The Irregular Challenges of Indie GamesUR

Lanie Dixon

How do you test with real players before a single line of code has been written? Or with aspects of the game design still in the earliest stages?

We will discuss how we found an inexpensive, highly actionable, & ecological way to gather players feedback early.

This talk details the research challenges and solutions throughout the development of The Irregular, an ambitious episodic mystery game. With only a few short months to produce a playable demo, our team knew that we needed to minimize financial risk by leveraging user testing every step of the way, but with minimal overhead cost. To achieve this we planned to test as much as possible on paper with real players before implementing anything in a digital space in hopes of reducing costly backtracking in development.

We will discuss how we planned, the procedures we used, what we learned, and how this impacted our design and research processes moving forward. We will explore how our early paper prototype testing impacted design decisions and how we altered plans for our user testing based on the results from earlier tests.

How do you test an NPC character with a paper prototype? We’ll review how we were inspired by the Wizard of Oz and why we decided to use a role-playing moderator, including how we tested a prototype voiceover script in such early stages.

  • Category: Talk
Lanie Dixon

Lanie Dixon is a User Researcher at Ubisoft Montreal. Prior to Ubisoft she was the Co-Founder and Director of User Research at Octothorpe game studio in Salt Lake City Utah. In addition to her work with Octothorpe, Lanie was one of the 4 game developers and business owners running the Utah Games Guild, a volunteer organization working to promote and support local indie game development in Utah. Lanie also serves on the advisory committee for the Utah IGDA chapter as well as a member of the steering committee for the GURSIG.

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)