I put up my Ph.D. dissertation entitled: Play With Data – An Exploration of Play Analytics and its Effect on Player Experiences.
This will also be the last post on this blog under my Georgia Tech URL. I’ll be moving everything over to ‘benmedler.com’ over the next month.
I’m defending my dissertation on June 13th at 4pm in room TSRB 118.
In this post I discuss the design philosophies behind folk games like JS Joust and how they relate to game analytics, the process of analyzing game-related data. I argue game analytics is not solely about objectifying games for the sake of data analysis but can provide avenues for players to reflect on their gameplay, which is more aligned with the philosophies behind folk games. Giving an example, I capture player movement data from JS Joust and create visualizations representing the game being played across time. Not for reasons of in-depth analysis but for the fun of being able to spectate players over time.
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Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers. If you have not finished the single player portion of Portal 2 do not read any further. If you have, you may pass. Also check out Giantbomb’s Portal 2 spoiler interview with Valve’s Erik Wolpaw, Jay Pinkerton, and Chet Faliszek. It’s great.
I ran into a problem with Portal 2 around chapter 7 of the game. I didn’t want to solve the puzzles anymore.
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Like many others I jumped on the Magicka bandwagon this week. Something about not having to level up 85 times to get awesome spells appealed to me. But seriously, it’s great to have games that offer “crafting spell casting” in contrast to typical, one-button per spell or gesture-based casting like in Black and White.
Before I purchased the game I was roaming around online in search of Magicka information and found Magickapedia, a standard game wiki. However, I found this page entitled “Possible Spell Combinations” and stopped, reviewing the long list of possible element combinations available in the game.
At first I thought, what a great visualization. The length of the page is long, which helps express the large number of element combinations. It’s also setup in a hierarchy format – Arcane element first, Water element last – and follows that format to present each of the 1123 possible combinations (each element cancels another element out, hence the possible spells is not [10 - the number of elements] to the power of [5 - the number of element slots]).
Since the spells are setup in a hierarchy they can also be represented using an Icicle graph, which is a space saving visualization for presented hierarchically categorized data. And with that it lead me to create an entire infographic around the element combinations in Magicka.
Big thanks to the contributors at Magickapedia, I used the site as my reference source. Also, thumbs up to Arrowhead Games for putting up high res concept art, and for producing a great game. Finally, protovis was used to produce the icicle graph, which is the visualization package I used to develop the Dead Space 2 analytic tool, Data Cracker.