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Assessing the impact of the awareness level on a co-operative game

Context. When playing a co-operative game, being aware of your collabora-tors (where they are playing, what they are doing, the abilities they have, etc.) is essential for achieving the game’s goals. This led to the definition of Gamespace Awareness in order to guide in the identification of the aware-ness needs in the form of a compilation of the awareness elements that a co-operative game should feature. Objective. Gamespace Awareness does not establish how much awareness information players must be provided with. This constitutes the main motivation for this work: to assess the impact of different levels of Gamespace Awareness elements on a co-operative game. Method. A multiplayer action game was developed that supports three dif-ferent awareness configurations, each one featuring different awareness lev-els (high, medium and low). The impact of these awareness levels was meas-ured as regards game score, time, players’ happiness while playing, enjoy-ment and perceived usefulness. Several techniques such as subjective sur-veys and facial expression analysis were used to measure these factors. Re-sults. The analysis of the results shows that the higher the awareness, the bet-ter the game score. However, the highest level of player happiness was not achieved with the most awareness-enabled configuration; we found that the players’ enjoyment depends not only on their awareness level but also on their expertise level. Finally, the awareness elements related to the present and the future were the most useful, as could be expected in a multiplayer action game. Conclusions. The results showed that the medium level aware-ness obtained the best results. We therefore concluded that a certain level of awareness is necessary, but that excessive awareness could negatively affect the game experience.

Autores: Miguel A. Teruel / Nelly Condori-Fernández / Elena Navarro / Pascual Gonzalez / Patricia Lago / 
Palabras Clave: Awareness - Co-operative game - Face analysis - Gamespace awareness

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