Thesis Defense - University of Houston
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Thesis Defense

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

Randal Staewen

will defend his thesis

You Are What You Eat: Analyzing the Relationships Between Video games, Play-styles, and Player Characteristics


Targeting a specific audience correctly is a primary goal for game developers, as strong global competition prevents a generic game from succeeding in the modern market. Developers among the recent rise of indie developers tend to ignore such considerations entirely, and would benefit from a more methodical approach.

The analysis of goal-directed behavior, or teleology, can provide a reliable tool towards clearly identifying audiences with well-supported tendencies in goal-directed behavior. We developed a game featuring multiple play-styles, each with distinct choices in goals and rewards. We then tracked player behavior in game to verify the approach.

Our defined play-styles include carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores, with membership decided by in-game diet. We found strong correlations between the set of carnivore-associated players, frequent game-playing, and a preference for competition and aggression with other players and the environment. On the other hand, herbivores were correlated with more casual players and more passive play.

Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM
Place: PGH 501
Advisor: Dr. Changhoon Yun, Dr. Jaspal Suphlok

Faculty, students, and the general public are invited.