Modeling social processes in games

Games often represent aspects of human society in a rules-based or computational simulation. A classic such aspect is a morality system: your actions might make you aligned "good" or "evil", or perhaps in a more complex way influence the experience or endings. Other games, like the best-selling Sims series, are entirely based on a stylized simulation of social interactions. Many other games, from Overcooked to Watch Dogs, model specific social processes.

Among academic researchers, there has furthermore been a wave of social simulation systems aiming to provide a basis for designing games strongly based around modeling social processes. A few examples are Comme il-Faut, Ensemble, Talk of the Town, and Versu.

This is perhaps more of a research theme than a single project. I would like to understand more precisely what role modeling social processes plays in games. A related question is how such modeling relates to modeling of social processes in computational social science or multi-agent systems, fields with some similarities but very different goals.


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Collaborators (current): Shi Johnson-Bey, Michael Mateas

Collaborators (2018–2019): Joan Arnedo-Moreno, Joan Casas-Roma, Swen E. Gaudl, Rob Saunders, Mike Treanor