I am currently a Research Fellow in the Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces, at The University of Melbourne, where I am exploring the potentials for gestural and eye-gaze interfaces in games and play. I was recently awarded my PhD, 'Treacherous Play in EVE Online', where I used qualitative methods to interrogate the practices, impacts and experiences involved in treacherous play such as scamming and espionage. My research bridges the fields of games studies and human-computer interaction, using qualitative methodologies to better understand the relationship between game design and player experience. As well as my EVE Online research, I also have ongoing projects concerning the strategic wargame Warhammer 40,000, the dystopic FPS MMOG DayZ, the social casual mobile game Candy Crush Saga, and on Screen Ecologies and how the physical environment in which play takes place impacts the play experience.
I am currently available for Masters and PhD supervision at The University of Melbourne.
Carter, M. (2015) Massively Multiplayer Dark Play: Treacherous Play in EVE Online. In T. Mortensen, J. Linderoth & A. Brown (Eds.) The Dark Side of Gaming. London: Routledge.
Carter, M. (2014) Emitexts and Paratexts: Propaganda in EVE Online. Games and Culture. [link]
Carter, M., Gibbs, M. (2013) eSports in EVE Online: Skullduggery, Fair Play and Acceptability in an Unbounded Competition. In Proc. Foundations of Digital Games Conference, 14-17 May, Chania, Greece. [link]
Between 2012-2014 I actively researched EVE Online play, specifically focusing on the player experience in the large, nation-state like Alliances that often exceed 10,000 players. My PhD focused on the practices, impacts and experiences around treacherous play in these groups; play involving the exploitation of misplaced trust such as scamming and espionage, play styles uniquely permitted in EVE's harsh virtual universe. I have published extensively on EVE, and provide a full list here.
With Kelly Bergstrom and Darryl Woodford, I have also edited an academic collection of EVE Online scholarship that includes contributions from academics, EVE players, and CCP Games developers. This collection will be published in late 2015 or early 2016 by The University of Minnesota Press.
I have been researching the unique player experience of DayZ since 2013 (both the original mod and the standalone). Initially this was driven by its resemblance to EVE Online - both feature harsh, dystopian virtual worlds and treacherous play - but has more recently focused on examining its changing experience associated with its ongoing development as an opportunity to identify how relatively minor changes can drastically affect the play experience and sociality of the game world.
Image via Midhras
Carter, M. (2015) The First Week of the Zombie Apocalypse: The Influences of Game Temporality, Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds 7(1): 59-75.
Carter, M., Gibbs, M. & Wadley, G. (2013) Death and Dying in DayZ. In Proc. IE'13, Melbourne, Australia.
Carter, M., Gibbs, M. & Harrop, M. (2014) Drafting an Army: The Playful Pastime of Warhammer 40,000. Games and Culture 9(2): 122-147. [link]
Carter, M., Harrop, M. & Gibbs, M. (2014) The Roll of the Dice in Warhammer 40,000.Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association [link]
Harrop, M., Gibbs, M. & Carter, M. (2013) Everone's a Winner at Warhammer 40k (or, at least not a loser). In Proc. DiGRA 2013 [link]
With Martin Gibbs and Mitchell Harrop, I have been studying the attraction of the tabletop strategic wargame Warhammer 40,000, a persistently popular non-digital game notable for its high cost of entry and skilled play. In this project, we have been concerned with understanding the influences between the assemblage of practices that constitute the 'play' of Warhammer 40,000, an approach in contrast to the typical study of games as isolated artifacts.
Candy Crush Saga is the most popular digital game in the world, possibly ever, with over 150,000,000 active monthly players at its peak. I set out to better understand the appeal and experience of Candy Crush Saga in the context of the vitriolic reception of its monetization practices. In particular, I focused on the concept of cheating in relation to Candy Crush play, based on the fascinating finding that a large percentage of players considered in-game purchases a form of cheating.
In the context of my other research into more 'hardcore' games, I also found that interrogating a casual game experience in the same way as I have done so with hardcore games has been beneficial. As well as elucidating a richer understanding of the Candy Crush experience, it has also informed how I study 'hardcore' games like EVE Online.
Carter, M. & Bjork, S. (2015) Cheating at Candy Crush Saga. In T. Leaver & M. Wilson (Eds.) Social, Casual, Mobile [in press]
Carter, M., Nansen, B. & Gibbs, M. (2014) Screen Ecologies, Multi-Gaming and Designing for Different Registers of Engagement. In Proc. CHI Play 14, pp. 37-46. [link]
Based on findings from my EVE Online and Candy Crush research, in 2014 I began thinking more critically about how where we play games impacts the play experience. In particular, I wanted to understand how players managed multiple monitors and devices during their play. I recently attended the 2014 CHI Play conference to present some work on this topic I conducted with Bjorn Nansen and Martin Gibbs, where I argued that multiple monitors is decreasing the need for games to be fully immersive. Instead, games should aim to integrate with other practices. In other words, games should be more boring.
I am currently studying dedicated gaming computers (Battlestations) as a lens through which to understand how gamers configure their play environment, and how the hardware that enables gaming impacts its experience.
In late 2014, I began a three year position as a Research Fellow in the Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces (NUI). Broadly speaking, NUI refers to computer interfaces that are not a key-board and mouse, such as gestures, eye-gaze, brain-computer interaction and voice control. My current focus is on the difference between immersive game environments and task based computing with regard to designing NUI interfaces.
Currently there are no published papers for this research.