John Harris

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John Harris is a PhD student (BASc UWaterloo, MSc UCalgary) whose research focuses on building playful experiences that bring different kinds of players together. An avid video game player from childhood, John’s research focuses on the design of Asymmetric Games that provide uniquely engaging facets of interaction for players with different interests, abilities, and backgrounds. For example, getting grandparents playing with grandchildren, the able-bodied with the disabled, or action gamers with puzzle gamers with strategy gamers with sports players… John’s gamers leverage asymmetry and interdependence to create more social, playful, and engaging experiences.

  • Email: john [dot] harris [at] uwaterloo [dot] ca

Projects

 

Publications

2016

  • J. Harris, M. Hancock, and S. D. Scott, Leveraging Asymmetries in Multiplayer Games: Investigating Design Elements of Interdependent Play, in Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, New York, NY, USA, 2016, pp. 350-361.

    Many people develop lasting social bonds by playing games together, and there are a variety of games available so that individuals are likely to find games that appeal to their specific play preferences, abilities, and available time. However, there are many instances where people might want to play together, but would normally choose vastly different games for themselves, due to these various asymmetries in play experiences, such as grandparents and grandchildren, highly skilled players and novices, or even simply two players that enjoy different games. In this work, we aim to improve the design of asymmetric games-games that are designed to embrace and leverage differences between players to improve multiplayer engagement. This paper builds upon prior work to describe the elements of asymmetry that can be used to design such games, and uses these elements in the design of an asymmetric game, Beam Me ‘Round Scotty’! We present the results of a thematic analysis of a player experience study, discuss these findings, and propose an initial conceptual framework for discussion of design elements relevant to asymmetric games.

    @inproceedings{Harris:2016:LAM:2967934.2968113, author = {John Harris and Mark Hancock and Stacey D. Scott}, title = {Leveraging Asymmetries in Multiplayer Games: Investigating Design Elements of Interdependent Play}, abstract = {Many people develop lasting social bonds by playing games together, and there are a variety of games available so that individuals are likely to find games that appeal to their specific play preferences, abilities, and available time. However, there are many instances where people might want to play together, but would normally choose vastly different games for themselves, due to these various asymmetries in play experiences, such as grandparents and grandchildren, highly skilled players and novices, or even simply two players that enjoy different games. In this work, we aim to improve the design of asymmetric games-games that are designed to embrace and leverage differences between players to improve multiplayer engagement. This paper builds upon prior work to describe the elements of asymmetry that can be used to design such games, and uses these elements in the design of an asymmetric game, Beam Me 'Round Scotty'! We present the results of a thematic analysis of a player experience study, discuss these findings, and propose an initial conceptual framework for discussion of design elements relevant to asymmetric games.}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play}, series = {CHI PLAY '16}, year = {2016}, isbn = {978-1-4503-4456-2}, location = {Austin, Texas, USA}, pages = {350--361}, numpages = {12}, doi = {10.1145/2967934.2968113}, acmid = {2968113}, publisher = {ACM}, address = {New York, NY, USA}, keywords = {asymmetric games, game design, player experience testing}, pdf={p350-harris.pdf}, subtype={conference} }

2015

  • J. Harris, M. Hancock, and S. D. Scott, "Beam Me ‘Round, Scotty!": Studying Asymmetry and Interdependence in a Prototype Cooperative Game, in Proc. CHI PLAY, New York, NY, USA, 2015, pp. 775-778, (People’s Choice Award & Student Game Design Competition Winner).

    In "Beam Me ‘Round, Scotty!", pairs of players engage with asymmetric gameplay mechanics and interfaces (e.g. leading vs. support, action vs. strategy, gamepad vs. mouse interaction) in a cooperative adventure to escape a hostile alien world. "Beam Me ‘Round, Scotty!" presents a multi-faceted play experience designed to bridge differences in player skills, styles, and interests. By introducing deliberate interdependence through asymmetry, different types of players can come together and have fun overcoming obstacles, defeating enemies, and escaping the alien planet via their unique contributions.

    @inproceedings{Harris:2015:BMR:2793107.2810274,
    author = {Harris, John and Hancock, Mark and Scott, Stacey D.},
    title = {{"Beam Me 'Round, Scotty!"}: Studying Asymmetry and Interdependence in a Prototype Cooperative Game},
    booktitle = {Proc. CHI PLAY},
    series = {CHI PLAY '15},
    year = {2015},
    isbn = {978-1-4503-3466-2},
    location = {London, United Kingdom},
    pages = {775--778},
    numpages = {4},
    acmid = {2810274},
    publisher = {ACM},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    keywords = {asymmetric games, cooperative games, player typology},
    abstract={In "Beam Me 'Round, Scotty!", pairs of players engage with asymmetric gameplay mechanics and interfaces (e.g. leading vs. support, action vs. strategy, gamepad vs. mouse interaction) in a cooperative adventure to escape a hostile alien world. "Beam Me 'Round, Scotty!" presents a multi-faceted play experience designed to bridge differences in player skills, styles, and interests. By introducing deliberate interdependence through asymmetry, different types of players can come together and have fun overcoming obstacles, defeating enemies, and escaping the alien planet via their unique contributions.},
    note = {(People's Choice Award & Student Game Design Competition Winner)},
    pdf={p775-harris.pdf},
    doi = {10.1145/2793107.2810274},
    movie = {beam-me-round-scotty.mp4},
    subtype={other}
    }

2014

  • J. Harris, M. Hancock, and S. Scott, "Beam Me ‘Round, Scotty!": Exploring the Effect of Interdependence in Asymmetric Cooperative Games, in Proceedings of the First ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-human Interaction in Play, New York, NY, USA, 2014, pp. 417-418.
    @inproceedings{Harris:2014:BMR:2658537.2661311,
    author = {Harris, John and Hancock, Mark and Scott, Stacey},
    title = {{"Beam Me 'Round, Scotty!"}: Exploring the Effect of Interdependence in Asymmetric Cooperative Games},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the First ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-human Interaction in Play},
    series = {CHI PLAY '14},
    year = {2014},
    isbn = {978-1-4503-3014-5},
    location = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},
    pages = {417--418},
    numpages = {2},
    pdf = {p417-harris},
    doi = {10.1145/2658537.2661311},
    acmid = {2661311},
    publisher = {ACM},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    keywords = {asymmetric games, cooperatives games, game design, interdependence, symbiotic play},
    subtype = {poster}
    }

John Harris
UW Touchlab