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Feature: 'Statistics for Game Designers, Part 2'

In today's in-depth main feature, designer Tyler Sigman (Age Of Empires DS) continues his article series by contributing a 'completely serious and academic' (ahem!) look at th

Brandon Boyer, Blogger

January 24, 2007

2 Min Read

In today's in-depth main feature, designer Tyler Sigman (Age Of Empires DS) continues his article series, the first of which considered probability for game designers, by contributing a 'completely serious and academic' (ahem!) look at the usage of statistics in game design and focus testing. In this excerpt, Sigman explains how, though statistics can be 'a little strange,' they can provide 'hard, scientific data to support meaningful design decisions': "I was going to crack my knuckles and write a tight summary, but then noticed that Wikipedia already had something that was darn near poetry. Here it is: Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. It is applicable to a wide variety of academic disciplines, from the physical and social sciences to the humanities; it is also used for making informed decisions in all areas of business and government. (Courtesy Wikipedia.org) That’s actually a very moving passage. In particular, the last bit is the tour de force of the paragraph: ...it is also used for making informed decisions... Of course, the writer forgot to add “in game design,” but we can forgive him his condescension towards our burgeoning industry. Here’s my own try: Statistics is a mathematical science that deals with collecting and analyzing data in order to determine past trends, forecast future results, and gain a level of confidence about stuff that we want to know more about. (Courtesy Tylerpedia) And if I were to modify it for Game Design, I would say (and am, in fact, saying): Statistics can help you shine a flashlight upon your broken mechanics and shattered design dreams. It does this by giving you actual hard, scientific data to support meaningful design decisions." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject with more from Sigman on how to apply statistics to your designs, and conclusive evidence on how the disappearance of pirates is one of the leading contributing factors to global warming (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

About the Author(s)

Brandon Boyer

Blogger

Brandon Boyer is at various times an artist, programmer, and freelance writer whose work can be seen in Edge and RESET magazines.

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