UTS site search

Dr Chek Tien Tan

Biography

Chek Tien Tan is currently a Lecturer with the School of Software in the Faculty of Engineering and IT, at the University of Technology, Sydney. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is currently the co-director of the Games Studio which is part of the Human Centred Technology Design (HCTD) research strength.

Chek is particularly interested in applied research and teaching domains especially in games and interactive media technologies.

Within the research community, Chek has served as conference and program chairs of game conferences like GAMEON-ASIA and the Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment. He currently also sits on the academic advisory board for the annual Sydney International Animation Festival.

With the industry, Chek has also worked alongside Ubisoft in a game development course whilst he was an Assistant Professor at the DigiPen Institute of Technology. He has also appeared as guest experts on the Good Game television show on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Enquiring Minds on Television Sydney (TVS).

Image of Chek Tien Tan
Senior Lecturer, School of Software
Core Member, HCTD - Human Centred Technology Design
Bac. Computing Eng. (Hon), PhD. Computer Sci
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 4828

Research Interests

Game Design, Human Computer Interaction and Computer Vision.

Can supervise: Yes

Computer Game Design and Programming, Artificial Intelligence in Games, Data Structures and Algorithms.

Chapters

Tan, C. & Ferguson, S. 2014, 'The Role of Emotions in Art Evaluation' in Candy, L. & Ferguson, S. (eds), Interactive Experience in the Digital Age, Springer, pp. 139-152.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
With contributions from artists, scientists, curators, entrepreneurs and designers engaged in the creative arts, this book is an invaluable resource for both researchers and practitioners, working in this emerging field.

