User Research Advocacy

Warning: IdeasThroughout my career I have been a strong proponent of User Research and have taken advantage of every opportunity to investigate the desires, expectations and reactions of actual gamers.  Designing from a single perspective leads to a one-dimensional game, which is why honest answers to authentic questions is so valuable.  I don’t see that writing a blog is any different, and since I have been getting a lot of traffic lately (Hi GAFers!) I thought I would do some reader research.

6 thoughts on “User Research Advocacy

  1. This website is one of my favorites on the internet, as someone who’s started working on a game with a small team. Really love it.

    As far as I would like to see, more design philosophy, breaking down other games, including your own, and specific design choices like the Halo 3 Sniper Rifle post. Would also love to hear more about working at Bungie and little things you’ve learned from that studio.

    Also, who IS Jason Jones? :)

  2. Unfortunately, my departure from Bungie was rather rocky, so I’m steering clear of any sensitive proprietary information or direct references to Bungie games and employees. At least for now. (I already had permission to post the Sniper spec because I used in it a GDC talk last year.)

    I’m glad you are enjoying the site, though! The philosophical posts are the most fun to write, but they also take the most time. I may need to take a break from posting to finish my talks for GDC and GUR

  3. Ah, I understand, sir. Will be looking forward to what you have planned for GDC though! Should be good.

  4. I ended up picking the choice that had “philosophy” in the title (not surprised here) although it was a tough decision between that and the one that used “Tripping over the Starting Line” as its example (and not just because it had screenshots of QWOP). The choice with “Writing a Paper Design” as its example ran a solid third.

    Generally the posts I devour immediately are the ones that give practical examples of how to solve a knotty game design problem, especially if I am not fully aware of the problem to begin with. Descriptions of good industry practices are also very valuable to me, so that I can avoid bad habits down the road. (Bob Bates’ book in particular was really helpful to me on this front, although I worry that it might already be outdated even though it’s only six or so years old.). I find definitions interesting but only insofar as they give insight to the writer’s mental and perceptual state, while breakdowns of a specific game are useful but have an unfortunate tendency to be too narrow for me to really get much out of. (As I become more skilled as a game designer I expect this might change.)

  5. Wow, you hit the order of the results exactly, all the way down to the near ties! Apparently, you are the Ohio of game design post topic polls. Next time I’ll skip the laborious survey-construction and data-gathering and just ask you directly… (heh)

  6. Haha I don’t know whether to be pleased at the fact that for the first time I am an average example of something (besides mad geniusness), or horrified at the same… (;

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