WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Computer Science Department

Relating Cognitive Models of Computer Games to User Evaluations of Entertainment

Paolo Piselli

Advisors: Professor Mark Claypool and Professor James Doyle

M.S. Thesis
Computer Science Department, WPI
Spring 2006


As the interactive entertainment industry matures, we need a better understanding of what makes software entertaining. A natural starting point is the application of traditional Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) tools to interactive entertainment software. Cognitive models are tools that HCI researchers have used to model users. thought processes and evaluate interface design. With this research we investigate the relationship between the complexity of an interaction and the entertainment experienced by the user. We designed a simple computer game, created a normative model for how a user plays this game, built several variations of this game such that normative models of these variants differed across two factors: pace and complexity. User studies were conducted on these variations, and we compared these factors to user performance and self-reported user enjoyment.