Computer Games: Challenging, Advancing and Realising Affective Interaction
Speaker: Prof. Georgios N. Yannakakis, Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta
Date: 10 July 2015 Time: 12:00 – 13:00
Location: "Alkiviades C. Payatakes" Seminar Room, FORTH, Heraklion, Crete
Host: K, Marias and M. Tsiknakis


Play is amongst the main motivators for learning, mental and physical
development, and an essential element of evolution. Players seek games for enjoyment and positive emotional experiences but they also engage willingly in experiences evoking negative emotions such as frustration and fear. Computer games can offer rich forms of user interactivity, allow for high levels of user incorporation and yield dynamic and complex emotion manifestations. The potential that games have to influence players is mainly due to their ability to place the player in a continuous mode of interaction with the game, developing complex cognitive, affective and behavioral responses. This interaction between the player and the game is of utmost importance for affective computing research. While games challenge affective computing at large — as new methods are required for encapsulating this fast-paced, rich and complex mode of interaction — they have offered new approaches to affect elicitation, annotation and modeling, thereby advancing the field. Undoubtedly, the study of emotion in games not only advances our knowledge about human emotions but also contributes to the design of better human computer interaction. Arguably, games offer the best and most meaningful domain of affective interaction for the realization of the affective loop.

This talk will focus on the study of emotion in the computer games
domain and will detail the key phases for efficient affect-based interaction in games through the methods, games, and research demonstrators developed at the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta. Advanced methods for player experience modeling, game adaptation, procedural content generation, machine learning and computational game creativity will be showcased via a plethora of games targeting entertainment but also serious games for health (post-traumatic stress disorder, physical exercise) and education (social soft skills, creativity, dyslexia).


Associate Professor Georgios N. Yannakakis (http://yannakakis.net/) is the Director of the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta (UoM). He received the Ph.D. degree in Informatics from the University of Edinburgh in 2005. Prior to joining the Institute of Digital Games, UoM, in 2012 he was an Associate Professor at the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen.
He does research at the crossroads of artificial intelligence, computational creativity, affective computing, advanced game technology, and human-computer interaction. He pursues research concepts such as user experience modeling and procedural content generation for the design of personalized interactive systems for entertainment, education, training and health. He has published over 180 journal and conference papers in the aforementioned fields and his work has been cited broadly. His research has been supported by numerous national and European grants and has appeared in Science Magazine and New Scientist among other venues. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing and the IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. He has been the General Chair of key conferences in the area of game artificial intelligence (IEEE CIG 2010) and games research (FDG 2013).

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