Topics and themes

Game User Research is a very broad domain, and any list of topics would be prone to incompleteness and misinterpretation. Thus, rather than providing an overly-extensive list of topics covered by this call, we would like to instead provide some pointers on the aim of the GUR book and the fundamental requirements for the content.

The book will be divided into multiple themed sections, each covering a different aspect of GUR. To some extent there will be overlaps between these topics. For example, when we run a user test, we employ specific practices and technologies, and often theory informs how tests are structured or how data are interpreted. This is fine – GUR is inherently multidisciplinary.

We need to fit a massive breath of potential content into a homogenous volume, and this requires chapters to be aligned, which is why we request that the themes listed below are used as a guide to focusing the content of submissions. We also encourage authors to keep the target audience in mind.

The basic question to ask if you have an idea for a chapter (or other content) for Game User Research, is: does it involve games and does it involve how people play (interact with) them? If so, your idea falls under the auspices of GUR and is potentially relevant for the book.

Themes

Theory

Theory is important for GUR because it informs practice and helps explain why specific phenomena occur, as well as acting as a vehicle for distilling principles from large sets of empirical knowledge. Relevant GUR theory is however currently distributed across a number of academic disciplines and is not easily accessible. Contributions that help make this theory more accessible and applicable are very welcome. Please note that we are looking for contributions that focus on describing and explaining relevant theory, as well as how to make theory accessible, rather than presentations of specific theories.

Practice

Practice covers all aspects of applied user research in games, including methods, considerations, best practices, experiences, reports from the trenches, techniques and more. Contributions under this theme focus on the application aspects of GUR, whether in academic or industry contexts.

Technology

Technology contributions focus on the role of technology in GUR. For example the use of specific software or hardware, psycho-physiological tools, data mining software, usability testing software, laboratory setups, instruments, etc. Technology chapters focus on the technology, but can also include considerations about how to utilize the technology in practice, and the theory underlining why we expect this to work – e.g. why measuring heart rate may provide information about player arousal. Technology chapters should include information about how to employ the technology in question in practice.

Analysis

contributions in this section focus on how to get a handle on the varied types of data that can be obtained on players and games, from user test results, remotely collected behavioral telemetry, production metrics and more. How to analyze big datasets, small datasets, align and mesh different data streams, employ game analytics methods, and not the least how to communicate the results of analysis and user tests to different stakeholders, are increasingly important aspects of GUR work.

Cases

Cases can combine all themes or a few of them. Cases take their basis in a practical situation, for example a specific series of user tests during development of a game.

Interviews/Roundtables (other content)

The book will also feature interviews from leaders in the field. While these will be handled by the editorial team, we also welcome ideas for interview-based submissions, roundtables or similar relevant content that does not fall naturally under the “chapter submission” heading.