Publications

On this page you can find academic publications that I have authored or co-authored so far. The search field queries both titles as well as abstracts. By default, publications are sorted by year of publication, starting with the most recent. "Reverse Sorting" reorders entries to start with the earliest publication.

Looking for more information regarding something I have written about? Drop me a line (contact info at the bottom of the page).

  • 2019
    2019
    Poster

    Designing Agents to Induce Social Curiosity in Video Games: Rationale and First Steps

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    Affective Computing Pre-Conference at the International Society for Research on Emotion (ISRE) conference

    Poster
  • 2019
    2019
    Journal Paper

    A serious game to explore human foraging in a 3D environment

    Valter Prpic, Isabelle Kniestedt, Elizabeth Camilleri, Marcello Gómez Maureira, Árni Kristjánsson, Ian M. Thornton

    PLOS ONE 14.7 (2019): e0219827.

    Journal Paper
    Link
    Abstract

    Traditional search tasks have taught us much about vision and attention. Recently, several groups have begun to use multiple-target search to explore more complex and temporally extended "foraging" behaviour. Many of these new foraging tasks, however, maintain the simplified 2D displays and response demands associated with traditional, single-target visual search. In this respect, they may fail to capture important aspects of real-world search or foraging behaviour. In the current paper, we present a serious game for mobile platforms, developed in Unity3D, in which human participants play the role of an animal foraging for food in a simulated 3D environment. Game settings can be adjusted, so that, for example, custom target and distractor items can be uploaded, and task parameters, such as the number of target categories or target/distractor ratio are all easy to modify. We are also making the Unity3D project available, so that further modifications can also be made. We demonstrate how the app can be used to address specific research questions by conducting two human foraging experiments. Our results indicate that in this 3D environment, a standard feature/conjunction manipulation does not lead to a reduction in foraging runs, as it is known to do in simple, 2D foraging tasks.

  • 2018
    2018
    Poster

    Self-Transformative Effects of Designing Videogames and the Challenge of Capturing Them Quantitatively: A Case Study

    Stefano Gualeni, Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, p. 40. ACM.

    Poster
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    In this work we discuss the self-transformative effects that can be elicited through the practice of videogame design. We focus on the problems and limitations that we encountered in trying to quantitatively capture psychological changes in videogame designers. Our work involved two experiments, each of them observing a group of M.Sc. students in a digital games course working on small, serious videogame projects. In these experiments, we attempted to identify and track transformations that the students themselves underwent while trying to stimulate psychological changes in their players by means of gameplay. The results of our case study suggest that the research setup we designed could not rigorously measure the quantitative kinds of self-transformation we were after. Even so, our work takes some important, initial steps in the direction of understanding and exploring the practice of videogame design as offering novel possibilities and advantages in the contexts of self-transformation.

    @inproceedings{gualeni2018selftransformative,
      title={Self-transformative effects of designing videogames and the challenge of capturing them quantitatively: a case study},
      author={Gualeni, Stefano and G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A.},
      booktitle={Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games},
      pages={40},
      year={2018},
      organization={ACM}
    }
  • 2018
    2018
    Conference Paper

    Games that Make Curious: An Exploratory Survey into Digital Games that Invoke Curiosity

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Isabelle Kniestedt

    In International Conference on Entertainment Computing, pp. 76-89. Springer.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    Curiosity is an important aspect of life, but studying it is challenging without reliable stimuli. Digital games provide an ideal stimulus to investigate the circumstances that trigger curiosity and how it is expressed. A survey was conducted with the goal of assessing what game titles and game genres should be analysed to further the study of curiosity. To consider different types of curiosity, we included the Five-Dimensional Curiosity Scale (5DC) questionnaire. The survey was completed by 113 participants, and resulted in 301 game suggestions that warrant further analysis. Exploration, social simulation, and collecting tasks within games were found to rank high in triggering curiosity. We further found that social curiosity in individuals correlates with having curiosity triggered by social simulations.

    @inproceedings{maureira2018games,
      title={Games that Make Curious: An Exploratory Survey into Digital Games that Invoke Curiosity},
      author={G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A. and Kniestedt, Isabelle},
      booktitle={International Conference on Entertainment Computing},
      pages={76--89},
      year={2018},
      organization={Springer}
    }
  • 2018
    2018
    Conference Paper

    CURIO: A Game-Based Learning Toolkit for Fostering Curiosity

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, p. 59. ACM.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    Curiosity is an important motivator to facilitate learning in all aspects of life, including formal education. Digital games stand out among the methods that can be used to invoke curiosity by providing an interactive, yet controlled environment. In this paper we present the conceptual design for CURIO, a multi-user classroom game that seeks to invoke curiosity through its gameplay. We describe a series of three focus groups with educators, conducted with the purpose of determining what requirements such a game needs to fulfill. On this basis we have developed a conceptual game design that will be further evaluated and modified through future test sessions.

