Resarch questions for TUG

mosesoperandimosesoperandi REGISTERED, Developers Posts: 22 Developer
edited September 2014 in Science!
What research questions about video games do you have that you would like to see studied in TUG?

Poll to follow based on suggestions.
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  • RinRin REGISTERED Posts: 668 Seed
    average time spent doing various activities, as well as minimum and max times.
    attention span of the average player, ranging from time spent logged on and time spent shifting from activity to activity (not sure if the latter is easy to measure though).
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  • mcmanusaurmcmanusaur REGISTERED Posts: 141
    Most of the questions that come to mind are issues of how someone's in-game and out-of-game persona align. Does the role players choose in RPG's reflect their real-life personality?

    The other major thing is how players understand the games they play, whether from a really abstracted perspective or a more systematic design-savvy viewpoint. I guess this has to do with the question of whether players are really ready to take control and create their own narratives (which is something many seem to doubt), in other words whether they have a sufficient intuitive understanding of games to take things into their own hands for more open-ended and emergent experiences as opposed to the more traditional spoon-fed authorial narrative.

    Also, whether the whole ever-popular business of categorizing players based on their play style preferences is really worthwhile or just another excuse to label people.

    Finally, how many people actually roleplay to various extents in RPG's?
  • SigilSigil REGISTERED, Developers Posts: 678 Developer
    At what point does repeating normal, real-world actions become tedious to gaming and how can they be edited and condensed to maintain a level of fidelity and immersion?
  • PuttyPutty REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 24 Golem
    I am interested in the various waves of adopters and how they negotiate the changing nature of a game in development.
  • Nuclear RussianNuclear Russian REGISTERED Posts: 424 Seed
    How would a group of player react to a server wide disaster (panic situation)?

    I am interested, since something similar happened with WoW, with the Corrupted Blood incident.
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  • Youngy798Youngy798 REGISTERED Posts: 905 Seed
    How players to react to shortages (or a sudden increase) in the amount of a certain material. Eg the world spawning with only 1 vein of diamond (but having 100's in the vein) and seeing how people react to it once it is found. You could also have things such as diseases which wipe out a certain material or resource and see how people react and get around it.
    Hello there! I am Youngy future owner of Plainhold (hopefully), go read the topic about Plainhold, and the Lemurian Empire, maybe also some of my other posts, like my mining suggestions! :)

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  • mosesoperandimosesoperandi REGISTERED, Developers Posts: 22 Developer
    Glad to see we're getting a little more activity on this thread. I will eventually produce a poll on it, but I want to make sure we capture a decent variety of research topics first!
  • jon14ukjon14uk REGISTERED Posts: 782 Seed
    I think research on how people interact with ai like if they feel bad or good for killing npc or being friends with it ,also like player habits seeing where people like to build the most and what patterns they have whether its aggressive or friendly.
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  • FrostTheTacticianFrostTheTactician REGISTERED Posts: 176 Seed
    I may have some more suggestions after I get some time to think about this, but off the top of my head:
    If there are any differences in player behavior (aggressiveness etc.) when interacting with seeds of different genders, skin colors, and eventually how human the seeds looks?
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  • AzzyAzzy REGISTERED Posts: 182
    Id like to see what would cause in game players to interact positively with each other and see value in the others' digital life.

    What would break the kill on sight mentality ?
  • ChohsanChohsan REGISTERED Posts: 220
    I'd like to see things about player intuition, strategy and survival-ability and I feel they would promote an easier process of adjustment as well!

    The BREAKDOWN—read bold for TL;DR:

    Intuition: the decisions that seem most prominent to you.

    Defining intuition helps explain what a Seed is most likely to start off doing. It may even help differentiate between instinct and experience. Having a baseline on what to expect from the average Seed helps to define natural talent as well as a general learning curves.

