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Embodied Cognition,
Game Characters, and
Game Design
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Embodied Cognition
¡  Basics of understanding is based on action
possibilities
¡  Club affords hitting
¡  Seeing someon...
Game Characters
¡  PC = Player-character
¡  Player controlled character
¡  NPC = Non-player-character
¡  An agent, AI,...
Game Characters
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Immortall(ArmorGames)
Empathic
Engagement
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Revealing Character in Thief
II
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Revealing Character in Thief
II
¡  PC action
¡  Sneak & hide
¡  Pick locks
¡  Knock out with black-jack
¡  Take items...
Revealing Character
in Half-Life
•  First-person view
•  Information about character is
feed by
•  Text
•  Dialogue
Petri ...
Recognition
¡  An interpretation of a character
¡  Depends of formal features in the game
¡  Information
¡  Perceived ...
Alignment
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Allegiance
•  Structure of sympathy (or
antipathy)
•  Moral / aesthetic evaluation
•  Relative to fiction & other
characte...
Beauty
¡  Positive evolution / emotion
¡  Simple
¡  Learned & prototypical
¡  Associative emotions
¡  If visuals or s...
Goal-driven
Engagement
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Goals
¡  Regulating goals
¡  Goals that regulate progression in a game
¡  Player goals correlates highly with regulatin...
Regulating Goals in Ico
1.  A cut scene showing how Ico is brought
to the castle and put into a statue and
how the statue ...
Goals and emotions
Basic Emotion Goal status evaluation
Happiness Progression towards or
reaching a goal
Fear Threat to se...
Goals and emotions…
¡  Primary emotions
¡  Secondary emotions
¡  As if reasoning triggers emotions
¡  Considering risk...
Example: Silent Hill 2
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
Example: Silent Hill 2
¡  Limited perceptual range and awareness of monsters
¡  Fear & Worry
¡  Static noise warns abou...
¡  Lankoski, P. (2012). Computer Games and
Emotions. In Sageng, Fossheim & Larsen (eds.) The
Philosophy of Computer Games...
Thank you
petri.lankoski@sh.se
petrilankoski.wordpress.com
Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
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Embodiment, Game Characters and Game Design

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Evening Lecture given at Interdisciplinary College (http://www.interdisciplinary-college.de/prog-2015)

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Embodiment, Game Characters and Game Design

  1. 1. Embodied Cognition, Game Characters, and Game Design Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  2. 2. Embodied Cognition ¡  Basics of understanding is based on action possibilities ¡  Club affords hitting ¡  Seeing someone smile -> mirroring smile -> happiness & interpretation ¡  Someone raising a cup towards their lips -> drinking ¡  Mirroring actions ¡  Meanings are relations between an organism and environment Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  3. 3. Game Characters ¡  PC = Player-character ¡  Player controlled character ¡  NPC = Non-player-character ¡  An agent, AI, narrated actor Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  4. 4. Game Characters Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University Immortall(ArmorGames)
  5. 5. Empathic Engagement Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  6. 6. Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  7. 7. Revealing Character in Thief II Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  8. 8. Revealing Character in Thief II ¡  PC action ¡  Sneak & hide ¡  Pick locks ¡  Knock out with black-jack ¡  Take items / steal ¡  Fight with a sword ¡  Death comes often with this option ¡  Shoot arrows Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  9. 9. Revealing Character in Half-Life •  First-person view •  Information about character is feed by •  Text •  Dialogue Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  10. 10. Recognition ¡  An interpretation of a character ¡  Depends of formal features in the game ¡  Information ¡  Perceived actions ¡  Appearance ¡  Reactions of other characters Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  11. 11. Alignment Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  12. 12. Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  13. 13. Allegiance •  Structure of sympathy (or antipathy) •  Moral / aesthetic evaluation •  Relative to fiction & other characters Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  14. 14. Beauty ¡  Positive evolution / emotion ¡  Simple ¡  Learned & prototypical ¡  Associative emotions ¡  If visuals or sounds are not relevant for a current task, visuals/sounds ignored ¡  Especially when cognitive load is high ¡  Unexpected stimulus (e.g., peripheral movement or sounds) trigger orientation response ¡  However, especially music can influence other evaluations Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  15. 15. Goal-driven Engagement Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  16. 16. Goals ¡  Regulating goals ¡  Goals that regulate progression in a game ¡  Player goals correlates highly with regulating goals if they want to progress ¡  Player-generated goals ¡  Not relate to progression structure ¡  E.g., can I jump from this rooftop to next with a car in Grad Theft Auto IV? ¡  Game structure needs to facilitate challenges Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  17. 17. Regulating Goals in Ico 1.  A cut scene showing how Ico is brought to the castle and put into a statue and how the statue falls letting Ico out. -> GOAL: Escape 2.  GOAL: Pull a lever in the first room to open a door. 3.  GOAL: go to the second room. 4.  GOAL: climb up a chain, jump to a window, and enter the third room. 5.  Ico sees Yorda on a gage -> GOAL: free Yorda 6.  GOAL climbed up to a tower and use lever to lower Yorda’s gage 7.  The gage does not get on the ground -> GOAL jumped on top of the cage, which breaks the cage. 8.  A cut-scene showing Ico’s and Yorda’s first meeting. And showing a black portal appears and shadowy creates emerges from it. 9.  OPTIONAL GOAL: pick up a wooden stick as a weapon 10.  GOAL: destroy all creatures; GOAL: prevent shadow creatures take Yorda escape via the portal 11.  A cut-scene where Ico says that it is too dangerous to be where they are and that they must escape, after which, Yorda opens a magically sealed door leading to the next room. Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  18. 18. Goals and emotions Basic Emotion Goal status evaluation Happiness Progression towards or reaching a goal Fear Threat to self or goal Sadness Failure of a valued goal Anger A goal is blocked Disgust Reaching a goal risks contamination Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  19. 19. Goals and emotions… ¡  Primary emotions ¡  Secondary emotions ¡  As if reasoning triggers emotions ¡  Considering risky option leads fear ¡  Thinking about success leads to happiness Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  20. 20. Example: Silent Hill 2 Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  21. 21. Example: Silent Hill 2 ¡  Limited perceptual range and awareness of monsters ¡  Fear & Worry ¡  Static noise warns about nearby monsters ¡  The sound gets associated with fear ¡  Attacking monsters threatens the player’s goal of keeping PC alive ¡  Fear ¡  Zombies rot & Zombie’s vomit attack contaminating ¡  Disgust ¡  Killing zombies ¡  Happiness Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  22. 22. ¡  Lankoski, P. (2012). Computer Games and Emotions. In Sageng, Fossheim & Larsen (eds.) The Philosophy of Computer Games. Springer. DOI=10.1007/978-94-007-4249-9_4. ¡  Lankoski, P. (2011). Player Character Engagement in Computer Games. Games and Culture, 6(4), pp. 291-311. DOI: 10.1177/1555412010391088. ¡  Lankoski, P. & Järvelä, S. (2012). An Embodied Cognition Approach for Understanding Role- playing. International Journal of Role-Playing, 3. Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University
  23. 23. Thank you petri.lankoski@sh.se petrilankoski.wordpress.com Petri Lankoski, Södertörn University

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