“And it’s not about the place you go, it’s what you’re learning And it’s all about the way you grow, along the journey”

  • Lost in Translation, Threshold

My name is Nathan and I’m a PhD student at the University of York. Though technically in the Department of Computer Science, my research is part of the EPSRC funded Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence (IGGI) program, of which I’m in the third year of.

My research interests are in decision-making within open world games. These games (such as Skyrim, Witcher 3, GTA V etc) give players a huge array of quests and activities to pursue at any one time, but it’s unclear how players choose what to do when. What makes a quest enjoyable? Why did the player decide to ignore the main quest and go fishing? How do players of these games differ in motivations? These are the questions I aim to answer in my thesis.

So far I have completed research on what players expect from an experience labelled as ‘Open World’, and why. I have also spent time researching the different types of motivation scales currently in use in the literature, to understand how they relate to one another.

This blog will be about that process, including a collection of thoughts around the topic as I dive in deeper. I love discussing my work with others, so do feel free to contact me via my email or my twitter!