The New School Archives Digital Collections

Parsons School of Design MFA Design and Technology program theses2004 (PC020402.04) ➔ Converge:Emerge:Play! The Study of Emergent Behavior of Social Groups in Multiplayer Online Games


Related people/organizations

Austin Chang (designer)
Sven Travis (thesis advisor)
Barbara Morris (thesis advisor)
Louisa Campbell (thesis advisor)




The purpose of this project is to study the emergent behavior of social groups in a multi-user game environment. The project explores how members of a collective interact while striving for individual and common goals and investigates how individual perception changes within the group. An interactive collective gaming experience enables the exploration of emergent behavior through multiplayer interactivity where players can see, react, and build upon what others are doing while interpreting the conflict between individual and group. A person’s reaction is based upon three things: other people's actions, their perception of other people's actions, and their perception of their own position within the group. The dynamic equilibrium between an individual’s perception of self and group goals allows for complex group behavior to emerge. The game is a vehicle to study the behavior that emerges from people interacting with others while playing for themselves.



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