Edward F. Melcer and Marjorie Ann M. Cuerdo. (2020). “Death & Rebirth in Platformer Games”. In Game User Experience and Player-Centered Design. Springer.
Marjorie Ann Cuerdo and Edward Melcer. (2020). “’I’ll Be Back’: A Taxonomy of Death and Rebirth in Platformer Video Games”. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '20, Honolulu, HI, USA. ACM.Advised by Edward Melcer.
Failure is a central aspect of almost every game, driving player perceptions of difficulty and impacting core aspects of game user experience. At the heart of failure in many game genres is player death, and platformer games in particular rely heavily on the use of death within their design. This work addresses the rich, underexplored space of in-game death (and respawning) through the creation of a generalized taxonomy of death in platformer games. The taxonomy consists of five notable dimensions: (1) obstacles, (2) death conditions, (3) aesthetics, (4) changes to player progress, and (5) respawn locations. These different dimensions have a number of potential implications for key aspects of player experience and design (see below for common platformer game designs identified using this taxonomy). The taxonomy could also be used to help improve the effectiveness of related engagement techniques such as dynamic difficulty adjustment.
Professor Melcer and I worked on this project together. We had iterative discussions on data obtained from observations and developed a codebook to create the taxonomy. I hope to extend the work by developing a platformer game (work-in-progress pictured above), in which I modify conditions for a death and rebirth mechanic, and gather data on player experiences that result from that.
Submitted: Cynthia Putnam, Maria Soledad Pera, Jerry Alan Fails, Marjorie Ann M. Cuerdo, Melisa Puthenmadom, Wanshu Wang & Nathaniel Paul. "Benchmarking Usability and Learnability of Comparable Design Patterns of Mobile Apps Designed for Children".
Cynthia Putnam, Melisa Puthenmadom, Marjorie Ann Cuerdo, Wanshu Wang, and Nathan Paul. (2020). “Adaptation of the System Usability Scale for User Testing with Children”. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '20, Honolulu, HI, USA. ACM.
Advised by Cynthia Putnam.
While it is highly likely that children under the age of 12 have used a mobile device in the U.S., there is a paucity of information to guide interaction designers and usability experts about how to design and test their mobile apps with children. In this work (currently a pilot study), I have conducted user testing of mobile-based apps aimed at computational thinking with two different age groups (7-8 and 9-11). The pilot study will lay a foundation for an envisioned larger project that will result in developmental-focused interaction design guidelines for mobile apps; future work will include creating and testing the efficacy of a tool for designers to access the guideline libraries. This study also contributes to the knowledgebase of user testing with children; specifically, we are working to modify and adapt the System Usablity Scale (SUS) for these two groups.
There were 3 other RAs involved in this project. As an RA, I moderated in-lab studies with children and their parents, as well as assisting in qualitative analysis and writing.