PPIG 2020 - 31st Annual Workshop
Integrating a Live Programming Role into Games
Krish Jain, Steven L. Tanimoto
Abstract: Web-based games can permit players to take on multiple roles, and in the past such roles have generally been defined in terms of characters in game narratives. In this report on early work, we propose adding a live-programming role to games that may involve the kind of problem solving that requires “thinking outside of the box.” The live programmer can be empowered by the game designers to bend the rules, within certain bounds. We demonstrate the concept using a prototype multi-role game in which players must bring Covid-19 outbreaks under control by performing a sequence of pre-designed actions. The live programmer is able to adjust parameters of the actions, and even disable actions or create new ones. We suggest that having the live programming role in such a game can foster learning about the game domain and structure in different way than usual game playing or modification. Such a live programming role may also be appropriate in some simulation environments and emergency management systems. Finally, we discuss several issues raised by the existence of the live programming role: player power and fairness, “live scripting” (one form of live programming), and characterizations of game sessions in terms of evolution of game state versus evolution of game state plus code versions (“full trajectories”).