Part-way through completing my PhD program I began to create games to use in research projects. Actually creating a game from scratch with the help of an engine allows for much more experimental control than can be achieved by either modding games, or using commercially available games. I also discovered that creating games can be a fun and more intuitive way to learn programming than the typical approach to teaching programming more often used in university Computer Science departments. Unity uses C# and Javascript for coding, and is particularly good for learning object oriented coding practices. A Unity scene is composed of "gameobjects," which can be manipulated through code but visualized in the editor and in compiled games. The visualization of the code that's been written is where I think creating games can be used to teach coding in a way that's very accessible. Unity has the advantage of being well documented and hosting hours of video tutorials online. Here are some of the game I've created for teaching, for fun, and for my research.

Endless Runner Example

An endless runner in which the character controller rotates, but doesn't move. Instead, an endless road is created ahead of the character piece by piece and moved towards the player. As the player rotates, the road also rotates to simulate turning. Track pieces are added at run time in a way that prevents track pieces from overlapping.

Escape Room Example

The objective of this game is to escape a space station. The only way to escape is to gather clues and solve puzzles. The game uses a third person camera setup, basic inventory system, and seperate physics based controls for some puzzles.

Pong Example

It's possible to create a version of Pong in Unity with only a few lines of code by making use of Unity's built in Physics. This version is a great classroom example and a good introduction to the math used in games as it only uses 2 instead of the more common 3 dimensions. It has a simple script to control the vector of the ball and is useful as a first game for students to learn the basics of the Unity engine. The ball's position in space must be tracked to make sure it doesn't go off screen, and if it does, then the ball's vector must be reflected so it moves back into view.

Horror Hospital Game Video

A horror themed game based around navigating around obstacles, avoiding zombies, collecting items and fulfilling quests given by NPCs. Keeping the same environment, I manipulated the camera perspective resulting in 2.5D and 3D experimental conditions, which are shown in the video.

Happy Hospital Game Video

Based on the horror themed game above, but with all horror related elements removed.

FPS Game Video

A first person perspective shooter game. This is a mobile friendly, Unity version of the game I used in my PhD dissertation, which was initially implemented in the CryEngine. Participants are asked to defeat an alien invasion of a government building. Levels in the game are timed, with waves of aliens spawning into the game at regular intervals.

Car Racing Game Video

This was my first attempt at a game in Unity. I used lots of standard asset scripts combined with placement of billboards around a mountain race track. Participants raced an AI car, but had to stick the race course or be reset to the nearest race checkpoint. This is also the first game that I used a practice area and in-game instructions aimed at allowing participants to master controls before playing the game.

Browse below for links to my github repositories, which contain some research game related scripts. If you'd like to create your own game related studies in Unity, these scripts might provide a useful starting point. Each repository has a short description under the title, but the scripts themselves might not be documented and not have comments.

I've also uploaded a Unity asset file here. This file contains a demo scene using some of the scripts in my github repositories. I don't have any fully developed research games available for download, but if you'd like to use one of the games I've used in a published article please contact me.


A few scripts that together can be used to make a very basic FPS, with health pickups, guns, and a simple overlay that counts ammo and health. This is the game I've used most often in studies since transitioning to developing experiment for Unity. It also works well as a web-browser game.


Data handling for stimulus presentation and an experiment manager script to control experiment conditions. The data collected is the amount of time that the simuli was shown on screen and where on screen the stimulus was shown. My game experiments flow linearly from scene to scene, with verbal instructions recorded on an mp3 file and played at the start of each new scene.


A way to send data from Unity to a Google Sheet using Google's API. Alongside a Google Sheet with permissions set to edit, the script requires a JSON secret file generated by Google to work.


A script that reads chat from a designated Twitch chat room and allows it to be output into a Unity UI element.

My research investigates persuasion via embedded video game media, particularly the moderator relationship of Transportation/Immersion on this process. Over a number of studies, I've found that persuasion via game media tends to be increased in response to greater immersion of the player into the game. This effect has been present over a number of different types of games, using a number of different types of embedded messages.

I've occasionally programmed small studies, created webpages for online questionnaires and made tools to help with data analysis to use in my research. Here are examples of a few different studies, games, surveys and experiments that I've put together. The IAT and Music Description Study use an online study editor I created. This is a lightweight HTML canvas based editor for "slideshow" style experiments for presenting sounds, pictures and text. The editor is under development, but can already be used to create a wide variety of experiments.

Music Description Study

A survey aimed at musically literate participants to see how people describe in words changes to musical passages.

Fire Evacuation Simulation

A simulation of a fire emergency using Unity. In a series of studies, participants were asked to head toward the building emergency exits while the audible warning message, slow-down effect from touching NPC evacuees, and exit used by NPC evacuees. Both exit time and exit path were recorded.


This is a race attitude IAT made with my online study editor.

I'm Christopher N. Burrows, currently a postdoctoral researcher at Texas A and M University. I research the delivery of messages embedded into video games and how engagement and immersion into games influences message persuasion. I recieved my PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Connecticut where I completed my dissertation on the use of anti-DUI messages in games to reduce DUI willingness. Part of the fun of pursuing research on games has been the opportunity to develop some of my own creations, learn to be a better coder in the process, and then pass this knowledge along to students. Some of the games that I've used in my research projects are on this website.

Alongside my work related insterests in video games and psychology, I enjoy studying history, particularly medieval European history. Pictures used on this website were taken at Lastours in the Languedoc, associated with the Albigensian Crusade, and stained glass windows at Orléans Cathedral depicting the life of Joan of Arc.