Chair: Katherine Isbister, NYU-Poly, USA
The Impact of Tutorials on Games of Varying Complexity
Contribution & Benefit: Describes a multivariate study of tutorials in three video games with 45,000 players. Shows that tutorials may only have value for games with mechanics that cannot be discovered through experimentation.
Abstract » One of the key challenges of video game design is teaching new players how to play. Although game developers frequently use tutorials to teach game mechanics, little is known about how tutorials affect game learnability and player engagement. Seeking to estimate this value, we implemented eight tutorial designs in three video games of varying complexity and evaluated their effects on player engagement and retention. The results of our multivariate study of over 45,000 players show that the usefulness of tutorials depends greatly on game complexity. Although tutorials increased play time by as much as 29% in the most complex game, they did not significantly improve player engagement in the two simpler games. Our results suggest that investment in tutorials may not be justified for games with mechanics that can be discovered through experimentation.ACM
Tales from the Front Lines of a Large-Scale Serious Game Project
Contribution & Benefit: Case study of an ongoing, large-scale interdisciplinary serious game project. Presents perspectives explaining the dynamics of serious game projects, highlighting under examined issues present in serious game design.
Abstract » Serious games have received much positive attention; correspondingly, many researchers have taken up the challenge of establishing how to best design them. However, the current literature often focuses on best practice design strategies and frameworks. Fine-grained details, contextual descriptions, and organisational factors that are invaluable in helping us to learn from and reflect on project experiences are often overlooked. In this paper, we present five distinct and sometimes competing perspectives that are critical in understanding factors that influence serious game projects: project organisation, technology, domain knowledge, user research, and game design. We explain these perspectives by providing insights from the design and development process of an EU-funded serious game about conflict resolution developed by an interdisciplinary consortium of researchers and industry-based developers. We also point out a set of underlying forces that become evident from viewing the process from different perspectives, to underscore that problems exist in serious game projects and that we should open the conversation about them. ACM
Not Doing But Thinking: The Role Of Challenge In Immersive Videogames
Contribution & Benefit: Three experiments manipulate challenge of a video game. Demonstrate that the challenge experienced is an interaction between level of expertise of the gamer and cognitive challenge encompassed within the game.
Abstract » Previous research into the experience of videogames has shown the importance of the role of challenge in producing a good experience. However, defining exactly which challenges are important and which aspects of gaming experience are affected is largely under-explored. In this paper, we investigate if altering the level of challenge in a videogame influences people's experience of immersion. Our first study demonstrates that simply increasing the physical demands of the game by requiring gamers to interact more with the game does not result in increased immersion. In a further two studies, we use time pressure to make games more physically and cognitively challenging. We find that the addition of time pressure increases immersion as predicted. We argue that the level of challenge experienced is an interaction between the level of expertise of the gamer and the cognitive challenge encompassed within the game.ACM
Understanding User Experience in Stereoscopic 3D Games
Contribution & Benefit: Evaluates the impact of stereoscopic vision on user experience with digital games. Helps game designers to understand how different games and target groups can potentially benefit from stereoscopic vision.
Abstract » Recent advances in digital game technology are making stereoscopic games more popular. Stereoscopic 3D graphics promise a better gaming experience but this potential has not yet been proven empirically. In this paper, we present a comprehensive study that evaluates player experience of three stereoscopic games in comparison with their monoscopic counterparts. We examined 60 participants, each playing one of the three games, using three self-reporting questionnaires and one psychophysiological instrument. Our main results are (1) stereoscopy in games increased experienced immersion, spatial presence, and simulator sickness; (2) the effects strongly differed across the three games and for both genders, indicating more affect on male users and with games involving depth animations; (3) results related to attention and cognitive involvement indicate more direct and less thoughtful interactions with stereoscopic games, pointing towards a more natural experience through stereoscopy.ACM