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Guerrilla Band: The role of Serendipity and Community in Games User-testing
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Guerrilla Band: The role of Serendipity and Community in Games User-testing

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A talk I gave at SXSW about how game user-testing can be done cheaply and effectively when done collaboratively.

A talk I gave at SXSW about how game user-testing can be done cheaply and effectively when done collaboratively.

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  • Moving from 5 on 1 (usability lab) to 5 on 17 (playtest lab)
  • Firing reports over the wall (too late; too impersonal; no accounting for what “game experts” are thinking about) vs. Getting them into the lab to experience for themselves.

Transcript

  • 1.
    • Jason Schklar
    • Founder, Initial Experience Consulting
    • Game & User Experience Consultant
    Guerrilla Band: The role of Serendipity and Community in Games User-testing 09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 2.
    • User-testing, producering, editing, design directing...
    What kinds of “funology” work do I do? 09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 3.
    • Ensure the core mechanic is usable, playable and fun. Then work backwards to create an approachable and enjoyable first 5, 15, 60 minutes and beyond.
    My specific focus is: Initial Experience 09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 4.
    • The goal: Make flight combat fun for Action Adventure gamers.
    Big Budget, Big Team, Big Expectations... 09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 5.
    • When we actually put Action Adventure gamers in the cockpit, they had very different ideas about how planes are meant to be flown.
    And, not surprisingly, Big Problems... 09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 6.
    • State of the art equipment, expensive studies, and lots of boring reports...
    • Reports that fell on deaf ears.
    So, of course we tried Big Solutions 09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 7. Serendipity: Hard Work + Luck
    • Players crashed constantly.
    • Players were unable to aim effectively.
    • Why? The game expected subtlety. Action Adventure gamers are not subtle.
    • The usual boring report findings
    • The sound of one stick tapping...
    09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
    • Notice the headsets...
  • 8.
    • "The guerrilla band is ... the fighting vanguard of the people. It draws its great force from the mass of the people themselves. "
    Ché on Guerrilla Bands 09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 9. Community: Forming the Guerrilla Band
    • Lone Revolutionary
    • The User-testing Irregulars
    09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 10. What this “Guerrilla Band” did...
    • Core Flight Mechanics: RITE Usability
    • Initial Experience: Collaborative Design
    • Balance & Polish Content: Daily Strike Team Review
    • Metacritic: 88%
    • AIAS Action Adventure GotY (2003)
    • ~1M lifetime sales
    • Commando “strike” teams
    • Results
    09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research
  • 11. Recap: What is funology?
    • Someone who keeps game developers from covering their eyes when the freight train of player experience collides with the soft, fluffy tailed bunny of design vision and implementation.
    • Convey useful observations in a way that encourages additional iteration.
    • Involve the team in communal user-testing.
    • Take advantage of the occasional lucky break.
    • Talkin’ about my definition...
    • What successful funologists do:
    09/22/09 Funologists Live & In Person: Guerilla Game Research