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Augmenting Virtual Spaces: Affective Feedback in Computer Games

Cunningham, Stuart and Henry, John and Weinel, Jonathan (2020) Augmenting Virtual Spaces: Affective Feedback in Computer Games. In: Technology, Design and the Arts - Opportunities and Challenges. Springer Series on Cultural Computing . Springer. ISBN 978-3-030-42097-0

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Abstract

Computer games can be considered a form of art insomuch as they are critiqued, revered and collected for their aesthetics in addition to their ludic qualities. Perhaps most significantly, computer games incite a plethora of emotional responses in their players as a deliberate and defining mechanism. However, unlike other forms of traditional media and art, another key feature of games is their intrinsic interactivity, reliance upon technology and non-linearity. These traits make them particularly noteworthy if one wishes to consider how art forms might respond and adapt to their audience’s emotions. The field of affective computing has been developing for several decades and many of its applications have been in the analysis and modelling of emotional responses to forms of media, such as music and film. In gaming, recent developments have led to an increasing number of consumer-grade biofeedback devices which are available on the market, some of which are explicitly sold as ‘gaming controllers’, giving rise to greater opportunity for affective feedback to be incorporated. In this chapter, a review is provided of the affective gaming field. Specifically, it is proposed that these developments give rise to interesting opportunities whereby virtual environments can be augmented with player affective and contextual information. An overview is provided of affective computing fundamentals and their manifestation in developments relating specifically to games. The chapter considers the impact this biometric information has upon games players, in terms of their experience of the game the social connections between competitors. A number of associated practical and technological challenges are highlighted along with areas for future research and development activities. It is hoped that by exploring these developments in gaming that the longer established forms of art and media might be inspired to further embrace the possibilities offered by utilising affective feedback.

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