The Game Innovation Lab hosts a wide range of faculty and student projects. Here are a few currently active projects—contact individual lab faculty for a complete list of their related research initiatives.

Social Gaming

Prof. Isbister with Gang Cao, Xiaofeng Chen, Suzanne Kirkpatrick, Elena Márquez Segura, Phoenix Perry, Syed Salahuddin, and Raybit Tang

Games played with others are experienced very differently than games played alone. We’ve taken a detailed look at co-located social game play, toward finding design patterns that can be grounded through our expertise in social and emotional social science theory and results. Based on this research, we created a movement-based, cooperative dance battle game Yamove! which debuted at the 2012 NYU Game Center No Quarter exhibition, and was also featured at the 2012 World Science Festival Innovation Arcade. The game is helping us understand how to better augment everyday social interaction with the right mix of sensors, displays, and base technologies. Initial results will be presented in a keynote at Mobile HCI 2012.


Playful Authentication

Prof. Memon and Prof. Isbister with Napa Sae-Bae

A radically new approach to authentication, which makes use of behavioral biometrics inherent to the geometry and movement of the hand. Ph.D. candidate Napa Sae-Bae created a five-finger gesture authentication technique, and the team is working to create a user experience that is so fun that people look forward to it every day. The project was featured in Forbes online, and has already resulted in a full CHI paper presented in 2012.


Games for Learning

Prof. Isbister with Mike Karlesky, Jonathan Frye, Suzanne Kirkpatrick, Syed Salahuddin, Chelsea Hash, Chris DiMauro, Ulf  Schwekendiek, Rahul Rao, Ashuin Ramesh and Jessamyn Lidasan

Prof. Isbister's lab group is part of the Games for Learning Institute formed at NYU in Fall 2008, with generous support from Microsoft Research. We conducted Interviews with Experts in the first phase of the project with researcher Mary Flanagan and her students, which led to a CHI paper presented in 2010. We used the insights from this research, and subsequent studies of movement-based gaming, to create a Kinect-based fractions game called Scoop! that we have been testing with middle school students. Scoop! has been demo'd at CHI, Foundations of Digital Gaming, the National Science and Engineering Festival, and the World Science Festival, among other venues.


Exploring Game Space

Prof. Andy Nealen with Aaron Isaksen, Dan Gopstein, and Prof. Julian Togelius

exploring game space teaser

Game designers adjust game parameters to create an optimal experience for players. We call this high-dimensional set of unique game variants game space. To help designers explore game space and better understand the relationship between design and player experience, we present several methods to find games of varying difficulty. Focusing on a parameterized version of Flappy Bird, a popular minimal score-based action game, we predict each variant’s difficulty using automatic play testing, Monte-Carlo simulation, a player model based on human motor skills (precision, reaction time, and actions per second), and exponential survival analysis of score histograms. Our techniques include searching for a specific difficulty, game space visualization, and computational creativity to find interesting and unique variants using clustering and genetic algorithms. 



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