Special Issues

Recent Special Issues


Special Issues in Process

  • User Evaluation for VR Games - Guest editors: Hai-Ning Liang (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China), Wenge Xu (Birmingham City University, UK), Yiyu Cai (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Fotis Liarokapis (CYENS – Centre of Excellence, Cyprus)


Current Special Issues

Special Issue on Computer Vision and Games

Video Games and Computer Vision research have long held a symbiotic relationship. On the one hand, virtual worlds in games are often used for collecting training data or as testbeds for computer vision models since they provide a greater deal of flexibility, control and scalability in the data collection process compared to the real world. On the other hand, computer vision advancements have enabled us to push the frontiers of what is possible within these artificial game worlds and have transformed the processes with which these worlds are created. However, significant research questions still remain unaddressed both in the field (Computer Vision) and the domain (Games), which include technical and engineering challenges.


This special issue invites research papers aiming to bridge the existing gaps between computer vision research and games engineering, with the motive of bringing together the games research community and the computer vision community that have largely operated independently until now. We are inviting papers for two main tracks. The first track focuses on introducing novel techniques within computer vision research that can advance the field of digital games. The second track, instead, focuses on leveraging game technologies to advance state-of-the-art techniques in computer vision. The list of topics below is not inclusive of all research directions that will be represented.

1) Computer Vision for Games

  • CV for game-playing, game testing and player modelling.

  • Data-driven CV to improve game graphics, animations, level-design, etc. as well as procedural content generation.

  • HCI through visual interfaces (gestures, posture, gaze, etc.).

  • Extended reality games.

  • Synthetic data and media generation based on users' emotions, behaviour, etc.

  • Improving real-time applicability of vision models integrated within games and game engines.

2) Games for Computer Vision

  • Game worlds that aid data augmentation techniques.

  • Rich game-based labelled datasets for tasks such as object detection, segmentation, or depth and flow estimation.

  • Ethics of game-based data collection and inference.

  • Forward modelling in and for games.

  • Generalisation and robustness in vision models leveraging a plethora of existing commercial games.

  • Unsupervised pre-training of image/video representations and world transition models from gameplay data.


We invite the submission of high quality papers on the topics above in the full paper format. Authors should follow normal IEEE Transactions on Games guidelines for their submissions, but clearly identify their papers for this special issue during the submission process. Extended versions of previously published conference or workshop papers are welcome, provided that the journal paper is a significant extension, and is accompanied by a cover letter explaining the additional contribution. You may visit the submission guidelines for author information guidelines and page length limits.

Important Dates:

  • Paper submission: January 31, 2024

  • First decisions: May 31st, 2024

  • Early access SI publication (online): August 2024

  • Publication in print: End 2024

Guest Editors:

  • Chintan Trivedi (University of Malta)

  • Matthew Guzdial (University of Alberta)

  • Konstantinos Makantasis (University of Malta)

  • Julian Togelius (New York University)

  • Nicu Sebe (University of Trento)


Special Issue on Human-Centred AI in Game Evaluation


Most games are consciously designed with a specific experience or vision in mind. Games are commonly designed for entertainment and competition purposes, but self-expression, social critique, targeted learning, knowledge discovery as well as physical and mental health are also valid design objectives. Determining whether an objective is fulfilled is often quite difficult due to the complexity of modern games and the variability of human responses. For this reason, games are commonly playtested before being published. However, playtests are expensive and time-consuming and not all aspects of the game can be evaluated to the full extent before it is published.


There is thus a need for more concentrated and systematic work on evaluating/characterising games, its artefacts as well as player experience. Researchers have proposed approaches intended to assist game designers using methods from the field of artificial and computational intelligence (AI and CI, respectively). Still, to our knowledge, there is a surprising lack of generality and validation regarding these methods, even in scientific publications on game design. No central repository for methods currently exists. In this special issue, we want to focus on human-centred AI approaches aiming for a more holistic and systematic approach to game evaluation. We thus seek submissions on related topics for this special issue.


The following is a non-comprehensive list of suggested topics:

  • Uses of AI agents to evaluate game content

  • Measures for game evaluation

  • Game evaluation and play-testing for AR/VR

  • Relationship between AI agents and player experience

  • Automatic analysis of play-traces

  • Mixed-Initiative gameplay evaluation

  • Player modelling for game evaluation

  • Automatic evaluation for new game genres

  • Validation of automatic evaluation methods using human data

  • Generality of automatic evaluation methods

  • Differences between different evaluation methods (tested with AI or humans, qualitative vs. quantitative, objective vs subjective measures, etc.)

  • Evaluation measures and their relationship to business and research goals

  • Playtesting standards in industry

  • Correlation between objective and subjective measures

  • Ethics, privacy and legal aspects of using player data

  • Evaluation of generated content


We invite the submission of high quality papers on the topics above in the following formats:

  • Full papers

  • Short papers

  • Letters


Authors should follow normal IEEE Transactions on Games guidelines for their submissions, but clearly identify their papers for this special issue during the submission process. Extended versions of previously published conference or workshop papers are welcome, provided that the journal paper is a significant extension, and is accompanied by a cover letter explaining the additional contribution. See (https://www.transactions. games/submit/submission- guidelines ) for author information guidelines and page length limits.

