All at once or one by one: animation playback in digital game titles

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master's Thesis
Interaction design and technologies (MPIDE), MSc
Neidert, Marcus
Rohdell, Adam
Within the realm of digital game titles, animations plays an important role in delivering narrative, causality through feedback, player appeal, and a multitude of player experience factors. When considering strategic turn-based deckbuilder game titles, this holds true as well. When playing back animations one has to decide on a strategy for deciding when and how an animation should be played on a specific actor. Gothenburg based game studio Box Dragon, a stakeholder in this project, has developed their own system for animation playback. We call these systems animation playback styles and the aim of this project was to study how different animation playback styles affects the player’s understanding of causality and perception of the gameplay. To research this question, a proof-of-concept application was developed to comparatively evaluate how different animation playback systems influences the player’s experience. The application was developed using Unity, utilizing existing assets as well as creating our own to develop an aesthetic that maps to commonly used themes within the strategic deckbuilder genre. The application features an animation playback system similar to the one that has been developed by Box Dragon. Once the application was developed a qualitative study was conducted with six participants where they got to play through the application, fill out questionnaires, and lastly discuss their experience with the application in the form of a semi-structured interview. The findings of the study indicates that there is a causation between animation playback styles and the player’s understanding of causality and perception of the gameplay. However, as the results stem from a qualitative study with six participants matching Box Dragon’s intended audience, they are non-exhaustive in regards to how representative it is for players that do not meet the inclusion criteria of our study. The results of the study also indicates that animations and their implementation in games is a wicked problem, and this report suggests some factors that would be of interest to pursue in the future.
Animation , parallel animations , computer science , PX , qualitative study , research through design
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