[GDC 2014] Using User Research to Improve Game Narratives

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Entertainment & Humor

Published on April 4, 2014

Author: AleixRisco

Source: slideshare.net

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Game Developers Conference

+ Info: http://www.gdconf.com/

Using User Research to Improve Game Narratives Deborah Hendersen, PhD Games User Researcher Microsoft Studios

Can we get players to talk richly about story?

Can we get players to talk richly about story? What makes players passionate about stories?

“The Scary Lady”

“The Scary Lady”

“The Scary Lady.” “I dunno just like her voice and… just because I knew I wasn’t supposed to be in there and I was like ‘Oh god, what’s gonna happen next??’ …you walk in the door and she like comes up to you and you’re just like ‘Whoa…’ like she won’t let you move anywhere.”

“I had to. I had to save Walter. He’s a good friend.”

“Then they have Walkers in the barn; they find out at the end of the second season which blew my mind. “That was crazy! I was super freaked out about that.” Retell the story…

Retell the story… “Then they have Walkers in the barn; they find out at the end of the second season which blew my mind. “That was crazy! I was super freaked out about that.”

When it came to games… “I don’t know if it’s just me, but like I haven’t been able to remember the midpoints and stuff.” ???

When it came to games… ??? “I dunno. My memory’s starting to go, just like my hair. I’m 18 and I’m going bald.”

97 172 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Game Not Game NumberofWords Retell from Beginning to End Data is collapsed across games & participants, divided by media.

Batman: Arkham City

BetterMemory Start of Game ~1 hour’s progress

BetterMemory Start of Game ~1 hour’s progress

BetterMemory Start of Game ~1 hour’s progress

(original spelling) “It's a prison city but Dent has a safe. And a random vat of acid. The acid I get as a comic book thing but I have more trouble with the idea that an incacerated person has a safe.”

Sir Frederic Bartlett

(original spelling) “It's a prison city but Dent has a safe. And a random vat of acid. The acid I get as a comic book thing but I have more trouble with the idea that an incacerated person has a safe.”

About fun & liking About comprehension

When we were testing When we should be testing

Rules for building stimuli 1. Tell the story in the order you intend to present it. 2. Only include the information you will give the player.

Rules for building stimuli 3. Show don’t tell

Rules for building stimuli 3. Show don’t tell

Rules for building stimuli 3. Show don’t tell “What a Dummy”

Rules for building stimuli 4. Break before conclusions or big twists. 5. Ask for predictions.

Rules for building stimuli “Why would I be interested in them if they weren't somehow bad?" 4. Break before conclusions or big twists. 5. Ask for predictions.

Rules for building stimuli 1. Tell the story in the order you intend to present it. 2. Only include the information you will give the player .3. Show don’t tell. 4. Break before conclusions or big twists. 5. Ask for predictions.

What can we test here? If we get rid of comprehension issues here…

Admirable Annoying Boring Brooding Charming Cliché Etc.

 Scary

 Scary

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