Context and Player Experience
    5. Angela Tinwell, Mark Grimshaw and Debbie Abdel-Nabi. Effect of Emotion and Articulation of Speech on the Uncanny Valley in Virtual Characters
    6. Maurizio Garbarino, Andrea Bonarini and Matteo Matteucci. Affective Preference From Physiology in Videogames: a Lesson Learned from the TORCS Experiment
    7. Christian Becker-Asano, Dali Sun, Birgit Kleim, Corinna Scheel, Brunna Tuschen-Caffier and Bernhard Nebel. Outline of an empirical study on the effects of emotions on strategic behavior in virtual emergencies

    For the full list of accepted papers, their abstracts and presentations click here