Applying the Two-Factor-Theory to the PLAY Heuristics

Strååt Björn Warpefelt Henrik
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

It is a common practice to use heuristic evaluations to assess usability and user experience of digital systems. Video games are no exception. Several video game researchers have presented different lists of best practice, design patterns, principles and heuristics over the last decade. The authors of this paper wanted to see if there is an aspect of priority that can be applied to an existing set of video game heuristics and if it is possible to classify the heuristics according to type. This study uses a survey where the participants were asked to classify Desurvire and Wiberg’s (2009) PLAY heuristics according to Herzberg’s theory into either Hygiene Factors or Motivators. The participants were instructed to view Hygiene Factors as essential to ensure functionality for an enjoyable play experience, while Motivators are mostly aimed at polishing the experience. The method used in this study is inspired by a previous work, where web design heuristics were classified in a similar manner. Results show that the method is applicable, and that it yields interesting results. Preliminary results indicate that mainly heuristics that consider usability are perceived as Hygiene Factors while the heuristics classified as Motivators consider other topics, such as storyline and immersion. Interestingly, the PLAY heuristics are evenly split between these two categories.


Cues and insinuations: Indicating affordances of non-player character using visual indicators

Warpefelt Henrik
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Non-player characters (NPCs) provide an important service in video games in that they provide an active connection to the narrative through their behavior, as if they were actors in a play. In this study, we aim to explore in what ways the visual appearance of an NPC affects how players perceive their role in the game, and what criteria players use to evaluate the role of NPCs based on visual information. This is done by performing a survey of players, where the respondents are asked to determine the role that a number of NPCs had given their visual appearance, and describe how they decided the roles of the NPCs.


Analyzing the believability of game character behavior using the Game Agent Matrix

Warpefelt Henrik Johansson Magnus Verhagen Harko
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

In recent years there has been significant improvement in the simpler actions performed by characters in computer games – such as navigating the world and attacking enemies and similar actions. In previous work, the ability of NPCs to adapt to changing circumstances was found to be inadequate in many circumstances. In order to validate these findings we have studied a total of 20 games, observing NPC behavior in each of the games in many different situations, ranging from everyday town life to combat. Using the Game Agent Matrix, we found a number of different behavior categories related to the social context of the agent and its behavior within that context indicating a gap between the most convincing behavior was focused around navigating the world, using tools and using language, as well as more complex behavior such as social sanctions and ranking, connected to the narrative of the game. The middle ground, containing behaviors such as dynamic group formation and the ability to perceive the actions of others were generally seen as unconvincing.