Game Usability: Advancing the Player Experience

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9780123744470: Game Usability: Advancing the Player Experience

Computers used to be for geeks. And geeks were fine with dealing with a difficult and finicky interface--they liked this--it was even a sort of badge of honor (e.g. the Unix geeks). But making the interface really intuitive and useful--think about the first Macintosh computers--took computers far far beyond the geek crowd. The Mac made HCI (human computer interaction) and usability very popular topics in the productivity software industry. Suddenly a new kind of experience was crucial to the success of software - the user experience. Now, 20 years later, developers are applying and extending these ideas to games.

Game companies are now trying to take games beyond the 'hardcore' gamer market--the people who love challenge and are happy to master a complicated or highly genre-constrained interface. Right about now (with the growth of interest in casual games) game companies are truly realizing that usability matters, particularly to mainstream audiences. If it's not seamless and easy to use and engaging, players will just not stay to get to the 'good stuff'.

By definition, usability is the ease with which people can emplo a particular tool in order to achieve a particular goal. Usability refers to a computer program's efficiency or elegance. This book gives game designers a better understanding of how player characteristics impact usability strategy, and offers specific methods and measures to employ in game usability practice. The book also includes practical advice on how to include usability in already tight development timelines, and how to advocate for usability and communicate results to higher-ups effectively.

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From the Back Cover:

GAME PROGRAMMING/COMPUTER GRAPHICS

Understand usability and user research in game design

Usability the ease with which people can use a program to achieve their goals is a topic of growing interest to game developers. Until now, no comprehensive survey of usability and user research issues and tactics specific to games has been available. This book includes introductions to basic and advanced methods, and advice for evangelizing usability within game studios and publishing houses.

" Hear from a range of experts, including great minds from large and small game companies as well as cutting edge researchers.

" Learn instantly applicable theory and tactics for designing game usability methods to improve and enhance games: pick methods to suit your needs.

" Read about cutting-edge techniques (such as measuring heart rate and tiny muscle movements) to measure and evaluate game play experience.

About the Author:

Associate Professor, Department of Language, Literature and Communication, RPI; Director of the Games Research Lab, RPI; Chair of the MS in HCI Program, RPI. Katherine is Director of the Games Research Lab at Rensselaer (RPI), where she has worked to build an undergraduate major in game design, as well as a robust program of games-related research. She is also the Chair of the MS in HCI at RPI, which she helped to redesign to address current challenges facing HCI practitioners, such as the design of games and other social and leisure applications. Katherine is a former MK Game author, having written: Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach, which was nominated for a Game Developer Magazine Front Line award in 2006. She has published work in a wide variety of venues, and has given invited talks at research and academic venues including Sony research labs in Japan, Banff Centre in Canada, IBM, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and others. The Games Research Lab at RPI has cutting-edge facilities for user studies, and Isbister has used the lab to research innovative methods in user testing (e.g. the Sensual Evaluation Instrument - a project nominated for Best Paper award at the CHI conference in 2006). Isbister has worked in both research and commercial settings on HCI and usability aspects of games and other products. This background, combined with strong connections to game industry practitioners, makes her well suited to put together an edited volume on games usability that is both rigorous and useful to developers in their everyday work.

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 232 x 190 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Computers used to be for geeks. And geeks were fine with dealing with a difficult and finicky interface--they liked this--it was even a sort of badge of honor (e.g. the Unix geeks). But making the interface really intuitive and useful--think about the first Macintosh computers--took computers far far beyond the geek crowd. The Mac made HCI (human computer interaction) and usability very popular topics in the productivity software industry. Suddenly a new kind of experience was crucial to the success of software - the user experience. Now, 20 years later, developers are applying and extending these ideas to games. Game companies are now trying to take games beyond the hardcore gamer market--the people who love challenge and are happy to master a complicated or highly genre-constrained interface. Right about now (with the growth of interest in casual games) game companies are truly realizing that usability matters, particularly to mainstream audiences. If it s not seamless and easy to use and engaging, players will just not stay to get to the good stuff . By definition, usability is the ease with which people can emplo a particular tool in order to achieve a particular goal. Usability refers to a computer program s efficiency or elegance. This book gives game designers a better understanding of how player characteristics impact usability strategy, and offers specific methods and measures to employ in game usability practice. The book also includes practical advice on how to include usability in already tight development timelines, and how to advocate for usability and communicate results to higher-ups effectively. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780123744470

