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Chapter 17B. Further Thoughts from Steve... > 17.10 Detailed Planning - Pg. 298

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN (B) · FURTHER THOUGHTS FROM STEVE SWINK ON GAME USABILITY With that distinction made, let's pull it all together into a detailed test plan for actual use. I don't think there's any "correct" take on what the different types of chal- lenges are and how they can be used. That's part of the art of game design. One of my favorites is Chris Crawford's breakdown of different types of chal- lenge by areas of the brain they utilize (Chapter 4 in "Chris Crawford on Game Design".) I also like Scott Kim's Venn diagram of the various types of puzzles and the rich fruit yielded by their interblending (slides online at http://www. scottkim.com/thinkinggames/GDC03/index.html.) Also, many games riff on different kinds of challenges as part of their design. Some games that do a great job of exposing the nature of challenge and com- bining different kinds of challenge (and which are awesome games) include: Wario Ware Arcadia (http://www.gamelab.com/game/arcadia) Brain Age ROM CHECK FAIL (http://farbs.org/games.html) 17.10 Detailed Planning What follows is a sample of a detailed test plan. It can be used to simultaneously test usability and game design, and is intended to show the relationships between them. The emphasis is on recording specific player behaviors at specific moments in the game according to pre-created definitions of the desired experience. Again, the three things we want to define and track are: Usability: What are the got it/don't got it behaviors? In order to play the game properly, what must the player first understand? For example, to play Super Mario Brothers properly, the player must understand that the A button makes Mario jump, that holding down the button longer will cause him to jump higher, and that Mario can still be steered left and right while in the air. Experience: Define the important moments in the game. What is the desired expe- rience at each moment? What should the player be feeling, thinking, and expe- riencing at each moment? What are the specific behaviors and actions that will tell us what they are experiencing at a given moment, and how close is that to what we want? For example, in the game flOw, the experience of being bitten by another creature should not be jarring, frustrating, or pull the player out of state. Their creature is sent down one layer, but can immediately resume calmly swimming around and eating other creatures. If the player verbalizes, jumps, or shows other signs of frustration, this indicates that the transition is too jarring. 298