Biometric storyboards: a games user research approach for improving qualitative evaluations of player experience

Mirza-Babaei, Pejman (2014) Biometric storyboards: a games user research approach for improving qualitative evaluations of player experience. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Developing video games is an iterative and demanding process. It is difficult to achieve the goal of most video games — to be enjoyable, engaging and to create revenue for game developers — because of many hard-to-evaluate factors, such as the different ways players can interact with the game. Understanding how players behave during gameplay is of vital importance to developers and can be uncovered in user tests as part of game development. This can help developers to identify and resolve any potential problem areas before release, leading to a better player experience and possibly higher game review scores and sales. However, traditional user testing methods were developed for function and efficiency oriented applications. Hence, many traditional user testing methods cannot be applied in the same way for video game evaluation.
This thesis presents an investigation into the contributions of physiological measurements in user testing within games user research (GUR). GUR specifically studies the interaction between a game and users (players) with the aim to provide feedback for developers to help them to optimise the game design of their title. An evaluation technique called Biometric Storyboards is developed, which visualises the relationships between game events, player
feedback and changes in a player’s physiological state. Biometric Storyboards contributes to the field of human-computer interaction and GUR in three important areas: (1) visualising mixedmeasures of player experience, (2) deconstructing game design by analysing game events and pace, (3) incremental improvement of classic user research techniques (such as interviews and physiological measurements).
These contributions are described in practical case studies, interviews with game developers and laboratory experiments. The results show this evaluation approach can enable games user researchers to increase the plausibility and persuasiveness of their reports and facilitate developers to better deliver their design goals. Biometric Storyboards is not aimed at replacing existing methods, but to extend them with mixed methods visualisations, to provide powerful tools for games user researchers and developers to better understand and communicate player needs, interactions and experiences. The contributions of this thesis are directly applicable for user researchers and game developers, as well as for researchers in user experience evaluation in entertainment systems.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > GV1199 Games and amusements > GV1221 Indoor games and amusements > GV1469.15 Computer games. Video games. Fantasy games
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2014 12:35
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015 13:38

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