An Interview With Horror Sound Designer Orest Sushko || Part II – Eliciting Emotions In Different Genres

An Interview With Horror Sound Designer Orest Sushko || Part II – Eliciting Emotions In Different Genres

Written by Katja Rogers (Ulm University), visiting researcher at the HCI Games Group.   This is the second part of an interview series with Orest Sushko, a sound designer and re-recording mixer who has an extensive portfolio in audio design, and who has collaborated with a number of big-name directors including David Cronenberg and Guillermo Del Toro. For his full biography, and insight into what his job involves, see the <previous post>.   In this part of the interview, we talked about the design and elicitation of specific emotions in viewers. From a researcher’s point of view, this is fascinating – in games research, we often want to see how certain aspects of games affect player experience, including their emotional responses. Personal experience has showed me that some emotions are easier to cause than others (unfortunately, frustration is easy to elicit accidentally). For these reasons, I was particularly interested in what Orest has to say about designing for specific emotions through his work with audio.   KR: How do you go about making a specific atmosphere through audio design? Where do you start?

An Interview With Horror Sound Designer Orest Sushko || Part I – What Is A Sound Designer?

An Interview With Horror Sound Designer Orest Sushko || Part I – What Is A Sound Designer?

Written by Katja Rogers (Ulm University), visiting researcher at the HCI Games Group. Orest Sushko – Biography As a re-recording mixer, Orest’s work in shaping the soundtracks for film and television has garnered him two Emmy nominations, an Emmy award, twelve Gemini nominations, three Genie nominations, a Genie award, two CSA nominations, and a CAS (Cinema Audio Society) Award.  He is also the recipient of an International Monitor Award, numerous MPSE accreditations, and a Golden Sheaf award. Orest has had the distinct pleasure of mixing seven films for acclaimed director David Cronenberg including Crash, Spider, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis, and Maps to The Stars. With numerous years mixing feature films in Hollywood, his work has been influenced through a broad range of directors and producers including Barry Sonnenfeld, Judd Apatow, and Guillermo Del Toro. He has also mixed soundtracks for television series including Orphan Black, the Netflix series Frontier and documentaries from David Suzuki, to The North Face, The Patagonia and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea. Orest has also produced and directed the

A Chapter in Review: User Experience Maturity Levels

A Chapter in Review: User Experience Maturity Levels

Written by Andrew Cen of the HCI Games Group. This post was not endorsed in any way by anyone but the author. Image taken from: Games User Research edited by Anders Drachen, Pejman Mirza-Babei, and Lennart E. Nacke. This blog post was NOT endorsed by the editors or authors of the Games User Research book. The following is the personal opinion of Andrew Cen, SWaGUR student in the HCI Games Group. It is, in my opinion, seriously a great text if you are starting your journey to learning about user experience and research. A lot of the concepts pertain and exist outside of the world of games and can be applicable in other applications of UX/UI design and research. The chapter I am reviewing speaks to understanding an entity’s involvement with UX research, and can be found in chapter 5 of Games User Research. The author of this chapter is Graham McAllister, the founder, and director of an award-winning play-testing studio, called Player Research, based in the UK. Just why is it important to understand where your company, team, or yourself stands within

User Testing for Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets

User Testing for Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets

Written by Karina Arrambide of the HCI Games Group. Figure 1. Woman wearing a VR headset   Virtual Reality headsets have increased in popularity over the past years. As a user, it is always exciting to see new devices and technologies that immerse us in virtual worlds and create an engaging experience. I still remember the first time I tried VR and the fascination I had with this new environment. But it is also interesting to see the challenges and constraints of user testing for VR. As an addition to many usability and user experience issues that traditional user research presents, VR adds more things that we must consider when testing. One of the main issues that developers have encountered with VR headsets is simulation sickness. People are experiencing a whole new dimension, and, in many cases, this can be confusing. For user research, it is a challenge to test participants trying VR because sometimes they are so immersed in the environment that it is difficult to collect valuable data. It is highly probable that we had experienced simulation sickness at some

A Daily Dosage of Toxicity in Dota2

A Daily Dosage of Toxicity in Dota2

A personal opinion article written by Joseph Tu, of the HCI Games Group. “Hey you donkey, you’re a horrible carry,” I said. Oh boy, did it feel great saying that out loud via the in-game voice chat. It was another weeknight and the clock was advancing well beyond 2am. This is how I unwind after the stress of yet another deadline for class at midnight. I was eating Goldfish crackers and regretted not streaming my match on Twitch as I got aggravated again. “Look at our score, we are losing” I replied, “you’re useless!” Never have I found myself being this mean to a person before to such an extent. The most that I have ever been this outraged was when my great grandmother passed away. After watching various replays of myself playing the game in order to improve my performance, I felt that I had learned toxic terms with ease. I noticed even my sentence structure slowly changing when I got ‘flamed’ by other players.   This was different from my other gameplay experiences. When I began playing Dota2,

