GURB : the game user research blueprint
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With the rise of new platforms, distribution and crowdfunding services, the game industry is facing fast changes and advances in technology. Game development studios are under more pressure to create successful games due to the increase of competition and emerging technologies. The need for Games User Research (GUR) is becoming more important in order to ensure that the player experience matches with the game’s design intention. GUR helps validate experiences and fix issues before they reach the mass market ensuring the highest quality player experience through rigorous iterative evaluation. This thesis presents an investigation into the triangulation of identifying the design intent, measuring the player experience and communicating both in a single document within the context of GUR. GUR studies the interaction between the game and its users (players) to find where the design intention does not match the player experience in order to provide feedback to the developers on how to optimize the experience. A tool called Games User Research Blueprint (GURB) is developed, which compares the design intent for a player experience with the measured result of a user test in order to communicate issues with relevant context. This thesis contributes to the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and GUR in three important areas: (1) communicating design intent across the multidisciplinary field of game development, (2) highlighting important challenges when conducting GUR with small studios, and (3) the development of the GURB tool for effectively communicating the results of a user test. The contributions are described through case studies and interviews with game developers. The results indicate that the GURB is an effective tool for facilitating communication in a multidisciplinary field while delivering a clear and concise summary of issues from a playtest in a timely and cost effective manner. The contributions in this thesis are directly applicable for user researchers, game developers, and other user experience disciplines.