Social Simulation 4 Serious Games and other work

tl;dr I began a Special Interest Group called Social Simulation 4 Serious Games (SS4SG); a master student I supervised graduated on his work on perceptions and assumptions in the Virtual Storyteller; a paper and an article based on my master thesis on adaptive difficulty in a serious game have been published and accepted for publication; my CASA workshop paper on politeness/face combinations has been published.

It’s been a while since my last update, so here are a few snippets on what I’ve been working on.

Together with Melania Borit, whom I met at the Social Believability in Games Workshop at ACE 2013, I have begun a new Special Interest Group (SIG) called Social Simulation 4 Serious Games (SS4SG). The main goal of this SIG is to bring together researchers from the fields of social science and (serious) game design to investigate and discuss how we can merge the two (see ss4sg.eu). At the time of writing, we have 21 members from Holland, Norway, Spain, France, the UK, Portugal, Sweden and Australia. Of course, we are still happy to welcome new members, so simply drop me an email if you want to join the fun. The first event we are trying to organize is a special track at this year’s European Social Simulation Association Conference (ESSA).

Hans ten Brinke, a master student whom I supervised, recently graduated on his work on perceptions and assumptions in the Virtual Storyteller (VST), a story generation system developed at our university. His thesis can be accessed here. Previously, the characters in the VST were omniscient: they knew everything that happened in the story world. Hans introduced perceptions to the characters: now they are no longer sure what happens everywhere in the world, making the stories that can be generated much more interesting. To prevent the characters from doing nothing at all, Hans enabled them to make assumptions about the story so that they can plan to take actions. In his thesis, Hans gives shape to these ideas in stories about a Tom & Jerry-esque setting on a pirate ship, with a cat chasing a rat which wants to find some cheese (hilarity ensues).

A paper based on my master thesis on adaptive difficulty in a serious game has been published in the proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning (ECGBL, proceedings: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, see p. 177 of Vol. 2 for the paper or access it here). Subsequently, it has been revised and accepted for publication in the EAI Endorsed Transactions on Serious Games (ETSG). These works discuss the design of a technique that enables a serious game called Code Red: Triage to dynamically tailor its difficulty to the progress of players. The adaptive version of the game resulted in much more efficient playthroughs, as players of this version of the game attained the same amount of knowledge quicker than players who did not play the adaptive version.

Lastly, my CASA workshop paper about the combination of theories about politeness and face has been published as well (proceedings and paper).