This module is for designing games using language text, mathematical notation, and abstract concepts, to conduct experiments with human subjects over the Internet for analysis. Experiments involving free form games and trading games can be designed using this module.
A free form game is composed of a finite number of stages and probability transitions that link the stages together. Upon logging into the game, subjects participating in a game are assigned a role, called a player type. The mechanism for selecting player types from the subjects logging on is defined by the moderator. Play begins at an initial stage, where instructions may be provided to players, and proceeds from stage to stage, following the rules of the probability transitions, until the end of the game. Payoffs to players accrue sequentially, or are determined at the end of the game. Within the various stages, players are required to make choices from choice sets prescribed by the moderator. The probability transitions depend on the choices made in the preceding stage, as well as statistics summarizing the previous history. The moderator also defines a data structure for experimental sessions, which generate the data gathered from the experiments for statistical analysis.
Trading games are used for using experimental methods to investigate auctions and markets, where assets are traded in real time according to rules specified by the moderator. Most of the protocols for designing, conducting and analyzing data from trading game experiments are identical to those in the free form. Here players consume rewards based on their final allocation of assets. Units of each asset are functions of factors that evolve as stochastic processes, thus determining the rate of return on the asset. The moderator defines the factors and the functions and thus determines the law of motion for the assets. A player is characterized by the markets he can trade in, his role (as an auctioneer or a bidder, whether he can make offers or only accept them, and so on), his initial asset endowments, how he values his own assets, his induced attitudes towards risk and uncertainty, and the information he has about the model economy.