Indiana University studies BZFlag

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Indiana University studies BZFlag

Post by SilverFox » Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:49 am


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Post by strayer » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 pm

Much more interesting is the fact that BZFlag's text chat is not too comfortable but used a lot by players. ;)

Thanks for the link!
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Post by Enigma » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:31 pm

They're just trying to play games at work :wink:

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Post by Avatar » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:55 am

I'll be missing it... Of course, it would've been one hell of a road trip to attend the seminar anyways, but still...

I wonder if there'll be a transcript available somewhere on the web. It would be interesting to see what kinds of concepts and conclusions they're drawing so far from observing our in-game conversations (other than that we're all insane).
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Slides are now available.

Post by John Paolillo » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:23 am

Susan Herring and I were happy to see the interest in our talk expressed on the forums. As you can see in the slides linked below, this thread made a cameo in the talk itself.

http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~paolillo/ ... g.slis.ppt

With the backlog of work from the semester ending at exactly the time that we gave this talk, it took me a full month to post the slides. Some people had requested audio as well, but we did not fare so well on this front. My digital recorder ran out of memory about 1/2 way through the talk, and it was five minutes or more before I could get it back running again, so we don't have a suitable audio file to post, sorry to say. I'm not positive, but it's possible that there are also some Macintosh-specific graphics in the slides. If anyone needs a PDF, let me know and I will post that.

The bzflag demonstration referred to in the slides was a playback of a few minutes from a GU match projected on the screen where everyone could appreciate it. We had only the laptop speakers for the playback, so it was hard to get the full audio effect, but even so people were over-awed by the sheer visual stimulation of the GU's finest battling it out on the HIX map.

Susan is the architect of the analysis of the chat in this presentation. She has applied the method to other forms of computer-mediated communication, and so was interested to see what we'd find in an environment that wasn't strictly for chatting. One of the outcomes of the research so far was recognition of a need to tie the chat analysis more closely to the game-play to get a better appreciation for how both work together. We'll be doing more research along these lines in the future; I'll post about that in new threads in this forum as those things come up.

If you'd like to get in touch with us about this research, feel free to use email. We'd be more than happy to hear your questions and/or comments.

Happy tanking,

John Paolillo

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Thanks for the slides!

Post by SilverFox » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:54 am

Wow, thanks for the slides.

Regarding recording matches... I think there is a way to have your client write the console to file. I forget the setting though. The problem with this is the only thing logged is what that particular user sees (team, public and private)

When the SilverCat servers were up, we automatically recorded all games (in memory), but only stored the last x minutes when an admin had reason to do so (say, to review a possible cheat, or to share something other admins needed to see) This could easily be set up to record all games to disk and make publicly available, but there wasn't any motivation to do something like that. It would just eat up hard drive space.

I find it interesting that bzflag has its own lingo and acronyms that aren't really seen anywhere else. Bzflag is uniquely different than most online games (most are either FPS, MMORPG, or RTS), and while bzflag may technically be a FPS, it has an old arcade feel that is unique, which means its player base is more likely to be isolated. Half life players will play counterstrike, wolf ET, and possibly tremulous, but I don't know of any other game that would go into the same category as bzflag (other than maybe armegatron)

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

-SilverFox

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Re: Thanks for the slides!

Post by temporal distraction » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:38 am

SilverFox wrote:Regarding recording matches... I think there is a way to have your client write the console to file. I forget the setting though.
the command I use to start the game client is on my mac is:

Code: Select all

/Users/(username)/svn-current/bzflag/build/Default/BZFlag.app/Contents/MacOS/bzflag -window -echoAnsi | tee -a ~/BZFlag/BZF-session.log
obviously the paths will change.

But, as you say, this only saves the publicly seen chat. The best bet would be to get access to actual server logs. These could be easily filtered to show just the chat dialog, but the whole log could be used if game play context is important.

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Re: Slides are now available.

Post by Saturos » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:02 am

John Paolillo wrote:Susan Herring and I were happy to see the interest in our talk expressed on the forums. As you can see in the slides linked below, this thread made a cameo in the talk itself.

http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~paolillo/ ... g.slis.ppt

With the backlog of work from the semester ending at exactly the time that we gave this talk, it took me a full month to post the slides. Some people had requested audio as well, but we did not fare so well on this front. My digital recorder ran out of memory about 1/2 way through the talk, and it was five minutes or more before I could get it back running again, so we don't have a suitable audio file to post, sorry to say. I'm not positive, but it's possible that there are also some Macintosh-specific graphics in the slides. If anyone needs a PDF, let me know and I will post that.

