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  • 1.
    Johansson, Magnus
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Strååt, Björn
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Verhagen, Harko
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Analyzing AI in NPCs: An analysis of twelve games2014In: Multiplayer: the social aspects of digital gaming / [ed] Thorsten Quandt, Sonja Kröger, London: Routledge, 2014Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this chapter we analyze the AI in NPCs in different games. In 2 studies we apply and develop a method for analyzing game AI based on a framework developed for classifying social theories and their ontological differences. Using observation during game play and analysis of the video captures of the game play we can see that the main focus of game AI on path finding has paid off but that the social believability of NPC behavior has not developed at all.

  • 2.
    Johansson, Magnus
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Strååt, Björn
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Verhagen, Harko
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Analyzing the social dynamics of non-player characters2014In: Frontiers in Gaming Simulation: 44th International Simulation and Gaming Association Conference, ISAGA 2013 and 17th IFIP WG 5.7 Workshop on Experimental Interactive Learning in Industrial Management. Revised Selected Papers / [ed] Sebastiaan A. Meijer, Riitta Smeds, Berlin: Springer, 2014, p. 173-187Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    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.

  • 3.
    Strååt, Björn
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Johansson, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Evaluating Game Heuristics for Measuring Player Experience2013In: GAME-ON'13 - The 14th International Conference on Intelligent Games and Simulations 2013: [proceedings] / [ed] Anton Eliens, Wim Lamotte, EUROSIS-ETI , 2013, p. 15-19Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Usability evaluation tools in the form of heuristic lists can be very helpful in software development. In recent years, game researchers have developed heuristics aimed at special design issues within computer game design. This article examines if these game heuristics are able to capture and evaluate softer values of computer game interaction, based on the flow, challenges and immersion of game play. The authors suggest that these softer values should be called Gameworld Interaction. An analysis of the existing game heuristics was made, resulting in a Net Heuristic list, which was then tested on a single game. The result showed both a possible gap in the heuristics, and that even though the game design did adhere to the heuristics, problems still occurred.

  • 4.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Cues and insinuations: Indicating affordances of non-player characters using visual indicators2015In: Proceedings of DiGRA 2015: Diversity of play: Games – Cultures – Identities, Digital Games Research Association , 2015, p. 1-12Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Non-player characters (NPCs) provide an important service in video games in that they provide an active connection to the narrative through their behavior, as if they were actors in a play. In this study, we aim to explore in what ways the visual appearance of an NPC affects how players perceive their role in the game, and what criteria players use to evaluate the role of NPCs based on visual information. This is done by performing a survey of players, where the respondents are asked to determine the role that a number of NPCs had given their visual appearance, and describe how they decided the roles of the NPCs.

  • 5.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    The Non-Player Character: Exploring the believability of NPC presentation and behavior2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last few decades there has been immense growth in the video game industry, and we have seen great improvements in both graphics and audio. Unfortunately, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and non-player characters (NPCs) has not proceeded at the same pace. Although there have undoubtedly been improvements, the field as a whole has lagged behind its siblings.

    Many of the problems with NPCs stem from the fact that they do not achieve a sufficient level of believability, particularly in the social arena. This is primarily related to the fact that the NPCs do not behave in ways that align with the expectations of the player. This can lead to the player misunderstanding the role and purpose of the NPC, which damages the believability of the game. By extension, this lessens the enjoyment the player can derive from the game. Hence, it is imperative that the design of the NPC be in line with player expectations.

    This thesis takes a holistic view of NPCs, encompassing their design, evaluation, and player perceptions. It uses a design science methodology, and primarily uses qualitative and interpretative methods. It will provide a description of the various types of NPCs found in games, what their design elements are, and how they are interpreted by players.

  • 6.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Johansson, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Verhagen, Harko
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Analyzing the believability of game character behavior using the Game Agent Matrix2014In: Proceedings of DiGRA 2013: DeFragging Game Studies, Digital Games Research Association , 2014, p. 1-11Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years there has been significant improvement in the simpler actions performed by characters in computer games – such as navigating the world and attacking enemies and similar actions. In previous work, the ability of NPCs to adapt to changing circumstances was found to be inadequate in many circumstances. In order to validate these findings we have studied a total of 20 games, observing NPC behavior in each of the games in many different situations, ranging from everyday town life to combat. Using the Game Agent Matrix, we found a number of different behavior categories related to the social context of the agent and its behavior within that context indicating a gap between the most convincing behavior was focused around navigating the world, using tools and using language, as well as more complex behavior such as social sanctions and ranking, connected to the narrative of the game. The middle ground, containing behaviors such as dynamic group formation and the ability to perceive the actions of others were generally seen as unconvincing.

