GnomeEscape Games - an alternative for dealing with stress

Buzila, Octavian Calin (2017) GnomeEscape Games - an alternative for dealing with stress. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Stress is more and more present in our daily lives, uncontrolled exposure to it can have negative impacts on our health, starting from depression, cardiovascular problems, anxiety, and even cancer.

Stress is the body’s reaction to external factors, expelling hormones into our system and making the brain to kick into a fight or flight state, depraving our energies making it harder to recover immediately.

Even from ancient times (see Fig.13) games were used as a mean to relax, forget about daily worries and improve social activity when general resources were scarce, as described by Herodotus in the book The Histories.

This project tackles the following question: do games improve our mood? Are they inducing us a more relaxed state or not? Its aims are split into three parts. The first one is to expose a deeper understanding of what it is about games that makes stress levels decrease, followed by developing a game using Unity3D game engine; this is a new area to explore for me making use of the programming language C#, a programming language that is object oriented and used extensively in the IT market. This second part is important because by developing the game I put myself in the designer’s position and have to focus on delivering the correct positive effect to the players. The third part tries to prove the previously done research by involving external users which have to follow a simple 3 step process: complete pre-game forms, play the game and then complete post-game forms; each of these forms reflect the impact of the game over the user’s mood and reveal whether they feel more stressed or not.

Unity was chosen because it provides all the necessary tools to develop a reasonable game with relatively good graphics, although in the process of development only tools like Mixamo and Fuse were used for improving the character, and a minimal number of assets from the Unity store were brought to the game scene.

The analysis of the questionnaires will be mainly focusing on the suitability of games as an alternative for dealing with stress. At the end of this research, the number of participants that were in a better mood than before playing the game is slightly increased.

Some of the limitations encountered during the process of this research include: the constant changes of the requirements from early stages, the narrow knowledge of developing games and the small number of participants.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Gonzalez-Orbegoso, Mrs Carolina
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2018 09:07
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 00:04

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