The bzflag demonstration referred to in the slides was a playback of a few minutes from a GU match projected on the screen where everyone could appreciate it. We had only the laptop speakers for the playback, so it was hard to get the full audio effect, but even so people were over-awed by the sheer visual stimulation of the GU's finest battling it out on the HIX map.

Susan is the architect of the analysis of the chat in this presentation. She has applied the method to other forms of computer-mediated communication, and so was interested to see what we'd find in an environment that wasn't strictly for chatting. One of the outcomes of the research so far was recognition of a need to tie the chat analysis more closely to the game-play to get a better appreciation for how both work together. We'll be doing more research along these lines in the future; I'll post about that in new threads in this forum as those things come up.

If you'd like to get in touch with us about this research, feel free to use email. We'd be more than happy to hear your questions and/or comments.

Happy tanking,

John Paolillo
I have yet to take a look at the slides, but already got a question. :)
You said you demonstrated BZFlag showing a GU-match. May I know who played in that match? If you can remember?

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Re: Slides are now available.

Post by temporal distraction » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:09 am

Saturos wrote: I have yet to take a look at the slides, but already got a question. :)
You said you demonstrated BZFlag showing a GU-match. May I know who played in that match? If you can remember?
One of the slides is of some sample chat that is quite entertaining and has some familiar names.

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Re: Slides are now available.

Post by ts » Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:59 pm

John Paolillo wrote:http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~paolillo/ ... g.slis.ppt

With the backlog of work from the semester ending at exactly the time that we gave this talk, it took me a full month to post the slides. Some people had requested audio as well, but we did not fare so well on this front. My digital recorder ran out of memory about 1/2 way through the talk, and it was five minutes or more before I could get it back running again, so we don't have a suitable audio file to post, sorry to say. I'm not positive, but it's possible that there are also some Macintosh-specific graphics in the slides. If anyone needs a PDF, let me know and I will post that.
I would like to look at that ".ppt" file but..I can't view the slides. I'm needing a PDF to look at it. :oops:
John Paolillo wrote:The bzflag demonstration referred to in the slides was a playback of a few minutes from a GU match projected on the screen where everyone could appreciate it. We had only the laptop speakers for the playback, so it was hard to get the full audio effect, but even so people were over-awed by the sheer visual stimulation of the GU's finest battling it out on the HIX map.
I'm also curious about who played, like Saturos. There are big differences of style and skill, depending on who plays.

I assume you didn't watch an "european match" because of the different time zones. Is that correct?

From http://gu.bzleague.com/index.php?link=news I interpret that the best europeans are more competitive than the best north americans.
John Paolillo wrote:Susan is the architect of the analysis of the chat in this presentation. She has applied the method to other forms of computer-mediated communication, and so was interested to see what we'd find in an environment that wasn't strictly for chatting. One of the outcomes of the research so far was recognition of a need to tie the chat analysis more closely to the game-play to get a better appreciation for how both work together. We'll be doing more research along these lines in the future; I'll post about that in new threads in this forum as those things come up.
From what I know, people mostly concentrate on playing, writing only short words during matches. Teamspeak was (I don't know about current status) also used by some teams. I used that a lot. Nowadays I'll just use team internal chat and short words, like "def", "base".

My team also used to have a big LAN party at least one time per year. (I'm in Saturos' team, but rather new in there.)


I imagine it quite interesting to study BZFlag in university, wish my university would do that, too. :wink:

Have fun and happy new year!
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Post by quantum dot » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:39 pm

Interesting post. At first glance, it occurs to me that you might be losing a good deal of useful information about the issue you want to investigate because of the fact that most personal content and meaningful conversations usually take place in teams (not obv) and private messages (1 to 1). Those arent obviously available and are only used by admins to log what is going on at the servers.

Most public conversations are quite soft and superficial, as opposed with private chats or admin's chat. So most of the information content is not seen in the public channel you can look at as obv. In reality, conversations are much more than sry, huh, camper, wtf, gg, ....etc and, despite the annoyance of the bzflag chat system, we talk a lot while on the servers. Some relationships develop quite a good deal towards a true friendship.

qdot.

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Post by Joe-Schmoe » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:30 pm

I heartily agree. I've been involved in about 3 conversations at once, one in admin chat, one in private message, and one in team message (4 if talking to a person IRL also counts ;) ). I was using full sentences, etc. and none of it could be seen by anyone else.

Can server owners see all the private chats? It may be useful to track down the logs. It would also be helpful to see other events in the log, eg: why is that player laughing? Was he killed? Did he tk? Did he take out 4 people at once with a laser?
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Post by John Paolillo » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:53 pm

Thanks again for the interest and feedback. A pdf version of the slides is now available here:

http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~paolillo/ ... g.slis.pdf

As for the specific demonstration game, I'm not sure which exact one it was. It was probably one of the twelve below, all of which were used in one part of our sample (selected games with larger numbers of players).

