Game Objects’ Characteristics

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The difference between objects that affect the gaming procedure and objects

that constitute the background surroundings of the environment should be clear

and unambiguous.

• Objects that are “active” and may be manipulated or used by the user

should distinguish themselves from the background and from other active

objects.

• “Dangerous” objects that imply something negative for the user in the

game should be represented in a way that clearly indicates their negative

effect on the user’s performance.

• Positive objects that imply scoring points or help for the user in the game

should indicate their positive attributes by their representation.

• Obstacles in the environment should clearly and unambiguous indicate that

they are interferences that need to be worked around and not objects that

may be manipulated by the user.

• The environment should demonstrate to the user where it is possible and

not possible for the user’s agent or character to move around.

Real World Inheritance

When designing objects in the game environment, it is important to be aware

of the conventions considering the specific object generated by other similar

types of games, but also conventions and affordances provided by real world

connections.

• If an object has a real world counterpart, the designer must be aware of

the properties of that real world counterpart and consider them when

deciding the properties and function of the game object. Game objects

with real world counterparts will, in the user’s interpretation of them, likely

inherit the properties and affordances from the real world, with effects on

the user’s assumptions of the game object’s properties.

Understandable Menus

Menu buttons and choices should be clear, descriptive and context sensitive

• “Back” buttons should link to the section or part previously visited by the

user, and never to a sector that is new to the user.

• Action buttons (that lead to some kind of action) should clearly describe

the action they initiate; submitting an answer for instance should be done

by a “submit answer” button rather than by a “done” button.

Supporting Tools and Their Layout

Pop up menus and additional tools for problem solving (i.e., information

databases or dictionaries) should never occur on top of the main element (i.e.,

a particular question) which they are supposed to support, but should occur

beside that particular element. Additional tools offered to support the user in

solving a particular task should not hide the description of the task to solve.

Game Instructions

Instructions dealing with basic movements and actions in the game environment

should be visually presented and explained in a short and compact fashion.

• Instructions on how to control the character and the meaning of different

objects in the environment must be kept short and intuitive in order to

ensure that the user utilizes them.

• The main objectives of the game in terms of the overall goal that the user

should strive to accomplish and how that goal may be reached in terms of

actions should be presented and explained in a short and informative way.