UX For Game Development Masterclass - Beirut Digital District

Hey GameDevs!
We're pleased to announce that we are bringing the leading expert in UX for games, Celia Hodent, to Lebanon to give a full day masterclass.

User experience (UX) and cognitive science are becoming trendy in the industry, but how can these disciplines concretely help a team develop and improve a video game? UX and cognitive science combined are at the service of the intended design, and can provide very concrete and easy-to-use tips to anticipate and solve problems, sometimes even before the playtesting phase.

This Masterclass proposes to delve into how the human brain works in terms of perception, attention, and memory (critical elements for UX) and offers a UX framework to use cognitive science/psychology knowledge and UX guidelines during the different development stages. The ultimate goal of this Masterclass is to provide tools to significantly improve the experience of the game you are developing, as perceived by your target audience. This Masterclass will offer numerous examples, from video games and beyond, to illustrate each point.

Note that the intent of this Masterclass is to adjust to attendees’ level of expertise in UX and the specific challenges they encounter on their project. A survey can be sent out a few weeks before the Masterclass so that attendees can choose which areas they want the trainer to focus on (e.g. usability, engage-ability for free-to-play games, how to set up user research in a small studio, etc.).

This Masterclass has 2 main parts. The content can be adjusted to skip some elements while diving into others more, depending on attendees’ requests.

Part 1 - Introduction to cognitive science and psychology to understand how the brain works and, more specifically, how it learns. We will look into the capabilities and limitations of human perception, attention, memory, motivation, and emotion, using multiple examples taken from video games and beyond.

Part 2 - Focuses more specifically on the User Experience (UX) framework you can apply when developing your game, and how it relates to the brain capabilities and limitations. We will breakdown UX into ‘usability’ and ‘engage-ability’ and detail the important principles within these 2 components that can make, in the end, a great difference for your player and how s/he will experience your game (for the better!). It will cover how to successfully onboard players (i.e. first time user experience over, roughly, the first minutes to an hour of play) as well as how to keep players engaged over time.

Part 3 (optional) - can be added to talk about user research and analytics, and how to measure what when, depending on what stage of development a project is at. This part can also touch on UX strategy and how to develop it both at a project and studio level. Any of these parts and topics covered can be shortened of extended depending on the level of expertise of attendees and their expectations. For example, we can dive deeper into how to make free to play games more engaging, or how to set up user research in indie studios.

Anyone can benefit from knowing better about the brain and about user experience. This Masterclass will however benefit designers, artists, gameplay programmers, and junior UX practitioners even more.

About the trainer
Celia Hodent is recognized as a leader in the application of user experience and psychology in video game design and in the development of UX strategy and process in game studios. She holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Paris Descartes-Sorbonne, France, where she specialized in cognitive development. In 2005, Celia stepped aside from academic research to work with an educational toy manufacturer, VTech, and then entered the video game industry. She has worked at Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Montreal, LucasArts, and Epic Games to help guide the studios, and their projects, toward improved user experience practices. Celia's approach is to use cognitive science knowledge and the scientific method to concretely solve design problems and make sure the player experience is always enjoyable and engaging, while reaching business goals. Celia is also the founder and curator of the Game UX Summit, which launched in Durham, NC, in May of 2016, hosted by Epic Games. She has worked on many projects across multiple platforms (PC, console, mobile, and VR), including the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six franchise, Star Wars: 1313 , Paragon , Fortnite , and Spyjinx . Celia is the author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design , published in August 2017.

For info and registration please visit lebgamedev.com/ux

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