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Designing Usable and Accessible Games with Interaction Design Patterns
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Designing Usable and Accessible Games with Interaction Design Patterns

May 17, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

7. Discussion

The question remains how detailed or elaborated ID patterns for games need to be. Experienced game designers may find most patterns trivial and dismiss them. For beginners they might prove useful. The issue of detailedness of a pattern is a general ‘problem’ in design pattern research. Nonetheless, we feel that the level of detailedness we show in our patterns allows the patterns to be useful for both UI designer and software engineers while not being too detailed.

Sometimes it’s hard to describe a pattern without having to make some basic assumptions about an underlying mechanism. When describing our auto save pattern we found it very difficult to describe it without actually specifying something about “saving” in general. In our pattern description we assume players can save games but why is this? Is saving a usability feature or is this pure functionality? In the case of word processors one cannot imagine a system without the ability to save but for certain games this very well possible (such as beat'em up games).

When we started this collection we initially focused on identifying patterns that are “unique” to the games domain. This is very hard as certain patterns that we identified such as autosave, and visual saves are also found in desktop software. The preview pattern is related to our visual saves pattern.

It can be argued that visual saves is a domain specific implementation of this generic pattern. For the completeness of our collection we decided to include this pattern even if it is a child of a more generic pattern. It is not our purpose to translate generic patterns to game specific patterns as patterns should be defined as domain independent as possible.

8. Conclusions

Interaction design for games is difficult and often relies upon years of experience. Interaction design patterns can capture the best practices of game interaction design in a much richer format than game heuristics and are hence more usable as tools for designers. Existing interaction design pattern collections focus on web and user interfaces for general purpose software, which makes them hard to apply to game design. We have developed a collection of interaction design patterns that describe solutions to typical usability and accessibility problems in games. Our patterns have been harvested from existing games.

The format and scope of our patterns can contribute to the development of a larger number of patterns than that we have now.

Such a body of knowledge may then effectively be used to inform interaction design for games; it may aid communication during early design, leading to games with fewer usability and accessibility problems, and potentially leading to increasing sales.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

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