Some great articles on games usability and player experience

A short update this week, as I’ve been focused on a number of other projects, most importantly polishing off “Beyond Trash Talk – Understanding player motivation through analysis of social interaction in collocated multiplayer gaming” (of which, more soon!).

Today, I’d like to share some articles on usability and user experience in games that I’ve enjoyed recently, in case you missed them. I’d also be interested to hear recommendations of things I should be reading, feel free to leave a comment!

Personality And Play Styles: A Unified Model

@Pejman_MB  shared this one with me, a Gamasutra article summarising the different models out there for defining player motivation. This has been a pivotal aspect of the research I have been working on recently, and is a recommended read for anyone wanting to accurately target games to specific player types.  The article can be found here.

Why Are Tutorials Terrible?

Graham McAllister and Seb Long from Vertical Slice collaborated on an article last week, in Graham’s regular Edge column.  By looking at examples of good and bad tutorials, they help pinpoint what it is that successfully teaches players how to play your game. Read on here.

Some Hows And Whys Of Usability Testing

@EmeraldSong  gave a great introduction to usability testing in games, highlighting how it can be invaluable throughout the development process , can find issues missed in other forms of playtesting , and can be done on a budget. Gamasutra has more.

Resetting Accessibility in Games

Mike Ambinder from Valve software, who was featured in this blog last week, has been interviewed in more depth about Valve’s take on accessibility, as part of this article by Dennis Scimeca. Mike’s feedback is really insightful for how commercial development can balance the needs of disabled gamers, and can be found on page three of the article here.

Scary Game Findings: A Study Of Horror Games And Their Players

Finally, Gamasutra also featured an article on Vertical Slice’s novel application of biofeedback techniques to try and understand what makes a game scary. Originally appearing in Xbox magazine, this article features examples of five scary games, and works out what makes them tick! Read more on Gamasutra.

That’s all for this week!

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