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GCG Master’s Thesis: Chatting in MMOs

Have chat interfaces fallen behind the rest of MMO game development? For its latest feature, sister site GameCareerGuide.com has published a master’s thesis dealing wi
In his master’s thesis, Nick Andrew Quagliara says chat programs in massively multiplayer online games have not kept evolutionary pace with the games themselves. Do these chat communication interfaces support the types of interactions that users desire? Do the current interfaces, which rely on prior experience with MMOs, inadvertently frustrate new players to the point that they stop playing? With supporting studies completed at the Human-Computer Interaction Design program at Indiana University, Quagliara investigates this conundrum. In this excerpt, Quagliara explains how he approached the study: "A three-tiered approach was taken to understanding chat communication interfaces in MMOs. First, a content analysis of chat communication was conducted utilizing Bales Interaction Process Analysis. Second, the chat communication interfaces of ten modern MMOs were evaluated. Lastly, a focus group of users was held to gauge their impressions of chat communication interfaces in MMOs. The result of this study is a set of heuristics that can be applied toward the design of future chat communication interfaces." You can now read Quagliara’s thesis at GameCareerGuide.com.

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