Conferences

Si, C., Pisan, Y. & Tan, C.T. 2016, 'Understanding players' map exploration styles', ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, Australasian Computer Science Week (ACSW 2016): Interactive Entertainment, ACM, Canberra, Australia.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Copyright 2016 ACM. Exploration is an essential part of play in modern video games. It refers to the discovery-based activities, in which players explore mechanisms, as well as spatiality of virtual world. Exploration games and games with exploration plots are booming in gamer communities. In this paper, we focus on spatial exploration, which is central to play in role-playing games (RPG) and real time strategy (RTS) games. We investigate the game-playing behaviors of human players in exploration games, so as to discover behavior patterns and understand gamer styles. The intention is to contribute to the design and development of believable agents. We conducted an experiment where 25 participants played three types of exploration games. In-game data, think-aloud data, questionnaire responses and post-game interview data were collected to gain a deeper understanding of exploration preferences. We used thematic analysis to analyze data and mapped out four game exploration archetypes: Wanderers, Seers, Pathers and Targeters. An analysis from the four highlight aspects: strategy, reasoning, conception and hesitation, is conducted to investigate the behavioral traits of these four archetypes.
Tan, C.T., Leong, T.W., Shen, S., Dubravs, C. & Si, C. 2015, 'Exploring Gameplay Experiences on the Oculus Rift', Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, ACM, London, UK, pp. 253-263.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Compared to previous head-mounted displays, the compact and low-cost Oculus Rift has claimed to offer improved virtual reality experiences. However, how and what kinds of user experiences are encountered by people when using the Rift in actual gameplay has not been examined. We present an exploration of 10 participants' experiences of playing a first-person shooter game using the Rift. Despite cybersickness and a lack of control, participants experienced heightened experiences, a richer engagement with passive game elements, a higher degree of flow and a deeper immersion on the Rift than on a desktop setup. Overly demanding movements, such as the large range of head motion required to navigate the game environment were found to adversely affect gaming experiences. Based on these and other findings, we also present some insights for designing games for the Rift.
Tan, C.T., Mirza-Babaei, P., Zammitto, V., Canossa, A., Conley, G. & Wallner, G. 2015, 'Tool design jam: Designing tools for games user research', CHI PLAY 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, pp. 827-832.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
© Copyright 2015 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. (ACM). In both industry and academia, software tools are essential for games user research (GUR) in order to collect, integrate, analyze and report on games and players' data. GUR datasets are becoming more and more complex, detailed and multifaceted. Hence, tools are necessary to efficiently handle data. This one-day workshop explores the vast spectrum of tools used and created by current GUR researchers and provides a platform of discussion for advancing the development of such tools. This workshop will facilitate intersections from user researchers with diverse epistemologies, as well as from both academia and the industry, in an interactive Design Jam activity to collaboratively design future-proof GUR tools. The immediate outcome of the workshop is twofold: to collectively establish state-ofthe-art tool design guidelines, and to archive the papers and discussions, which will extend the conversations and relationships beyond the workshop. Moreover, the long-term outcome will be the start of a community that focuses on creating better tools to aid the study of player experiences.
Tan, C.T., Byrney, R., Luiz, S., Liux, W. & Mueller, F. 2015, 'JoggAR: A mixed-modality AR approach for technology-augmented jogging', SIGGRAPH Asia 2015 Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, SA 2015.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
JoggAR demonstrates a novel combination of wearable visual, audio and sensing technology to realize a game-like persistent augmented reality (AR) environment to enhance jogging and other exertion experiences that involves changing attention intensities in the course of the activities. In particular we developed a method to perform an audio-first exploration of 3D virtual spaces so as to achieve our experiential goal of supporting exertion-focused activities.
Ji, Y., Tan, C.T. & Edmonds, E. 2015, 'Towards personalized interfaces for mobile applications using a natural text-based interaction', Communications in Computer and Information Science, International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Springer International Publishing, Los Angeles, CA, USA, pp. 16-21.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. In this paper a minimal interface for mobile application is provided that is built upon a domain specific interaction language. The domain specific interaction language provides textual interaction customization language which supports its users input any word or sentence related to the interaction that the users want to make. The textual interaction customization language supports the mobile devices users to construct a semantic and minimal interface.
Harrold, N.V., Tan, C., Rosser, D.J. & Leong, T. 2014, 'CopyMe: a portable real-time feedback expression recognition game for children', CHI '14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, Toronto, Canada, pp. 1195-1200.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Tan, C., Leong, T. & Shen, S. 2014, 'Combining Think-aloud and Physiological Data to Understand Video Game Experiences', Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, Toronto, Canada, pp. 381-390.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Think-aloud protocols are commonly used to evaluate player experiences of video games but suffer from a lack of objectivity and timeliness. On the other hand, quantitative captures of physiological data are effective; providing detailed, unbiased and continuous responses of players, but lack contexts for interpretation. This paper documents how both approaches could be used together in practice by comparing video-cued retrospective think-aloud data and physiological data collected during a video gameplay experiment. We observed that many interesting physiological responses did not feature in participants' think-aloud data, and conversely, reports of interesting experiences were sometimes not observed in the collected physiological data. Through learnings from our experiment, we present some of the challenges when combining these approaches and offer some guidelines as to how qualitative and quantitative data can be used together to gain deeper insights into player experiences.
