USABILITY AND GAMING Megan McKeever Information Culture Oct. 8 2012
Why should game designers care about usability?• Game playing is voluntary• “Even the smallest glitch or hiccup in the user interface may render an otherwise good game into a rather annoying experience.” (Laitinen, 2005)• A lot of competition within the gaming market (many system and thousands of games)
* The first rule of game usability: Never ask a player to save their game; instead, have the game save automatically. “Simply display subtle on-screen text that says "Saving…" as popularized on consoles by Halo and be done with it. To ensure gamers can play back their favorite levels, dont overwrite level data. Rather, keep tabs on a gamers progress and grant them access to the areas they have already visited.” – Blake Snow, BusinessWeek
*Rule #2 Press any key to start! For a newbie gamers, having them press a certain key (i.e. the start button) can be a difficult challenge.
* Rule 3Allow players to “remap”game buttons. For example, ifSpace = Jump and Control =Duck, a player could set theirpreferences and choosedifferent buttons for thosecommands. *Rule 4Allow players to skipbackground scenes.
* #5 and 6 • Never let a camera get too close to a player or bump into a wall. • “Nothing frustrates a gamer more than having the view of the action compromised by a shoddy camera system. Mario 64 came out 11 years ago. With our powers combined, Im confident we can overcome this inconvenience sooner than later.” • Never make use of every controller button just because you can. • XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 each have 17 buttons! Xbox 360 Controller
* #8 - Always present in-game tutorials, FAQs, and help menus for newbie gamers.
* • This is an expert evaluation of a game called Shadowgrounds • The evaluation was done 6 months prior to game release • In total 135 usability problems were found. • Out of these problems 2 were classified catastrophic, 30 severe and 60 intermediate. The remaining 43 problems were either minor or cosmetic. The distribution of the problems is illustrated in Figure 2.