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lethargilistic:

Coming off a User-Centered Design course last quarter, I have to echo michaeldsharpmoosader. There is no product that can appeal to every user group, and products designed explicitly to try that usually turn out awfully. At best, they tend to be unfocused or include too much unless the auteur keeps a firm grasp on things (and who is that person designing for?).

I understand the reaction against creating something based on the gender of the player. In games, and a lot of other places, that sort of thing has been done terribly. That does not mean that “male,” “female,” trans*,” “else” are not valid user groups, though. They’re just very general, and it’s certainly necessary to combine other criteria with them. Yes, such as age, which can lead to very different designs.

A common step in design is to create a persona based around these characteristics and a whole user research phase dedicated to learning what these people need. This aids the designer by fostering empathy with the user group and keeping any cruft that would not benefit that user from being put in the design.

Now, designing something you enjoy yourself is different than creating for someone else, but it’s still pigeonholing your game (which is a good thing). You’re designing for a user group with a population of 1, which is way too small, except for when you’re creating solely for personal enjoyment. It’s too small because, when we create things for ourselves, we don’t think about the needs of others (“Yeah, I’ll remember that;” “I can do that;” “I know that”). This can be frustrating to people who aren’t you. If you wanted to analyze yourself and come up with some persona, you may be able to increase that number by making it even the slightest bit more general. A more fundamental approach would be to choose a vague audience and get more specific from there, though. Not the other way around.

Basically, the caterwauling from a lot of gamers about studios “appealing to a wider audience” by including concepts like cover-based shooting is a very real and quite fundamental concern in User-Centered Design. As with a lot of things, many gamers just use the concept as a bludgeon (poorly) because they heard it 100th hand and don’t actually understand it. Don’t mind those people. (Unless you’re designing for them. ;3)

The best I can do is to generalize it to people who enjoy classic games from the 80s and 90s, for DOS, PC, SNES, Genesis, etc. - Because I primarily only work in the realm of 2D right now.

I’m not going to try to make any single game oriented towards every demographic, but at the same time I’m not going to target any demographic, aside from perhaps previous play styles.

Narrative isn’t my strong point, either, and I don’t have personal experience with transitioning genders so I wouldn’t make a game about the story of transitioning (generally my games will be pretty storyless). Maybe I can pair up with a trans friend in the future if we want to do something like this, but at the very least, though, when I have a character creator I will include more gender options than just “male” and “female”, and the character creator won’t just have white as a skin-tone (*cough*animalcrossing*cough*)

-

My intention is to work on gameplay that I think will be fun (probably due to my previous game playing experience and what I like in a wide variety of games), and work on it iteratively to improve. For example, from watching various people play Del&Kat, it’s obvious that I do need some easier levels in there. Not that it would make it kid-oriented (some adults had trouble, too), but it might be a good idea to have several levels of challenge.

People also don’t like the fast waves, so I will change that. And I think I will update the GUI in the level editor because some regions just aren’t big enough for thumb-tapping.

Del&Kat is cute and rather non-violent, but that doesn’t mean I made it for children, or for women. Del&Kat is/will-be fast-paced and challenging, but that doesn’t mean I made it for the hardcore audience (or, necessarily, men?). I wanted to make it overly adorable, but I know that cuteness doesn’t necessarily dissuade an entire demographic from playing a cute game (Pokemon, Kirby, etc.)

I can somewhat define a type of gamer, the platforms they have, the genres they like, but at this point I’m not comfortable considering targeting or advertising to traditional demographics that other types of businesses might consider (e.g., Office Max wanted to target women so they sell a lot of office supplies with pretty patterns.)

michaeldsharp:

moosader:

michaeldsharp:

moosader:

Not sure I’m doing this “targetted marketing” thing right.

Who DOES play your games or use your products? 

I think a lot of the time, I will stop developing something prematurely because I’m unable to see why enough people would want to use anything I build. 

How do you go about finding out what people want in an application or game? 

Do you query the market? (Surveys, comparing existing products, looking at trends) or build your product and get it on the market? 

I think one luxury of developing software is we (as developers and designers) have the ability to do both, and it’s not too risky to do so. 

Furthermore, we don’t have to follow the classic paradigms of Market Driven vs Product Driven products like tangible products that require a lot of capital to make and get on the market, we can prototype, gauge the market, tweak and change, then release when we’re happy (but before someone else does it better). 

Hopefully, during this process, you not only get to know your product better (and test the heck out of it, maybe even get your users to test it), you’re also able to learn about the makeup of your market, tailor the product based on user feedback and as you go along, you can improve your model of ‘who’ your customer is. 

So who is your customer? 

But the thing is, I’m not going to pre-define my customer. I’m not going to target just men or just women or just children.

