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Play-Personas and Game-Metrics An Accountant’s Perspective on Game Design Alessandro Canossa / /

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1 Play-Personas and Game-Metrics An Accountant’s Perspective on Game Design Alessandro Canossa / aca@dkds.dk / alessandroc@ioi.dkaca@dkds.dkalessandroc@ioi.dk

2 “When you can measure what you are speaking about and when you can express it in numbers you know something about it” Lord Kelvin, 1883

3 An Accountant’s Perspective on Game Design Game-metrics are sets of techniques for inferring higher-order concepts from the large quantity of information generated when a computer game is played. Play-personas are mental constructs that allow designers to “imply” players in the process of creating game worlds. But the same construct is also used by players to identify their behaviour with prototypical profiles, to unify their actions and to make sense of them. Using play-personas as masks to filter the raw data gathered by metrics, it is possible to observe how different uses of a game cluster in large groups. The end result is a map of the experiential flow of the game world in exam, beyond simple heat maps.

4 “A game's value proposition is how it makes its players think and feel” “Customers don’t buy games, they buy experiences” [Nicole Lazzaro – XEO Design] “Designers will transform from being designers of “stuff” to being the builders of scaffolds for experiencing.” “Scaffolds are temporary and moveable structures for building enormous new things, but also for protecting the surrounding area from the new construction. Scaffolds provide support for the workers and their tools and materials” [Elizabeth Sanders - MakeTools]

5 Scary monsters (and super creeps) Expensive adaptive technologies ad hoc solutions, AI not up for the task just yet (technologic limitation) Designer’s desire to maintain control both narrative and ludic, even in open games like GTA4 (psychologic limitation) Ultimately individual nature of emotion intrinsically linked to memory (Damasio, Pert) (phenomenologic limitation) Problems with ”measuring” experience difficult to get a decent resolution with bio-feedback (FUGA) (biologic limitation)

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7 Hunicke, Zubek, LeBlanc (+ Dugan)

8 MECHANICS (rules, code) Mechanics describes the particular components of the game, at the level of data representation and algorithms. Mechanics are the tangible, literal, immediate actions (or verbs) the player executes in the game. Classic examples would be run, jump, shoot, move, push, pull. Mechanics are the necessary instant gratification of interactivity.

9 DYNAMICS (system, behaviour) Dynamics describes the run-time behaviour of the mechanics acting on player inputs and each others. The series of outputs over time. Dynamics would be the effects of the mechanics on the world and the “strategies” that combine multiple mechanics. Dynamics are the longer term satisfaction of interactivity.

10 AESTHETICS (”fun”) Aesthetics describes the desirable emotional responses evoked in the players, when they interact with the game system.

11 METRICS Metrics are measures of aspects of the Dynamics, then using those measurements to modify the other three systems Metrics are a technique for inferring higher- order concepts from the large quantity of information available when a computer game is played.

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13 Play-Values “Play-values”: the abstract principles that the game’s design, both aesthetic and functional, should embody. They inform the inception of rules.

14 GamePlay Gestalts / Schemas / Modes game play gestalts are patterns of interaction between player and the game system. game play schemas are cognitive structures that underlie and facilitate the above mentioned interaction. Play-modes are the resulting sets of all possible navigation and interaction attitudes that players can utilise to negotiate any given situation. All the game features that motivate, facilitate and constrain player action, offer the players a certain set of methods of operation within the game.

15 Play-Styles Play-styles are consistent sets of isotopic play- modes. Play-style are ways to capture different behaviours into a metaphore, they characterize the momentary style a player chooses to use for a given situation. Styles need not to be consistent, implying that players can change style at a whim and select a radically different set of play-modes for different situations. If, on the other hand, a player chooses to maintain a certain style, he/she will start identifying with a defined, implied play-persona.