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 232 x 190 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Computers used to be for geeks. And geeks were fine with dealing with a difficult and finicky interface--they liked this--it was even a sort of badge of honor (e.g. the Unix geeks). But making the interface really intuitive and useful--think about the first Macintosh computers--took computers far far beyond the geek crowd. The Mac made HCI (human computer interaction) and usability very popular topics in the productivity software industry. Suddenly a new kind of experience was crucial to the success of software - the user experience. Now, 20 years later, developers are applying and extending these ideas to games. Game companies are now trying to take games beyond the hardcore gamer market--the people who love challenge and are happy to master a complicated or highly genre-constrained interface. Right about now (with the growth of interest in casual games) game companies are truly realizing that usability matters, particularly to mainstream audiences. If it s not seamless and easy to use and engaging, players will just not stay to get to the good stuff . By definition, usability is the ease with which people can emplo a particular tool in order to achieve a particular goal. Usability refers to a computer program s efficiency or elegance. This book gives game designers a better understanding of how player characteristics impact usability strategy, and offers specific methods and measures to employ in game usability practice. The book also includes practical advice on how to include usability in already tight development timelines, and how to advocate for usability and communicate results to higher-ups effectively. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780123744470

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Book Description CRC Press, 2008. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Table of Contents Section One: Bringing Usability Theory and Practice to Games John P. Davis, Keith Steury, and/or Randy Pagulayan (Microsoft) What usability is and isn't: Usability Testing vs playtesting or QA testing Kevin Cheng (OK/Cancel) Usability vs challenge AKA Intended challenge vs unintended challenge (t.b.d.)Leveraging your audience's schemas/metaphors, and recognizing when your game does things that don't match those schemas (t.b.d.)Test early, test often (perhaps including some discussion of attention to usability in the original design. This has overlap with prototyping Section Two: Knowing the User Lucy A. Joyner and Jim TerKeurst (U. of Aberty Dundee, Scotland) User needs and motivations Nicole Lazarro (XEO design)The four fun keys (Understanding play styles and how they relate to usability of games) Katherine Isbister (RPI)Games are social (Testing with groups) Tsurumi and Hasegawa (Sony)Culture and usability (Localization and usability) (Hayan Chen is an alternative author) Debra Lieberman (UCSB) Kids and usability (Testing with children) Section Three: Methods Microsoft group (Pagulayan et al.)Case study on application of classical usability methods to games Steve Swink (Flashbang Studios) Prototyping to enable early testing Noah Schaffer(RPI)Heuristics Sauli Laitinen (Adage Corp)Expert Evaluation (e.g. Persona Walkthroughs, several experts assess an interface and you compare) Jettie Hoonhout(Philips Research) User Testing with Retrospective Think-Aloud Mie Norgard and Yanus (U. of Copenhagen) Half of your job is Politics: Usability in the Trenches (could break this up: Selling usability in your company, Reporting usability problems and being heard without making enemies) Section Four: Measures Regan Mandryk (U. of Saskatchewan) Combined physiological measures Hazlett and Benedik(Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Microsoft)Muscle movement measures Peter Vorderer (formerly USC)Enjoyment measures (alternative author Wijnand Ijsselsteijn) Section Five: Special Contexts Janneke Verhaegh (Eindhoven U. of Tech.)Usability in Educational Games Ermi and Myra (U. of Tampere, Finland) Usability for Mobile Games Jane McGonigal (formerly 42 Entertainment)Usability for Ubiquitous Games Section Six: Pulling it all Together Isbister and Schaffer (RPI)Recommendations for incorporating the methods discussed into the development process; pointers to further resources. -------------- KEY CONTRIBUTORS: TOP OF THEIR FIELD: their careers and contributions: Randy Pagulayan: User Research Lead, Microsoft Game Studios. Most recent project has been working on Halo 3 (see September Wired article. Nicole Lazarro: CEO of XEO Design. One of the first people in the industry to systematically study the user experience of games, has consulted to most of the big game companies (e.g. Maxis, Sega, Ubisoft, Sony Online). Katherine Isbister: Frequent speaker at GDC (Game Developers Conference) on the topic of using social/emotional research to improve game design. Won best of conference DVD in 2004. Wrote MK Game book on Game Character Design nominated for industry award, positively reviewed and cited, used by industry leaders. Debra Lieberman: Professor at UC Santa Barbara, specializing in kids and games and other media. She has worked on games for Nintendo and is a leader in the research community in bridging to industry. Steve Swink: Game designer, instructor, and analyst. An up-and-comer in the independent games area at GDC, who brings rigor to his prototyping and ability to dissect how what he does impacts game play. Writing a forthcoming MK Game book called Game Feel. Sauli Laitinen: Author of this article on Games Usability in Gamasutra. One of the first articles of its kind on the topic in the games press. Regan Mandryk: Currently a professor at University of Saskatc. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0123744474

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