Garcia Marin, J.A., Pisan, Y., Tan, C. & Felix Navarro, K.M. 2014, 'Step kinnection: a hybrid clinical test for fall risk assessment in older adults', CHI '14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, Toronto, Canada, pp. 471-474.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Tan, C., Sapkota, H. & Rosser, D.J. 2014, 'BeFaced: a casual game to crowdsource facial expressions in the wild', CHI '14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, Toronto, Canada, pp. 491-494.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Harrold, N.V., Tan, C., Rosser, D.J. & Leong, T. 2014, 'CopyMe: an emotional development game for children', CHI '14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, Toronto, Canada, pp. 503-506.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Shen, S., Tan, C. & Leong, T. 2014, 'Towards Better Tools to Support Mixed Methods in Game User Research', CHI 2014 Games User Research Workshop on Mixed Methods and Reporting Results, ACM, Toronto, Canada, pp. 147-150.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Tan, C., Sapkota, H., Rosser, D.J. & Pisan, Y. 2014, 'Initial perceptions of a casual game to crowdsource facial expressions in the wild', Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Foundations of Digital Games, Society for the Advancement of the Study of Digital Games, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA, pp. 1-4.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The performance of affective computing systems often depend on the quality of the image databases they are trained on. However, creating good quality training databases is a laborious activity. In this paper, we evaluate BeFaced, a tile matching casual tablet game that enables massive crowdsourcing of facial expressions for the purpose of advancing facial expression analysis. The core aspect of BeFaced is game quality, as increased enjoyment and engagement translates to an increased quantity of varied facial expressions obtained. Hence a pilot user study was performed on 18 university students whereby observational and interview data were obtained during playtests. We found that most users enjoyed the game and were intrigued by the novelty in interacting with the facial expression gameplay mechanic, but also uncovered problems with feedback provision and the dynamic difficulty adjustment mechanism. These findings hence provide invaluable insights for the other researchers/ practitioners working on similar crowdsourcing games with a purpose, as well as for the development of BeFaced.
Tan, C., Sapkota, H., Rosser, D.J. & Pisan, Y. 2014, 'A game to crowdsource data for affective computing', Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Foundations of Digital Games, Society for the Advancement of the Study of Digital Games, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This game submission describes BeFaced, a tile matching casual tablet game that enables massive crowdsourcing of facial expressions to advance affective computing. BeFaced uses state-of-theart facial expression tracking technology with dynamic difficulty adjustment to keep the player engaged and hence obtain a large and varied face dataset. FDG attendees will experience a novel affective game input interface and also investigate how the game design enables massive crowdsourcing in an extensible manner.
Si, C., Pisan, Y. & Tan, C. 2014, 'Automated terrain analysis in real-time strategy games', Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Foundations of Digital Games, Society for the Advancement of the Study of Digital Games, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Real-time strategy (RTS) games represent a mainstream genre of video games. They are also practical test-beds for intelligent agents, which have received considerable interest from Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers, in particular game AI researchers. Terrain knowledge understanding is a fundamental issue for RTS agents and map decomposition methods can help AI agents in representing terrain knowledge. These contributions support AI agents path finding and combat strategy. In some RTS games, such as StarCraft, all terrain information is provided to AI agents at the beginning of the game. This presents an unfair advantage, as human players do not have access to this information. We propose a terrain analysis framework, in which AI agents gather terrain knowledge by managing scouts to explore game maps. This framework is part of my Ph.D. study that is investigating scouting strategies for RTS games. We developed an extension to the StarCraft system, called terrain engine that releases terrain information in small chunks rather than providing the full map, to investigate human-like techniques for scouting. Within the terrain analysis framework, we present a reconnaissance (recon) algorithm to guide individual scout units in recon tasks. Then, we identify the factors for terrain exploration planning model, which will be implemented as part of our future work
Garcia, J.A., Pisan, Y., Tan, C.T. & Navarro, K.F. 2014, 'Assessing the kinect's capabilities to perform a time-based clinical test for fall risk assessment in older people', Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Springer Verlag, pp. 100-107.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The Choice Stepping Reaction Time (CSRT) task is time-based clinical test that has shown to reliably predict falls in older adults. Its current mode of delivery involves the use of a custom-made dance mat device. This mat is a measurement tool that can reliably obtain step data to discriminate between fallers and non-fallers. One of the pitfalls of this test is that the technology in use still imposes an obstacle on the degree of freedom to be able to perform adaptive exercises suitable for the elderly. In this paper, we describe a Kinect-based system that measures stepping performance through the use of a hybrid version of the CSRT task. This study focuses on assessing this system's capabilities to reliably measure a time-based clinical test of fall risk. Results showed a favorable correspondence and agreement between the two systems, suggesting that this platform could be potentially useful in the clinical practice.
Tan, C.T., Johnston, A., Bluff, A., Ferguson, S. & Ballard, K.J. 2014, 'Retrogaming as visual feedback for speech therapy', Proceeding SA'14 SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, ACM, Shenzen Convention & Exhibition Center.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
A key problem in speech therapy is the motivation of patients in repetitive vocalization tasks. One important task is the vocalization of vowels. We present a novel solution by incorporating formant speech analysis into retro games to enable intrinsic motivation in performing the vocalization tasks in a fun and accessible manner. The visuals in the retro games also provide a simple and instantaneous feedback mechanism to the patients' vocalization performance. We developed an accurate and efficient formant recognition system to continuously recognize vowel vocalizations in real time. We implemented the system into two games, Speech Invaders and Yak-man, published on the iOS App Store in order to perform an initial public trial. We present the development to inform like-minded researchers who wish to incorporate real-time speech recognition in serious games.
