Dr Penny Kyburz

Senior Lecturer
Ph.D., B.IT(Hons), G.C.Ed.(Higher Ed.), G.C.Academic Practice
CSIT (108), N330
+61 2 6125 1607

I am a researcher in the areas of experience, enjoyment, and AI in games and a veteran game developer. I developed the GameFlow model, which is a widely cited model of flow in video games.

I was the co-leader of the Games and Interactive Entertainment research group at QUT and helped to found the GRID Lab with tools for subjective and objective (biometric) measures of player experience. I have worked in various computer science research groups, including the Computer Human Interaction discipline at QUT, the Cognitive Engineering Research Group at UQ, and the Australian CRC for Interaction Design.

I have contributed to 20 digital games, which have garnered many awards, including four prestigious BAFTA nominations. I have devised usability methods and lead usability testing on AAA games, resulting in very high critic scores.

I recently worked in the Senate for 18 months as a policy adviser in communications, including telecommunications, digital rights, and broadcasting.

I have also worked to encourage women in technology for many years and lead an initiative at QUT to attract more women into games and IT.

Video games, play experience, HCI, AI, technology policy, digital rights

(Note name change from Penny Sweetser to Penny Kyburz)

Scholarly books

Sweetser, P. (2008) Emergence in Games. Hingham, MA: Charles River Media, Inc.

Scholarly book chapters

Johnson, D., Wyeth, P. & Sweetser, P. (2014). Creating Good Lives through Computer Games. In F. A. Huppert and C. Cooper (eds.) Interventions and Policies to Enhance Wellbeing. Wiley.

Sweetser, P. (2006) Environmental Awareness in Game Agents. In Rabin, S. (ed.), AI Game Programming Wisdom 3. Hingham, MA: Charles River Media, Inc.

Sweetser, P. (2004) Strategic Decision-Making with Neural Networks and Influence Maps. In S. Rabin (Ed.), AI Game Programming Wisdom 2. Hingham, MA: Charles River Media, Inc.

Sweetser, P. (2004) How to Build Neural Networks for Games. In S. Rabin (ed.), AI Game Programming Wisdom 2. Hingham, MA: Charles River Media, Inc.

Sweetser, P. (2004) How to Build Evolutionary Algorithms for Games. In S. Rabin (ed.), AI Game Programming Wisdom 2. Hingham, MA: Charles River Media, Inc.

Refereed journal articles

Sweetser, P., Johnson, D., Wyeth, P., Anwar, A., Meng, Y., & Ozdowska, A. (2017) GameFlow in Different Game Genres and Platforms. ACM Computers in Entertainment 15 (3), pp. 1-24.

Johnson, D., Gardner, J., & Sweetser, P. (2016) Motivations for videogame play: Predictors of time spent playing, Computers in Human Behavior, 63.

Sweetser, P. (2013) Teaching Games Level Design using the StarCraft II Editor. Journal of Learning Design, 6 (2), pp. 12-25.

Sweetser, P., Johnson, D., Ozdowska, A. & Wyeth, P. (2012). Active versus Passive Screen Time for Young Children. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood 37 (4).

Sweetser, P., Johnson, D., & Wyeth, P. (2012). Revisiting the GameFlow Model with Detailed Heuristics. Journal of Creative Technologies 3.

Sweetser, P. & Wiles, J. (2005) Scripting versus Emergence: Issues for Game Developers and Players in Game Environment Design. International Journal of Intelligent Games and Simulations 4 (1), pp. 1-9.

Sweetser, P. & Wyeth, P. (2005) GameFlow: A Method for Evaluating Player Enjoyment in Games. ACM Computers in Entertainment 3 (3), pp. 1-24.

Sweetser, P. & Wiles, J. (2002) Current AI in games: a review. Australian Journal of Intelligent Information Processing Systems, 8 (1), pp. 24-42.

Refereed conference papers

Sweetser, P., Wyeth, P., McMahon, N., & Johnson, D. (2013) Female Game Developers Wanted: Low pay, long hours, inflexible work environments. IEEE International Games Innovation Conference, pp. 243-249.

Johnson, D., Wyeth, P., & Sweetser, P. (2013) The People Game Play Model for Understanding Videogames’ Impact on Wellbeing. IEEE International Games Innovation Conference, pp. 85-88.

Baldwin, A., Johnson, D., Sweetser, P., & Wyeth, P. (2013) A Framework of Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment in Competitive Multiplayer Video Games. IEEE International Games Innovation Conference, pp. 16-19.

Hall, J., Wyeth, P., Johnson, D., & Sweetser, P. (2013) Embedding Challenge in Serious Games: Limitations with Current Table-based Games. Let’s Talk about Failures: Why was the Game for Children not a Success? CHI’13 Extended Abstracts on on Human Factors in Computer Systems.

