Curiosity in Games: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

To be held at Foundations of Digital Games 2018
Friday August 10, 2018.  10:00am - 3:00pm

A0602, Malmö University Niagara Building,
Nordenskiöldsgatan 1A, 211 19 Malmö, Sweden


Curiosity is emerging as an important source of gameplay engagement in HCI. At the same time, game design has begun to develop and test models and tools for affording curiosity in gameplay.

AI researchers in parallel are developing computational formalizations like artificial curiosity, novelty detection, or motivated reinforcement learning to model players, predict player experience, create effective and enjoyable non-player characters, or procedurally generate interesting game content.

Despite this rich and growing work on human and computational curiosity, there is little multidisciplinary dialogue on how to measure, model, and drive curiosity in and through games. This one-day workshop therefore convenes game HCI, design, and AI researchers to establish and advance the state of the art in curiosity in games.

For the full workshop proposal, please click here

Topics of Interest

  • Designing for curiosity in games
  • Models and measures of player state and trait curiosity and interest around gameplay
  • Artificial curiosity, novelty search, and related AI techniques for player modeling, game agents, and procedural content generation
  • Using computational models of curiosity for player psychology – and vice versa
  • Using curiosity design insights for computational models – and vice versa
  • Using psychological models of curiosity for design – and vice versa

Workshop Schedule

10:00 – 10:10


10:10 – 11:15

Presentations I

Curious Users of Casual Creators
Mark J. Nelson, Swen E. Gaudl, Simon Colton and Sebastian Deterding

The Effect of Visualising NPC Pathfinding on Player Exploration
Madeleine Kay and Edward J Powley

Real Virtual Improvisers Have Curves: Creative Arcs in Improvised Human-Computer Performances
Mikhail Jacob and Brian Magerko

CURIO: A Game-Based Learning Toolkit for Fostering Curiosity
Marcello A. Gómez Maureira

Manipulating Skill and Uncertainty to Foster Curiosity through the Use of Digital Badges
Joey Fanfarelli

11:15 – 11:40


11:40 – 12:05

Presentations II

Curiosity in Bodily Play Experiences
Louise Matjeka

Designing excuses for interaction to facilitate social curiosity
Mads Hobye, Nicolas Padfield and Jonas Löwgren

12:05 – 12:30

Topic Generation

12:30 – 13:00

Group Work I

13:00 – 14:00


14:00 – 14:30

Group Work II

14:30 – 14:45

Group Sharing

14:45 – 15:00

Next Steps

Workshop Organisers


Sebastian Deterding is a senior research fellow at the Digital Creativity Labs at the University of York. His work explores formalizing and validating models, guidelines, and tools for motivational design in and beyond games, more recently in intelligent, data/AI-driven interfaces. He has chaired numerous workshops at CHI (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)


Davy Smith is an interdisciplinary researcher, focusing on curiosity as a creative and exploratory process from both design-led and algorithmic viewpoints. A former software developer in the creative industries and current postdoc at the Digital Creativity Labs, his recent work centred on the development of intrinsically motivated algorithms in neuroevolutionary computation.


Edward J. Powley is a senior lecturer at the Games
Academy and research fellow at the MetaMakers Institute at
Falmouth University, researching computational creativity and
artificial intelligence for games. His current work centers on
mixed-initiative, systems to democratize game design and
uncover novel design spaces

Jessica Hammer is an assistant professor at the HumanComputer Interaction Institute and Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Her work combines quantitative and qualitative HCI research with game design to understand how design decision affect how players act and feel, including several publications on how to design for curiosity.
Alexandra To is a PhD student in HCI at Carnegie Mellon University. Her work seeks to empower marginalized individuals through transformational games.

Christian Guckelsberger is a PhD student at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been a visiting scholar at NYU’s Game Innovation Lab, and is currently working for Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK. His work explores how formal models of intrinsic motivation can advance computational creativity in and beyond games, e.g. employed in general NPC’s or the automatic prediction of player experience. He co-organised the first tutorial and co-authored a survey on intrinsic motivation in games.

Programme Committee

  • Anna Jordanous, University of Kent
  • Derek Lomas, Human Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Goren Gordon, Curiosity Lab, Dept. of Industrial Engineering, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
  • Edith Law, University of Waterloo
  • Shaghayegh Roohi, Aalto University
  • Jamie Jirout, University of Virginia
  • Mads Hobye, Roskilde University
  • Simon Colton, Falmouth University
  • Rob Saunders, Falmouth University
  • Christoph Salge, University of Hertfordshire
  • Perttu Hämäläinen, Aalto University