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May 2008

February 2008

The Player Modelling Advantage

By observing and modelling the play needs, skills and emotional responses of players, International Hobo has developed a set of methodologies perfectly suited to matching the design of a videogame to its expected audience. The various models employed are all based on practical research, which is ongoing and at the forefront of the field (we even influence the academic community with our work!)

When you are trying to branch out and capture new markets, perhaps by working towards “casual” players, female players, or simply by experimenting in new game concepts, player modelling can provide a solid commercial foundation upon which to build. The technique can also help companies hoping to diversify from a niche audience to a mass market audience – without giving up the key strengths that a brand gains from its existing fanbase.

Player modelling removes some of the guesswork in the game design process by capturing elements of the reasons why players play games, what they get out of the experience, and which skills they employ within the game world. It also takes into account elusive factors such as game literacy – what distinguishes a “hardcore” player from a “casual” player.

The conventional videogame industry competes for market share of established genres (such as First Person Shooters and driving games) – and only the most successful products make significant returns. With player modelling, companies can target new markets – often uncontested markets – and the rewards can be astronomical, as The Sims and BrainAge franchises show. Your chances of success are far greater when you are supported with a comprehensive understanding of how and why players play games.

'Game Writing' Reprinted Again

The hugely popular reference book Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames has sold out once again, and is being reprinted for a third time. The book was edited by International Hobo's Chris Bateman, and features chapters by three of the company's agents (Ernest Adams, Chris Bateman & Richard Boon) as well as several of the company's external pool.

Wendy Despain, another International Hobo agent, and member of the executive panel of the IGDA's Game Writers Special Interest Group which connects the authors of the book remarked: "This is the first book that really focuses on the fundamentals of game writing, and is indispensable for any game writer trying to improve their craft."

You can learn more about the book from the original press release.

Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames is available from Amazon and all good bookstores.