Important Dates

  • Paper submission November 1st, 2023

  • First decisions January 29th, 2024

  • Early access SI publication (online) March 2024

  • Publication in print End 2024

Guest Editors

  • Alena Denisova (University of York, UK)

  • Diego Pérez-Liébana (Queen Mary University of London, UK)

  • Vanessa Volz (modl.ai, DK)

  • Julian Frommel (Utrecht University, NL)

  • Sahar Asadi (King, SE)

 Recent Special Issues

  • User Experience of AI in Games - Guest editors: Henrik Warpefelt, Christoph Salge, Magy Seif El-Nasr, Jichen Zhu and Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari
  • Evolutionary Computation for Games - Guest editors: Jacob Schrum (Southwestern University in Georgetown, USA), Anikó Ekárt (Aston University, UK), Cameron Browne (Maastricht University, NL) and Jialin Liu
  • Evolutionary Computation for Game-playing - Guest editors: Jialin Liu (SusTech), Jacob Schrum (Southwestern University) and Marcus Gallagher (University of Queensland)
  • Team AI in Games - Guest editors: Maxim Mozgovoy (University of Aizu), Mike Preuss (Leiden University), Tomoharu Nakashima (Osaka Prefecture University), and Rafael Bidarra (Delft University of Technology)


Current Special Issues

User Evaluation for VR Games

The rapid development of motion tracking, miniature displays, communication technologies, and the unique characteristics (immersion, realism, engagement) of immersive virtual reality (VR) technologies have changed the nature of gaming and, to a large extent, helped shape its future. The way players interact and experience VR games is very different from traditional platforms. For instance, VR players are moving from (1) 2D screen-based gaming to 360° gaming, (2) playing the character to being the character, and (3) limited sensory feedback to complete feedback (e.g., touch, taste, smell). Despite these changes, current research on VR games still relies primarily on user evaluation methods and approaches designed for traditional 2D screen-based games. As VR becomes more pervasive, more attention needs to be paid to designing, reconfiguring, or validating methods and approaches for evaluating gameplay and experiences in VR games.

There are several limitations of applying traditional questionnaires and methods for measuring VR gameplay: (1) traditional questionnaires have not been validated for VR games, (2) they are not designed for VR gaming, and the unique characteristics of VR gaming (e.g., immersion, sickness, fatigue) are often not included in their measurements, (3) it may interrupt the overall VR game experiences (e.g., sense of immersion) if used outside of VR. On the other hand, VR enriches performance data generated by the players and offers several physical movement data generated by the users, which might also provide insights into the overall gaming experience. Therefore, there is an urgent need to establish new and novel metrics for measuring VR games.

Several consumer-based headsets are now using (or compatible to include) physiological sensors, including eye-tracking, electroencephalography, and electromyography. As such, VR provides a golden opportunity for using real-time measures of human responses essential to the players' experience. Traditional physiological or biometrics such as eye-tracking and heart rate (i.e., attention and stress responses), electroencephalography and electromyography (e.g., cognitive load), emotions/expressions (e.g., users' feeling) could be considered and adapted for assessing VR gameplay experience, but they need to be validated. In addition, these physiological data have the potential to be used in real-time to improve the user and gameplay experience. Real-time use of such data remains largely underexplored.

This special issue focuses on exploring novel and state-of-the-art user evaluation methods for VR games. We are looking for model papers with high standard, rigorously tested user evaluation methods that other researchers can follow and build on. The special issue aims to bring together researchers from various backgrounds to report their novel methods, approaches, and designs to assess VR gameplay and experience. Suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Metrics tailored for VR games
    • Performance
    • Experience
    • Physiological
  • Methods and devices for measuring these metrics
    • Development of integrated physiological sensors in VR headsets
    • Development of algorithms for analysis of players' performance
  • Performance/Experience modeling
  • Studies that use physiological measurements in VR games
  • Real-time adaptive gameplay and experience
  • Dynamic in-game questionnaires
  • Multimodal, multi-source measurements

Important Dates

  • Abstract submission to guest editors and the EiC July 30, 2022
  • Paper submission September 1, 2022
  • First decisions November 30, 2022
  • Early access SI publication (online) Early 2023
  • Publication in print Late 2023

Guest Editors

  • Hai-Ning Liang

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China

Email: haining.liang [at] xjtlu.edu.cn

  • Wenge Xu

Birmingham City University, UK

Email: Wenge.Xu [at] bcu.ac.uk

  • Yiyu Cai

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Email: MYYCai [at] ntu.edu.sg

  • Fotis Liarokapis

CYENS – Centre of Excellence, Cyprus

Email: f.liarokapis [at] cyens.org.cy


New Proposals

If you are interested in guest editing a special issue, you should send a proposal to the Editor-in-Chief (Georgios N. Yannakakis).


Preparing your Proposal

  1. Please prepare a Call for Papers which will ultimately be distributed. We would suggest that this is a maximum of one side of A4.
  2. Please provide an additional page, that presents short biographies of the proposed guest editors and why they are qualified to guest edit a special of the Transactions of Games in the area being suggested.
  3. The proposal will be sent to the journal’s Associate Editors for comment. You may be asked to revise the proposal and this iterative process will continue until a decision has been made.


Other Points to Note

  • The proposed guest editors must include a current Associate Editor of ToG. This will ensure that the same standards are maintained for special issues, as for regular issues.
  • A guest editor can submit a maximum of ONE paper with them as an author.
  • A special issue cannot be related to a particular event (e.g. a conference) and submissions should be open to all
  • The editorial that is eventually written to introduce the special issue must not mention specific conferences or events


Previous Special Issues

  1. Computational Aesthetics in Games (Volume 4, Issue 3 and Editorial)
  2. Computational Narrative and Games (Volume 6, Issue 2 and Editorial)
  3. General Games (Volume 6, Issue 4 and Editorial)
  4. Age of Analytics (Volume 7, Issue 3 and Editorial)
  5. Physics Simulation (Volume 8, Issue 2 and Editorial)
  6. Real Time Strategy (Volume 8, Issue 4 and Editorial)