Dissertation - Games That Speak Without Words


The dissertation focuses on the visual methods of conveying instructions to the player without the use of text; to clarify this, it does not involve usage of text for: UI elements, game menus, character dialogue and so on, rather it investigates optimal methods of teaching a player about the game without the text. The introduction identifies seamless and intrusive instruction methods. Intrusive methods often rely on text to instruct the player, and whilst these methods are good at explaining precise information, they can appear too demanding. As a result, they can break the flow of the experience, making the game less enjoyable. Whereas, seamless methods provide the game with: immersive gameplay, innate rewards and a stronger motivation to play. The introduction also explains that all videogames communicate through the interactivity, which enables a more sophisticated form of communication. The introduction gives background knowledge for the main body of the research. The main text explores: language of videogames and the role of text within them; several theories from linguistics and psychology explain the significance of text and how it can be replaced or avoided through the design. Since secondary research explores practical design, the investigation also generated a game for the primary research, which applies theories and concepts from the secondary research. The data from playtesting was gathered with an online survey. The survey confirmed that players prefer the gameplay with seamless tutorials, although a lot of current videogames still produce conventional tutorials with text. Explaining rules of play without words can offer several advantages: it broadens audience, as players do not have to know or understand the language to play.

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