Code: Select all

    #01:  match-20070922-184120.rec       [   1807.2 seconds]
    #02:  match-20070926-231908.rec       [   2237.1 seconds]
    #03:  match-20070928-215034.rec       [   1838.3 seconds]
    #04:  match-20071003-222459.rec       [   1800.0 seconds]
    #05:  match-20071008-161707.rec       [   1998.0 seconds]
    #06:  match-20071018-215614.rec       [   2305.4 seconds]
    #07:  match-20071020-141804.rec       [   1800.0 seconds]
    #08:  match-20071021-164603.rec       [   2357.0 seconds]
    #09:  match-20071021-204000.rec       [   1799.9 seconds]
    #10:  match-20071027-171920.rec       [   1912.1 seconds]
    #11:  match-20071107-022056.rec       [   1839.0 seconds]
    #12:  match-20071110-185952.rec       [   1806.1 seconds]
The other part was a random sample from the same time period (mid-September to mid-November). All of the files can be found here:

http://quol.bzflag.bz/gumatches

You'll have to page back to find these particular ones. As for the chat itself, yes, it is mostly short, abbreviated and even formulaic expressions, but there are some remarkably well-developed exchanges that illustrate how people have adapted to the medium/interface in order to communicate for a variety of different purposes. This is part of what fascinates us. Also, not being a GU player, I found it challenging to interpret certain expressions that you don't see much on public servers (e.g. sk; elsewhere we worry much more about tk!). I had to get assistance on some of these. Even within BZFlag, there are a few different traditions.

As for Universities studying BZFlag, you can expect to see more online game research, even if it is not specifically BZFlag. Researchers all over are realizing that there are interesting questions to be asked and answered about online multiplayer games. So far most of this work has been done on World of Warcraft and Second Life, but gradually people are branching out.

Apropos the old world/new world dimension of BZFlag, please see the new thread in this forum.

Thanks again for the comments and the interest,

John Paolillo

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Post by SilverFox » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:07 pm

If you can't view the ppt, or the pdf, you may use this:

http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id= ... 10fnqjz7fw

(In Trem, I think sk=steal kill)

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Post by soxs » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:20 pm

I interpret that the best europeans are more competitive than the best north americans.

thats untrue ts i wasn't in that game or orbit, 2 of the best form north america didn't play.

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Re: Slides are now available.

Post by a blue tank » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:44 am

John Paolillo wrote:Susan Herring and I were happy to see the interest in our talk expressed on the forums. As you can see in the slides linked below, this thread made a cameo in the talk itself.

http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~paolillo/ ... g.slis.ppt
To quote from slide 27:

Code: Select all

Although most chat is not interactive, extended exchanges occur intermittently are surprisingly coherent
Does anyone else here find that use of "surprisingly", well, surprising? It seems that the "scientists" who have been studying us have come to their work with some preconceptions about us.

"Ooh look, some of the antisocial, homicidal geeks can actually hold a conversation!"

Meanwhile, I think they could look at the "chat-as-unspoken-boast" aspect. You know, some people can maintain a chat while killing others left, right and center. I have to wait to be killed before I can chat safely ... :-(

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Post by Tedius » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:45 pm

heh, they should have included how easily people get offended to innocuous statements made by others. :)

I can see what you mean, blue tank, but I'm pretty sure what they found surprising was the ability for us to carry on in-depth conversations while doing all the other stuff required for the game driving, shooting, jumping, etc..

I agree, most of my chat is after I get killed, but I think it is interesting the way the controls become second nature to us so much that we start to think of ourselves and others as tanks.

shoot, jump, chat, jump, shoot, shoot, adjust the radar, dodge, die, spawn, chat, identify, shoot, binoculars, shoot, jump, chat, die ...
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Post by joevano » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:38 pm

I know the way to make my score plummet is to get me talking :P
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Re: Slides are now available.

Post by High Karate Kitty » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:21 am

a blue tank wrote:Meanwhile, I think they could look at the "chat-as-unspoken-boast" aspect. You know, some people can maintain a chat while killing others left, right and center. I have to wait to be killed before I can chat safely ... :-(
If you have wings just give a couple flaps and respond "sorry, heheh, :o how could you" drop and shoot. You could get yourself in a spot that looks safe for a few and quickly respond, but it is wiser to wait to die first. I have found players will try to engage me in conversation just before coming around the corner to kill me. I still fall for that one :)

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