Game-Based UX + Cognitive Science Masterclass with Celia Hodent

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West Building Room 214 – WEST214 University of Canterbury

9 Engineering Road

Upper Riccarton

Christchurch, 8041

New Zealand

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Refunds up to 7 days before event


Presented by: Celia Hodent

What lessons from fun and engaging video games such as Fortnite can be applied to craft great user experience for any product?

This in-depth masterclass proposes to explore the ingredients and science behind the development of successful games,and offers takeaways applicable to game development as well as the development of any product, service, or system. It also offers a complete overview of what efficient "gamification" entails (which is more complex than merely adding "badges" to an experience).

Making fun and engaging video games is hard, and with thousands of games being released every year, the competition is fierce. Although there is no known recipe for crafting successful games, some clear ingredients do exist, which game developers can use to make their own successful recipe. User experience (UX) and cognitive science disciplines combined provide developers with those ingredients --across all types of games, platforms used, or audiences targeted-- to guide them along the development process. Experiencing a game happens in the player's mind. This is why understanding the human brain (especially its limitations) while it is perceiving and interacting with a game is paramount to accomplish faster and more efficiently your developers' goals.

This Masterclass, led by the former Director of UX on Fortnite, proposes to delve into how the human brain works in terms of perception, attention, and memory and offers a concrete UX framework and guidelines that developers can apply during the different development stages. The ultimate goal of this Masterclass is to provide tools to significantly improve the experience of the game you are developing, as perceived by your target audience. This Masterclass will offer numerous examples, from video games and beyond, to illustrate each point.


This Masterclass has about 6-7 hours of content total and has 2 main parts. The content can be adjusted to skip some elements while diving into others more, depending on attendees’ requests.

Part 1 - Introduction to cognitive science and psychology to understand how the brain works and, more specifically, how it learns. We will look into the capabilities and limitations of human perception, attention, memory, motivation, and emotion, using multiple examples taken from video games and beyond (2.5 to 3 hours)

- Lunch - (provided)

Part 2 - focuses more specifically on the User Experience (UX) framework you can apply when developing your game, and how it relates to the brain capabilities and limitations. We will breakdown UX into ‘usability’ and ‘engage-ability’ and detail the important principles within these 2 components that can make, in the end, a great difference for your player and how s/he will experience your game (for the better!). It will cover how to successfully on-board players (i.e. first time user experience over, roughly, the first minutes to an hour of play) as well as how to keep players engaged over time (3 to 4 hours)

Part 3 (if time permits) briefly talks about user research and analytics, and how to measure what when, depending on what stage of development a project is at. This part also touches on UX strategy and how to develop it both at a project and studio level (15-30 mins)


Anyone can benefit from knowing better about the brain and about user experience. This Masterclass is however tailored more specifically for game developers, and product developers interested in learning how to apply game UX principles and strategy to their project or company, or interested in "gamification" (or playful learning).

This workshop is supported by the School of Product Design, and the Applied Immersive Gaming Initiative of the University of Canterbury, and the Christchurch Game Developers’ Community.


Available in the carpark opposite the building.

More information

Heide Lukosch
Phone: 03 369 1309 ext 91309

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