Visual Task Difficulty in Computer and Video Games

Introduction


Introduction | Contributing Factors | Lighting Models | Future Considerations | Acknowledgments | Contact

Video games can no longer be seen as the work of a handful of shut-ins with garage space to spare. The game industry's revenues have surpassed Hollywood's for two full years, and show no sign of slowing.

As with any other form of entertainment, games are now designed with a specific audience and difficulty level in mind. An awareness of visual pitfalls can help designers choose how to challenge their players, and help them predict the audience's response.

Game designers already assume, often erroneously, that they are providing players with selectively complete information: unless a unit or item is deliberately hidden, it is assumed that the player is aware of it. As seen in eye tracking experiments, and especially change blindness, individuals have drastically different response rates to different stimuli. By recognizing the factors that can prevent a player from noticing an important item, the designer can maintain more control over the player's experience. This would ideally eliminate accidental frustration and lead to more satisfying challenges for the players, and a more lucrative product for the developers.

This survey examines some of the key elements in visual difficulty, and the way they have been handled in traditional visual arts as well as the video game industry to date.


Introduction | Contributing Factors | Lighting Models | Future Considerations | Acknowledgments | Contact

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