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Understanding the user

From: Flash Professional CS5: Creating a Simple Game for Android Devices

Video: Understanding the user

Before you actually start creating your game, you need to understand mobile phone users, which is pretty much everybody these days. And as I go through each topic, I want you to think about how you use your mobile phone, within the context you use it--so what were you doing, say, before and what will you do after-- the environment you're using the phone, how you're interacting with the phone-- which would be the input method-- how you're holding the device--which is the orientation--and then other common metaphors you're use to when dealing with mobile phones and devices.

Understanding the user

Before you actually start creating your game, you need to understand mobile phone users, which is pretty much everybody these days. And as I go through each topic, I want you to think about how you use your mobile phone, within the context you use it--so what were you doing, say, before and what will you do after-- the environment you're using the phone, how you're interacting with the phone-- which would be the input method-- how you're holding the device--which is the orientation--and then other common metaphors you're use to when dealing with mobile phones and devices.

First off, the context. What are they doing? Are they waiting in line for a lunch? Are they, say for instance, kind of watching a commercial but also kind of playing with their phone? Think about how you use your phone and the context in which you use it, and you need to create your game with this in mind. So you need to be prepared for the game to get interrupted because the commercial is over with, or whatever the case may be, and thus you also need to design for short tasks, roughly about two minutes.

So maybe each level to the game might be only two minutes long. Environment. Well, where is the user? Are the inside where they can see the screen nice and clear, or are they outside where there's lots of glare? You never can really, tell so you need to design with different environments in mind. You need to make sure the graphics have enough contrast, they're easy to see and, of course, the text is easy to read, so you need to make sure that font size is large enough and that font is pretty easy to read.

How is the user interacting with the content? Oftentimes it's through a touchscreen, so they are actually touching the screen of the device. They could be using the hardware buttons to navigate, say, back or to hit the Home button or using their keyboard-- if there's a keyboard on the device--or are they using device-specific capabilities to play the game, such as tilting the device and making, say for instance, the character move that way? We need to keep these input methods in mind and determine which one is going to be best for us. But when it comes to touch, which is most often how you would interact with content, we need to make sure those buttons are at least 36 pixels wide and high, and that's at a minimum. So we need to design for finger sizes, and don't forget that the finger does come with a whole hand that might get in the way or cover up content. So you need to make sure, say for instance, important content is higher up on the screen.

But keep these things in mind, how the user interacts, and that's really going to help how you determine how you develop the input method. The orientation, well, how is the mobile device being held? Are they holding it horizontally or vertically when they're interacting with the content, or is it both? You to think about this orientation and make sure you design your content appropriately. Also, you want to use common metaphors. Say for instance if you need the user to advance, you might have an arrow moving or pointing to the right. Or if they need to add something, you might have a Plus sign.

Also, use physical metaphors as well. Use a physical look of a calendar if you need to add a calendar, for instance. I've also added this link, www.patternpat.com. It has a ton of user an interface pattern that you can check out, and that is a great resource. The last and probably most important thing you need to keep in mind is you need to make the game fun, and it sounds pretty straightforward, but you need to continually ask yourself, "Would you play your game?" And are you having fun making the game? Because if you're not having fun with it, that might come across and, ultimately if your game is fun it gives the user a reason to play it.

So keep this in mind, as well as the user in general, and it will really help make your game a success.

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This video is part of

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  1. 1m 48s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      48s
  2. 7m 16s
    1. Understanding the user
      4m 2s
    2. Flash content on Android devices
      3m 14s
  3. 17m 28s
    1. Reviewing the game
      1m 50s
    2. Creating a file in Device Central
      5m 39s
    3. Reviewing the game structure
      8m 23s
    4. Adding code snippets
      1m 36s
  4. 36m 13s
    1. Animating the intro screen
      8m 13s
    2. Moving the player
      8m 13s
    3. Adding enemies
      6m 49s
    4. Adding movement
      4m 16s
    5. Adding chance and randomness
      8m 42s
  5. 34m 30s
    1. Adding lasers
      8m 14s
    2. Detecting collisions
      7m 57s
    3. Adding explosions
      6m 26s
    4. Removing assets from the stage
      8m 50s
    5. Adding audio
      3m 3s
  6. 33m 12s
    1. Adding scoring and levels
      7m 41s
    2. Subtracting lives and ending the game
      4m 26s
    3. Creating a results screen
      5m 8s
    4. Displaying the score
      6m 57s
    5. Saving and loading game results
      9m 0s
  7. 17m 14s
    1. Detecting movement with the Accelerometer
      6m 39s
    2. Using the swipe gesture
      4m 42s
    3. Using hardware keys
      5m 53s
  8. 23m 18s
    1. Handling exits and idle mode
      3m 31s
    2. Handling activation and deactivation
      6m 14s
    3. Optimizing graphics
      7m 14s
    4. Optimizing ActionScript
      6m 19s
  9. 34m 41s
    1. Creating the application files
      8m 23s
    2. Creating the app (Mac)
      5m 5s
    3. Creating the app (PC)
      7m 19s
    4. Publishing to an Android device (Mac)
      7m 7s
    5. Publishing to an Android device (PC)
      6m 47s
  10. 8m 56s
    1. Uploading to the Android market
      7m 7s
    2. Downloading from the Android market
      1m 49s
  11. 1m 22s
    1. Next steps
      1m 22s

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