A very successful upcoming CHI!

The PIxL Lab is excited to announce three CHI papers for the 2018 program! We’ll see you in April!

Sultan A. Alharthi, Olaa Alsaedi, Zachary O. Toups, Joshua Tanenbaum, Jessica Hammer. 2018. Playing to wait: A taxonomy of idle games. In press for the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 15 pages.

Sultan A. Alharthi, Ruth Torres, Ahmed S. Khalaf, Zachary O. Toups, Igor Dolgov, Lennart Nacke. 2018. Investigating the impact of annotation interfaces on player performance in distributed multiplayer games. In press for the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 13 pages.

Jason Wuertz, Sultan A. Alharthi, William A. Hamilton, Scott Bateman, Carl Gutwin, Tony Tang, Zachary O. Toups, Jessica Hammer. 2018. A design framework for awareness cues in distributed multiplayer games. In press for the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 15 pages.

PIxL Lab heading to CHI PLAY 2017!

We are excited to announce that the PIxL Lab will be presenting two papers, co-organizing a workshop, and present a game at CHI PLAY 2017 in Amsterdam!

10/15: Augmented Table Top Games Workshop
10/16 The Maze: Enabling Collaborative Planning in Games Through Annotation Interfaces in the Student Game Design Competition
10/16: Selecting Space and Making Place: A Framework to Guide Mixed Reality Game Design from Grounded Theory in the Gaming in the Real World session
10/18: Understanding Dangerous Play: A Grounded Theory Analysis of High-Performance Drone Racing Crashes in the Beyond the Typical Player Experience session

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 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)


Joining PIxL Lab


Interested in supporting disaster response with gameplay? 

Excited about the opportunities to play afforded by wearable computers and mixed reality? 

The PIxL Lab is seeking talented Ph.D. students!

The Play and Interactive Experiences for Learning (PIxL) Lab generally has funded openings for new Ph.D. students in the New Mexico State University Computer Science Department. Selected student will undertake research with Prof. Zachary O. Toups in one of the following areas (or some intersection of them): game design, interface design, games for learning, mixed reality, wearable computing, and/or disaster response information technology. Any project that fits into the general scope of the lab’s research will be considered.

The PIxL Lab conducts research on games for education, with an emphasis on game user interfaces and real-world interaction (mixed reality, wearable computing). Current projects include mixed reality games for designing wearable computers, games for educating disaster responders, studying communication in Portal 2, wearable unmanned systems interfaces, and game arenas for testing AI agents.

Candidates should be motivated to research games and play, as demonstrated through an initial research proposal, and be prepared to demonstrate strong computer science skills. The NMSU CS Department requires that all incoming Ph.D. students complete qualifying exams within the first year in Design and Analysis of Algorithms and Data Structures; Programming Languages; Discrete Mathematics; one of either Operating Systems or Computer Architecture; and one elective subject. Qualified candidates are expected to show high scores in the previous subjects, with the expectation that they will succeed at the exams.

Required Application Materials: Applicants should provide the following application materials for a funded position in the PIxL Lab (application to the university and the department are independent processes; information on the other application processes is found at: http://gradadmissions.nmsu.edu and http://www.cs.nmsu.edu/wp13/grad-admissions/):

  • A recent CV.
  • An unofficial transcript with relevant computer science courses highlighted; if the university uses a grading scheme different from the US 4-point scale, please provide the appropriate transformation to the 4-point scale.
  • An initial research proposal, no more than one page in length (excluding references), that identifies your research interests, outlines a program of study in computer science, and explains why your expertise is a good fit for the project.
  • Contact information for two references; for promising candidates, we may request a letter of recommendation from these references.

Please email all required materials to z@cs.nmsu.edu with the following subject: “PIxL Lab Ph.D. Application”.

PIxL @ CHI PLAY 2015

The PIxL Lab presented five works-in-progress posters at CHI PLAY 2015 in London:

Collaborative Planning Gameplay from Disaster Response Practice

Imperfect Robot Control in a Mixed Reality Game to Teach Hybrid Human-Robot Team Coordination

Understanding Player Attitudes Towards Digital Game Objects

Validating Test Chambers to Study Cooperative Communication Mechanics in Portal 2

Designing to Split Attention in a Mixed Reality Game