In the game industry in general, there’s already way too much of this crap and it alienates a lot of people.

I just want to make games that I like, and I want to put them out there, and hopefully people will come play them. I’m not going to add certain types of graphics or gameplay elements just because I think they’ll appeal to a certain gender.

Just like I didn’t make Del&Kat FOR children, and I made some of the levels pretty hard. Albeit, in the final version, I’ll separate worlds based on difficulty level so you will have a batch of “these-are-too-damn-easy” maps before you hit the more challenging ones.

I understand your point, but identifying your market and segmenting it isn’t just about whether you want to aim your product at a specific gender or age group, one piece of info you might want to find out is the kind of devices your user base owns (android, iOS), how they prefer to interface with their games (using a controller, a touchscreen or motion control etc), the reason why you find this information out, is because you want to make it as easy as possible to sell your product, and to make it as hassle free for them to start playing. 

I agree that putting blind gender and age labels on your products isn’t a great way to go, but it is still very useful to know if people want to use your product and  whether they have the capability to do so, if they don’t, you can optimise the experience for them by supporting new platforms, making the interface easy to use, tweaking features to make the game play better etc. 

I’ve tried to approach my previous ‘reblog’ and this additional post using the skills I’ve learnt in business classes in school and college, I was kind of making the point that as software developers, we don’t have to stick to the conventions that toy makers for example follow, we don’t have to push products out we ‘think’ males or females will like, we can ask people ourselves what they like, and tailor the experience, not to pander to any kind of stereotype, but to give the user the best experience possible (so they hopefully come back and use us again)

So maybe the question should be less, “who is your customer” than “what will make your customers happy, whoever they may be”.  

Touché

michaeldsharp:

moosader:

Not sure I’m doing this “targetted marketing” thing right.

Who DOES play your games or use your products? 

I think a lot of the time, I will stop developing something prematurely because I’m unable to see why enough people would want to use anything I build. 

How do you go about finding out what people want in an application or game? 

Do you query the market? (Surveys, comparing existing products, looking at trends) or build your product and get it on the market? 

I think one luxury of developing software is we (as developers and designers) have the ability to do both, and it’s not too risky to do so. 

Furthermore, we don’t have to follow the classic paradigms of Market Driven vs Product Driven products like tangible products that require a lot of capital to make and get on the market, we can prototype, gauge the market, tweak and change, then release when we’re happy (but before someone else does it better). 

Hopefully, during this process, you not only get to know your product better (and test the heck out of it, maybe even get your users to test it), you’re also able to learn about the makeup of your market, tailor the product based on user feedback and as you go along, you can improve your model of ‘who’ your customer is. 

So who is your customer? 

But the thing is, I’m not going to pre-define my customer. I’m not going to target just men or just women or just children.

In the game industry in general, there’s already way too much of this crap and it alienates a lot of people.

I just want to make games that I like, and I want to put them out there, and hopefully people will come play them. I’m not going to add certain types of graphics or gameplay elements just because I think they’ll appeal to a certain gender.

Just like I didn’t make Del&Kat FOR children, and I made some of the levels pretty hard. Albeit, in the final version, I’ll separate worlds based on difficulty level so you will have a batch of “these-are-too-damn-easy” maps before you hit the more challenging ones.

You can draw but NOT GOOD ENOUGH. >:|

Blugh. Sometimes, I want to write a comic in Esperanto, with a decent story and good artwork but I know that’s beyond my skill level.

image

But then I’m like, “Rach, you’re the most skilled a programming. Why not just put all your energy towards the games?”

But I guess it’s variety, yo. I want to see what it’s like to get a comic up on Google Play Books. :B

On the positive side, I wrote that comic when I was a complete beginner Esperantist, and now I see the grammatical errors I had missed. :|

Agh, I’m not sure how to pack all of our stuff. I am going to donate or sell what I really haven’t touched in years (most college textbooks and stuff).

Also kind of anxious about being able to make the new house look nice. I’ve never attemoted to color-coordinate a room so things might not look great. I guess we can paint bookshelves and stuff @_@

Furniture is expensive… I have so many half-broken things that still function for now :P lamps that can’t stand up straight so they’re strategically placed against a wall… desks with missing shelves and one side loose… wobbley and saggy bookshelves… a tv stand I picked up from someone’s trash years ago, that we cut new shelve pieces for (and never painted)…

Have I put out all of the fires? I think I have, at least for tonight.

Organizing a meeting about the future of our local Hackerspace tomorrow evening.

Monday I’m putting in my two-weeks so I can focus on moving to our new house, finding a closer job, and my business stuff. 

Oh yeah, I also have two weeks’ worth of FastTrac startup homework.

Ho, ve…

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