Game Play Schemas: From Player Analysis to Adaptive Game Mechanics

Document type: Journal Articles
Article type: Original article
Peer reviewed: Yes
Full text:
Author(s): Craig Lindley, Charlotte Sennersten
Title: Game Play Schemas: From Player Analysis to Adaptive Game Mechanics
Journal: International Journal of Computer Games Technology
Year: 2008
Issue: 1
ISSN: 1687-7047
Publisher: Hindawi Publishing
URI/DOI: 10.1155/2008/720280
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning (Sektionen för teknokultur, humaniora och samhällsbyggnad)
School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:,
Language: English
Abstract: Schema theory provides a foundation for the analysis of game play patterns created by players during their interaction with a game. Schema models derived from the analysis of play provide a rich explanatory framework for the cognitive processes underlying game play, as well as detailed hypotheses for the hierarchical structure of pleasures and rewards motivating players. Game engagement is accounted for as a process of schema selection or development, while immersion is explained in terms of levels of attentional demand in schema execution. However, schemas may not only be used to describe play, but might be used actively as cognitive models within a game engine. Predesigned schema models are knowledge representations constituting anticipated or desired learned cognitive outcomes of play. Automated analysis of player schemas and comparison with predesigned target schemas can provide a foundation for a game engine adapting or tuning game mechanics to achieve specific effects of engagement, immersion, and cognitive skill acquisition by players. Hence, schema models may enhance the play experience as well as provide a foundation for achieving explicitly represented pedagogical or therapeutic functions of games.
This paper has described an approach to the analysis of game play based upon schema theory and attention theory. An empirically basedmethod has been described as a basis for identifying and validating hypothetical game play schemas. Automated schema recognition and the potential uses of explicit schema representations within game systems have been explored. This approach provides for explicit modeling of the C. A. Lindley and C. C. Sennersten 7 cognitive systems and processes underlying game play, both for analytical studies of play and as a potential implementation mechanism for adaptive games. Work on the analysis of games using this approach is ongoing. It is hoped that the results of this work will provide the foundations for future implementation of schema-based adaptive game systems.
Subject: Human Work Science\Human Computer Interaction
Computer Science\Artificial Intelligence
Keywords: gameplay, schema theory, adaptive gameplay
Note: Open Access Journal