Tan, C.T., Bakkes, S. & Pisan, Y. 2014, 'Correlation between Facial Expressions and the Game Experience Questionnaire', ENTERTAINMENT COMPUTING - ICEC 2014, pp. 229-231.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Tan, C.T., Johnston, A.J., Bluff, A., Ferguson, S. & Ballard, K.J. 2014, 'Speech invaders & yak-man: retrogames for speech therapy', Proceeding SA '14 SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, Shenzen Convention & Exhibition Center.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Speech therapy is used for the treatment of speech disorders and commonly involves a patient attending clinical sessions with a speech pathologist, as well as performing prescribed practice exercises at home [Ruggero et al. 2012]. Clinical sessions are very effective -- the speech pathologist can carefully guide and monitor the patient's speech exercises -- but they are also costly and timeconsuming. However, the more inexpensive and convenient home practice component is often not as effective, as it is hard to maintain sufficient motivation to perform the rigid repetitive exercises.
Blom, P.M., Bakkes, S., Tan, C., Whiteson, S., Roijers, D., Valenti, R. & Gevers, T. 2014, 'Towards Personalised Gaming via Facial Expression Recognition', Proceedings of the Tenth Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE 2014), AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, North Carolina State University Raleigh; United States, pp. 30-36.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Si, C., Pisan, Y. & Tan, C.T. 2014, 'A scouting strategy for real-time strategy games', ACM International Conference Proceeding Series.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2014 ACM. Real-time strategy (RTS) is a sub-genre of strategy video games. RTS games are more realistic with dynamic and time-constraint game playing, by abandoning the turn-based rule of its ancestors. Playing with and against computer-controlled players is a pervasive phenomenon in RTS games, due to the convenience and the preference of groups of players. Hence, better game-playing agents are able to enhance game-playing experience by acting as smart opponents or collaborators. One-way of improving game-playing agents' performance, in terms of their economic-expansion and tactical battlefield-arrangement aspects, is to understand the game environment. Traditional commercial RTS game-playing agents address this issue by directly accessing game maps and extracting strategic features. Since human players are unable to access the same information, this is a form of "cheating AI", which has been known to negatively affect player experiences. Thus, we develop a scouting mechanism for RTS game-playing agents, in order to enable game units to explore game environments automatically in a realistic fashion. Our research is grounded in prior robotic exploration work by which we present a hierarchical multi-criterion decision-making (MCDM) strategy to address the incomplete information problem in RTS settings.
Tan, C.T., Bakkes, S. & Pisan, Y. 2014, 'Inferring player experiences using facial expressions analysis', ACM International Conference Proceeding Series.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2014 ACM. Understanding player experiences is central to game design. Video captures of players is a common practice for obtaining rich reviewable data for analysing these experiences. However, not enough has been done in investigating ways of preprocessing the video for a more efficient analysis process. This paper consolidates and extends prior work on validating the feasibility of using automated facial expressions analysis as a natural quantitative method for evaluating player experiences. A study was performed on participants playing a first-person puzzle shooter game (Portal 2) and a social drawing trivia game (Draw My Thing), and results were shown to exhibit rich details for inferring player experiences from facial expressions. Significant correlations were also observed between facial expression intensities and self reports from the Game Experience Questionnaire. In particular, the challenge dimension consistently showed positive correlations with anger and joy. This paper eventually presents a case for increasing the application of computer vision in video analyses of gameplay.
Tan, C., Rosser, D.J. & Harrold, N.V. 2013, 'Crowdsourcing facial expressions using popular gameplay', Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 Technical Briefs, ACM, Hong Kong, pp. 1-4.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Facial expression analysis systems often employ machine learning algorithms that depend a lot on the quality of the face database they are trained on. Unfortunately, generating high quality face databases is a major challenge that is rather time consuming. We have developed BeFaced, a tile-matching casual tablet game to enable massive crowdsourcing of facial expressions for the purpose of such machine learning algorithms. Based on the popular tile-matching gameplay mechanic, players are required to make facial expressions shown on matched tiles in order to clear them and advance in the game. Dynamic difficulty adjustment of the recognition accuracy is employed in the game in order to increase engagement and hence increase the quantity of varied facial expressions obtained. Each facial expression is automatically captured, labelled and sent to our online face database. At a more abstract level, BeFaced investigates a novel method of using popular game mechanics to aid the advancement of computer vision algorithms.
Tan, C. 2013, 'Towards a MOOC Game', Proceedings of 9th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment IE13, Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, ACM, Melbourne, ViC, Australia, pp. 1-4.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
MOOC, or massive online open course, is the current buzzword in online delivery of higher education. They have enjoyed wide positive reception on the perceived benefits of bringing quality education to anyone willing to learn, but potentially lacks engagement and falls short on delivering several traditional graduate attributes known to be important for higher education. This paper presents the position that a MOOC game can alleviate some of these shortcomings and provides a discussion on how it can be achieved.
Tan, C. 2013, 'MOOCs vs MMOGs', Proceedings of the International Conference on Managing the Asian Century, International Conference on Managing the Asian Century, Springer, Singapore, pp. 89-99.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Much hype has been centered on MOOCs, or Massive Online Open Courses, in higher education recently. They possess the noble aim of bringing top quality education to the masses, often for free, but suffer from several drawbacks that include student motivation and a lack of team-based activities. Other than to alleviate some of these shortcomings, the main goal of this paper is to explore what the design of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) can offer for the design of MOOCs. A review of MOOCs is first presented, followed by a dissection of the general structure of MOOCs with a formal game perspective. A comparative analysis with MMOGs is then provided which finally leads to a set of design guidelines for creating more engaging MOOCs.
