Increasing parasocial interaction with individuals in ensemble casts of NPCs

Startdatum1 februari 2024
Einddatum31 januari 2028
RegelingFinanciering PD-kandidaten 2023-2027
  • Maatschappelijk verdienvermogen
  • Kunst
  • Kunst: onderzoek en innovatie in de 21e eeuw
  • Creatieve industrie
  • Kunst en de creatieve industrie

The presented research project will address parasocial interaction (PSI) directed towards non-player characters (NPCs) within video games. As first described by Horton and Wohl in 1956, the investigation of PSI has been predominantly limited to the context of linear media. Consequently, a significant research gap has emerged, prompting the need for this study.
This research endeavors to bridge this gap by conducting multiple studies that delve into different aspects of a character's presence that seem to affect PSI. For example, factors such as obtrusiveness and persistence will be investigated due to their potential influence on the strength of PSI (Hartmann, Schramm, & Klimmt, 2004). Furthermore, the inquiry extends to exploring the collective impact of a group of NPCs on PSI dynamics.
To achieve these objectives, the research will employ research through design methods, involving iterative modifications to the NPCs across various test setups. A game-based research environment will be created for participant exposure, leveraging the video game RimWorld (Ludeon Studios, 2018) as a foundational framework that can be adapted as necessary. Employing a quantitative approach, the studies will document the impact different aspects of a character’s presence have on the strength of PSI observed.
The outcomes of this research endeavor will be disseminated among fellow game developers through artistic interventions, such as, for example, game jams. This approach seeks to not only contribute to the scholarly understanding of PSI but also offer practical insights in the context of game development.


Breda University of Applied Sciences

Jonas Pastoors, contactpersoon
Telefoon: 0049-15756089313