Week 8 – CRJ – About user research

I reviewed the definition of user research, ethical implications, risk management, and how this is related to game development in the context of Playtesting practices. I learned a lot about Playtesting and serious games. And read much more than  I expected after I fell in love with “https://sci-hub.do/“. This systematic review (Yáñez-Gómez, Cascado-Caballero and Sevillano, 2017) gave me a broader overview of this topic and its complexities. I tried at the end to connect some of those concepts. 

My understanding and the definitions

A key aspect of game design is how successful is the interaction between the user and the game. Playtesting studies and can be applied using different techniques and methods. A correlation that I did was how to integrate it with formal research applying qualitative and quantitative methods.

I initially understand playtesting as just software testing applied, but after some reviews, I saw some potential in effect the final audience and even improve the creative process. engagement with a very dedicate audience.

For common entertainment games, the ethical implications should be evaluated respecting a basic set of rules with respect for the privacy of participants and special consideration to vulnerable groups.

I understood that the ethical implications are more profound and even more complicated for entertainment games than serious games. And the existence of the serious games genre is something that I simply ignored until this module.

A therapy treatment game has a different subject than a financial training game. And their implication has a different set of potential harm in case of misinformation, for example.

Related to risk management defines a set of rules to approve or deny a user research when funded or guided by the University. In a simple scale composed of three levels: low, medium, and high. 

Finally, I end questioning myself if those implications are realistic over the actual context where there are a vast amount of private companies funding their researches. The definition of ethics can vary from culture to culture. And that discrepancy changes when taking into account financial outcomes, even in the entertainment game production.

Struggles and achievements

It was a surprisingly calm week, and  I could focus on catching up a little on my overdue tasks. I spent most of my time reviewing the forum activities and programming my prototype. 

I used time boxes of two hours, a clear definition of my daily goals, and mini-sprints of three days. A clear vision of my calendar and progress helped me to achieve my goals. I also abandoned the software notion. I was losing much time on their functionalities. And I’m still using a kanban on Trello for the prototype session. It helps me to have a clear vision of the correlated tasks. All those practices are part of my dispositional domain improvement.

Related to my interpersonal development:  I managed to invest some time on the forum, but I feel disconnected. I think that I misplaced trying to post some comments weeks after the activities. I’m working on this feeling to overcome my fear of interaction. 

Related to the prototype session, I got lost programming the gameplay and couldn’t achieve my first idea. And this was so frustrating. I’m reviewing what I can do to finish my prototype and at least have something presentable.

And besides all that, I’m still questioning how to bring it to my practice. I need to do a playtesting session and understand how to do it. But at the moment, I’m still working on finishing basic mechanics, defining game goals, and completing a prototype. Another aspect that impressed me is the correlation with community building and how a better understanding of the audience can help. 

Ending

I finally could understand all tags related to Saturday prints and some videos about community building that I saw on GDC. I still don’t know how to do it properly, I believe that is more related to marketing, and this is another learning path that I need to improve in the future.

References

GDC (2018) Power of the Pack: Success via Community-Based Development. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTDoos7MRQY&ab_channel=GDC (Accessed: 3 January 2021).

GDC (2019) Game Discoverability Day: Building a Community for Your Game from Scratch. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg7tRh0k_a8&ab_channel=GDC (Accessed: 3 January 2021).

Yáñez-Gómez, R., Cascado-Caballero, D. and Sevillano, J.-L. (2017) ‘Academic methods for usability evaluation of serious games: a systematic review’, Multimedia Tools and Applications, 76(4), pp. 5755–5784. doi: 10.1007/s11042-016-3845-9.

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