16 Play-Persona A Priori: It’s a metaphore within which to capture coherent navigation and interaction attitudes, it signifies, unifies or distinguishes players from each other. A Posteriori: It's a lens through which designers evaluate gameworlds, and players make sense of their experience

17 HYPOTHESISSYNTHESIS

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20 Case Study: Hitman Blood Money Introduction: Aesthetic & Ludic codes Analysis: Aesthetic & Ludic dimensions Aesthetic & Ludic Parameters Defining Personas Measuring Aestetic and Ludic dimensions Rebuilding player experience

21 A vintage year - introduction Aesthetic: Background story Spatial layout

22 A vintage year - introduction Ludic: Mission targets and goals Basic rules and tools

23 Aesthetic analysis Histograms (luminosity, color dominance) Symbolical reading Architectural deconstruction (macro and micro circulation patterns, landmarks)

24 Aesthetic analysis: histograms

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26 Aesthetic analysis: symbology

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32 Aesthetic analysis: architecture Macro circulation patterns: accessing zones

33 Aestethic analysis: architecture From outdoor open to outdoor party – ”The Mingler”: A01- main door entrance in front A02- service door (and then left) at the right

34 Aestethic analysis: architecture From outdoor open to outdoor loading zone – ”Open Confrontation”: A03- through truck entrance on the left A04- through broken wall on the left (one way only) A05- through crashed truck and hole in the roof at the right (”wow” moment) (one way only) A06- through service door (and then straight over the boxes) at the right (one way only)

35 Aestethic analysis: architecture From outdoor open to hangar – ”Rising from the bowels of Earth”: A07- through path at the end of the cliff on the left

36 Aestethic analysis: architecture Micro circulation patterns: moving within a zone

37 Aestethic analysis: architecture Micro circulation patterns: moving within a zone

38 Aestethic analysis: architecture Micro circulation patterns: moving within a zone

39 Aestethic analysis: architecture Landmarks: Outdoor open: perimeter walls Outdoor party: cellar entrance Outdoor loading: mansion Wine cellar: barrels Drug lab: refining tank Hangar: waterplane Hacienda: dark wood, windows filtering light, balcony

40 Ludic analysis Review of mechanics/dynamics Affordances for dispatching Don Fernando Affordances for dispatching Manuel Playing modes

41 Ludic analysis: Mechanics/Dynamics Security zones: some areas allow only certain types of people. So disguises are also rated accordingly to the security they grant. Disguises: changing disguises, dragging bodies, disposing of bodies Close combat: head butt, punch, disarming, concealing weapon, fibre wiring, elevator ambush, knives, syringes, poison, human shield, push Agility moves: jumping walls, jumping balconies, climbing through windows, walking ledges, climb drainpipes, climb ladders Breaking in: spying from far away with binoculars, observe patterns of movement in the maps, talking to npc to gather info, spying through keyholes, lock picking, using keycards, lock shooting, hiding in closets Distracting: coin, manipulating light Bomb: direct explosion, secondary effect of explosion (accidents such as falling objects or exploiting environment)

42 Ludic analysis: kill-affordances Summary of the ways Don Fernando Delgado can be killed Knocking down and gunshot are always available options

43 Ludic analysis: kill-affordances Summary of the ways Manuel Delgado can be killed Knocking down and gunshot are always available options

44 Ludic analysis: Playing modes

45 Aesthetic Parameters Navigation attitudes: BRAWN, physical prowess, climbing, making use of force, on-the-move BRAIN, observation skills, finding holes in the surveillance system, patterning behaviours, waiting ROLE PLAYING dressing up like other characters and acting SNEAKING keeping the suit, walking in shadows (and closets)

46 Aesthetic Parameters

47 Ludic Parameters Interaction attitudes: Lethal / Non-Lethal Silent / Loud Clean / Bloody Single / Multiple target Close up / Mid Range / Far Away

48 Narrative definition of personas (design-oriented, a priori hypotheses) SILENT ASSASSIN Stealthy, manages to complete the level without being noticed, only kills the intended targets, possibly by ”accident”. Rational, critical thinker, problem solver, and always remembers the suit. BUTCHER Up, close and personal. He likes a high and bloody body count. SAM FISHER Extremely agile, moral, expert in the art of stealth and hand-to-hand combat. DIRTY HARRY A gun-toting extrovert that relates mostly to lead-ridden bodies. UNABOMBER Not satisfied unless it involves explosions. JAMES BOND Intelligent, skilled both at gunfight and hand-to-hand combat with a fetish for gadgets ECLECTIC AESTHETE Selecting what appears to be best in various methods and styles, consistently looking for “interesting” scenarios.

