Day#125: The Gamer’s Brain

Day#125: The Gamer’s Brain

Welcome to Uxergirl! A blog where I discuss UX, design, psychology, neuroscience and game design. If this is your first time stopping by, then to give you a bit of a refresh I am from a design background having studied multimedia design back in 2010, I then dabbled in teaching, marketing and slowly got into the UX field by chance having to learn on the job. I absolutely love where this journey has taken me, and am constantly inspired to learn more from all the role models and inspiration that I see in the industry. Today I found a presentation by Celia Hodent on UX design in gaming, I have been toying with the idea for a long time now wanting to go into UX game design, the only issue is in my home country South Africa, UX game design is not a very elaborate career path. This is because we don’t have as many career opportunities as other countries would have, UX in general does not have an as expansive industry here as it is, so hoping to venture into UX game design was a far off dream for me.

However recently my fiance and I have decided we will be moving to Europe so I am hoping that I can one day get to do this goal of mine! Anyway I managed to find this amazing talk on UX game design, the speaker Celia Hodent talks about Gestalt theory and how it is applied to game design as well as many other processes and methods for ensuring the final game is of good quality and is perfect in relation to the end user and their wants and needs for a game. Celia Hodent also has a book out which I am hoping to get my hands on soon, called The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX Can Impact Video Game Design. The full talk from the Youtube video below can also be found here, I only mentioned a few points taken away in this original post but the talk and the site provided have a more in depth extremely informative progression of the concepts of The gamer’s brain and UX.

Some topics that are mentioned in The presentation

  • Our brains are biased
  • How the brain processes info
  • Perception and how it works
  • Perception limitations
  • Perception Gestalt theory
  • Application: Gestalt laws in menus
  • Perception form follows function
  • Application: FFF in icon testing
  • Limitations: Perceptions & reality
  • What the player perceives is reality
  • Memory how it works
  • Memory limitations
  • Reduce the memory load
  • Application prioritize learning
  • Attention limitations
  • Application: Minimum workload
  • Application: context and meaning

I would have to say my favorite section is the part where Celia Hodent talks about the UX of the tutorial or the beginning of the game. I consider myself generally a slow learner and nothing frustrates me more than playing an new game that I have spent a lot of money on, only to find that the learning curve is exponential and would require a lot of time before I can enjoy the game. For example Starcraft I find extremely difficult! Even though the game has an entire campaign for you to learn every race and takes you through the actions there is so much to learn and I constantly felt extremely tired after the game and it affected my game play negatively. I see people who enjoy the game, however I think it takes time to reach that place of skill in Starcraft. The example used in the video of using a time based tutorial and how it can affect the player negatively is also interesting, by giving the player a time limit on something before they have learned about the game can be both frustrating and detrimental for the rest of the game. The solution that Celia Hodent mentioned was to have a task without time constraints initially, this then gives the player time to play around and understand the controls, surroundings and actions of the game.

Lastly the way icons were tested and implemented was extremely interesting accessing form and function icons in test situations with potential users to try understand if users can predict both the form and functionality categories. All in all a very inspiring talk, and hopefully one day I will be able to have the opportunity to be apart of this ever changing fascinating industry, happy researching

Bye for now

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