Feedback and signs in video games

In a video game, the player must  understand everything  and  know everything. Because if he misses an essential information, he will feel frustrated! Imagine you are playing an adventure game. You are in combat, and  nothing  indicates that your hero is about to die. Suddenly, your hero collapses without warning, and it’s game over. This would be very frustrating  ! 

The game must  contact the player  using clear signs for him  to explain  what happens in the game, and  get his attention  where it is needed.

For example, here is a screenshot of  Sims 2  (released in 2004).  Sims 2  is a game of life management, in which several members of a family are directed. It may need to control  a lot of things at once ! How the game allows us to  follow everything at the same time  ?

Analysis of Feedback in  The Sims 2

Look more closely at this screen  Sims 2 . It is clear, readable, and does not seem at all overwhelmed. However, you will be amazed at the  amount of information it conveys.
Of course, the interface transmits a ton of information: the list of characters (4), game mode (life), father’s age (adult, senior soon), the family budget ($ 2,250), the day (Thursday), time (7:27) … But the information is  out of the game:  they are superimposed on the screen but they do not exist within the game world: they are non-diegetic .
But this screenshot is also full of diegetic information, information that exist in the game space.
The green diamond above the head indicates that the father is the  active character , currently controlled by the player. This green diamond has even become the emblem of the Sims!

Nothing goes between the two girls! Icons above their heads represent social interaction (two characters holding hands) accompanied by a ”  “in red. This means that they come together to interact , and this interaction has been  hating a little more . This symbol therefore gives two discreetly information: 1) the action is completed, and 2) the negative result. The player will be able to react accordingly: catch the shot or make the situation worse.

Notice a very discrete element when moving the mouse over one of the characters, here the girl dressed in black,  her name, Lilith appears . Handy when you have a large family or many guests!

But many other elements give us clues about the current situation. The animation of the characters , for example: two adults are visibly  talking and joking , and the interaction  is going pretty  well if we are to believe their posture.  Sims 2 using hyper attitudes and postures caricatured which allow the player to understand his characters from the first glance.

All of these are so-called  signs  and  Feedback .

The  signs  are used to  alert the player  about an event that will happen, or an important element of the game. For example, in  Sims 2 , a Sim with a tonnage of “little need” is about to reach zero starts to jiggle, holding the bladder. A red bubble appears above his head to add a layer.

It is a sign that warns the player of  event that is about to occur  ( this character needs to go quickly to the toilet ) and allows the player to react quickly ( send the character to the toilet ) before it happens something serious ( to pee on it, it greatly affects the morals! ).

In contrast, the  feedback  information to give the player the outcome of an action he has done . This can be a feedback on  one of his actions in the game  (small signs above the heads of characters that indicate if they like more or less ) or simply on  its interactions with the game  ( when you click on a button, it changes color and a small sound plays ).


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