Spectrum: Exploring the Effects of Player Experience on Game Design


DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG
Dundee, Scotland: Digital Games Research Association and Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games, August, 2016
Number: 1
Volume: 13
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666

Player Experience (PX) concerns how players think and feel when interacting with a game. Although it is intrinsic to all games, few design tools exist that enable designers to approach PX in a directed, intentional manner. Drawing on existing design tools and experience-related theory focused on emotions, we present our tool Spectrum. Spectrum facilitates a PX-directed approach to game design that foregrounds intended player experience. Spectrum can also be used to critically probe people’s conceptions of game experiences. In evaluations of Spectrum with designers, while all were committed to the notion of PX, not everyone was able to translate from emotions into playable scenarios, particularly when those emotions were either visceral in nature or unusual within existing games. In evaluations with players, participants sometimes struggled to fit emotionally-specific language around their game experiences, but also stated that such reflections added post-hoc value to their experiences.