Psychology Paper Analysis - 2

Heuristic evaluation for games: usability principles for video game design.

- David Pinelle, Nelson Wong, & Tadeusz Stach.
In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1453-1462). 

AKA Your game needs to do more than compile

In this paper the researchers when through a few hundred game reviews and identified all the issues that we reviewers highlighted. They then coded the issues, then created a set of heuristics that would solve these coded issues.
Quick side note here, coding is psychology is essentially categorisation but with a little more rigor. 

Not to bury the lead, here are the heuristics! 

  1. Provide consistent responses to the user’s actions. 
  2. Allow users to customize video and audio settings, difficulty and game speed.
  3. Provide predictable and reasonable behavior for computer controlled units.
  4. Provide unobstructed views that are appropriate for the user’s current actions.
  5. Allow users to skip non-playable and frequently repeated content.
  6. Provide intuitive and customizable input mappings.
  7. Provide controls that are easy to manage, and that have an appropriate level of sensitivity and responsiveness.
  8. Provide users with information on game status. Users make decisions based on their knowledge of the current status of the game.
  9. Provide instructions, training, and help. 

                (Pinelle, D., Wong, N., & Stach, T., 2008, p1458). 

How to use this information -
If you are stuck in an endless bug prioritization the heuristics provided can be a tool to argue that your pet bug should be the one that gets fixed. 

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Clipping issues - easy to identify, impossible to fix


Emotional response patterns and sense of presence during video games: Potential criterion variables for game design.

- Ravaja, N., Salminen, M., Holopainen, J., Saari, T., Laarni, J., & Järvinen, A.
In Proceedings of the third Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction (pp. 339-347). ACM.

AKA What can we actually detect in our users

This is a statistical grab bag approach to research, the team involved pretty much grabbed every psychological measurement scale and questionnaire they had nearby and asking people to fill them out after a gaming session. 

This is an old paper, done in 2004, but it predicts the rise of the souls style of game. They asked participants to play 1 of 4 different types of games and fill out a ton of questionnaires afterwards. 

They tested for - Violence, Arousal, Joy, Depression, Pleasant Relaxation, Fear, Anger, Spatial Presence, Engagement, Ecological orientation, Negative effects, Impulsiveness, Sensation seeking, Self forgetfulness. All showed different levels after playing different games. 

How to use this information -
When you are doing user testing, instead of asking your own random questions use one of the standardised scales that are out there. There is peer reviewed scales for Anime Genre Fandom, Game fan entitlement, Fantasy immersion. Its all out there, use it. 

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Mass Effect scanning is slightly less tedious then Reviewing Psycology Scales


Influence of temperament and character on online gamer loyalty: Perspectives from personality and flow theories. 

- Huang, H. C., Huang, L. S., Chou, Y. J., & Teng, C. I. (2017). 
Published in Computers in Human Behavior70, 398-406.

AKA These hoes ARE loyal

This was a larger regression study that had the goal of analyzing a players traits or temperament to see if they will be "loyal". Loyalty in this regard is defined as intent to return to that game, in industry parlay, sticky. This study focused on online, service orientated games.

The main outcome was that ***SELF REPORTED*** levels of skill and challenge predict how loyal the player is. If the player is highly skilled and they feel challenged they will return. The self reported aspect of this is highlighted here as measures that directly ask a participant something tend to be unreliable. People tend to both under and over or give wildly incorrect assessments on self reported scales. 

Flow, as it was defined in this research, did not reach the level of statistical significance. This makes sense as they used telepresence (the feeling of inhabiting a character or place) as a contributing factor and that is hard to maintain over 1000+ hours of play.

How to use this information -
If you are building a PvE, game as a service, the challenge needs to keep scaling if you want to avoid losing players.

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I like to think my incredible skill is why I have 3000 hours in TF2


Refs:

Huang, H. C., Huang, L. S., Chou, Y. J., & Teng, C. I. (2017). Influence of temperament and character on online gamer loyalty: Perspectives from personality and flow theories. Computers in Human Behavior70, 398-406.

Pinelle, D., Wong, N., & Stach, T. (2008, April). Heuristic evaluation for games: usability principles for video game design. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1453-1462). ACM.

Ravaja, N., Salminen, M., Holopainen, J., Saari, T., Laarni, J., & Järvinen, A. (2004, October). Emotional response patterns and sense of presence during video games: Potential criterion variables for game design. In Proceedings of the third Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction (pp. 339-347). ACM.