I contributed to a research-based game with a team of 3 students and a professor at Cal Poly. My group is submitting this paper to the FDG conference in San Luis Obispo, and the submission is currently pending. I've included the abstract for the research paper below, which succinctly explains the project.
In this paper, we seek to identify design paradigms that enhance the player experience for massively multiplayer online games (MMO) in regards to engagement and immersion through social group dynamic emphasized level design. In order to identify these paradigms, we developed an MMO 2D platform game consisting of several scenarios designed to invoke different sub-categories of social group dynamics such as group cohesion, peer pressure, leader-observer social identity role distribution and black sheep effects. We argue that risk and reward game core mechanics can be carried out or reinforced by social group dynamics phenomena as well. A group of participants was monitored through gameplay, and surveys were taken prior to, as well as following the game experience.
Our study successfully found design patterns which highlight specific behaviors in group dynamics, especially group cohesion and time-sensitive decision making under peer pressure, which, compared to the single-player control group, increase players engagement and immersion during multiplayer gameplay. Our investigations into these player behavior patterns will help game designers to increase player experiences in MMO’s.
Game created in the Unity game engine.