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computer games, where each entity is fully
replaceable or substitutable with the other?
2. How can cooperation be obtained in hetero-
geneous agent situations, such as a board-
room, be designed to facilitate cooperation
between biological and virtual beings?
3. Can a boardroom-like game scenario be ap-
propriate for social and educational computer
Alan Turing once remarked that “We may hope that
machines will eventually compete with men in all
purely intellectual fields” (Turing, 1950). While
may not be fully realized today, the integration
of artificial beings into human organizations and
society evoke powerful images of both positive
and negative possibility. Despite the technology
that surrounds us today, humans continue to use
the imagery of science fiction to strive to create
more intelligent machines capable of autonomous
decision making.
In this Chapter, we explore the possibility of
artificial i.e. virtual beings emerging as partners to
humans rather than tools used by humans in various
collaborative situations. Unlike past revolutions
of mechanical automation, the presence of virtual
beings should not imply a redundancy for human
partners, but rather a complimentary relationship.
Group decision-making, including both humans
and virtual beings as equals, increases the diversity
of the knowledge pool (Dunbar, 1995), improving
the likelihood of positive outcomes.
Computer game development offers a compel-
ling platform for such research and development.
As each new computer game produced pushes
the boundaries of technical possibility, it should
come as no surprise that academia and the game
industry have frequently cross-pollinated each
other's efforts.
To this end, we explore a collaborative com-
puter game called TeamMATE 1 . This environment
facilitates the investigation of human and virtual
computer game players engaged as fully equal
partners . By investigating the nature of fully
equal partners, concepts of collaboration and
facilitating architecture, it is possible to address
the following questions:
This topic chapter explores these questions,
and what is required in order to engage human
and virtual players collaboratively in computer
games. The principles presented here are delivered
from our experience in designing, developing
and implementing the TeamMATE © cooperative
computer game.
To engage human and virtual beings as equal
partners in a computer game setting requires in-
teraction beyond treating the virtual partners as
sophisticated tools, but rather requires a degree
of social acceptance and cohesion. In such a
heterogeneous group of partners, virtual beings
must be able to articulate their perspectives and
opinions, while taking on board the knowledge
and opinions of others. For social acceptance and
societal influence to occur the virtual being needs
to become acceptable within the social system:
Society, organization or group (Kelman, 2006).
In making the transition to societal acceptance
of virtual beings, there are great challenges both
technical and social. To better study virtual be-
ings as collaborative partners, it is possible to
focus on a smaller, group social setting, with an
assumption of social acceptance (and therefore
the capability to influence) collaborative group
decision-making. For this reason, computer
games provide an excellent environment for un-
derstanding how humans and virtual beings can
1. Can human and virtual beings, being het-
erogeneous agents, interact cooperatively
as fully equal partners in the context of
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