Bachelor's Thesis

Identification of game elements supporting social presence: impact of virtual agents on the feeling of loneliness


Greta Harbig

Processing Period:

28.06.2016 - 28.09.2016


The bachelor thesis focusses on the conception and development of a VR game with the goal to examine, if experiencing social presence has a positive impact on the perception of loneliness and isolation in the game-environment; therefore an virtual agent as a medium to raise the social presence is used. Loneliness can be seen as a negative feeling and consequence of encapsulation from a social environment. In the context of VR games this feeling also often exposes an unpleasant experience, because social experiences usually do not exist during playing. Illustrated as a key instrument is the usage and simulation of a game-agent, with the possibility for the player to interact with during the entire game. The virtual agent takes a supporting role in the context of achieving the game’s goal. Thus general game elements based on existing theories and experiences are identified, to reduce the feeling of loneliness, through the raise of social presence in the game. Interesting in this context might also be the variation of interactivity of the agent. In conclusion the game will be evaluated in a study and evaluate the game, with the aim of gaining knowledge concerning the risen social presence through an agent and the impact on the perception of loneliness and concerning game experience in general.