A Design Framework for Awareness Cues in Distributed Multiplayer Games
Jason Wuertz, Sultan A. Alharthi, William A. Hamilton, Scott Bateman, Carl Gutwin, Anthony Tang, Zachary O. Toups, and Jessica Hammer. (2018). A Design Framework for Awareness Cues in Distributed Multiplayer Games. In CHI 2018: Proceedings of the 2018 SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Paper 243. Notes: 10 pages. Acceptance: 25.7% - 667/2595.
In the physical world, teammates develop situation awareness about each other’s location, status, and actions through cues such as gaze direction and ambient noise. To support situation awareness, distributed multiplayer games provide awareness cues—information that games automatically make available to players to support cooperative gameplay. The design of awareness cues can be extremely complex, impacting how players experience games and work with teammates. Despite the importance of awareness cues, designers have little beyond experiential knowledge to guide their design. In this work, we describe a design framework for awareness cues, providing insight into what information they provide, how they commu- nicate this information, and how design choices can impact play experience. Our research, based on a grounded theory analysis of current games, is the first to provide a characteriza- tion of awareness cues, providing a palette for game designers to improve design practice and a starting point for deeper research into collaborative play.