Sweetser, P., Johnson, D., Wyeth, P., & Ozdowksa, A. (2012). GameFlow Heuristics for Designing and Evaluating Real-Time Strategy Games. Proceedings of the 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, pp. 1-10.

Johnson, D., Wyeth, P., Sweetser, P. & Gardner, J. (2012). Personality, Genre and Videogame Play Experience. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Fun and Games, pp. 117-120.

Wyeth, P., Johnson, D., & Sweetser, P. (2012). Conceptualising, Operationalising and Measuring the Player Experience in Videogames. Extended Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Fun and Games, pp. 90-93.

Wyeth, P., Johnson, D., & Sweetser, P. (2011). Motivating Whole Body Gaming for People with Intellectual Disability. 4th International Workshop on Whole Body Interaction, ACE 2011 Workshop, pp. 1-6.

Sweetser, P. & Wiles, J. (2005) Combining Influence Maps and Cellular Automata for Reactive Game Agents. 6th International Conference on Intelligent Data Engineering and Automated Learning, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3578, pp. 524-531.

Sweetser, P. & Johnson, D. (2004) Player-Centred Game Environments: Assessing Playing Opinions, Experiences and Issues. Entertainment Computing - ICEC 2004: Third International Conference, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3166, pp. 321-332.

Sweetser, P., Johnson, D., Sweetser, J., & Wiles, J. (2003) Creating Engaging Artificial Characters for Games. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Entertainment Computing, pp. 1-8.

Sweetser, P. & Dennis, S. (2003) Facilitating Learning in a Real Time Strategy Computer Game. Entertainment Computing: Technologies and Applications (eds. Ryohei Nakatsu and Junichi Hoshino), pp. 49-56.

Johnson, D., Gardner, J., Wiles, J., Sweetser, P. & Hollingsworth, K. (2003) The Inherent Appeal of Physically Controlled Peripherals. Entertainment Computing: Technologies and Applications (eds. Ryohei Nakatsu and Junichi Hoshino), pp. 371-378.

Conference Presentations (Invited and Industry)

Sweetser, P. (2009) Internal User Testing: Tips & Tales. Presented at Game Connect Asia Pacific, Melbourne, Australia (6-8 December, 2009).

Sweetser, P. (2009) Wired Women. Panel at Game On, Brisbane, Australia (28 January, 2009). [Invited]

Sweetser, P. (2008) Emergence in Games. Keynote presented at IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Games, Perth, Australia (15-18 December, 2008). [Invited]

Sweetser, P. (2008) Emergence in Games. Presented at Game Connect Asia Pacific, Brisbane, Australia (19-21 November, 2008).

Sweetser, P., Orman, E. & James, A. (2008) How to Lose Your Team in 10 Steps. Presented at Game Connect Asia Pacific, Brisbane, Australia (19-21 November, 2008).

Sweetser, P. (2004) Using Cellular Automata and Influence Maps in Games. Presented at the Australian Game Developers Conference, Melbourne, Australia (2-4 December, 2004).

Sweetser, P. & Drennan, P. (2003) User-Centred Design in Games. Presented at the Australian Game Developers Conference, Melbourne, Australia (20-23 November, 2003).

Sweetser, P. (2002) Learning AI in Games. Presented at the Australian Game Developers Conference, Melbourne, Australia (6-8 December, 2002).

 

Published Digital Games

I have contributed to 20 published digital games, including:

Highlights of my teaching achievements:

  • Completed a Grad. Cert. Academic Practice (as part of the QUT ECARD program) in 2013.
  • Completed a Grad. Cert. Education (Higher Education) in 2004.
  • Participated in a panel on games education at Queensland Computing Education Conventicle held at QUT in 2012.
  • Supervised four PhD students while at QUT and two prior to QUT. Completion of three PhD students.
  • Examination of one PhD thesis, as well as one Stage 2 and two confirmations.
  • Completion of Quality in Postgraduate Supervision 1 and 2 training in 2013.
  • Completion of Supervisor Solutions training in 2011.

 

Highlights of my service achievements:

  • Member of the QUT SEF Equity Committee 2012-13.
  • B. Games and Interactive Entertainment (BGIE) Year Coordinator at QUT.
  • Developed and ran the women in games program in 2011, which attracted 100 attendees over four events.
  • Ran workshops on games design as part of GO4ITgURL in 2011-13.
  • Gave presentations to potential students of the BGIE and created an ICT Career Profile video for the Queensland Government to use in career fairs and in advertising ICT careers to young Queenslanders.
  • Member of the IEEE, IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS), and Games Technical Committee of the IEEE CIS.
  • Member of the Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) and the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

Updated:  10 February 2019/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing