Lutin Game Lab

Abstract : As a 24 months platform project, Lutin Game Lab was designed for making academic researchers and game companies cooperate in order to reach a new stage in the process of game quality assessment, before and after they are available on the market. The project was organized along 6 WP, all of them having fulfilled their specific goals, although we had to endure some delays due to the time required for settling the technical platform and due to the lack of time available for the companies to collaborate during the year 2008.
The project results can be summed up in 4 different aspects:
* A platform is now open to companies as well as to academic labs, equipped with all the devices and the softwares needed for conducting evaluation of gamers behaviour, including all game platforms, excepted for on-line games. Two eye-tracking devices and sensorial analysis tools are part of the equipment of the platform. This technical platform is operated by the UMS CNRS Lutin at the Cité des Sciences in Paris.
* The methods created for analyzing the existing games and the ones in development phase were scientifically validated and adapted to the requirements of companies (time needed, display of the results, prerequisites and modes of cooperation with developers). These methods have not yet been tested in the developing phase of real games except for one of them (QRC), due to the workload of developers during this period.
* The methods are the following:
o Artificial expert for the prediction of gamers judgments based on a description framework of game properties. A subjective evaluation database has been designed using the data collected during the tests of 240 gamers (experts and naives) expressing judgments in a 11 items questionnaire, using the data from an objective description of game properties and the data obtained through an "objectivated subjective" description of games qualities retrieved from experts who designed and filled up a framework of 56 items per game genre (126 iterations). This expert allows companies to test their games while they are still in the design phase through the description framework in order to predict the judgments from the gamers and to optimize their various choices in game design using the 15 fuzzy models selected for each game genre.
o Usability testing method adapted specifically to videogames (Quick Reality Check, QRC), based on a test protocol involving 10 gamers, on logs tracking the gamer behaviour (implemented by the developers in their prototype), on synthetic visualization tools displaying the results, and on remediation method in cooperation with game designers (game doctor). This method focuses on ergonomics features and acceptability issues.
o An eyetracking method dedicated to gamers behaviour analysis. It helps to explore in-depth the areas or phases of concern discovered with the previous method. This allows the game designers to reshape some features in the interfaces and to compare their results with the patterns of each game genre that the research was able to modelize.
o A method for tracking emotional states during the game, through sensors placed on the gamers bodies, in order to explore and better understand the reasons of the problems pointed out by the other methods. This is a much more innovative methodology and field of research and this explains the need for focusing on specific features in order to validate the whole framework with the existing scientific state of the art. This is a very promising field and a very attractive one for the game designers, one that would require much more research efforts.
o An artificial expert providing diagnosis through the gathering of every piece of data collected during the various tests, with added results from on line questionnaires. The expert software provides an integrative view of the results for a specific game and can refer it to the various models available in the literature.

* In the gameplay evaluation field, the project evolves from a review of literature to the design of a wiki open to the community of game designers, which aim is to create de knowledge database about gameplay qualities for each game genre. The wiki includes a list of rules shared by the community and examples of games displaying the uses of these rules, extracted from a corpus of the most famous games. The database can be enriched with new cases, rules can be adapted, through the revision process of the wiki which includes collective validation. Developers can access the wiki as a resource for validation of their choices.
In brief, the platform offers a set of devices, a set of methods, available for the game industry, operated by Lutin experts, and a website including the wiki. Lutin Game lab platform represents an European reference center in the field of game evaluation. Lutin plans to design a quality label for games that could be used before the games are placed on the market. LUtin Game Lab requires a new research project devoted to the extension of the methods to on-line games (Lutin Game Lab on line). The next year will be devoted to dissemination and validation on real game being developed.
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Contributor : Dominique Boullier <>
Submitted on : Monday, March 30, 2009 - 4:54:54 PM
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Dominique Boullier, Audrey Lohard, Antoine Visonneau, Laure Léger, Nicolas Fouquereau, et al.. Lutin Game Lab. 2009. ⟨halshs-00371331⟩

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