Scalable Health Labs

Towards Bio-Behavioral Medicine


FaceEngage: Robust Estimation of Gameplay Engagement from User-contributed (YouTube) Videos

Xu Chen, Li Niu, Ashok Veeraraghavan, and Ashutosh Sabharwal, FaceEngage: Robust Estimation of Gameplay Engagement from User-contributed (YouTube) Videos. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing (2019)


Xu Chen, Graduate Student, ECE
Dr. Ashok Veeraraghavan, Associate Professor, ECE
Dr. Ashutosh Sabharwal, Professor and Chair, ECE

Problem: Measuring user engagement in interactive tasks can facilitate numerous applications toward optimizing user experience, ranging from eLearning to gaming. However, a significant challenge is the lack of non-contact engagement estimation methods that are robust in unconstrained environments.



Our Solution: We present FaceEngage, a non-intrusive engagement estimator leveraging user facial recordings during actual gameplay in naturalistic conditions. Our contributions are three-fold. First, we show the potential of using front-facing videos as training data to build the engagement estimator. We compile FaceEngage Dataset with over 700 picture-in-picture, realistic, and user-contributed YouTube gaming videos (i.e., with both full-screen game scenes and time-synchronized user facial recordings in subwindows). Second, we develop FaceEngage system, that captures relevant gamer facial features from front-facing recordings to infer task engagement. We implement two FaceEngage pipelines: an estimator trained on user facial motion features inspired by prior psychological works, and a deep learning-enabled estimator. Lastly, we conduct extensive experiments and conclude: (i) certain user facial motion cues (e.g., blink rates, head movements) are engagement-indicative; (ii) our deep learning-enabled FaceEngage pipeline can automatically extract more informative features, outperforming the facial motion feature-based pipeline; (iii) FaceEngage is robust to various video lengths, users/game genres and interpretable. Despite the challenging nature of realistic videos, FaceEngage attains the accuracy of 83.8% and leave-one-user-out precision of 79.9%, both of which are superior to our face motion-based model.


Visit here to download our FaceEngage dataset.