Making a successful video game is hard. Even games that are well-received at launch may fail to engage players in the long term due to issues with the user experience (UX) that they are delivering. That’s why makers of successful video games like Fortnite and Assassin’s Creed invest both time and money perfecting their UX strategy. These top video game creators know that a bad user experience can ruin the prospects for any game, regardless of its budget, scope, or ambition.
The game UX accounts for the whole experience players have with a video game, from first hearing about it to navigating menus and progressing in the game. UX as a discipline offers guidelines to assist developers in creating the optimal experience they want to deliver, including shipping higher quality games (whether indie, triple-A or "serious" games) and meeting business goals -- all while staying true to design vision and artistic intent.
At its core, UX is about understanding the gamer’s brain: understanding human capabilities and limitations to anticipate how a game will be perceived, the emotions it will elicit, how players will interact with it, and how engaging the experience will be. This book is designed to equip readers of all levels, from student to professional, with cognitive science knowledge and user experience guidelines and methodologies. These insights will help readers identify the ingredients for successful and engaging video games, empowering them to develop their own unique game recipe more efficiently, while providing a better experience for their audience.
"The Gamer's Brain: How Neuroscience and UX Can Impact Video Game Design"
Is written by Celia Hodent -- a UX expert with a PhD in psychology who has been working in the entertainment industry for over 10 years, including at prominent companies such as Epic Games (Fortnite), Ubisoft, and LucasArts.
Major themes explored in this book:
"The beauty of this book is that it is two things at the same time:
-Don Norman, Director, the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego Author of The Design of Everyday Things
"By blending up-to-date brain science with game-relevant UX design principles, this book doesn't just give great tips about how to make better games, it gives designers the mental tools to get better at thinking about games. Read this, and suddenly you'll know what you're talking about."
-Jesse Schell, Game Designer, author of The Art of Game Design
"This book is an invaluable asset for game developers, whether you work in game design, user experience, or programming. With a lucid overview of the current best knowledge from cognitive psychology, Hodent provides guidelines and approaches to improve the game experience for players that are based on actual science."
-Raph Koster, Game Designer, author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design
Chapter 1 Why You Should Care about the Gamer’s Brain
Part I Understanding the Brain
Chapter 2 Overview about the Brain
Chapter 3 Perception
Chapter 4 Memory
Chapter 5 Attention
Chapter 6 Motivation
Chapter 7 Emotion
Chapter 8 Learning Principles
Chapter 9 Understanding the Brain: Takeaway
Part II A UX Framework for Video Games
Chapter 10 Game User Experience: Overview
Chapter 11 Usability
Chapter 12 Engage-Ability
Chapter 13 Design Thinking
Chapter 14 Game User Research
Chapter 15 Game Analytics
Chapter 16 UX Strategy
Chapter 17 Concluding Remarks