Proceedings: GI 2011

Investigating communication and social practices in real-time strategy games: are in-game tools sufficient to support the overall gaming experience?

Phillip McClelland , Simon Whitmell , Stacey Scott

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2011: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, 25 - 27 May 2011, 215-222

DOI 10.20380/GI2011.28

  • Bibtex

    @inproceedings{McClelland:2011:10.20380/GI2011.28,
    author = {McClelland, Phillip and Whitmell, Simon and Scott, Stacey},
    title = {Investigating communication and social practices in real-time strategy games: are in-game tools sufficient to support the overall gaming experience?},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2011},
    series = {GI 2011},
    year = {2011},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4503-0693-5},
    location = {St. John{\textquoteright}s, Newfoundland, Canada},
    pages = {215--222},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2011.28},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},
    }

Abstract

This paper discusses the social and strategic communication patterns observed during gameplay of the real-time strategy game, StarCraft II. An observational study was conducted over three weeks during which approximately 26 game matches and the social procedures by which players organized themselves and selected game options were observed. Study participants were members of a pre-existing network of friends and had adopted the Skype voice communication tool to support the game client's built-in collaboration and social networking solutions. The players were observed playing in situations of varying levels of collaboration ranging from team matches to free-for-all matches, and many forms of communication, including both strategic and social, were observed. The study findings revealed that players prefer communication tools that provide both robustness and flexibility. Preferred tools increase ease of access to other players, introduce a measure of exception handling to unify the gameplay experience, and make use of the game as a virtual watercooler---a hub which can facilitate much off-topic, yet valued, conversation.