Video Game Documentation: Enhancing the User Experience

 

By Jason Kral

 

As the video game industry and technology continue to grow, there is a need for technical communicators in this constantly changing environment.  Traditionally, technical writers are know for writing instruction manuals and working with design teams to accomplish this goal, but now a new trend is apparent, enhancing the user experience.

 

Research and writing documentation opportunities are in demand.  Technical communicators are finding that there is a new direction to careers with this growing industry.  Since the technology moves at such a high rate, there is no true method for developing the norms for writing and documentation.  The competition between software companies to develop new technology and gaming concepts has allowed technical writers the ability to pioneer this discipline in the future.

 

Technical communicators may find other opportunities in this occupation.  They may work in the field as researchers and documenters through studies in the naturalistic environments of video gamers.  This may help shape the direction of ideas for design as well as broadening the potential for new possible career paths.

 

Analysis of games usability and the use of effective documentation can be the difference between the success and failure of a particular game.  Although many documenters focus on design, a combination between design and usability documentation can direct future trends to explore in this industry.

 

While many speculate on the video game industry’s future, the main ingredient to the puzzle is the consumer.  The consumer dictates what is good, and what is bad.  The culture of video gamers is a serious one and information travels fast. Internet message boards remain the best way for video gamers to retrieve insider information and latest gossip on hits and failures. The competition between software companies and design groups is so rigid, that a few respected members of the video game culture could ultimately affect success or failure.

 

Examining what the consumer needs and wants, and then transmitting those ideas to the design teams will help with the overall success of video game sales, software company success, and quality user experience.  Technical communicators will be a major influence in the evolution of video game technology.

 

 

Sources

 

Peterson, M. 2004.  Why game documentation is essential to a satisfying user experience. STC Usability SIG Newsletter Vol.11, No.2. Retrieved February 16, 2005 from http://www.stcsig.org/usability/newsletter/0410-gamedocs.html