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Lennart Nacke

Associate Director Graduate Studies, Stratford | Associate Professor, Stratford / Drama and Speech Communication / The Games Institute

Lennart NackeDr. Lennart Nacke is an Associate Professor, the Associate Director Graduate Studies for Stratford campus, and the Director of the HCI Games Group at the University of Waterloo’s Games Institute. Professor Nacke teaches User Experience, Human-Computer Interaction, and Game Design at the University of Waterloo. As part of the Games Institute, he is researching cognitive and emotional elements of player experience in video games, immersive VR environments, and gameful applications, often using physiological measures together with surveys and player interviews. Professor Nacke has served on the steering committee of the International Game Developers Association Games User Research Special Interest Group in the past, is the chair of the CHI PLAY conference steering committee since 2014. His publications have won Best Paper Honourable Mention (awarded to the top five per cent) and Best Paper Awards (awarded to the top one per cent) at the premier human-computer interaction conferences CHI 2011 and CSCW 2012. He has published more than 100 scientific papers, which have been cited more than 7,000 times. He strongly believes in understanding users first to build more engaging games and compelling player experiences.

Courses taught

  • (UX) User Experience Fundamentals and User Research
  • Introduction to Game Design
  • Design and User Experience of Games

Research and teaching interests

Gamification: Involves the use of game design principles in systems that primarily support non-game tasks, with the goal of increasing fun, engagement and motivation. Dr. Nacke has been involved in the definition of the term and leading the academic movement in workshop and conference settings. His students have created several games that were deployed outside of gaming contexts, such as finance, social networks, and fitness.

Games user research: Developing new methods and tools for improving player testing and user research in games and entertainment systems. Dr. Nacke works closely together with the International Game Developers Association Special Interest Group on Games User Research and he has served on their steering committee in the past.

Games for human health and fitness: Making sports, physiological exercise, and health applications more playful has become one of Dr. Nacke's recent research focus areas, especially in light of the recent increase in sensor use and the quantified self movement. As part of this, he has investigated how to foster healthy habits, such as sticking to a fitness routines and engaging older adults with technology. His students have developed their own apps and his research team has worked with companies such as Ayogo Health, Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia, to analyze social health games on Facebook. A recent Engage grant with Vintage Fitness in Toronto supported a project to develop a gamified online fitness service to keep older adults fit and healthy. 

HCI for games: Finding novel sensors and interaction paradigms that drive the manner in which we interact with computers in a meaningful
and engaging way.

Affective gaming: Research using psychophysiological analysis and physiological sensors to track player sentiments when gauging engagement, cognition and player emotions.

Social relationship-building games: Developing games and installations that can be used in public spaces to build relationships and foster social interaction in groups.

Select publications

Nacke, L.. (2013). An Introduction to Physiological Player Metrics for Evaluating Games. In Seif El-Nasr, M., Drachen, A., & Canossa, A. (Eds.), In Game Analytics (pp. 585-619). Springer London. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4471-4769-5_26

Mirza-Babaei, P., Nacke, L. E., Gregory, J., Collins, N., & Fitzpatrick, G.. (2013). How does it play better?: exploring user testing and biometric storyboards in games user research. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1499-1508. DOI: 10.1145/2470654.2466200

Robb, J., Garner, T., Collins, K., & Nacke, L. E. (2017). The impact of health-related user interface sounds on player experience. Simulation & Gaming, 48(3), 402-427.

Nacke, L. E., & Deterding, S. (2017). The maturing of gamification research. Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 71, pp.450-454. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.062 

Dennis L. Kappen and Lennart E. Nacke. 2013. The kaleidoscope of effective gamification: deconstructing gamification in business applications. In Proceedings of the First International Conference on Gameful Design, Research, and Applications (Gamification '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 119-122. DOI=10.1145/2583008.2583029 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2583008.2583029

Sebastian Deterding, Dan Dixon, Rilla Khaled, and Lennart Nacke. 2011. From game design elements to gamefulness: defining "gamification". In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments (MindTrek '11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 9-15. DOI=10.1145/2181037.2181040 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2181037.2181040


Link to official department profile

Link to Stratford campus profile

For more information, please see Dr. Nacke's HCI Games Group and his publications.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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