    @inproceedings{gomezmaureira2018curio,
      title={CURIO: a game-based learning toolkit for fostering curiosity},
      author={G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A.},
      booktitle={Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games},
      pages={59},
      year={2018},
      organization={ACM}
    }
  • 2017
    2017
    Conference Paper

    Including Non-gamers: A Case Study Comparing Touch and Motion Input in a 3D Game for Research

    Isabelle Kniestedt, Elizabeth Camilleri, Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    In International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment, pp. 202-218. Springer.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    While digital games are becoming increasingly popular as a choice for research stimuli, their complex nature brings about challenges. The design of the games and designers’ reliance on established conventions may hinder their use in research, particularly with ‘non-gaming’ test subjects. In this study, we explored how players performed using a 1-to-1 motion control scheme using a tablet’s gyroscope to control the camera as compared to a traditional touch-based joystick in a 3D first-person game. Results showed that players – particularly those less experienced with games – found the game more enjoyable and exciting with motion controls than with joystick controls. Additionally, while experienced players performed better than inexperienced ones when using the joystick, this difference was not present when using the motion controls. We therefore believe motion-based control schemes can be beneficial in making research using games more accessible to a wider range of participants, and to limit influence of prior gaming experience on gathered data.

    @inproceedings{kniestedt2017including,
      title={Including Non-gamers: A Case Study Comparing Touch and Motion Input in a 3D Game for Research},
      author={Kniestedt, Isabelle and Camilleri, Elizabeth and G{\'o}mez Maureira, Marcello A.},
      booktitle={International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment},
      pages={202--218},
      year={2017},
      organization={Springer}
    }
  • 2017
    2017
    Conference Paper

    Heritage Hunt: Developing a Role-playing Game for Heritage Museums

    Suzanne de Kock, Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    In International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment, pp. 543-556. Springer.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    Artefacts in museums are fundamentally de-contextualized in the way that they are displayed. This papers describes the development of Heritage Hunt, a mobile game prototype developed for the National Museum of Archaeology in Malta, that looks at roleplaying and the portrayal of history at a small-scale level to promote a better understanding of the every-day cultural context of displayed artefacts. We conducted a small, explorative study across different development stages to assess this approach. The final prototype was tested in the museum space, with results indicating that roleplaying can be beneficial to direct the attention of visitors towards less prominent artefacts, as well as encourage visitors to consider different perspectives in history.

    @inproceedings{dekock2017heritage,
      title={Heritage Hunt: Developing a Role-Playing Game for Heritage Museums},
      author={de Kock, Suzanne and G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A.},
      booktitle={International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment},
      pages={543--556},
      year={2017},
      organization={Springer}
    }
  • 2017
    2017
    Conference Paper

    Dreadful Virtualities: A Comparative Case Study of Player Responses to a Horror Game in Virtual Reality and Flat Screen

    Marta Clavero Jiménez, Amanda M. S. James, Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Isabelle Kniestedt

    In International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment, pp. 239-260. Springer.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    As Virtual Reality (VR) technology has become consumer ready, questions concerning its effects are becoming more urgent, specifically in regards to content that involve strong emotions such as horror games. This study compares player responses while playing the same game in two conditions: room-scale VR and a conventional monitor. We developed a test game, based on a commercial title, and combined semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and psycho-physiological measures to analyze differences between setups. Participants’ self-reports of fright were similar in both conditions on their first playthrough. However, results across different measures indicated an elevated experience of fear in VR upon playing the game a second time. The sensation of spatial presence afforded by VR emerged as the main argument for making the experience more intense and enhancing the immediacy of virtual threats. Our results show that while VR does not necessarily provide a more intense horror experience than conventional setups, it is less impacted by pre-existing knowledge of game content, providing a longer-lasting intensity to the experience.

    @inproceedings{claverojimenez2017dreadful,
      title={Dreadful Virtualities: A Comparative Case Study of Player Responses to a Horror Game in Virtual Reality and Flat Screen},
      author={Clavero Jim{\'e}nez, Marta and James, Amanda M.S. and G{\'o}mez Maureira, Marcello A. and Kniestedt, Isabelle},
      booktitle={International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment},
      pages={239--260},
      year={2017},
      organization={Springer}
    }
  • 2017
    2017
    Conference Paper

    Simulating Foraging in the Wild Using an iPad

    Ian Thornton, Isabelle Kniestedt, Elizabeth Camilleri, Marcello Gómez Maureira, Árni Kristjánsson, Valter Prpic

    In 40th European Conference on Visual Perception ECVP 2017.

    Conference Paper
  • 2016
    2016
    Conference Paper

    Little Fitness Dragon: A Gamified Activity Tracker

    Isabelle Kniestedt, Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    In International Conference on Entertainment Computing, pp. 205-210. Springer.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    We propose the design of an activity game and virtual pet for smart-watches that combines casual game design principles, lessons from fitness trackers, and location-based features. Players take care of a newly hatched dragon that grows and changes depending on their activities, reflecting their general fitness in a playful and encouraging manner. Where most virtual companions are aimed at children, we designed this game with young adults in mind. An early PC prototype was tested by ten members of this target group to gauge interest and inform design iterations. The general design of the game and the virtual dragon were mentioned as strong points, while the emulation on the PC was considered not intuitive. Upcoming prototypes will be tested on smart-watches, with the ultimate goal of exploring the impact of connecting a virtual pet to the physical location of a player on engagement and activity levels.

    @inproceedings{kniestedt2016little,
      title={Little Fitness Dragon: A Gamified Activity Tracker},
      author={Kniestedt, Isabelle and G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A.},
      booktitle={International Conference on Entertainment Computing},
      pages={205--210},
      year={2016},
      organization={Springer}
    }
  • 2016
    2016
    Conference Paper

    The Impact of Co-Located Play on Social Presence and Game Experience in a VR Game

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Fons Verbeek

    In Proceedings of DiGRA-FDG 2016 - First Joint International Conference of DiGRA and FDG, 2016

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Abstract

    This exploratory case study looks at the scenario of virtual reality (VR) gaming in a social setting. We raise the question whether game experience and social presence (measured through a questionnaire) are impacted by physically separating players versus co-located play. We asked 34 participants to play a two-player VR game using head mounted displays in which they shared a virtual environment. We compared two conditions: 1) playing in the same physical space, allowing direct communication between players and 2) playing in separated rooms, with communication via intercom. Our results indicate no differences between the two testing conditions. Based on this, we conclude that current VR technology can facilitate a multi-user game experience, played from separate locations, that is experi- enced as if it were played co-located. We see the outcome of the study as an encouragement for designers to involve social elements in online, multi-user VR games.

  • 2016
    2016
    Conference Paper

    Little VR Pet Shop: A Reverse Turing Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Isabelle Kniestedt, Meggy Pepelanova

    In Proceedings of DiGRA-FDG 2016 - First Joint International Conference of DiGRA and FDG, 2016

    Conference Paper
    PDF
  • 2015
    2015
    Conference Paper

    The Vocal Range of Movies - Sonifying Gender Representation in Film

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Lisa E. Rombout

    In Entertainment Computing-ICEC 2015, pp. 545-550. Springer International Publishing.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    Research has shown that in contemporary movies, male characters consistently outnumber female characters. In recent years, the number of speaking roles identified as female has declined or remained stable. Guidelines like the Bechdel and Mako Mori test have emerged as a method of evaluating gender representation in film. In this study, a more abstract and experiential form of evaluation is proposed. The per-segment sonification of the assigned gender of a character and the amount of lines they have in that segment of the script creates an audio file, showcasing the gender-representation in the movie dynamically. Two focus groups, one specifically consisting of young filmmakers, have expressed their interest in this form of movie-sonification. Expressed wishes for additional features and other suggested improvements are taken into consideration for the creation of the next prototype.

    @incollection{gomezmaureira2015vocal,
      title={The Vocal Range of Movies-Sonifying Gender Representation in Film},
      author={G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A.  and Rombout, Lisa E.},
      booktitle={Entertainment Computing-ICEC 2015},
      pages={545--550},
      year={2015},
      publisher={Springer}
    }
    
  • 2015
    2015
    Conference Paper

    The Influence of Subliminal Visual Primes on Player Affect in a Horror Computer Game

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Lisa E. Rombout, Livia Teernstra, Imara C.T.M. Speek, Joost Broekens

    In Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), 2015 International Conference on, pp. 705-711. IEEE.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    Subliminal priming is an extensively researched technique in cognitive psychology. Research often focuses on highly controlled lab-environments, with only a few studies attempting to translate it to applications outside the laboratory. In this study, visual affect priming was deployed in the complex environment of a horror computer game, while maintaining strict standards in regard to subliminal thresholds. Fear-inducing images of one prime-type were shown repeatedly to players (N=60) during 5-minute playing sessions, using sandwich masking and a prime-duration of 33.3 ms. Three types of images were compared to an empty control-image: text, faces and spiders. Players were monitored with heart-rate and galvanic skin response (GSR) sensors to determine effects on a physiological level and were interviewed directly after playing. Results show no significant differences in affective self-report. GSR measures show an increase of relaxation between the start and finish of the game for players who were primed with face images, which we attribute to a result of our relative small player sample. We conclude that in a perceptually complex environment such as a video-game, subliminal visual priming does not noticeably influence player affect. However, measures directly around prime-windows coinciding with in-game sounds showed a significantly effect on GSR. This suggests that GSR is a suitable tool to gauge the affective impact of game elements.

    @inproceedings{maureira2015influence,
      title={The Influence of Subliminal Visual Primes on Player Affect in a Horror Computer Game},
      author={G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A. and Rombout, Lisa E. and Teernstra, Livia and Speek, Imara C.T.M. and Broekens, Joost},
      booktitle={Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), 2015 International Conference on},
      pages={705--711},
      year={2015},
      organization={IEEE}
    }
    
  • 2015
    2015
    Extended Abstract

    Sensors at Play: A Biometric Framework for Game Developers and Game Users

    Dirk P. Janssen, Luis Garcia Rosario, Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Gerben Beijneveld

    In Foundations of Digital Games. 2015.

    Extended Abstract
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    Human body sensors are on the rise, but their integration in games and game development is lagging. With many commercial sensors on the market, it should be easy to gauge player’s reactions using biometrics (psycho-physiology). Players will soon expect their sensors to interact with the game, similar to gym equipment. We present a simple but powerful framework to connect games to a many devices without hassle: Our framework returns two key biometric measures independent of the input device(s). This works in the lab or at a testing facility, but also at the user's home, due to the distributed nature of our software. In all, our middleware and interpretation framework can improve game research and game development, and add biofeedback to any game.

    @inproceedings{janssen2015sensors,
      title={Sensors at Play: A Biometric Framework for Game Developers and Game Users},
      author={Janssen, Dirk and Rosario, Luis Garcia and G{\'o}mez Maureira, Marcello A. and Beijneveld, Gerben}
      booktitle={Foundations of Digital Games},
      year={2015}
    }
  • 2015
    2015
    Thesis

    The Impact of Co-Located Play on Social Presence and Game Experience in Virtual Reality Games

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    Master's Thesis for the Media Technology programme, Leiden University (The Netherlands), 2015.

    Thesis
    PDF
    Abstract

    As virtual reality (VR) in digital games is making a return, this explorative study looks at the scenario of VR gaming in a social setting. The question is raised whether physical proximity during gameplay - co-located play - has an impact on game experience and social presence when compared to playing from separated locations. To answer this question, we asked 17 pairs of participants (N=34) with prior social connection to each other to play a two-player VR game using head mounted displays (HMDs).

    Two conditions were tested and compared to each other: playing in the same room, and playing in separated rooms. During the game, players would interact with each other in a shared virtual environment, and by talking to each other either directly (same room) or via an intercom (different rooms). Our results indicate that there is no difference between testing conditions. We conclude that current VR technology can facilitate a multi-user game expe- rience over large distances that is experienced the same way as if it were played co-located.

  • 2014
    2014
    Journal Paper

    Improving Level Design Through Game User Research: A Comparison of Methodologies

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Michelle Westerlaken, Dirk P. Janssen, Stefano Gualeni, Licia Calvi

    Entertainment Computing (2014), pp. 463-473. Elsevier.

    Journal Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    In this article we compare the benefits for game design and development relative to the use of three Game User Research (GUR) methodologies (user interviews, game metrics, and psychophysiology) to assist in shaping levels for a 2-D platformer game. We illustrate how these methodologies help level designers make more informed decisions in an otherwise qualitative design process. GUR data sources were combined in pairs to evaluate their usefulness in small-scale commercial game development scenarios, as commonly used in the casual game industry. Based on the improvements suggested by each data source, three levels of a Super Mario clone were modified and the success of these changes was measured. Based on the results we conclude that user interviews provide the clearest indications for improvement among the considered methodologies while metrics and biometrics add different types of information that cannot be obtained otherwise. These findings can be applied to the development of 2-D games; we discuss how other types of games may differ from this. Finally, we investigate differences in the use of GUR methodologies in a follow-up study for a commercial game with children as players.