49 Parametric definition of personas (towards verified hypothesis) SILENT ASSASSIN Navigation attitude Interaction attitude Brawn:0%NonLethal90% Brain:100%Lethal10% Stealth:100%Silent100% Roleplay:0%Loud0% Clean100% Close up50%Bloody0% Midrange0%Multiple0% Faraway50%Single100%

50 BUTCHER Navigation attitude Interaction attitude Brawn:100%NonLethal0% Brain:0%Lethal100% Stealth:0%Silent100% Roleplay:100%Loud0% Clean0% Close up75%Bloody100% Midrange25%Multiple0% Faraway0%Single100% Parametric definition of personas (towards verified hypothesis)

51 SAM FISHER Navigation attitude Interaction attitude Brawn:100%NonLethal20% Brain:0%Lethal80% Stealth:100%Silent20% Roleplay:0%Loud80% Clean0% Close up65%Bloody100% Midrange10%Multiple0% Faraway25%Single100% Parametric definition of personas (towards verified hypothesis)

52 DIRTY HARRY Navigation attitude Interaction attitude Brawn:100%NonLethal0% Brain:0%Lethal100% Stealth:0%Silent0% Roleplay:100%Loud100% Clean0% Close up10%Bloody100% Midrange80%Multiple0% Faraway10%Single100% Parametric definition of personas (towards verified hypothesis)

53 UNABOMBER Navigation attitude Interaction attitude Brawn:20%NonLethal0% Brain:80%Lethal100% Stealth:50%Silent0% Roleplay:50%Loud100% Clean0% Close up10%Bloody100% Midrange0%Multiple100% Faraway90%Single0% Parametric definition of personas (towards verified hypothesis)

54 JAMES BOND Navigation attitude Interaction attitude Brawn:0%NonLethal90% Brain:100%Lethal10% Stealth:0%Silent20% Roleplay:100%Loud80% Clean50% Close up33%Bloody50% Midrange33%Multiple20% Faraway33%Single80% Parametric definition of personas (towards verified hypothesis)

55 ECLECTIC AESTHETE Navigation attitude Interaction attitude Brawn:50%NonLethal50% Brain:50%Lethal50% Stealth:50%Silent50% Roleplay:50%Loud50% Clean50% Close up33%Bloody50% Midrange33%Multiple50% Faraway33%Single50% Parametric definition of personas (towards verified hypothesis)

56 Parametric definition of persona-facets BRAWN: running, climbing, falling, close combat moves (head butt, punch, disarm, knife, hammer, human shield), lock shooting, bomb (first degree) BRAIN: standing, crouching, walking, accessing map, disposing of bodies, dragging bodies, spy through keyholes, using keycards, coin distraction, manipulating light, binoculars, bomb (second degree), recovering surveillance tapes. STEALTH: standing, crouching, sneaking, close combat (fiber wiring, pushing, ambushing, syringes, poison, anesthetic), shadows, hiding in closets ROLEPLAY: walking, running, standing, changing disguise appropriately to security zones, interact with NPC to gain info NON LETHAL: close combat moves (head butt, punch, disarm, anesthetic) coin distraction, light manipulation LETHAL: fiber wiring, knives, hammers, poison, human shield, gunfire, pushing, bomb (second degree) SILENT: silverballer, fiber wiring, sniper rifle, poison, anesthetic, pushing, knife, hammer, headbutt, punch, elevator ambush, lock pick LOUD: disarming, bomb (first and second degree, shotgun, assault ruflem machinegun, human shield, shooting locks CLEAN: headbutt, punch, fiber wire, ambush, poison, anesthetic, push, lock pick, ambush, sniper BLOODY: hangduns, rifles, machineguns, shotguns, knives, hammer SINGLE / MULTIPLE CLOSEUP / MIDRANGE / FARAWAY