Tan, C., Harrold, N.V. & Rosser, D.J. 2013, 'Can you CopyMe?: An expression mimicking serious game', Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 MGIA, ACM, Hong Kong, pp. 1-4.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Emotional development is an important aspect in the early years of growth in young children, especially those with psychological disorders like autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), whereby emotional development becomes crucial. However, traditional paper-based interventions for emotional development are mostly laborious and difficult to employ for carers and parents, whilst current computer-aided interventions feel too much like obvious assistive tools and lack timely feedback to inform and aid progress. This paper hence describes the design of CopyMe, a touch-based tablet application that uses game design concepts and state-of-the-art computer vision techniques to provide an engaging experience as well as real-time feedback on the children's progress.
Tan, C., Rosser, D.J. & Harrold, N.V. 2013, 'BeFaced : a game for crowdsourcing facial expressions', Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 MGIA Symposium on Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, Symposium on Mobile Graphics and Interactive Applications, ACM, Hong Kong, pp. 1-1.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
Machine learning algorithms for facial expression analysis systems often depend on having a set of high quality face images as training examples. To train the systems robustly, the database needs to be large and images need to have high variability in terms of facial features, pose and illumination, amongst other variables. Unfortunately, collecting such databases is costly and time consuming. Moreover the current popular databases are mainly collected in artificial lab environments with relatively small population sizes. Crowdsourcing methods can alleviate some of these issues and are just starting to emerge in this area [McDuff et al. 2011]. However, current efforts mainly focus on tasks that require conscious effort, and only collect limited expression types
Tan, C., Johnston, A.J., Ballard, K.J., Ferguson, S. & Perera-Schulz, D. 2013, 'sPeAK-MAN: towards popular gameplay for speech therapy', Proceedings of 9th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment IE'13, Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, ACM, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 1-4.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Current speech therapy treatments are not easily accessible to the general public due to cost and demand. Therapy sessions are also laborious and maintaining motivation of patients is hard. We propose using popular games and speech recognition technology for speech therapy in an individualised and accessible manner. sPeAK-MAN is a Pac-Man-like game with a core gameplay mechanic that incorporates vocalisation of words generated from a pool commonly used in clinical speech therapy sessions. Other than improving engagement, sPeAK-MAN aims to provide real-time feedback on the vocalisation performance of patients. It also serves as an initial prototype to demonstrate the possibilities of using familiar popular gameplay (instead of building one from scratch) for rehabilitation purposes.
Ferguson, S., Nagai, Y., Hewett, T., Yi-Luen Do, E., Dow, S., Ox, J., Smith, S., Nishimoto, K. & Tan, C. 2013, 'Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Creativity & Cognition', Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Creativity & Cognition, ACM, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Bakkes, I.S., Tan, C. & Pisan, Y. 2012, 'Personalised gaming: a motivation and overview of literature', Proceedings of The 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Playing the System, Interactive Entertainment, ACM, Auckland, NZ, pp. 1-10.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This article focuses on personalised games, which we define as games that utilise player models for the purpose of tailoring the game experience to the individual player. The main contribution of the article is a motivation for personalised gaming, supported by an extensive overview of scientific literature. The motivatin concerns (a) the psychological foundation, (b) the e?ect on player satisfaction, (c) the contribution to game development, and (d) the requirement for achieving ambitions. The provided overview of scientific literature goes into the subject of player modelling, as well as eight adaptive components: (1) space adaptation, (2) mission / task adaptation, (3) character adaptation, (4) game mechanics adaptation, (5) narrative adaptation, (6) music / sound adaptation, (7) player matching (multiplayer), and (8) difficulty scaling. In the concluding sections, the relationship to procedural content generation is discussed, as well as the generalisation to other domains.
Tan, C. & Pisan, Y. 2012, 'Towards Automated Player Experience Detection With Computer Vision Techniques', CHI Workshop on Game User Research, ACM, Austin, Texas, USA, pp. 2679-2681.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
There has been an increasing number of quantitative methods to measure and evaluate player experiences. However, current methods either focus on telemetry approaches, which are insucient to capture real life responses, or psychophysiological methods, which are intrusive and more suited to controlled laboratory environments. This paper presents the position that computer vision techniques can provide a less intrusive and more versatile solution for automatic evaluation of game user experiences. A conceptual framework to automatically infer flow intensity is presented and a work-in-progress study is included to demonstrate the feasibility of this research direction.
Tan, C., Rosser, D.J., Bakkes, I.S. & Pisan, Y. 2012, 'A Feasibility Study in Using Facial Expressions Analysis to Evaluate Player Experiences', Proceedings of The 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, ACM, Auckland, New Zealand, pp. 1-10.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Current quantitative methods of measuring player experience in games are mostly intrusive to play and less suited to natural, non-laboratory play environments. This paper presents an initial study to validate the feasibility of using facial expressions analysis for evaluating player experiences. It builds on a prior position that video-based computer vision techniques can provide a less intrusive and more versatile solution for automatic evaluation of game user experiences. A user study was performed on an initial group of participants in a rst-person puzzle shooter game (Portal 2) and a social drawing trivia game (Draw My Thing), and the results are shown to support our position
Pisan, Y. & Tan, C. 2012, 'Persuasive environments: Argumentation models in serious games', Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on, Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on, IEEE, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1319-1322.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Video games are learning machines. Serious games are games that attempt to impart knowledge and skills that can be used in everyday life while taking advantage of the game mechanics used in commercial games to keep player engaged, to get the player to learn new skills and to enjoy learning for hours at end. The aim of this project is to extend and adapt current computational models of argumentation to support the range of user actions and diverse scenarios in serious games; test and evaluate the effectiveness of the argumentation model in changing people's behaviour and decision through gameplay; and develop tools for game designers to explicitly model player reasoning enabling richer and more adaptive interactive environments.
