Title of the study: Semi-Exhaustive Procedural Content Generation in Snake Bird

Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Nathan Sturtevant
Department of Computing Science
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB
Co-investigator(s): Dr. Matthew Guzdial
Assistant Professor
Department of Computing Science
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB

Invitation to Participate: We invite you to participate in this study about creating content for puzzle games i.e., using a computer.

Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study is to collect human evaluations of levels for the game "Snakebird". Snakebird is a puzzle game in which the player controls creatures with the bodies of snakes and the heads of birds. Like in the classic game "snake" these creatures grow when they eat food. Players must use this core mechanic to find a way to eat all the food in a single level (one particular area of the game) and then exit. We chose to use Snakebird for studying how developers might be able to make puzzle game levels more challenging and interesting. Thus, human evaluation of these levels is crucial for testing this hypothesis.

Participation: If you wish to participate in this study you will be asked to play four Snakebird levels and take a 20-question survey. The study should take you approximately an hour to complete. You do not have to answer any questions that you do not want to answer and you may stop by simply closing the window, no data will be collected. You may take your time with the study, but we expect most participants to take 45 minutes to play the game and 15 minutes for the survey.

Benefits: There are no direct benefits to taking part in this study, outside any fun you may have playing the Snakebird levels.

Risks: There are no risks to taking part in this study.

Confidentiality and Anonymity: All results from the study will remain confidential. We will only use results from the study for the purposes of this research. The only people who will have access to the research data are Dr. Nathan Sturtevant and Dr. Matthew Guzdial. Results will be published in pooled (aggregate) format. Anonymity is guaranteed since you are not being asked to provide your name or any personal information.

Data Storage: The results will come from the surveys and logs based on how you played the levels. We will keep these results on password protected computers. These computers will only be in the department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta.

Compensation (or Reimbursement): There is no compensation for taking part in this study.

Voluntary Participation: You are under no obligation to take part and if you choose to, you may refuse to answer questions that you do not want to answer. Should you choose to withdraw midway through the electronic survey simply close the link and no responses will be included. Given the anonymous nature of the survey, once you have submitted your responses it will no longer be possible to withdraw them from the study.

Information about the Study Results: We will publish study results in a conference paper. This paper will be made publicly available through the websites of the investigators.

Contact Information: If you have any questions or need any more information about the study itself, please contact us. You may contact the researchers at the emails mentioned above.

The plan for this study has been reviewed by a Research Ethics Board at the University of Alberta, ethics ID number (Pro00098819). If you have any questions regarding your rights as a research participant or how the research is being conducted you may contact the Research Ethics Office at 780-492-2615.

Completion of the game and submission of the survey means you consent to participate in this study.

Begin study