Category: Usability Example


The Usability of Bloodborne

[This blog post by Player Researcher Ben Lewis-Evans was featured on Gamasutra]

I work in the area of Games User Research. That is to say I work with game developers to help them achieve the game experience they are after. To do so I use my background in human factors psychology to run playtests, to carry out heuristic analyses based on usability and player experience principles, and to generally just try to help out as much as my expertise allows.

One thing that I often hear, am told, and/or read online is that the existence and popularity of “hard” games like the Souls games, and more recently Bloodborne, means my job isn’t needed. Or as it is sometimes more strongly put, that my job leads to what is “wrong” with games that aren’t like Bloodborne.

This is an understandable misunderstanding. But it is a misunderstanding. And I want to tell you why by using the example of Bloodborne (which, yes, I completed without guides, but no I didn’t get the “true” ending  – just in case you want to stamp my gamer cred card or something).

There are two major misunderstandings here. The first is that usability is about making games easy. The second is that games like Bloodborne don’t have core elements of good usability in them.Continue Reading..


5 for 5%: Essential Playability-Focused Activities That Every Game Should Budget For

[This blog post by Player Researcher Seb Long was featured on Gamasutra]


Question: What is your studio doing to deliver better a player experience? More than ever, the end-user’s experience of commercial game titles is tantamount to a title’s critical and commercial success. Indie teams like Hipster Whale can compete with high-budget development teams in quality and mind-share – it is their player experience that sets titles apart from their peers rather than budget, IP or marketing spend. So what tools are your team using to ensure you deliver these experiences to players? 

Recently, emphasis on telemetry-based variable-twiddling is often cited as ‘focusing on the player’, but it is becoming clear to many that analytics are an important part of the answer, but don’t offer the complete picture.

So what are you really doing to address the market’s new-found focus on experience, playability and accessibility? How have your development practices changed in order to accommodate player-centric design, focusing on usability, understandability, in delivering a polished player experience, and ensuring that your intended experience is realised by players?Continue Reading..


Usability Examples – Tutorials start from the main menu

SpaceTeam and Fruit Ninja teach gestures players need before the game begins… Continue Reading..