GUR Lessons Learned over the Course of Fortnite Development

Alex Trowbridge

This talk will cover the methods used and challenges overcome in six years of user research on Fortnite at Epic Games. The research methods and the way research findings are communicated with members of the development team have grown over Fortnite’s course of development, and have paralleled the growth of UX as a tool at a studio level. The talk will cover a range of general UX challenges and challenges specific to Fortnite by illustrating the challenges and solutions with specific examples from the six year development of Fortnite. Some of the challenges faced will be broadly applicable to user research efforts across genres and platforms (and in fact industries), including fostering developer buy-in and giving broad and thorough ux findings in a timely and easily consumable way.

The talk will also cover challenges faced that are more closely tied to Fortnite, including the various methods used to research Fortnite at different stages of its developmental course, and the methods we’ve used to test the relatively constrained core gameplay loop while also testing the longer-term progression and meta mechanics of an expansive and content-rich free to play game. The take-aways from this talk will include the lessons the UX team at Epic has learned in our growth within Epic, and in our growth in meeting specific challenges for Fortnite over a lengthy development, illustrated through specific cases of user research efforts on Fortnite.

  • Category: Talk
Alex Trowbridge

Alex Trowbridge is a UX Researcher at Epic Games, where he has worked for 3 years on AAA projects for PC, Mobile, Console, and VR, along with user research for Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. Before (and while) working in games, Alex studied Human Factors Psychology at North Carolina State University. His research includes work in gaming in older adult populations, training for complex and high workload tasks, gesture use in support of problem solving, and mechanisms of performance and training among video game experts. Alex is finishing his PhD at NCSU, and hopes to continue bridging the gap between basic and applied science through his work in the gaming industry.

Session Schedule
#gamesUR US 2018 Schedule
8:00 Track A (Room B) Track B (Room C) Foyer
8:15 Empty Registration and Setup
9:00 Opening Address
Phil Keck (Activision)
9:15 Keynote: How to Win Friends and Influence Developers Posters/ Exhibitors
10:00 Break Break
10:15 Your Survey Sucks: Exposing Truth to Mobile Game Dev Teams Through Better Quant
Sarah Romoslawski (Glu)
Rapid Mentoring
James Berg (EA)
Posters/ Exhibitors
10:45 Context and Game Analytics: Hearthstone and Overwatch gotchas
Aleksandar Mirkovic
11:15 GUR Lessons Learned over the Course of Fortnite Development
Alex Trowbridge (Epic Games)
Solving the Mystery Using the Wizard of Oz Method
Lanie Dixon (Octothorpe Games)
12:00 Break Lunch
1:00 Researching League of Legends’ Largest Update
Nathan Blau (Riot Games)
Roundtable: Constructive Conversations About Racism and Sexism
Deborah Hendersen, Melissa Boone, & Jerome Hagen (Microsoft)
Posters/ Exhibitors
2:00 A Player-centered look at Spending and Advertising in mobile games
Allen Bevans & Pat Samermit (Google)
Building Confidence in Topics of Games User Research
Seb Long (Player Research) &,Lanie Dixon (Ubisoft)
3:00 Vendors + Poster Sessions Vendors + Poster Sessions
3:30 Challenges in the Game Analytics Pipeline
Multiple Speakers
Experimental Research Showcase
Multiple Speakers
Posters/ Exhibitors
4:15 Player segmentation: a practical mixed method approach
John Hopson (Blizzard)
VR PLAY: Usability and Playability Guidelines for VR Games
Heather Desurvire and Max Kreminski (User Behavioristics)
4:45 Fishbowl: Overcoming Challenges in GUR
5:15 Break Break
5:30 GUR Salary Survey
Jonathan Dankoff (WB Games)
5:45 Games User Research SIG Chair Update
Ben Lewis-Evans (Epic games)