Investigating the Impact of Cooperative Communication Mechanics on Player Performance in Portal 2

Our paper, Investigating the Impact of Cooperative Communication Mechanics on Player Performance in Portal 2, was presented at Graphics Interface 2016 in Victoria, British Columbia! The paper is based on former-student Vaddi’s thesis, and was presented by Rina Wehbe, co-author. The paper addresses how players make use of game mechanics to communicate; while they find voice most effective, the ability to reference the gameworld is key to solving puzzles.

We expect the manuscript to be posted in the ACM Digital Library soon.

PIxL lab at CHI 2016


The ACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2016 in San Jose was the biggest CHI conference ever with more than 3,500 participants. The research presented at the conference shows that the field of human-computer interaction has evolved drastically. The keynote sessions were exemplary as Marissa Mayer, Alan Kay, Salman Khan, Kimberly Bryant, Dayo Olopade, and Vishal Sikka shared their personal experiences making technologies to improve life. Alan Kay offered inspiring words: “Big companies just want to earn millions & billions. Great researchers create new industries worth trillions.”

There were many interesting research projects showcased at the conference. The Carolan Guitar by Steve Benford et al. focussed on artcodes and a guitar that told it own story through a mobile app. Microsoft Research showcased interaction of real and virtual objects using Oculus, Kinect, and Unity. A demonstration by Prof. Åsa Unander-Scharin showed how webcams can help generate relevant music by analyzing performer movement during a live performance event. Infosys showcased flight information simulation using samsung gear and VR, Google showcased its mobile User testing lab while HP demonstrated its projector and depth camera based scanner and alternate input device and Samsung demoed interaction of pictures in smart TVs using Android phones as remote controls.

A number of projects were relevant to research conducted at the PIxL Lab: the social impact of head-mounted devices, transparent interfaces, movement games, how gamers make breakthroughs, mapping in disaster, non-verbal communication and team performance in online gamescomparing different sensemaking approaches, and supporting sensemaking with spatially-aware mobile interactions.

Prof. Zachary O. Toups from the PIxL Lab, along with Ph.D. student Sultan Alharthi and graduate student Hitesh Nidhi Sharma attended the conference.

A video overview of the highlights is here: CHI 2016 Overview Video

A number of recorded research talks may be found here:

PIxL students finalists for wearables challenge!

NMSU’s Team DeSIGN, a collaboration between the PIxL Lab in the Computer Science Department, the Department of Engineering Technology & Surveying Engineering, the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Psychology Department, was named one of four finalist teams for the Body Sensor Networks 2016 Icehouse Challenge to design wearable computers for disaster responders. Team DeSIGN leveraged its collective experience studying and designing for disaster contexts, unmanned system control, and wearables to develop a winning design. At the BSN conference, US Coast Guard operatives will undertake a live-action disaster response simulation game using the wearable software designed by the competing teams to determine the best design.

The team will receive wearable prototyping equipment (including Sony’s SmartEyeglass platform) and funding for travel. The competition carries a grand prize of $20,000.

Team DeSIGN consists of:

  • Sachin Sunka (PIxL, CS)
  • Sultan Alharthi (PIxL, CS)
  • Hitesh Nidhi Sharma (PIxL, CS)
  • Rolfe Sassenfeld (ET&SE)
  • Cayden Wilson (ET&SE)
  • Wei Tang (ECE)
  • Igor Dolgov (Psych)
  • Zachary O. Toups (PIxL, CS)