    Simplified, how are Seeds most likely to divide their time during the initial stages of the game-play? Will they spend their time distancing themselves from other combatants or gathering resources for tools, as soon as possible? What resources are they most prone to gathering? Do they go out of their way to find biome specific resource and which? Which tool or tools do most Seeds attempt to make first?

    Strategy: what you do in reaction to common situations.

    Defining basic strategies will allow you to define basic player reactions. Knowing what to expect can be used to design game-play, AI, and world events that are engaging and immersive.

    How and under what circumstances do Seeds engage other Seeds or critters in combat? How do they deal with a mutual interest in the same resources? Do they engage in combat only under advantageous circumstances (ambush, better equipped, higher vitals)? Do they avoid combat when more than 2 Seeds or critters are present? Do they stalk their targeted prey until they're in a weakened state from combat?

    Survival-ability: the ability to survive due to your intuition and strategy.

    Knowing what someone has to do to survive makes it that much easier to change the difficulty required to survive.

    Survival-ability would deal with how the decisions Seeds make effect their survival. Are Seeds who do this and/or that more likely to survive or die than others? Should they be met with greater advantage/disadvantage?

    Adjustment: Knowing how things work and why they work that way allows both the players and developers to adapt and to make adjustments accordingly to make the game a better experience.

    What can be changed to tweak things like intuition, strategy, and survival-ability?

    It'd be interesting to see what players, their Seeds and developers come up with in the early phases and how these strategies change as players and developers become more familiar with an established system. I think data like this will only become more relevant as constraints (like hunger, thirst, exhaustion, etc.) are added to the game.
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  • ChohsanChohsan REGISTERED Posts: 220
    On a side note, "Questions" is a pretty non-descriptive thread name. Maybe we can change it to something like "Research for TUG" or "Question: What data would you like to see researched for TUG?"... I don't know.
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  • AvaeraAvaera REGISTERED Posts: 29
    mcmanusaur wrote:
    Most of the questions that come to mind are issues of how someone's in-game and out-of-game persona align. Does the role players choose in RPG's reflect their real-life personality?

    ...

    Also, whether the whole ever-popular business of categorizing players based on their play style preferences is really worthwhile or just another excuse to label people.
    It's a bit belated, but I wanted to say I really like these questions!

    A couple of others that interest me personally would be:

    - What are the different ways in which players connect to their own avatar (eg. as a tool, a character, a projection), and how does this influence their perceptions of in-game actions by themselves and others?

    - What assumptions are made by players about the real world identities of the people they interact with in game? (For example, do people assume a female avatar is usually played by a woman, or that in the absence of any RL cues, most avatars are played by people who are like themselves?)

    - How do the activities that players say they find most interesting and fun align with how they actually choose to spend their time?
  • unholystagepresenceunholystagepresence REGISTERED Posts: 16
    Would love to see the evolution of player-forumlated lore, a la Twitch Plays Pokemon and the idea of the Helix fossil as a god. With such an open world, the possibility of opposite ideas forming and conflicting with one another could make for interesting study, especially when players seem to take these sorts of things very seriously.

    Looking into how gender affects style of game play would also be interesting, considering, again, the openness of TUG and it's many planned ways of playing and progressing.

    Edit: Also, the development of the inevitable economy. I understand that economists used EVE Online to study the same thing, so it would be interesting to see if there are parallels.
  • SigilSigil REGISTERED, Developers Posts: 678 Developer
    I'd like to see a study on self-proclaimed bandits. Assuming a stable economy is established, and player cities or towns are a viable and productive method of survival, what makes a player choose to be an outcast when it's safer not too, and how does the social interaction with their peers develop?
  • BandersnatchBandersnatch REGISTERED Posts: 101 Seed
    How far players would go to follow a "rumor" of power, whether real or not, and how substantial the rumor would have to be to get people to seek it out.
  • PuttyPutty REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 24 Golem
    How far players would go to follow a "rumor" of power, whether real or not, and how substantial the rumor would have to be to get people to seek it out.

