CV/contact

Email: jonas@autofire.dk
Phone: (+45) 25527198

Postal
Jonas Heide Smith
Jagtvej 25, 3. tv.
2200 København N
DK – Denmark

I have a PhD from the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen. I am currently head of digital communication at SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark.
I’ve taught courses on the philosophy of technology, media theory, web communication, and digital rhetorics.
Some of my research interests (reflected on this site) have been: Player communication and interaction, economic game theory applied to video games, computer-mediated communication.

Degrees/education

PhD in game studies from the Center for Computer Games Research, The IT University of Copenhagen (2006)

MA in Media Studies from the Department of Film and Media Studies, Copenhagen University (2002)

BA in Film and Media Studies (with Political Science) from the Department of Film and Media Studies, Copenhagen University (1999)

Work experience

Head of digital communication at SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark

Online communications specialist at Egmont

Web manager at the Danish Film Institute

Amanuensis and head of the Digital Design and Communication study line, IT University of Copenhagen (2006 – 2008).

PhD candidate at the Center for Computer Games Research, IT University of Copenhagen (September 2003 – August 2006)

Study program developer at the HA(kom.) program at the Copenhagen Business School (April-July 2003)

Assistant teacher at the IT University of Copenhagen. Affiliated with the course Computer Games (September 2002 – July 2003)

Assistant teacher at the Copenhagen Business School. Co-responsible for a course on practical communication at the HA(kom.) program (September 2002 – July 2003)

Teaching position at The University of Copenhagen. Co-responsible for the course Teknosofikum 1 and Teknosofikum 2 at The Institute of Philosophy, Pedagogy, and Rhetorics (August 2002 – July 2003)

Project Manager at development of European Union information site for young people (April 2002 – September 2002)

Web editor/developer at Danish daily newspaper Dagbladet Information (May 2000 – August 2002)

Work on webdesign and similar fields in own company Medias Res (October 1999 – September 2005)

Assistant at Københavns Radio (January 1998 – August 1998)

Interview assistant at ScanTest Research International (1994 – 1996)

Teaching experience

Fall 2007 (IT University of Copenhagen, graduate level) Digital Retorik

Spring 2007 (IT University of Copenhagen, graduate level) Digital Retorik

Spring 2004 (IT University of Copenhagen, graduate level) Medier og kommunikation [beskrivelse / kursuswebsite]

Spring 2003 (University of Copenhagen, undergraduate level) Teknosofikum 2 [Div. information]

Spring 2003 (CBS) Kommunikationsværksted (2. semester)

Spring 2003 (University of Copenhagen, undergraduate level) Teknosofikum 2 [Div. information]

Fall 2002 (KU) Teknosofikum 1 [Div. information]

Fall 2002 (Copenhagen Business School, undergraduate level) Kommunikationsværksted [Div. information]

Other experience

Co-editor on the department periodical Inquirer (January 2000 – March 2001)

Work on computer game design on the project ViaMetropol (March 1999 – January 2000)

Co-organiser of the seminar ‘The role of news media in democracy’, The University of Copenhagen (October 1998)

Founded and co-develops Akademisk Opgavebank (1998 – )

Spanish studies in Guatemala and Mexico (January 1996 – July 1996)

PhD


Download Plans and Purposes: How videogame goals shape player behaviour (4.5MB PDF).

On 7 December 2006 I succesfully defended my PhD dissertation Plans and Purposes: How Video Games Shape Player Behavior. My main supervisor was Anker Helms Jørgensen and my co-supervisor was TL Taylor. The official opponents were Edward Castronova and Bart Simon.

The evaluation committee wrote:
“Jonas Heide Smith’s dissertation will provide PhD students around the world with a template for conducting theoretical and empirical analyses at a level of analytical reliability and utility that dwarfs the current literature.”

Table of contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 6
MOTIVATION AND CONTRIBUTION 8
A BRIEF NOTE ON PREVIOUS WORK 10
THE THEORY OF GAMES 11
APPROACH 14
FOCUS 16

CHAPTER 2: VISIONS OF THE PLAYER 21
THE PLAYER IN GAME STUDIES 21
FOUR MODELS OF THE PLAYER 23

CHAPTER 3: GAMES AND THE RATIONAL PLAYER MODEL 43
GAME CONFLICT AND BEHAVIOUR 44
AN INTRODUCTION TO VIDEO GAME CONFLICT 45
THE RATIONAL PLAYER MODEL REVISITED 57
IMPLICATIONS FOR VIDEO GAMES 64
GAME GOALS 66
GAME THEORY AND VIDEO GAMES 74
MODELLING GAMES 85
STRATEGICNESS 145

CHAPTER 4: PLAYER BEHAVIOUR 160
PREVIOUS STUDIES OF PLAYER BEHAVIOUR 161
THE STUDY: THREE GAMES, THREE PLAYER RELATIONSHIPS 179
DISCUSSION OF THE IN-GAME/OUT-OF-GAME SPLIT 227
SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION 235

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND NEW PERSPECTIVES 240
FUTURE PERSPECTIVES 242
REFERENCES 245
VIDEO GAMES CITED 255

Dissertation abstract

Games shape player behaviour by presenting goals which players attempt to fulfil.
This is the most common “folk” theory of the relationship between game design and player behaviour. It is also one central to most game design literature and to much work within the game studies field.

In this dissertation, the simple idea that players try to win is explicated through a “Rational Player Model”, a tool for understanding the relationship between game goals and the behaviour of players who try to reach these goals. The model is discussed and applied in two capacities:

A) As a model for formal analysis which can used to understand and categorize certain aspects of games related to goals. Here, video games are studied through the lens of (economic) game theory in order to determine, for instance, the types of conflict dynamics the games will elicit given Rational Player assumptions.

B) As an ideal type of actual player behaviour. Here, the model is used to derive concrete predictions about video game player behaviour which are then compared to actual play in an empirical study of multiplayer console gaming. The dissertation finds that the Rational Player Model is one of four models of player behaviour common in the game studies/design literature and that it is the predominant model within game design. Also, the model is found to often operate at so deep a level as to be unstated. Applying the model analytically, video games are
categorized as competitive, semicooperative or cooperative and it is shown how the number of players influence a game’s conflict dynamics. This leads to an analysis of “strategicness” of different game types; a combined measure of the degree to which other players matter to the choices of the “rational” player and the range of these choices.

Finally, deriving behavioural predictions from the model and comparing these to data from a study on multiplayer console play, players are found to behave “rationally” within the gamespace itself while working to fulfil various social functions in their verbal interaction.

UPDATE: See also “My research” entries