Ferguson, S., Johnston, A.J., Ballard, K.J., Tan, C. & Perera-Schulz, D. 2012, 'Visual feedback of acoustic data for speech therapy: model and design parameters', Proceedings of the 7th Audio Mostly Conference: A Conference on Interaction with Sound, Audio Mostly, ACM, Corfu, Greece, pp. 135-140.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Feedback, usually of a verbal nature, is important for speech therapy sessions. Some disadvantages exist however with traditional methods of speech therapy, and visual feedback of acoustic data is a useful alternative that can be used to complement typical clinical sessions. Visual feedback has been investigated before, and in this paper we propose sev- eral new prototypes. From these prototypes we develop an iterative model of analysing the design of feedback sys- tems by examining the feedback process. From this iterative model, we then extract methods to inform design of visual feedback systems for speech therapy
Harrold, N.V., Tan, C. & Rosser, D.J. 2012, 'Towards an Expression Recognition Game to Assist the Emotional Development of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders', Proceedings of the Workshop at SIGGRAPH Asia, SIGGRAPH Asia 2012, ACM, Singapore, pp. 33-37.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The purpose of the proposed project is to create an expression recognition game to encourage positive emotional development of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Video games are emerging as forms of computer-aided interventions for the treatment of autism, however many do not monitor the progression of the child within the game. By learning from existing approaches in ASD games and consolidating guidelines for designing user interfaces for children with autism, this project aims to create a fun and engaging game for children with ASDs that makes use of a touch device camera as a way of classifying facial expressions in order to improve the childrens emotional understanding
Pisan, Y. & Tan, C. 2012, 'SimEnv: Understanding and supporting the creation of outcome-driven simulations', Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on, Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on, IEEE, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1315-1318.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Immersive computer-based training environments and computer games share many similarities; both require an interactive environment populated with believable characters where users' decisions affect the outcome of future events. The main problem in constructing these complex environments is that any sufficiently complex environment that offers users choices has to allow the users to pursue varied paths through the system and provide guidance for all these paths. Managing the multitude of paths is known as the branching storyline problem. Currently, this is addressed by hand-coding and testing all paths which increases production costs and artificially limiting user choices which damages believability and user experience. This project explores an alternative approach, using characters that rely on case-based reasoning for decision-making to provide flexibility in interacting with player, coupled with a story manager to manage and coordinate the characters by observing all user interactions to achieve the intended outcomes. The techniques developed are applicable for training environments as well as next-generation computer games.
Pisan, Y. & Tan, C. 2012, 'Use of student-designed authorware for e-mediated science and technology learning', Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on, Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on, IEEE, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1633-1637.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Student attrition in the enabling sciences suggests that early science and technology education is still failing to capture the imagination of learners. Furthermore, despite initial optimism, e-learning approaches have not redressed this problem. Young students can design an e-learning environment that promotes deep science and technology learning, but high technical support is required for its production and maintenance. To improve the sustainability and spread of this strategy as well as to preserve student ownership, the present research engages students in the design of a student-authorable e-learning system, dynamically re-conceiving student-centred science and technology curriculum for our age.
Cermak-Sassenrath, D., Walker, C. & Tan, C. 2012, 'Proceedings of The 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment', Proceedings of The 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, ACM, Auckland, NZ, New Zealand.
Cermak-Sassenrath, D., Walker, C., Tan, C.T. & Pisan, Y. 2012, 'Welcome', ACM International Conference Proceeding Series.
Tan, C. & Johnston, A.J. 2011, 'Towards a Non-Disruptive, Practical and Objective Automated Playtesting Process', Proceedings of The Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference - Workshops at the Seventh Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, AAAI Press, Stanford, USA, pp. 25-28.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Playtesting is the primary process that allows a game designer to access game quality. Current playtesting methods are often intrusive to play, involves much manual labor, and might not even portray the player's true feedback. This paper aims to alleviate these shortcomings by presenting the position that state of the art artificial intelligence techniques can construct automated playtesting systems that supplement or even substitute this process to a certain extent. Several potential research directions are proposed in this theme. A work-inprogress report is also included to demonstrate the conceptual feasibility of the potentials of this research area.
Tan, C. & Soh, D. 2011, 'Augmented Reality Games: A Review', Proceedings of The Simulation and AI in Games Conference, GAMEON-ASIA, EUROSIS, Simulation and AI in Games Conference, Eurosis, Singapore, pp. 17-24.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a review of the state of the art in Augmented Reality (AR) games. Distinguished advancements in terms of entertainment and serious games from both the research and industry are presented. These works are then analyzed across metrics like technology usage, game genre and chronology. Via this analysis, trends are extracted and novel insights into promising domains are eventually concluded, in both the perspectives of research and commercial development
Tan, C.T. 2011, 'Preface', 3rd Asian Conference on Intelligent Games and Simulation, GAME-ON ASIA 2011 - 3rd Asian Simulation Technology Conference, ASTEC 2011, p. IX.
Tan, C. & Cheng, H. 2010, 'An Automated Model-based Adaptive Architecture in Modern Games', Proceedings of the Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, National Conference of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, AAAI, Stanford, USA, pp. 186-191.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper proposes an automatic model-based approach that enables adaptive decision making in modern virtual games. It builds upon the Integrated MDP and POMDP Learning AgeNT (IMPLANT) architecture (Tan and Cheng 2009) which has shown to provide plausible adaptive decision making in modern games. However, it suffers from highly timeconsuming manual model specification problems. By incorporating an automated priority sweeping based model builder for the MDP, as well as using the Tactical Agent Personality (Tan and Cheng 2007) for the POMDP, the work in this paper aims to resolve these problems. Empirical proof of concept is shown based on an implementation in a modern game scenario, whereby the enhanced IMPLANT agent is shown to exhibit superior adaptation performance over the old IMPLANT agent whilst eliminating manual model specifications and at the same time still maintaining plausible speeds.
Tan, C. & Cheng, H. 2009, 'IMPLANT: An Integrated MDP and POMDP Learning AgeNT for Adaptive Games', Proceedings of The Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, AAI Press, Stanford, USA, pp. 94-99.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper proposes an Integrated MDP and POMDP Learning AgeNT (IMPLANT) architecture for adaptation in modern games. The modern game world basically involves a human player acting in a virtual environment, which implies that the problem can be decomposed into two parts, namely a partially observable player model, and a completely observable game environment. With this concept, the IMPLANT ture extracts both a POMDP and MDP abstract model underlying game world. The abstract action policies are then pre-computed from each model and merged into a single optimal policy. Coupled with a small amount of online learning, the architecture is able to adapt both the player and the game environment in plausible pre-computation and query times. Empirical proof of concept is shown based on an implementation in a tennis video game, where the IMPLANT agent is shown to exhibit a superior balance in adaptation performance and speed, when compared against other agent implementation
Tan, C. & Cheng, H. 2008, 'A Combined Tactical and Strategic Hierarchical Learning Framework in Multi-agent Games', Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH Sandbox Symposium on Videogames, ACM SIGGRAPH Sandbox Symposium on Videogames, ACM, Los Angeles, USA, pp. 115-122.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper presents a novel approach to modeling a generic cognitive framework in game agents to provide tactical behavior generation as well as strategic decision making in modern multi-agent computer games. The core of our framework consists of two characterization concepts we term as the tactical and strategic personalities, embedded in each game agent. Tactical actions and strategic plans are generated according to the weights defined in their respective personalities. The personalities are constantly improved as the game proceeds by a learning process based on reinforcement learning. Also, the strategies selected at each level of the agents' command hierarchy affect the personalities and hence the decisions of other agents. The learning system improves performance of the game agents in combat and is decoupled from the action selection mechanism to ensure speed. The variability in tactical behavior and decentralized strategic decision making improves realism and increases entertainment value. Our framework is implemented in a real game scenario as an experiment and shown to outperform various scripted opponent team tactics and strategies, as well as one with a randomly varying strategy
Tan, C. & Cheng, H. 2008, 'TAPIR: TAPS with Input Reduction for Inter-Agent Adaptation in Modern Games', Proceedings of The International Conference on Computer Games: AI, Animation, Mobile, Interactive Multimedia, Educational & Serious Games (CGAMES), The International Conference on Computer Games: AI, Animation, Mobile, Interactive Multimedia, Educational & Serious Games, Light House Media, Wolverhampton, USA.
Tactical Agent Personality or TAP (Tan and Cheng 2008b) is a modeling concept used for capturing tactical patterns in modern game agents. TAPs are used in a learning framework to enable inter-agent adaptation in team-based games but suffer from the curse of dimensionality when team size increases. This paper presents TAPIR, the improved adaptation framework which introduces a dimension reduction mechanism that provides a fast convergence rate to enable a wider applicability to larger agent teams as well as produce better adaptation performance. The TAPIR based learning framework is implemented in an RPG scenario which is shown to outperform the previous framework in a setting with large team sizes. An analysis of execution times is also performed which shows that actual adaptation time is almost constant with increasing number of agents.
Tan, C. & Cheng, H. 2008, 'TAP: An Effective Personality Representation for Inter-Agent Adaptation in Games', Proceedings of the Fourth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, AAI Press, Stanford, USA, pp. 120-125.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Tactical Agent Personality (TAP) is a modeling concept to capture tactical patterns in game agents, based on a personality concept introduced by Tan and Cheng (2007), to allow behavior adaptation to different play styles. We introduced a weighted sequential topology to the actions set to capture tactical preferences rather than individual action preferences. This produces a personality representation of much higher expressive power that improves the adaptation performance and subsequently enables a larger variety of action genres to be adaptable. A TAP-based learning framework is then constructed and it is shown to perform better than the one based on the previous agent personality. Consequently, we also implement an RPG scenario that demonstrates its ability to generate adaptive plausible behavior in a much larger variety of action genres
Tan, C. & Cheng, H. 2007, 'Personality-based Adaptation for Teamwork in Game Agents', Proceedings of The Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, AAI, Stanford, USA, pp. 37-42.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a novel learning framework to provide computer game agents the ability to adapt to the player as well as other game agents. Our technique generally involves a personality adaptation module encapsulated in a reinforcement learning framework. Unlike previous work in which adaptation normally involves a decision process on every single action the agent takes, we introduce a two-level process whereby adaptation only takes place on an abstracted actions set which we coin as agent personality. With the personality defined, each agent will then take actions according to the restrictions imposed in its personality. In doing so, adaptation takes place in appropriately defined intervals in the game, without disrupting or slowing down the game constantly with intensive decision-making computations, hence improving enjoyment for the player. Moreover, by decoupling adaptation from action selection, we have a modular adaptive system that can be used with existing action planning methods. With an actual typical game scenario that we have created, it is shown that a team of agents using our framework to adapt towards the player are able to perform better than a team with scripted behavior. Consequently, we also show the team performs even better when adapted towards each other

Journal articles

Tan, C., Huang, J. & Pisan, Y. 2013, 'Initial Perceptions of a Touch-based Tablet Handwriting Serious Game from a Player's Perspective', Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 8215, no. 1, pp. 172-175.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper aims to evaluate a handwriting serious game that makes use of popular modern touch-based tablets to preserve traditional handwriting practice. A first playable prototype was built and a pilot study performed on an initial group of twenty participants. Significantly positive results were observed in the perceptions of usefulness and also across all gameplay dimensions except for flow.
Bakkes, I.S., Tan, C. & Pisan, Y. 2012, 'Personalised Gaming', CoLab Journal of Creative Technologies, vol. 2012, no. 3, pp. 1-21.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This article focuses on personalised games, which we define as games that utilise player models for the purpose of tailoring the game experience to the individual player. The main contribution of the article is a motivation for personalised gaming, supported by an extensive overview of scientific literature. The motivation concerns (a) the psychological foundation, (b) the effect on player satisfaction, (c) the contribution to game development, and (d) the requirement for achieving ambitions. The provided overview of scientific literature goes into the subject of player modelling, as well as eight adaptive components: (1) space adaptation, (2) mission / task adaptation, (3) character adaptation, (4) game mechanics adaptation, (5) narrative adaptation, (6) music / sound adaptation, (7) player matching (multiplayer), and (8) difficulty scaling. In the concluding sections, the relationship to procedural content generation is discussed, as well as the generalisation to other domains.
Tan, C. & Cheng, H. 2011, 'Tactical Agent Personality', International Journal of Computer Games Technology, vol. 2011, pp. 1-16.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper proposes a novel agent personality representation model used to provide interagent adaptation in modern games, coined as the Tactical Agent Personality (TAP). The TAP represents the tactical footprints of a game agent using a weighted network of actions. Directly using the action probabilities to model an agentâs personality, removes the time and effort required by experts to craft the model as well as eliminates the performance dependency on expert knowledge. The effectiveness, versatility, generality, scalability, and robustness claims of the TAP architecture and its variations are applied and evaluated across a variety of game scenarios, namely, First-person shooters (FPSs), real-time strategy (RTS) games, and role-playing games (RPG), where they are shown to exhibit plausible adaptive behavior.
Cheng, H.L. & Tan, C.T. 2011, 'Tactical agent personality', International Journal of Computer Games Technology.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper proposes a novel agent personality representation model used to provide interagent adaptation in modern games, coined as the Tactical Agent Personality (TAP). The TAP represents the tactical footprints of a game agent using a weighted network of actions. Directly using the action probabilities to model an agent's personality, removes the time and effort required by experts to craft the model as well as eliminates the performance dependency on expert knowledge. The effectiveness, versatility, generality, scalability, and robustness claims of the TAP architecture and its variations are applied and evaluated across a variety of game scenarios, namely, First-person shooters (FPSs), real-time strategy (RTS) games, and role-playing games (RPG), where they are shown to exhibit plausible adaptive behavior. © 2011 Chek Tien Tan and Ho-lun Cheng.