Monday, December 27, 2010

Video Game Hand Behavior and Activity

I had an impulsive idea the other day: video record roughly 5 minutes of my hands using the PS3 controller when playing through four different PS3 games. I wanted to capture the activity/ inactivity of the hands as well as their behavior needed to operate each game.

The video begins after New Game is selected and the opening game options are finalized.

Some general rules I set out for myself:

• Play through each game as linearly as possible
• Do not skip cutscenes
• Do not press any dead buttons
• Do not press any buttons during an inactive part of the game

These rules allow the footage to be as clean as possible by showing the true hand behavior as well compare the periods of hand activity/ inactivity.

Some interesting thoughts after viewing the footage:

• Watching the hands operate the game via the controller is memorizing at times
• No matter how well we designers try to map mechanics to the controller, there is still that level of arbitrariness due to the physical disconnection of the controller and tv as well as the action on screen

I was going to quantify the actual times of hand activity/inactivity as well as the # of buttons pressed and used, but the video speaks for itself. You can see from the video some games go long periods of time before player control is initially allowed.

I chose four recent (2009-2010) AAA PS3 games for my little experiment. Can you identify which games they are by just looking at the hands operating the controller?

Uncharted 2
God of War 3
Batman Arkham Asylum
Heavy Rain

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