User Research Throughout the Game Development Process
Graham McAllister, Player Research
This talk shows how Player Research began with only one service, and now offers over ten. This growth was partially a response from questions posed by game developers, and partially by changes in the games industry. This talk outlines the ten user research methods and how they help deliver both critically and financially successful games.
BIO: Graham is the Director of Player Research, an award-winning user research and playtesting studio based in Brighton, UK. Player Research help studios deliver world-class games by challenging assumptions, validating design decisions, and providing evidence on the player experience throughout development. Their clients include Sony, NaturalMotion Games, EA, Mind Candy, Jagex, Ninja Theory, Madfinger Games, Hutch Games, and Channel 4 among many others. Graham is a BAFTA Games member and writes a monthly column on user research for GamesIndustry.biz.
Optimizing mobile games using player behaviour
Steve Collins, Swrve
Mobile Games, in particular free-to-play game services, rely hugely on data gathered as players play the games. This data is used to drive optimisations of the game and the marketing strategies used to generate revenue from the players, to sustain the business model of the game’s developer. This talk will describe a number of the techniques (for example A/B testing, propensity scoring, data mining) in the game developer’s arsenal to exploit behavioural data in game service design and iteration.
BIO: Steve Collins is currently CTO and co-founder of Swrve, a software company developing a platform for mobile marketing automation for app developers and publishers. Swrve currently employs 8 0 people and is based in San Francisco, New York, London and Dublin. Prior to Swrve he was CTO and co-founder of Kore Virtual Machines, a company which developed a commercial Lua implementation for console games. In 1998, Steve co-founded Havok, the world’s leading physics and animation provider for games and movie special effects and as CTO he led the technical development and strategy of the company. Steve also works with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) as a Adjunct Associate Professor of Computer Graphics, and is a Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2007 he founded TCD’s new MSc program in computer game technology. Previously he founded the TCD Computer Graphics Research Group, and led many funded research programs in computer graphics and simulation. Earlier still he worked on scientific visualization software for Hitachi Research Labs in Tokyo and has developed a number of Commodore 64 games in the late eighties.
Gamification, the elixir of performance?
Kam Star, PlayGen
Researchers and marketeers of gamification often claim it to be a cure-all for all our engagement and motivation woes. Just add game elements and you’ll magically transform the dull into the brilliant. Empirical reality is it fails to increase performance far more than it succeeds. We’ll debunk the myths of gamification, look at what the losers have in common and what winners do to succeed. We’ll also present data collected from over 5000 sessions that suggests personality traits moderates performance depending on the type of gamification.
BIO: Kam Star is a digital media entrepreneur, investor and award winning games developer. Founder of PlayGen and Digital Shoreditch. Kam designs and develops playful solutions for delivering meaningful & behaviour changing experiences across the digital landscape. He has produced gamification projects for the BBC, AVIVA, UNESCO, McKinsey, MoD, NHS, Wellcome Trust, Unilever, Samsung and many other global brands and organisations. Kam is currently running over £30m of gamification projects globally.
BIO: Heather is a game analyst with experience across a variety of genres and platforms, predominantly in f2p. Her work in games analytics is informed by her experience as a discourse analyst, HCI researcher, technology industry analyst, consultant, and mentor to two early stage analytics startups. She is interested in practical applications of modern quantitative methods, and recently chaired the http://nucl.ai track on Data Science and Advanced Analytics in Games. For fun she likes to wrangle puzzling interdisciplinary issues in the hope of extracting meaning from them.