57 Weaving playing personas

58 Metrics: measuring aesthetics Tracking LOCATION: The position (x, y, z) and vector (0 { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "contentUrl": "http://images.slideplayer.com/14/4301195/slides/slide_58.jpg", "name": "Metrics: measuring aesthetics Tracking LOCATION: The position (x, y, z) and vector (0

59 Metrics: rebuilding player experience Example of metric format to track navigation attitude: 00000: (x, y, z), (t), (w°), (λ°, φ°), (m) 00001: (134, 450, 00), (0000), (110°), (110°, 90°), (4) 00002: (150, 433, 05), (0005), (125°), (120°, 85°), (4) 00003: (189, 400, 10), (0010), (140°), (190°, 120°), (1) ……… (x, y, z): location (t): time (w°): avatar vector (λ°, φ°): camera vector (m): movement modifyer

60 Metrics: rebuilding player experience

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64 Metrics: measuring the ludic aspect Tracking INTERACTION: To monitor player’s interactions it is not necessary to record information based on a time interval, the relevant information will be recorded each time an interaction event is triggered. 1— Interaction with the world: Open inventory (i) Context sensitive action (a) (open door, call elevator, switch light etc.) Picking up item (c) Drop/throw item (t) Access map (m) Context sensitive agility moves (g) (jumping walls and balconies, climbing, walking ledges, etc.) Change disguise (d) Equip (w)eapon, fire weapon (u + triggered event type), sniper scope (z), Plant/trigger bomb (x) Poison (p) Peek through keyhole (e) Lock picking (o) Hiding in closets (n) Coin distraction (v) 2— Interaction with people: Talk (l) Fire weapon (u + type of npc) Drag bodies (q) Dispose bodies (s) Close combat (h)ead butt, (p)unch, disa(r)ming, fiber (w)ire, am(b)ush, (k)nives, s(y)ringes, Push (j)

65 Metrics: rebuilding player experience Example of metric format: 00000: (x, y, z), (t), (w°), (λ°, φ°), (m), (i) 00001: (134, 450, 00), (0078), (110°), (110°, 90°), (w5) 00002: (150, 433, 05), (0147), (125°), (120°, 85°), (z) 00003: (189, 400, 10), (0200), (140°), (190°, 120°), (u3) ……… A metric event is recorded each time the player initiates an interaction. The format is the same with one extra value to describe the type of interaction triggered

66 General Considerations Knowledge is distributed in space (context sensitive actions, security zones, etc.) QA & testers provide very early generation of metrics to initiate iterative incremental design process Provide players with reports about their session (flash movie) Giving Back to the community

67 Results Tracking progression rate Navigation attitudes Interaction attitudes Preferential pathways Delta between the two vectors: points of interest, landmarks Traditional heat maps Faulty patterns (controls, aesthetics, mechanics)

68 Conclusions Short term goals: Inform the generation and fine tuning of level design Providing a visual front end (a data interpreter) would also result in a great reward to the user and would bring the player created content up a notch: not just screenshots or clips, but a proper visual report on their play session as an interactable visual representation of their play experience. Long term goals (portable across projects): Individuate the general principles to select parameters that are worth tracking. Form a comprehensive theory of which (combination of) parameters correlate to defined aesthetic goals Define taxonomy of player personas (not player types), styles and ways in which games can be played. This longer term goal might have serious implication in the design process, as an evaluation tool and generates totally transferable knowledge.

69 Weaving playing personas

70 To be continued Questions Alessandro Canossa / aca@dkds.dk / alessandroc@ioi.dkaca@dkds.dkalessandroc@ioi.dk


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