What started out as an ambitious project stretched into what sometimes feels more like an Odyssean journey. The initial deadline slipped, and slipped again, and now I am looking forward to finishing my master’s thesis sometime in spring next year.

Lets talk about the good things though, about what happened so far, and what is about to happen in the future: I finally nailed down the topic and title of my thesis (pending the approval of the dean, of course): “Real Time Visualisation of User Input Data in the Context of Video Game Development”.

What that means is that I take raw game pad user input data during a playtest session and visualise it in real time. It will work over the network, and use the browser and JavaScript for easy extendability and portability. It would even work on your phone or tablet (given that I manage to fix all the performance issues, that is)!

The first two plugins that are already nearing completion are a simple raw input visualiser and a visualisation of “input complexity” modelled after the static complexity analysis reported in [Swain 2008]. Here it is in moving pictures!

Next up will be a brief detour into information theory and Shannon entropy. I want to look into the information content of a stream of raw user input. “How are you gonna model the probabilistic distribution needed to compute the entropy?” you ask? Well, I have no idea yet, but I am about to find out soon.

If you happen to be in Linz on September 13, you can see it all in action, when we are showing and testing a prototype racing game we have been working on for some time now.

References: [Swain 2008] Master Metrics: The Science Behind the Art of Game Design. In K. Isbister & N. Schaffer (Eds.), Game Usability: Advancing the Player Experience (pp. 119–140). Morgan Kaufmann.