Getting from A to B has never been easier. Mobile navigation systems allow universal access to spatial information. However, following detailed route instructions leads to a decrease in spatial exploration behaviour and therefore a reduction of spatial knowledge acquisition. Facilitating spatial exploration has the potential to counteract this negative effect. This paper investigates how we can support people in re-discovering their surroundings. We designed and evaluated a mobile application to promote spatial exploration through gamification. The app requires active exploration behaviour to uncover a map. Gamification elements such as quests, statistics, and social competition are used to encourage exploration. We conducted an exploratory field study (n = 22). Our results show a significant increase in familiarity with the environment and a variety of exploration patterns. Based on our findings, we propose modifications to current mapping applications by limiting the visible cartographic elements and alternating routes to improve spatial knowledge acquisition.
The Hexad scale is a crucial tool for personalized gamification in user experience (UX) design. However, completing a 24-item questionnaire can increase dropout rates and screen fatigue within online surveys. When included in larger surveys, scale brevity makes a difference. To reduce the time required for the assessment process, we developed and validated a 12-item version of the Hexad scale. To create it, we carried out an exploratory factor analysis on an existing data set to identify appropriate items ($n=882$). To validate the 12-item version, we conducted a confirmatory factor analysis on a new data set ($n=1,101$). Our results show that Hexad-12 outperforms the original Hexad scale regarding model fit, reliability, convergent, and discriminant validity. Therefore, Hexad-12 resolves issues found in studies using the original Hexad scale and provides a suitable and swift instrument for concisely assessing Hexad user types in tailored gamification design.
With nearly three billion players, video games are more popu- lar than ever. Casual puzzle games are among the most played categories. These games capitalize on the players’ analytical and problem-solving skills. Can we leverage these abilities to teach our- selves how to solve complex combinatorial problems? In this study, we harness the collective wisdom of millions of players to tackle the classical NP-hard problem of multiple sequence alignment, relevant to many areas of biology and medicine. We show that Borderlands Science players propose solutions to multiple sequence alignment tasks that perform as well or better than standard approaches, while exploring a much larger area of the Pareto-optimal solution space. We also show the strategies of the players, although highly het- erogeneous, follow a collective logic that can be mimicked with Behavioral Cloning with minimal performance loss, allowing the players’ collective wisdom to be leveraged for alignment of any sequences.
Playing remote tabletop games is a fun way to connect with distant friends. Yet most systems for remote tabletop gaming lack support for tangible and social interaction, two important aspects of gameplay for most players. We are interested in how to better design systems for remote tangible gameplay that support social connection. We investigate this topic through the design and evaluation of a prototype system for playing the board game Wavelength across two locations. First, we describe the design goals that informed our prototype: “Remote Wavelength”. Then, we discuss the results of a qualitative user study in which ten friend groups played Remote Wavelength. Our findings indicate that a synchronized, tangible gameboard benefits player engagement, communication, and awareness. Our results also illustrate the value of integration across communication and gameplay systems. We conclude by offering considerations for the design of both digital and remote tangible gameplay systems.
Adaptation, or ability and willingness to consider an alternative approach, is a critical component of learning through reflection, especially in educational games, where there are often multiple avenues to success. As a domain, educational games have shown increased interest in using retrospective visualizations to promote and support reflection. Such visualizations, which can facilitate comparison with peer data, may also have an impact on adaptation in educational games. This has, however, not been empirically examined within the domain. In this work, we examine how comparison with other players' data influenced adaptation, a part of reflection, in the context of a game that teaches parallel programming. Our results indicate that comparison with peers does significantly impact willingness to try a different approach, but suggest that there may also be other ways. We discuss what these results mean for future use of retrospective visualizations in educational games and present opportunities for future work.
The overlaying of physical spaces with digital information produces hybrid spaces, redefining people’s experience of social interactions. Location-based games (LBGs) with social components are a good case. Yet, the impact LBGs have on sociability remains
under-researched. In April 2020, the new in-person/remote raiding format in the LBG Pokémon GO provided a lens to explore people’s social interactions in hybrid spaces. We interviewed 41 Pokémon GO players to understand how players coordinate and collaborate for in-person/remote raids and other social patterns. Our findings demonstrate that new social dynamics occurred: participants’ social interactions highly rely on external social media groups bridging cyberspace and the physical world. In such external social media groups, spontaneously formed leadership roles and mentor-mentee relationships demonstrate autonomy among players in the hybrid space. However, we observed that the interoperability issue challenges people’s experience. Overall, this work sheds light on the social interactions in LBGs as hybrid spaces.