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Session Name:

Attention, Not Immersion: Making Your Games Better with Psychology and Playtesting, the Uncharted Way


We use the words "immersive" and "engaging" all the time when we're discussing the things that are most important about great videogame experiences and yet, how well do we really understand the concepts that these words point to? Richard Lemarchand, lead game designer at Naughty Dog, will use this session to try and dispel some of the confusion about how videogames keep us fascinated, by introducing the psychological concept of attention to our ongoing conversation about play and games.

Attention! The process of selectively concentrating on one perception or thought, while ignoring other things has been one of the most widely discussed concepts in the one hundred and fifty year history of modern psychology, but it is rarely, if ever, mentioned on stage at GDC. What is attention? How does it work? What is its relationship with the overlapping phenomena of entrancement, compulsion and depth in games, and how can we use our awareness of our players' attention to make our games better?

By using practical examples from his involvement in the playtesting of the Uncharted games, Richard will describe how you can use metrics data and other methods to get a handle on the elusive subjects of your players' attention, without breaking the bank on elaborate equipment.

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  • GDC 2012
  • Richard Lemarchand
  • Naughty Dog
  • free content
  • Game Design
  • Design