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Towards Automating Evaluation of Interactive Narratives

Speaker Name: 
Elin Carstensdottir
Speaker Title: 
Ph.D Candidate
Speaker Organization: 
Northeastern University
Start Time: 
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 11:15am
End Time: 
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 12:15pm
David Lee


The design of serious games poses considerable challenges. In addition to being engaging and enjoyable as stand-alone games, they have further design criteria pertaining to additional gameplay goals, such as education or health behavior change. User experience testing is a key part in the game design process, as it is important for tuning the design. This type of testing is time consuming and requires resources. As a result, it can cause bottlenecks to the design process. Providing designers with automated user experience testing would be immensely helpful to address problems with lack of resources and development time, by allowing quicker iteration on projects without requiring participant recruitment. The first step towards such a support tool requires knowledge of how the user experience changes, and how interaction dynamics emerge as result of specific design elements.  In this talk I will discuss Interaction Maps, a representation that I developed to capture and analyze interaction design for interactive narratives. I will discuss how Interaction Maps have been used to automate structural analysis evaluation of interactive narratives. Then, I will show how Interaction Maps have been used in various contexts to analyze interaction design for interactive narratives, a frequently used design element of serious games used for framing interaction and gameplay. 


Elin Carstensdottir is a PhD Candidate studying game user experience, interactive narrative, and game design support tools at Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences, advised by Dr. Magy Seif El-Nasr. Her research focuses on the impact that dynamics and interaction design of video games have on user experience, specifically for interactive narratives. Her dissertation work focuses on automated design diagnostics to assist designers to design for increased perceived player agency in interactive narratives.  Further, her research examines questions regarding perception of social behaviors, such as how non-verbal behavior can be used to effectively communicate target personality traits to users of virtual conversational agents.