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" Ik ben Joram, en het moet kapot " - a phrase coined by a couple of friends of mine - roughly translates to " My name is Joram, and it has to break ". My friends and classmates started using this phrase somewhere in my second year studying game design at the Utrecht school of art. The reason they've been using it is because well.. I break stuff. All the time .
I run a community Playtesting and Design Slam every other month for devs in Sydney. It’s a chance for devs of all sizes (commercial to indie) to meetup, get feedback on their games and debate game design. This month I’ve asked Aussie devs to share their tips and techniques for gathering player data to help guide their game design. What are you using to analyse player behavior in game? Mark Lyons ( Floating Man Games ): “We have been playing around with Playtomic , still working out the best way to get all the data we want but it is really easy to setup and get working.”
December 29, 2011 | By Georgios Christou
[ The following is the second of two articles by college professor and researcher Ben Lewis-Evans on games user research methodology (see Part 1 , which covered focus groups, heuristics, and questionnaires, as well as giving a grounding in the topic of user research in general. In this article, Lewis-Evans covers interviews, observational methods (including think out loud and contextual inquiry), game metrics, and biometrics .] Much like a questionnaire -- a topic covered in the last installment -- an interview is for collecting subjective data. However, the face-to-face nature of an interview means that you can be more interactive in your data collection, which if done correctly, can lead to very rich data. However, it is also obviously quite time-consuming, and it is harder to analyze and quantify the data you get at the end.
[ In this first article in a new series, college professor and user research Ben Lewis-Evans takes a look at different methods of game user research, offering up a handy guide to different ways you can collect useful information about your game .] This article, and its forthcoming followup, is intended to give a rough idea to developers of several different methods that can be used in games user research.
Heatmaps are an excellent tool for visualizing data with a two dimensional spatial component. They are frequently used to map out player deaths in shooter games. The most common heatmaps use the location of the victim and aggregate the number of kills as the visualized measure.
[Torque's Eric Preisz and two Full Sail usability center PhDs offer four techniques to help make your game more accessible -- even if you don't have access to a giant lab and dozens of focus testers for feedback.]
The hard part of playtesting a game prototype isn’t the playing .
My colleague Steve Fairclough recently posted an article on PhysiologicalComputing.net in which he discusses the potential pitfalls of biometric research and how it is currently being sold to the game industry. I will present some of his ideas here. Steve outlines that "psychophysiological methods are combined with computer games in two types of context: applied psychology research and game evaluation in a commercial context.
Every computer game is designed around the same central element: the player.
Reposted from www.throwthelookingglass.com So, you've started developing your game, and you've got your basic gameplay done.
[Sidhe's Griffiths discusses in depth how the GripShift developer playtested, and then took that feedback to improve, their Wii version of the recent Speed Racer game, from Wiimote tweaks to difficulty changes.]
Summary: Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford. Some people think that usability is very costly and complex and that user tests should be reserved for the rare web design project with a huge budget and a lavish time schedule. Not true. Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources.
Photo from eyetricks.com
I gave a talk at UC Berkeley called Design, Games, & Game Design (feat.