    A question that this question begs is, what would you notice? What would indicate to you that there is something else out there that might grant you more power?
  • spacedotspacedot REGISTERED Posts: 416 Seed
    Putty wrote:
    How far players would go to follow a "rumor" of power, whether real or not, and how substantial the rumor would have to be to get people to seek it out.

    A question that this question begs is, what would you notice? What would indicate to you that there is something else out there that might grant you more power?

    If we are begging questions. How far would players go if there was a rumor of a cheat or hack and what would people do if someone was rumored to have it?
  • PuttyPutty REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 24 Golem
    spacedot wrote:
    Putty wrote:
    How far players would go to follow a "rumor" of power, whether real or not, and how substantial the rumor would have to be to get people to seek it out.

    A question that this question begs is, what would you notice? What would indicate to you that there is something else out there that might grant you more power?

    If we are begging questions. How far would players go if there was a rumor of a cheat or hack and what would people do if someone was rumored to have it?

    That isn't really a useful question because you can just watch this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3J3ZGge4V0
  • spacedotspacedot REGISTERED Posts: 416 Seed
    So where was the rumor for this video?
  • GazelleGazelle REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 35 Golem
    How far players would go to follow a "rumor" of power, whether real or not, and how substantial the rumor would have to be to get people to seek it out.

    This is a really interesting question, and there's actually a book chapter from The Proteus Paradox that addresses superstition and perpetuating supposed tricks that give you an edge in gaming [e.g., putting certain classes in the first raid slot because you get different loot tables, carrying rabbit's foot in game increasing the chance of rare item drops, wearing "lucky" gear when performing certain activities, performing rituals to increase spawn chance for rare mobs, etc. etc.]

    The basic boil-down here is if the potential benefits outweigh the perceived costs [for example, if I think carrying a rabbit's foot MIGHT increase my chance for getting rare loot, is having a rabbit's foot take up one slot in my inventory worth the possibility of getting better loot?], people will probably do it...even if they claim to not believe in the superstition!

    You get into weird situations of confirmation bias and shady data though with stuff like this...say I carry around a rabbit's foot everywhere because I think I get better drops. Any time I get a rare drop, I'm going to notice that, and may be like, "OMG DAT RABBIT'S FOOT"...that drop may have come after 30 minutes of farming, but maybe I've heard stories of people who had spent hours or even days farming! Clearly they should have bought a rabbit's foot.

    I think it really depends on the rumor as well...there needs to be some level of believability, some level of "black box"ness that prevents you from totally tracking what's going on, and some degree of viral word-of-mouth spread. It's sort of like folktales and legends in oral tradition.
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  • PuttyPutty REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 24 Golem
    Gazelle wrote:
    How far players would go to follow a "rumor" of power, whether real or not, and how substantial the rumor would have to be to get people to seek it out.

    This is a really interesting question, and there's actually a book chapter from The Proteus Paradox that addresses superstition and perpetuating supposed tricks that give you an edge in gaming [e.g., putting certain classes in the first raid slot because you get different loot tables, carrying rabbit's foot in game increasing the chance of rare item drops, wearing "lucky" gear when performing certain activities, performing rituals to increase spawn chance for rare mobs, etc. etc.]

    The basic boil-down here is if the potential benefits outweigh the perceived costs [for example, if I think carrying a rabbit's foot MIGHT increase my chance for getting rare loot, is having a rabbit's foot take up one slot in my inventory worth the possibility of getting better loot?], people will probably do it...even if they claim to not believe in the superstition!

    You get into weird situations of confirmation bias and shady data though with stuff like this...say I carry around a rabbit's foot everywhere because I think I get better drops. Any time I get a rare drop, I'm going to notice that, and may be like, "OMG DAT RABBIT'S FOOT"...that drop may have come after 30 minutes of farming, but maybe I've heard stories of people who had spent hours or even days farming! Clearly they should have bought a rabbit's foot.

    I think it really depends on the rumor as well...there needs to be some level of believability, some level of "black box"ness that prevents you from totally tracking what's going on, and some degree of viral word-of-mouth spread. It's sort of like folktales and legends in oral tradition.