Dungeon World’s Dice System Is The Core Of Good Game Design (And User Experience)

Written by AC Atienza of the HCI Games Group. Dungeon World is a tabletop game by Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel that uses an adapted version of the Powered by the Apocalypse RPG engine. Whenever a player character attempts to do a difficult task, they must roll two six-sided dice to determine the outcome: Rolls of 6 or less are considered failures. Rolls between 7 and 9 are considered “mixed successes”. Rolls of 10 or more are considered successful. In-game modifiers add an average of +1 to the final outcome of a character’s roll, assuming they’re playing to their strengths. As a result, the statistically most probable outcome for most tasks is a “mixed success”. A mixed success means slightly different things depending on the task, but most of the time, the player must make a difficult decision. Here are two examples: If a player tries sneaking past guards but rolls an 8, the Dungeon Master (DM) may tell them that they misstepped and made a conspicuous noise. “You can attack now and keep the advantage of stealth, but your teammates aren’t ready

Games as a Service – the model of Microtransactions

Games as a Service – the model of Microtransactions

  Written by Karina Arrambide of the HCI Games Group. It is no surprise that video games today offer players the opportunity to buy extra content, loot boxes, skins, DLC or expansion packs. It is common that after players buy a game at full price, they start to see messages that encourage them to buy additional content. Games as a Service (or GaaS) represent a revenue model in which video games can be monetized after they are released. Today video games do not act as a product, but as services in the form that additional content is released after the game is launched.  The reason for that is, games are now constantly patched, updated and new content is offered to the players. Different forms of this model exist, some examples include game subscriptions, gaming on demand and microtransactions. And there is a high possibility that as gamers, we have heard of the term “microtransactions”. Microtransactions are low-cost purchases that represent additional content in the game. These purchases can provide new maps, characters, items, weapons or rewards. This type of model started

Understanding Gamification Through Goal-Setting Theory

Understanding Gamification Through Goal-Setting Theory

Written by Gustavo Tondello of the HCI Games Group. Goal-setting theory has been used for decades to explain how to motivate people to perform better in work-related tasks by setting and monitoring goals. Gamification is also inherently a goal-oriented activity, aimed at fostering motivation; therefore, it is logic to expect that these two practices would fit very well together and help us design better motivational experiences. Surprisingly, very few research works so far have seriously explored the use of goal-setting theory to explain and inform gameful design, with most literature focusing more on self-determination theory as the theoretical background for gamification. Therefore, for a recent paper published at HICSS 2018, we decided to conduct a literature review and a conceptual investigation of gamification through the lens of goal-setting theory. This research had four goals: to identify the current uses of goal-setting theory in gamification research; to explain the principles and common elements of gamification within the framework of goal-setting theory; to understand how goal-setting recommendations can be implemented with gamification; and to understand how goal-setting recommendations can improve gameful design.

CHI PLAY 2017 in beautiful Amsterdam — the Venice of the North

CHI PLAY 2017 in beautiful Amsterdam — the Venice of the North

Written by Dennis Kappen of the HCI Games Group. CHI PLAY 2017 was held in Amsterdam, one of the most relaxed and serendipitous places on earth, where time and transit did wait for you to experience the grandeur of architecture, design and human connections. People were quite helpful, courteous and very eager to show you the way around. CHI PLAY as a conference has always been close to home since my first presentation at the First International Conference on Gameful Design, Research, and Applications — Gamification ’13. This conference was re-christened as CHI PLAY in 2014. Over the past five conferences, CHI PLAY 2017 was my fourth successful publication in this conference series. It was a great privilege and honour to present a chapter from my PhD dissertation at this conference attended by many distinguished scientists, researchers, designers and developers. While CHI PLAY had workshop sessions on 14th and 15th October, I decided to focus on my presentation because I was the first presenter scheduled for the Monday morning session entitled Let’s get physical. Prior to this session there was a fantastic

‘Life is Strange: Before the Storm’ Episode 1: A poignant look into a damaged teenage mind

‘Life is Strange: Before the Storm’ Episode 1: A poignant look into a damaged teenage mind

Written by Wasi Rizvi a Waterloo Computer Engineering alumnus who has been working in the Toronto tech industry since he graduated in 2015. He has been following gaming news outlets since the launch of the N64, and enjoys casually reviewing games in his spare time.   Mental health issues and the anguish they elicit is a topic seldom explored by video games. The concept of thoroughly dissecting the mind of the protagonist to reveal their deep-seated flaws is a task generally left to other mediums of fiction. 2015’s “Life is Strange”, a sleeper hit from publisher Square Enix and developer Dontnod Entertainment, is one of the first games I have played where the player character’s flaws and growth are central to the game thematically and mechanically. In the game, which is best described as an episodic graphic adventure that emphasizes player choice, our heroine Max Caulfield’s signature ability allows her to rewind time and explore the results of different dialogue choices at will. The game does a great job of overwhelming you with choice, as oftentimes no dialogue path seems to