Game Design and Virtual Worlds Research

Northeastern’s researchers are advancing the current state of game science and design by drawing on multiple disciplines to develop models and examine aspects of digital social and single-player games designed for purposes such as health, education, and entertainment. They are also focused on the emerging research areas of human– computer interaction, game analytics and game design innovation. This research involves studying user interactions with games, exploring the development of technologies to improve the game design and experience, as well as investigating the impact of procedural content generation on game design.

Members of the research group are developing methods to measure user engagement with games; exploring how games can be used to improve health and education; using games to investigate and improve decision making, social awareness, leadership and other qualities; designing adaptive games that consider narrative and mimic oral storytelling; and using games to enable more natural communication for children with and without speech impairments. Members of the research group are investigating what we can learn about decision making from player behavior and how it can be improved.

Team Achievements

  • Collaborated with industry to build a pervasive game to encourage users to adopt a healthy life style.
  • Created tools and methods such as game analytics and novel HCI methods to enhance the game user experience
  • Created Endless Web, an experimental game that tightly integrates procedural content generation into both game mechanics and aesthetics
  • Developed new visualization techniques to visualize game behaviors
  • Created new believable agents architecture for interactive narratives
  • Served as lead designer of Levee Patroller, a 3D training game that teaches practitioners how to recognize flood risks and which has been fully developed and successfully implemented
  • Created new interactive narrative architectures
  • Developed new architectures for modeling emotions
  • Wrote several establishing books in the field, including one of the first books on fundamentals of game for impact design, game analytics, and the use of nonverbal behaviors in virtual environments.