    To add a bit of background to what Nicole is saying, Nick Yee's work is essentially looking at Bartle's Types which were developed very early on through MUDs. While they are very old, video games that have multiplayer elements have used those types so even though we'd like to say that they are no longer relevant, the sad reality is that because designers love them, they will always be relevant.

    Here's a summary of those:

    yMyHpb2.png

    Here is a longer discussion of types and typologies of gamers:



    I have also written about player myths and legends here:

    http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/102 ... ideogames/
  • Red AgliatorRed Agliator REGISTERED Posts: 307 Seed
    My first curiosity: how do people approach learning what can be done in a game? (And do different game mechanics affect that?)

    In the last online game I played, I spent 2-3 weeks playing solo to figure out as much as I could, then turned on global chat, listened for a few days, and only started asking questions after that. (I even pretty quickly switched to answering questions.) I noticed other people had different approaches. Some started in global chat, asking very basic questions. Others asked questions only as they got stuck. Some looked for web resources, and then went off to learn as much as they could before coming back, and others went and followed a step-by-step tutorial to get used to the game.

    Questions I find myself asking about learning in TUG: Who starts by wandering the world? Who starts by trying to find out how to affect the world? Who starts by trying to figure out what things *do*? Who does a mixture of those, and what kind of mixture? (And of course, what are all the other types of approaches that I'm not thinking of?) Where is it that people get stuck, stop exploring, and try to find other ways to solve a puzzle / learn practical techniques / figure out what else there is to do? Where is it that people get stuck and abandon a line of play?

    One problem with this: it seems a lot of people learn with web resources, which would be awkward to track. Walkthroughs, puzzle solutions, forums/help chat, strategy guides, 'let's play' videos, and wikis are all used for different things, at different points, by different people.
  • PuttyPutty REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 24 Golem
    Questions I find myself asking about learning in TUG: Who starts by wandering the world? Who starts by trying to find out how to affect the world? Who starts by trying to figure out what things *do*? Who does a mixture of those, and what kind of mixture? (And of course, what are all the other types of approaches that I'm not thinking of?) Where is it that people get stuck, stop exploring, and try to find other ways to solve a puzzle / learn practical techniques / figure out what else there is to do? Where is it that people get stuck and abandon a line of play?

    There is a lot of theory around this as it is a paradoxical issue. It is a paradox because as designers, we need to anticipate how to teach users to use our product. However, as users we don't really want a product to require great amounts of effort to "learn." And, when you do include learning, the curve at which people learn is most often dominated by mediocre users with irregular superusers throwing any metric off.

    A great paper on this....foundational even....is Paradox of the Active User from John Carroll and his wife Mary Beth Rosen. I mention their names because they are part of the faculty of my program and Dr. Rosen just became my dean! John or Jack Carroll is basically the founder of the study of Human-Computer Interaction though it was around in various different ways before he put through the paperwork.

    Their paper is here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/167 ... aradox.pdf

    If you don't want to read it, their premise is pretty straight forward:

    (1) people have considerable trouble learning to use computers (e.g., Mack, Lewis and Carroll, 1983; Mantei and Haskell, 1983), and (2) their skill tends to asymptote at relative mediocrity. These phenomena could be viewed as being due merely to “bad” design in current systems. We argue that they are in part more fundamental than this, deriving from conflicting motivational and cognitive strategies. Accordingly, (1) and (2) are best viewed not as design problems to be solved, but as true paradoxes that necessitate programmatic tradeoff solutions.

    Like all software, you have to train your users on how to use your product. It doesn't really matter if it is a video game, youtube, adobe photoshop, or even just a text editor. People have tried all sorts of things. Clippy, highlighting and irregular colors for important things, and guessing what user questions would come up first and then programming around those questions. There is a decent video about this concept in games though the creator greatly misinterprets and incorrectly assumes a whole lot of stuff.



