Pervasive GameFlow Identifying and Exploring the Mechanisms of Player Enjoyment in Pervasive Games

Detta är en avhandling från Umeå : Umeå Universitet, Inst för Informatik

Sammanfattning: Pervasive games are computer games that build, to various extents, on social interaction as a driving force in the game play, on integration between physical and virtual worlds and on constant access to constantly ongoing games from virtually every existing context (anytime, anywhere gaming). This new genre of computer games presents many challenges for both researchers and industry; one of the most important is how to understand enjoyable player experiences in this new kind of computer gaming.The purpose of this thesis is to identify and explore the mechanisms in pervasive game designs that are of most importance for creating enjoyable Pervasive gaming experiences, and further to translate the findings of the exploration into a playability model for pervasive games.My empirical work focuses on the most important aspects for creating enjoyable player experiences when playing pervasive games. Evaluation methods from the usability and playability area have been deployed in order to identify what factors and aspects the players consider of most importance for their experience when they play pervasive games. Three specific pervasive games have been studied; SupaFly, Pervasive Treasure Hunt and Furiae.Theoretically, the thesis departs from existing knowledge about Playability, and the most prominent and accepted frameworks for understanding player experiences in computer gaming have been considered. Of the existing models and frameworks, the GameFlow model was selected as a theoretical point of departure.The main contribution of the thesis consists of a model for understanding player enjoyment in pervasive games - the Pervasive GameFlow model. Pervasive GameFlow elaborates the GameFlow model by adding 14 new criteria identified in the empirical evaluations of three pervasive games, criteria of great importance for enjoyable Player experiences in pervasive games.Further, the thesis answers questions concerning how the players are putting the anytime, anywhere and mobility aspects of pervasive games into practice - how they perceive and handle games that offer constantly ongoing game play. The results also provide insights into the reach or impact of the novel Pervasive aspects of pervasive games and their importance for the players and player experiences. Finally, the thesis provides notes on how evaluation of pervasive games should be performed.