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The Vocal Range of Movies - Sonifying Gender Representation in Film

Marcello Gómez Maureira, Lisa E. Rombout
Conference PaperIn Entertainment Computing-ICEC 2015, pp. 545-550. Springer International Publishing.

Abstract

Research has shown that in contemporary movies, male characters consistently outnumber female characters. In recent years, the number of speaking roles identified as female has declined or remained stable. Guidelines like the Bechdel and Mako Mori test have emerged as a method of evaluating gender representation in film. In this study, a more abstract and experiential form of evaluation is proposed. The per-segment sonification of the assigned gender of a character and the amount of lines they have in that segment of the script creates an audio file, showcasing the gender-representation in the movie dynamically. Two focus groups, one specifically consisting of young filmmakers, have expressed their interest in this form of movie-sonification. Expressed wishes for additional features and other suggested improvements are taken into consideration for the creation of the next prototype.

The Influence of Subliminal Visual Primes on Player Affect in a Horror Computer Game

Marcello Gómez Maureira, Lisa E. Rombout, Livia Teernstra, Imara C.T.M. Speek, Joost Broekens
Conference PaperIn Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), 2015 International Conference on, pp. 705-711. IEEE.

Abstract

Subliminal priming is an extensively researched technique in cognitive psychology. Research often focuses on highly controlled lab-environments, with only a few studies attempting to translate it to applications outside the laboratory. In this study, visual affect priming was deployed in the complex environment of a horror computer game, while maintaining strict standards in regard to subliminal thresholds. Fear-inducing images of one prime-type were shown repeatedly to players (N=60) during 5-minute playing sessions, using sandwich masking and a prime-duration of 33.3 ms. Three types of images were compared to an empty control-image: text, faces and spiders. Players were monitored with heart-rate and galvanic skin response (GSR) sensors to determine effects on a physiological level and were interviewed directly after playing. Results show no significant differences in affective self-report. GSR measures show an increase of relaxation between the start and finish of the game for players who were primed with face images, which we attribute to a result of our relative small player sample. We conclude that in a perceptually complex environment such as a video-game, subliminal visual priming does not noticeably influence player affect. However, measures directly around prime-windows coinciding with in-game sounds showed a significantly effect on GSR. This suggests that GSR is a suitable tool to gauge the affective impact of game elements.

Illuminating Shadows: Introducing Shadow Interaction in Spatial Augmented Reality

Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Carolien Teunisse, Hanna Schraffenberger, Fons Verbeek
Conference PaperCreating the Difference: Proceedings of the Chi Sparks 2014 Conference, 2014.

Abstract

In this paper we present a new mode of interaction in 'Spatial Augmented Reality' (SAR) setups, using shadows as interaction input as well as display area. We claim that the combination of shadow interaction and SAR offers a novel, enjoyable and interesting way of interacting with information in a physical manner. This is especially relevant for contexts such as museum exhibits, where digital information and physical objects relate to one another. The results of our usability experiment with a zebrafish model show that users enjoy the combination of shadow interaction and SAR, as well as see a use for it in exhibition environments.

Improving Level Design Through Game User Research: A Comparison of Methodologies

Marcello A. Gómez-Maureira, Michelle Westerlaken, Dirk P. Janssen, Stefano Gualeni, Licia Calvi
Journal PaperEntertainment Computing (2014), pp. 463-473, doi:10.1016/j.entcom.2014.08.008.

Abstract

In this article we compare the benefits for game design and development relative to the use of three Game User Research (GUR) methodologies (user interviews, game metrics, and psychophysiology) to assist in shaping levels for a 2-D platformer game. We illustrate how these methodologies help level designers make more informed decisions in an otherwise qualitative design process. GUR data sources were combined in pairs to evaluate their usefulness in small-scale commercial game development scenarios, as commonly used in the casual game industry. Based on the improvements suggested by each data source, three levels of a Super Mario clone were modified and the success of these changes was measured. Based on the results we conclude that user interviews provide the clearest indications for improvement among the considered methodologies while metrics and biometrics add different types of information that cannot be obtained otherwise. These findings can be applied to the development of 2-D games; we discuss how other types of games may differ from this. Finally, we investigate differences in the use of GUR methodologies in a follow-up study for a commercial game with children as players.

SuperTux: A Song of Ice and Metrics - Comparing Metrics, Biometrics and Classic Methodologies for Improving Level Design

Marcello Gómez Maureira
ThesisBachelor Thesis, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, 2013.

Abstract

In this bachelor thesis the author explores the question of how the combination of individual game user research methodologies can be used to improve level design in a side-scrolling 2D platform video game. Three methodologies - classic methods, metrics and biometrics - are studied regarding their impact and viability in real world development scenarios. The study takes levels of the game SuperTux through five phases which function as milestones in an iterative quality assurance process. The study concludes that classic methodologies should be part of any effort regarding quality assurance. Other methodologies provide additional insights that can be used by designers to instigate further improvements. Especially biometric game user research methodologies require further development to make them viable in real world game development.

Comparing Game User Research Methodologies for the Improvement of Level Design in a 2-D Platformer

Marcello Gómez Maureira, Dirk P. Janssen, Stefano Gualeni, Michelle Westerlaken, Licia Calvi
Conference PaperIn Advances in Computer Entertainment, pp. 77-92. Springer International Publishing, 2013.

Abstract

In this paper we compare the effects of using three game user research methodologies to assist in shaping levels for a 2-D platformer game, and illustrate how the use of such methodologies can help level designers to make more informed decisions in an otherwise qualitative oriented design process. Game user interviews, game metrics and psychophysiology (biometrics) were combined in pairs to gauge usefulness in small-scale commercial game development scenarios such as the casual game industry. Based on the recommendations made by the methods, three sample levels of a Super Mario clone were improved and the opinions of a second sample of users indicated the success of these changes. We conclude that user interviews provide the clearest indications for improvement among the considered methodologies while metrics and biometrics add different types of information that cannot be obtained otherwise.

A Framework for Biometric Playtesting of Games

Dirk P. Janssen, Licia Calvi, Stefano Gualeni, (credited on poster: Michelle Westerlaken, Marcello A. Gómez-Maureira)
PosterIn Foundations of Digital Games 2013, pp. 423-424, 2013

Abstract

A framework is described that can assist game developers in using biometric (psychophysiological) methods while playtesting. Biometric methods can give developers a valuable additional window on the playtester's experience.