Bloodborne’s optional step by step tutorials empower players

Optional tutorials give everything away…

Default tutorials for offline players are scattered accross the place. They attrack the player’s attention through animations that add to the ambiance of the game. Bloodbornes tutorials are fully integrated and add to the experience rather than disrupting it.

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Bloodborne’s character creation remains quite complicated

Customizing the character’s appearance doesn’t really match the player’s logic

Character creation screens are usually complex. The one of Bloodborne is also complicated.

Despite generally implementing usable features and shortcuts for players, the character creation screen is somehow awkward. The screens are very cluttered with many different unrelated settings. Some things are grouped together, others separated. For example, I’ve seen players get really annoyed by face presets changing the skin color of their character.

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Bloodborne’s cues and feedback quality

Clear feedback that conveys personality

Identifying interactive objects : highlights and error messages

Players somtimes confuse natural lighting with iteraction cues but interactive items are easy to identify

Light effects are very effective to draw the player’s attention on objects. In Bloodborne, the lighting tends to attrack the player to decoration that isn’t interactive. It soon becomes easy to make the difference between “natural light” and actual items to pick up thanks to a shiny dot and a highlight in the dark that is active even without a torch.

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Bloodborne : It’s all about timing the actions right

Conveying cues for well timed actions

People reaction times vary depending upon the type of cue they recieve : visual or auditory. Getting the timing right requires to give clear information on the moment it can be performed. Depending upon the mastery level required and the type of interactions, cues for timings will be more or less evident.

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Playtest insights on Amanita’s Botanicula : interaction design and the complexity of puzzles

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.39.23PART 2 Botanicula is a “relaxed game perfect for hardcore gamers, their partners, families and seniors”; A point and Click adventure by Amanita Designs, who already won our hearts with Machinarium.

I’ve had the chance to test this game with two teenagers: Joe, a core gamer, Alex, a casual gamer and Robin, a 5 year old little girl, a 66 year old grand mother and a zen-game loving mom. Here’s some highlights of their player experiences.

Tested on PC/Mac

This review includes screenshots and details of the end of the game, beware of spoilers

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Usability for core games and Bloodborne’s first time experience

Usability for hardcore gamers

Usability is about removing un-necessary actions to support a user’s activity. In games, this means reducing repetitive and boring tasks that don’t add value to the gameplay. Typically, while the gameplay loops include some difficulty, the interaction design of menus, controls and interfaces should be straightforward. Players need to focus on how to solve riddles, beat a boss or master a level, not struggle with menus or try to start up the game. Only few games like octodad can justify that struggling with movement is the fun part of the game. In most cases, it isn’t.

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Playtest insights on Amanita’s Botanicula : goals, guidance and storytelling

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.39.23Part 1 Botanicula is a “relaxed game perfect for hardcore gamers, their partners, families and seniors”; A point and Click adventure by Amanita Designs, who already won our hearts with Machinarium.

I’ve had the chance to test this game with two teenagers: Joe, a core gamer, Alex, a casual gamer and Robin, a 5 year old little girl, a 66 year old grand mother and a zen-game loving mom. Here’s some highlights of their player experiences.

Tested on PC/Mac

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Game review : Catherine’s Tutorials and Controls Usability Review

Tutorials & Controls in Catherine’s nightmares

In this article, we are going to have a closer look at Catherine’s controls and tutorials. Let’s have a look at how players accomodate awkward controls by moving from using the stick to using the less input-error-prone directional arrows. Next, we will see how even the good tutorial of Catherine can fire back when too much explanations discourage users from using game features.

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Problem solving in Catherine and how the interface design decisions influence player performance

Catherine is a game about problem solving. Players need to learn techniques, chunk them to remember them easily and detect patterns in the environment to know when to use which technique to progress in the game. Repetition also leads them to over-learning : techniques become automatic and allow the player to be faster and to reach higher awards as he masters the game mechanics and execution.

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Catherine’s game Interface usability review : how mismatching mental models affects player experience

Catherine is a mature game about adultery and pushing boxes. Don’t run away, it’s the good kind of pushing boxes. Just let me take you through the first steps of the game.

Tested on PS3

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