Quantified Soldiery

Halo 5: Guardians and Statistical Coaxing

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Halo 5: Guardians (H5) is a first-person shooter in two parts: multiplayer combat and a series of story missions. In multiplayer, the player’s avatar is made distinct from other players’ with cosmetic modification (colour choices and armour options), giving them a range of options for self-expression that are unavailable in single player. Through this and other methods, Halo 5 affords certain possibilities for self-representation or expression, encourages a limited range of actions, and ignores other possibilities. Affordance, in this case, refers to everything that Halo 5 online multiplayer allows the player to do, what it encourages the player to do through its various systems (coaxed affordance), and what the player cannot do or is discouraged from doing by the platform or discursive environment (constraint). Continue Reading

Design and the Broken Game:

Wayfinding and Affordance in Shelter

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Shelter is a game about figuring out what the hell to do next. You play as a mother badger trying to guide her children to a new den. Gameplay consists of roving across predatory landscapes, securing food in the process, and feeding this food to your kids. This sounds fun. For me, it was not. Continue Reading

Monkey See, Monkey Do:

Semiotics and Affordances in Monkey Island

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At their heart, adventure games are about exploration and discovery. Players must connect with the world around them to solve puzzles and progress forward, making player/game space interaction a key component of the genre. When looking at the design of these games, investigating them through the dual lenses of semiotics and affordances can help describe the subtle nuances of interactivity and game design, which can make or break player experience. According to Saussure (1983), semiotics is the study of signs, symbols and the meanings these have in communication, while Norman (2003) argues affordances describe human interaction with objects and spaces. Continue Reading