  • 7.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Strååt, Björn
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    A method for comparing NPC social ability2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The main focus of game developers has for a long time been the audiovisual fidelity of the games, but some researchers claim that artificial intelligence (AI) will be the next step in improving the player experience in games. However, there is as of yet a lack of ways of measuring comparing the believability of non-player character (NPC) behavior in games. In order to rectify this we present a method which can be used to create a typology of NPC behavior believability. Our method uses the Carley & Newell fractionation matrix to describe how advanced the behavior of a game’s NPCs is. This is then recorded in a format that can be compared by simple logic operations.

  • 8.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Strååt, Björn
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Breaking immersion by creating social unbelievabilty2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    For the last 20 years, computer games and virtual worlds have made great advances when it comes to audiovisual fidelity. However, this alone is not sufficient to make the games seem believable -- the game world must also seem to be alive. In order to accomplish this, the world must be populated by realistic characters who behave in a coherent and varied way. Many game developers seem to realize this, and the capacity of the artificial intelligence controlled non-player characters in the games are often large selling points. However, as pointed out by recent research these opponents do not always exhibit realistic, coherent and varied behaviour. We have examined this phenomenon by analysing a number of games where non-player characters are especially important for the players' enjoyment, and established six anti-heuristics that can be used to identify non-desirable behaviour in non-player characters.

  • 9.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Verhagen, Harko
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    A model of non-player character believabilityManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study we aim to describe in what ways non-player characters (NPCs) affect believability. To this end, we have conducted an online survey, where respondents were asked to classify and describe NPCs. Furthermore, we also examined recordings of NPCs in games. These data sources were examined using a model for NPC believability in order to describe the effect on believability by different types of NPCs. Based on this, we were able to construct a model of NPC believability, based on the NPC’s level of complexity and ability to handle a mutable social context. As described by the model, NPCs are currently less capable of handling changing social contexts. They do, however, show promise, and given current emerging technologies it is feasible that new types of more socially capable NPCs will arise within the near future.

  • 10.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Verhagen, Harko
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    A model of non-player character believability2017In: Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, ISSN 1757-191X, E-ISSN 1757-1928, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 39-53Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study we aim to describe in what ways non-player characters (NPCs) affect believability. To this end, we have conducted an online survey, where respondents were asked to classify and describe NPCs. Furthermore, we also examined recordings of NPCs in games. These data sources were examined using a model for NPC believability in order to describe the effect on believability by different types of NPCs. Based on this, we were able to construct a model of NPC believability, based on the NPC’s level of complexity and ability to handle a mutable social context. As described by the model, NPCs are currently less capable of handling changing social contexts. They do, however, show promise, and given current emerging technologies it is feasible that new types of more socially capable NPCs will arise within the near future.

  • 11.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Verhagen, Harko
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    A typology of non-player characters2016Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Non-player characters (NPCs) critically impact the experience of the game, and must help uphold the player's feeling of immersion. To avoid negatively impacting the player's sense of immersion, the NPCs must be designed in ways that are in line with the player's expectation on the game, and must fulfill the interaction conventions of games. In this article, we present a typology that provide descriptions of the various types of NPCs found in games, and their design features. This typology was created based on previous work by Bartle (2004) and Warpefelt and Verhagen (2015), which was verified and expanded on using an online survey. The end product can be used to describe NPCs and their design features, primarily for analytical purposes but possibly also as a basis for procedural content generation.

  • 12.
    Warpefelt, Henrik
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Verhagen, Harko
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Towards an updated typology of non-player character roles2015In: Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing / [ed] Piet Kommers, Pedro Isaías, Heredina Fernandez Betancort, International Association for Development of the Information Society , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In video games, non-player characters (NPCs) provide important services in that they facilitate the player's interaction with the game in a way that is in accordance with the expectations set by the narrative. It is, however, still unclear in what ways these NPCs must act, look, and feel in order to fulfill these expectations. In this study we aim to establish a typology of the roles NPCs play in games, building on a previous typology by Bartle (2004) aimed at providing a framework for describing the requirements put on NPCs by these expectations. This was done via an online survey, where respondents were asked to classify NPCs in images from 4 games, and to provide a description of why they classified it as belonging to a certain role. The results of the survey were the analyzed for instances where players expressed confusion about which role an NPC belonged to. These findings were used to update the previous typology. The results from this were later verified by applying the new typology to 10 other games. In the end we identified a number of new roles, as well as modifications to existing roles, which when combined with Bartle’s original typology created a typology applicable to a larger number of genres.

1 - 12 of 12
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