    Seriously, don't leave that video thinking one way is better than another. It is all basically a crapshoot ...meaning that while we've been studying this problem for years we really can't say for sure what works and what doesn't. People are too varied and computers are not capable of ever making a variance they aren't programmed for.

    The question you are asking about bottlenecks and stopping points is the question that we are basically tasked with answering once the game is standardized and mostly gold. For the most part, these questions are mostly addressed in house and the data is almost entirely protected. With TUG, we hope to show you what you all are doing and will hopefully ask what you think would fix it versus what we think would fix it.

    Take Minecraft. This game basically dropped you into a world with nothing but was so "open" that users kind of fell into figuring stuff out on their own. Metaphorically, the more they dug the more they found, the more they explored the more they learned. TUG is also following this sort of learning path and it is only recently that we (as in game designers as a whole) really started learning how best to do this. Software designers have done it for forever. When was the last time you used a word processor and had to sit through a tutorial?

    I hope that sort of growks at your question a little! I didn't want to say, "well, it depends!" and then walk away.
  • Red AgliatorRed Agliator REGISTERED Posts: 307 Seed
    Putty wrote:
    I hope that sort of growks at your question a little! I didn't want to say, "well, it depends!" and then walk away.
    Lots of interesting info! I wasn't intending to actually ask anyone here, though. I was just imagining what questions I'd want to answer if I were able to look at low-level play data. In other words, guessing what plumbing / data collection a game would need to help me answer those kinds of questions.
  • Red AgliatorRed Agliator REGISTERED Posts: 307 Seed
    Another question I'd love to see looked at: what things affect people's moving between solo and social play. I don't just mean which mechanics lead to more social play vs. which mechanics lead to more solo play. I'm thinking about people like me who tend to start out playing solo, and take different amounts of time to engage socially.

    Things I'd want to look at:

    Is there something like Maslow's hierarchy of needs? In other words, are there people who first create a stable home base before stepping out socially? Or maybe there's a need for mastery / learning on certain topics instead of a need for goods/safety?

    Are certain needs more likely to get people to engage socially? Maybe seeking help to learn about / solve a problem is overwhelmingly the most common way people start. (Help chat channels.) Maybe most people start with social chat when they get bored with solo play, and then branch out. Maybe other folks start by trying to organize group projects.

    For that matter, how many people jump in socially with both feet vs. work their way slowly into the social groups. (In fact, I see people here starting to form social groups /guilds / settlements in the forums even though there's not much multiplayer at the moment.)

    (I have similar questions about how people move from PvE to PvP play, for those who start by avoiding PvP.)
  • Red AgliatorRed Agliator REGISTERED Posts: 307 Seed
    As long as I'm making lots of posts here...
    Avaera wrote:
    What assumptions are made by players about the real world identities of the people they interact with in game? (For example, do people assume a female avatar is usually played by a woman, or that in the absence of any RL cues, most avatars are played by people who are like themselves?)
    I'd like to add age into that question, too. Are people assumed to be "the standard gamer" age (whatever the person thinks that is)? Are people assumed to be near the player's age? Are there customization choices that make people guess at older or younger ages?
  • ZakeZake REGISTERED Posts: 216 Seed
    Here's another one: what is the tendency of players to prefer a single home base vs. a more nomadic lifestyle, and how is that affected by either a peaceful or PVP playstyle-preference? Also, any game like this has a certain number of tools/items you need to have handy to enjoy your play. How can developers balance the interface, size of the inventory, and complexity of survival to make the game the most fun?
    I think more than I say and say more than I do, but I do more than I used to and plan to continue.
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  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    Can't believe Azzy didn't mention scarcity!

    At what point does scarcity become a non-issue? I.e. theres enough iron and coal around so that factor is not going influence my behaviour towards other players.
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • The-ancient-WarriorThe-ancient-Warrior REGISTERED Posts: 45
    Will the concept of acids,bases,salts and solubility be added
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