Relating Cognitive Models of Computer Games to User Evaluations of Entertainment

Relating Cognitive Models of Computer Games to User Evaluations of Entertainment


Mark Claypool, Paolo Piselli, and Jim Doyle

In Proceedings of the 4th ACM International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG),
Florida, USA
April 26-30, 2009


As the interactive entertainment industry matures, a better understanding of what makes software entertaining is needed. A natural starting point is the application of traditional Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) tools to interactive entertainment software. HCI tools include cognitive models that researchers have used to model users' thought processes and evaluate interface design. This paper users a simple cognitive model to investigate the relationship between the complexity of an interaction and the entertainment experienced by the user. We design a simple computer game, create a normative model for how a user plays this game, and build several variations of this game such that normative models of these variants differed across two factors: pace and complexity. User studies conducted on these variations allow comparison with these factors to user performance and self-reported user enjoyment. Users in-game enjoyment was found to be related to both the subject's performance and the game complexity.


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