Game Development Reference
Another factor that influences game usage is the classification of four multi-user player cat-
egories described by Richard A. Bartle in “Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who
Suit MUDs.�? He describes players by their tendencies to emphasize either Achievement,
Exploration, Socializing, or Killing when they participate in multiplayer games.
The Achiever wants to complete game goals, missions, and quests. He will gain satis-
faction in advancing his character's level, point, and money totals in the most efficient
way possible. Achievers may replay the game at a higher level of difficulty or under dif-
ficult circumstances such as using a last-place team or going into combat armed only
with a knife. They will also be interested in reaching bonus goals and completing
Explorers are interested in finding out what the game has to offer. They will travel
around to find obscure places and the edges of the map; unmapped territory will draw
their attention. The Explorer will look around and appreciate the art and special beau-
ty in the game such as a particularly nice moonrise or light shining through a stained
glass cathedral window. She is also likely to attempt interesting features, animations,
combos, and physics effects. Expect the Explorer to try to open every door and check
the inventory at all of the stores. The Explorer wants to figure out how things work.
Think of the phrase “I wonder what would happen if…?�?
The goal of the Socializer is to use the game as a means to role play and get to know
other players. Chat and messaging facilities are important to him, as well as joining
social groups within the game such as clans, guilds, and so on. He may host meetings
or tournaments, or bring many players together in one place for announcements,
trading, or even an occasional wedding. Socializers will use special game features once
they find out about them from other players.
Killers enjoy getting the best of other players. They engage in player versus player and
real versus realm battles. Killers know where the taunt keys are and how to customize
and activate an end zone celebration. Headsets, chats, and private messages are also
tools that the Killer uses to bait and humiliate his opponents.
Finally, here are some other gamer “types�? to consider when you go to test your game
the same way players play the game:
Casual gamer : Sticks mostly to functions described in the tutorial, user manual,
and on-screen user interface.
Hard-core gamer : Uses function keys, macros, turbo buttons, and special input
devices such as joysticks and steering wheels. Checks the Internet for tricks and tips.
May also have game hardware juiced up to run the highest graphics resolution and