Data Example and Measurement Types

VPAL data: A data example

Throughout this chapter, we’ll use an example dataset for illustration. The dataset is extracted from a game developed at the PLAIT (Playable Interactive Technologies) lab at Northeastern University, funded by the National Science Foundation. The game is called VPAL: Virtual Personality Assessment Lab. It is an instrumented modification of the Fallout: New Vegas game (Obsidian Entertainment, 2010). The dataset, a description of the game, and screenshots can be found in Appendix A of the course.

The figure below shows an example snapshot of data from VPAL. The instrumentation of the data and storage of all game actions within the game were done through .txt files that are stored on the client side per participant. For each participant, we created a file named [participantNumber].txt, which includes all session data for that participant. If the participant has more than one session, a folder is created, and multiple files are created for that participant. When the duration of the game test ends, the files are transferred from the client to server for further processing.

As discussed above, this isn’t the only way to collect gameplay data. Often, game data will be packaged in CSV files or a database. However, it should be noted that most of the techniques discussed here are applicable regardless of the format by which the data is stored or organized.

We show below several data types stored in the log file, with the following format:

  • For movement data [labeled “position” in the figure]: Location name; subject number; timestamp (every one-fifth of a second/or 20 milliseconds, so steps proceed from 0.0, 0.2, 0.4, etc.); position in x, y, z; orientation of the camera in x, y, z; and health. As an example, the first line says that subject 101 is in Introhouse, time step = 0.6 seconds from the beginning of the session, with position: x = 450.19, y = −132.86, z = 0.6 and orientation: x = 0.0, y = −0.0, z = 256.03, and health = 1.00.

  • For quest data [labeled “quest”]: Quest keyword, subject number, timestamp, name of the quest, and a number of steps within the quest or whether it started/ended. For example, in the third line in the figure, it says that subject 101 started the AAAPaulDia quest at timestamp 21.77 with the quest steps of 10, which denote how many steps are needed to complete a quest.

  • For dialog data [labeled “dialog”]: Dialog keyword, subject number, timestamp, name of the character the user is talking to, and what the user said. For example, line 5 in the figure given below says that subject number 101 made a dialog action at timestamp 38.77 to an in-game character named AAAPaul and said: “Where am I?” The number before the statement is the number of that dialog choice.

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