Monday, February 22, 2010

Food for thought

Been too busy leveling up my characters in EQII to spend extensive time blogging this week!  So just a quick update with a couple of interesting links I've read lately.

Be Lucky - It's An Easy Skill To Learn: research by Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire, England suggests that being lucky is something that can be learned, and more to do with a person's attitude and state of mind than any external influence.

I agree with this very much.  I consider that I've been very lucky in life on the whole, but I definitely don't think I played a passive role along the way.  Every now and then an acquaintance of mine will comment enviously of my luck at getting my job, or complain how their luck has prevented them from doing the same.  And yes, I was lucky; but it was luck + effort, and not a small amount of the latter either.  I don't believe there is any type of luck that can't be improved by the right attitude and some effort.  And anyone who thinks they can just sit on their butt doing nothing while waiting for their good luck to arrive gets no sympathy at all from me.  And should probably read this blog post.

Easy = True: we tend to believe and to like things that are easier to pronounce and understand.  Which may go some way to explaining why the most inane sound bites can nonetheless be remarkably persuasive.  Apart from the many fascinating moral, political, and behavioral issues that the article raises, it makes me think once again how important UI design is in a video game.  According to this research, bad UI design isn't just an inconvenience, it actually makes the game harder, and makes the customers like it less.  Is that important enough to pay attention to yet?  And what other tricks could game designers learn from this kind of research to help players find things easier, think about things more clearly, and be generally happier?

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