How to Assess Prior Knowledge of Players (Acagamic Tip Tuesday #16)

the acagamic tip tuesday May 31, 2022
Person playing Northgard game, where tips become available contextually.

Happy Tuesday morning, and welcome back to The Acagamic Tip Tuesday.

Here is a short UX tip, two useful links, and a research finding from the world of UX Research & Design for games. 

This will only take a few minutes to read.

Game UX Tip of the Week

Assess Prior Knowledge: Newbies require more game knowledge than experienced players. Let players choose their level of game proficiency and allow them to skip onboarding as they might not be new to the game series.

Players come to your game with all sorts of different skill levels and experience. They might know the genre and controls of your game really well or they are familiar with the franchise that you are part of. Either way, flexibility in onboarding is key here to make it easy for experienced players to skip parts of the initial tutorial that does not provide learning value to them.

In Total War: Three Kingdoms,which is a part of a large game strategy series Total War, players can choose their advice level and are asked if they have played the previous games in the series before. The game will then only show information on new aspects unique to this installment.

The game Northgard uses contextual tips at a specific time in the tutorial without blocking players in their progression. When a player discovers an area protected by enemies while exploring, for example, a contextual tips appears suggesting to build a Training Camp to recruit warriors to take control of the area by military force.

Interesting Threads

I have settled on a Twitter and LinkedIn schedule now. I post at around 1:15 AM ET for the European and Asian followers. Then, I have a LinkedIn morning post every day at 8:30 AM ET and I'm trying out different formats for these, but definitely come on over to my LinkedIn at that time every day to see what's happening. And then, I'm doing evening posts at around 5:30 PM on Twitter. That's the regular schedule I've set for the summer and that I hope to follow. Would love to see you on LinkedIn and Twitter at those times.

→ I talked about my academic origin story a bit in a large thread. (Share this on Twitter)

→ 7 priceless lessons learnt that I am giving to you for free to help you get a job with your UX portfolios(Share this on Twitter)

→ Every successful CHI author uses these 7 rules of writing(Share this on Twitter)


Two Links (and a Video)

Oh, and hey we are continuing the Games User Research Book Podcast, now also with a YouTube channel:

Games Research Find of the Week

Sound effects are very common in games, but there is a lack of research on sound effects, specifically in gamification. In this study from my team, Max Altmeyer and colleagues investigated how different sound effects could possibly influence people's affective experience with a gamified application (the emotional impact).

They choose four different sounds based on the ratings of 50 people: (1) aggressive pitch for low valence and high arousal, (2) creaking noise for low valence and low arousal, (3) amaj drum for high valence and high arousal, and (4) wurli for high valence and low arousal. The between-participants experiment was run with a captcha-like human verification task asking participants to mark areas with street signs within images. Sounds were played or not played (control) in addition to receiving points for the task. In the study, 317 participants performed the tasks. 

No effects were found other than low-valence sounds (creaking noise, aggressive pitch), which negatively affected the UX of the gamified task. The absence of effects of sound conditions could have several reasons: Maybe the SFX were too short compared to music, or the points were visual dominant and had greater relevance to gameplay, the SFX were repetitive.

Read the full study:

Maximilian Altmeyer, Vladislav Hnatovskiy, Katja Rogers, Pascal Lessel, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2022. Here Comes No Boom! The Lack of Sound Feedback Effects on Performance and User Experience in a Gamified Image Classification Task. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 193, 1–14. 

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