A2. Prevent Player Error

“The design of menu options and in-game decisions helps prevent me from making mistakes by avoiding common error-causing conditions.”

Careful design reduces the potential for user error, rather than solely informing players of their mistakes afterward.

Helpful constraints, offering suggestions, and providing standard options and formatting help guide players when precise decisions and/or actions are required. Confirmation messages after player input helps prevent problems, as does providing restraints when, for example, players enter prompts, instead of allowing any response then continually giving error messages afterward.

Examples (adhered):

  • Resident Evil 7: When the player is close to dying, text pops up telling the player to use a medkit by pressing R2. The game does not tell players their exact health (they can only tell by the amount of red on their screen), so telling the player to use a medkit informs them that they most likely will die from another hit. The text prevents players from dying without realizing they were close to death.
  • Minecraft VR: The player is glad to find out that he does not take damage if he teleports from a high place to a low place (as compared to other Minecraft games, where players take damage when falling). Not taking damage prevents the possibility where the player does not understand why he is injured after teleporting.
  • Rec Room: Two players are picking up darts from a nearby table and throwing them at the dart board. When the darts are all used up, more darts appear on the table. The players therefore do not have to worry about finding and retrieving darts from the floor and dart board.

Examples (violated):

  • Batman Arkham VR: Instructions tell players they can “Recalibrate at any time by holding the start button for 2 seconds” but do not show the player a visual where they can find the start button. The player says, “I don’t know where the start button is on this controller - I’ve never used it before!”
  • Resident Evil 7: The player is attempting to solve a shadow puzzle but does not know when he beats it. He assumes the game will recognize that he has solved it. “I thought it was gonna do it by itself,” the player says. (A way to prevent this error is to perhaps let the player know that they have to click a button after completing the puzzle. The non-VR version of this game gives in-game UI instructions/controls that the VR mod does not give.)