Advent Calendar 2009

21 – Game User Research: Making Games Better

Today, we have more of a slide collection. But the main featured presentation is the one from Graham McAllister, who is a researcher in video game usability at the University of Sussex in the UK and also runs the company Vertical Slice that specializes in User Experience (UX; human perspective, not quality assurance) testing for games. Most of what I have been researching in the past 4 years is already starting to be employed in practice by them (quite fascinating, really).

First, he explains the different meanings of UX jargon, such as usability (can I do it?), user experience (do I like it?), user interface (how does it look?), interaction design (how is the interface used?). Then he mentions that UX is a key factor driving review scores of games (not the technical functionality alone), which then drive the sales. He backs up his claims with sales data. However, some games with good reviews may still fail financially. On the other hand, games with bad reviews are not very likely to sell well. He then discusses two case studies (Assassin’s creed and Bioshock) in terms of successful design intent or gameplay flaws. The rise of episodic gaming demands a higher level of quality even for vertical slices of games. He goes on to analyze UX flaws of games defaced by gaming magazine reviews. Continue reading

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Advent Calendar 2009

16 – The Experience is The Product

Technology » Features » Experience. Experience is the product is a three-year old slidecast from Peter Merholz of Adaptive Path. In his slides, he explains the concept of product design in light of user experience and what design features successful products have. Data » Logic » User Interface was an early design approach for software, while now it is more User Interface » Logic » Data. Good development oscillates between those two. Essentially, the slides tell us that we design and develop for more than an artifact, but rather for a whole experience. I find this especially true in game design (again). Continue reading

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