By Salvador Garcia-Martinez
On April 24, we had a very interesting and motivating presentation by Simon Darveau, creative director of Spearhead Games and previously working extensively on the Assassin’s Creed franchise and other games at Ubisoft. The main goal of this presentation was to introduce the audience to the integration of effective prototyping during the game’s development process.
Simon started talking about his experience prototyping games, kindly shared a number of tips to integrate prototyping in the game development process, and finally answered some questions from the audience.
Do you teach in higher education (College, community college, or university, Cegep (in Quebec))?
Do you use one of these games in your teaching?
• World of Warcraft
• Any of the Civilization series
• Any of The Sims series
If so, would you be willing to share your experiences of integrating the games into your teaching for my dissertation study?
“Player Telemetry: Tech Solutions for Tracking”
Moderator: Thiery Adam – Producer, Ludia
- Pros and cons of different third party telemetry tech solutions
- Challenges to cross-platform player telemetry.
- Tricks to both optimize telemetry traffic and still get all the information you need.
Discussion Notes: (Notes taken by Salvador Garcia-Martinez)
Thanks to my colleague Will Robinson this week I discovered a very interesting game for iPad: Cargo-Bot.
Cargo-Bot is a puzzle game where you teach a robot how to move crates. You have to ‘program’ a robot/crane in order to properly place boxes. With the help of loops and conditional variables it is possible to create different solutions for the same program. The game rewards players for creating the most efficient method. This game was programmed entirely on an ipad using Codea, which is a visual code-editor is built on Lua, a lightweight programming language.
Finally it seems that my research is becoming more specific. My dissertation proposal is already accepted, I’m just looking forward to hear from the Office of Research so I can begin to interview people.
Specifically, for my dissertation I will explore how instructors, more specifically instructors of higher education institutions such as universities and colleges, adapt video games for classroom use. I will interview higher-education instructors who use video games in the classroom. I will ask instructors about their processes when designing instruction or designing learning environments using video games. I will also observe educators while they play the game(s) that is used as part of their instructions. I will interview between 5 and 8 instructors of each game that I will study. I am planning to explore Portal, World of Warcraft and Minecraft.
There should not be major changes… so I hope soon I will be ready to start.
Oopps… I forgot to upload my notes from the IGDA-Montreal Usability and Play Testing roundtable (Oct, 2011) to my new site. Here you go:
Roundtable: “Usability and Play Testing”
Moderator: Alexandre Dessaint, Playtest & Research Manager, Eidos
• Getting set up and running user research
• Interpreting the results
• How to manage expectations/feedback with design team
A couple of people have asked me what I’m bothering to study video games – one lady actually asked me if honestly I have learned something from playing video games. Well… my whole dissertation is based on the potential of video games as tools for learning.
For those who are curious, I’m sharing three reasons why I – and many other people – argue that actually THERE IS learning in video games.
- Video games help to develop motor skills and coordination. 1, 3, 6
- Video games can help players to understand instructions, interpret problems, memorize stuff, learn rules, apply concepts in new situations and evaluate ideas. 1, 2, 5
A couple months ago, in the LinkedIn group of the Games User Research SIG I asked how to break into the Video Games Industry as a Games User Researcher. I got tons of answers from different people working in the industry, job seekers and academics. Very appreciated.
In this post I summarize (without order of importance) what I got:
1) Enjoy playing video games and observing people playing them. This advice is self-explanatory. If you don’t like video games, how can you help to improve them?
2) Spy job descriptions. Games User Research (GUR) is a relatively new field. It is not that clear exactly what is required to become a GUR researcher. A good way to start is to take a look to all types of related job descriptions and understand commonalities between jobs.
3) Update your knowledge. Make sure that you know the basics of Human Computer Interaction, usability testing and research methodologies. Keep constantly updating your knowledge. Everyday there are so many new things to learn! You can find tons of articles in online magazines, academic journals and conferences. A good place in which you can start is the GUR SIG library in Mendeley.
Last March, as part of the Games User Research Summit 2012, I presented a poster in which I discussed what’s going on around the Games User Research (GUR) field.
I was intrigued about how repetitive literature is becoming; authors use common research methods in different situations and present their results, other authors summarize the most used methodologies and debate which one is the best, and others propose principles that, based on their results, should be incorporated into the main design practices.
Finally I had the chance to work a bit on my website!!!
As you can see the Projects and Publications sections are almost done. I’m still working on the other ones.
Keep your eyes open… a-w-e-s-o-m-e surprises are on their way!!!