    @article{gomez2014improving,
      title={Improving level design through game user research: A comparison of methodologies},
      author={G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A. and Westerlaken, Michelle and Janssen, Dirk P and Gualeni, Stefano and Calvi, Licia},
      journal={Entertainment Computing},
      volume={5},
      number={4},
      pages={463--473},
      year={2014},
      publisher={Elsevier}
    }
  • 2014
    2014
    Conference Paper

    Illuminating Shadows: Introducing Shadow Interaction in Spatial Augmented Reality

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Carolien Teunisse, Hanna Schraffenberger, Fons Verbeek

    Creating the Difference: Proceedings of the Chi Sparks 2014 Conference, 2014.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    In this paper we present a new mode of interaction in 'Spatial Augmented Reality' (SAR) setups, using shadows as interaction input as well as display area. We claim that the combination of shadow interaction and SAR offers a novel, enjoyable and interesting way of interacting with information in a physical manner. This is especially relevant for contexts such as museum exhibits, where digital information and physical objects relate to one another. The results of our usability experiment with a zebrafish model show that users enjoy the combination of shadow interaction and SAR, as well as see a use for it in exhibition environments.

    @article{gomez2014illuminating,
      title={Illuminating Shadows: Introducing Shadow Interaction in Spatial Augmented Reality},
      author={G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A. and Teunisse, Carolien and Schraffenberger, Hanna and Verbeek, Fons},
      journal={Creating the Difference},
      pages={11},
      year={2014}
    }
  • 2013
    2013
    Conference Paper

    Comparing Game User Research Methodologies for the Improvement of Level Design in a 2-D Platformer

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, Dirk P. Janssen, Stefano Gualeni, Michelle Westerlaken, Licia Calvi

    In Advances in Computer Entertainment, pp. 77-92. Springer International Publishing, 2013.

    Conference Paper
    PDF
    Link
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    In this paper we compare the effects of using three game user research methodologies to assist in shaping levels for a 2-D platformer game, and illustrate how the use of such methodologies can help level designers to make more informed decisions in an otherwise qualitative oriented design process. Game user interviews, game metrics and psychophysiology (biometrics) were combined in pairs to gauge usefulness in small-scale commercial game development scenarios such as the casual game industry. Based on the recommendations made by the methods, three sample levels of a Super Mario clone were improved and the opinions of a second sample of users indicated the success of these changes. We conclude that user interviews provide the clearest indications for improvement among the considered methodologies while metrics and biometrics add different types of information that cannot be obtained otherwise.

    @incollection{maureira2013comparing,
      title={Comparing Game User Research Methodologies for the Improvement of Level Design in a 2-D Platformer},
      author={G{\'o}mez-Maureira, Marcello A. and Janssen, Dirk P. and Gualeni, Stefano and Westerlaken, Michelle and Calvi, Licia},
      booktitle={Advances in Computer Entertainment},
      pages={77--92},
      year={2013},
      publisher={Springer}
    }
  • 2013
    2013
    Poster

    A Framework for Biometric Playtesting of Games

    Dirk P. Janssen, Licia Calvi, Stefano Gualeni, Michelle Westerlaken, Marcello A. Gómez-Maureira

    In Foundations of Digital Games 2013, pp. 423-424, 2013

    Poster
    PDF
    Abstract
    Bibtex

    A framework is described that can assist game developers in using biometric (psychophysiological) methods while playtesting. Biometric methods can give developers a valuable additional window on the playtester's experience.

    @inproceedings{janssen2013framework,
      title={A framework for biometric playtesting of games.},
      author={Janssen, Dirk and Calvi, Licia and Gualeni, Stefano},
      booktitle={Foundations of Digital Games},
      pages={423--424},
      year={2013}
    }
  • 2013
    2013
    Thesis

    SuperTux: A Song of Ice and Metrics - Comparing Metrics, Biometrics and Classic Methodologies for Improving Level Design

    Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

    Bachelor Thesis, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, 2013.

    Thesis
    PDF
    Abstract

    In this bachelor thesis the author explores the question of how the combination of individual game user research methodologies can be used to improve level design in a side-scrolling 2D platform video game. Three methodologies - classic methods, metrics and biometrics - are studied regarding their impact and viability in real world development scenarios. The study takes levels of the game SuperTux through five phases which function as milestones in an iterative quality assurance process. The study concludes that classic methodologies should be part of any effort regarding quality assurance. Other methodologies provide additional insights that can be used by designers to instigate further improvements. Especially biometric game user research methodologies require further development to make them viable in real world game development.