Steam Reviews Tool

Context

Before starting to explain the tool in itself, let me introduce you the context in which I created it.
As my master’s degree second year project started, I was asking myself: “How could I introduce our users in the loop of production while we don’t have a game yet?”. After some reflexions, I remembered a Talk by Emmanuelle Marévéry I had heard at Game UX Summit 2019. It was relating to how the text mining could actually tells a lot about what users say about a game. I decided to dig this topic further and I started to work on that. I had no affinity at all with python ans therefore, I decided to use R to create the tool. I started to search for a way to get all the reviews available on Steam. I found the Steam API which is actually quite bad when it comes to request the reviews: I successfully get them, but there were something like 1% of them. Apparently the API doesn’t keep all the reviews, stuck there, I had to find another way. I started to dig deeping the webscraping in R. I was using Rvest but unfortunatly for me, the way that Steam display the reviews got me stuck again. The endless loading which actualize each time we go to the bottom of the page forestalled me to get them once again. But I’m not a quitter. l asked help to a collegue that explained to me how to get all the requesting URLs endlessly. A good hundred of hours later, I had them all, ready to text mine everything.

Histogram

First of all, I wanted that my team could access to the top twenty words most used throughout all the reviews. Therefore they could see what were the hotspots of our concurrents even though they couldn’t know why words were used. The following analyse will be about Hyper Light Drifter, as it has been tag like a game that inspire our game.

Global Reviews

After that, I decided to apply the same process but before, I filtered good and bad reviews so it would give a valence to the top twenty words most used. As you can see, the tool gives the number of reviews used to do the top twenty. It brings some relativeness to the valence.

Recommended Reviews

Not Recommended Reviews

Wordcloud

In order to be useful and understandable to my team, I use visual graphics like wordclouds to represent the occurency of the words. As I did earlier, I splitted my wordclouds in 3 parts, global/ recommended / not recommended reviews and here they are:

Global Reviews

Recommended Reviews

Not Recommended Reviews

As you could have guessed, the colour and size of the words are displayed according to their occurency.

Bi-grams Graphic

Now that we had a good vision of the big trends concerning Hyper Light Drifter, I wanted to go further and give sens to these trends. I managed to do a graph of Bi-grams (it basically scans all the reviews and returns the most used couple of words). For the example, I picked a global graph but I divided them into 3 part in the tool: global / recommended / not recommended reviews and for each of them, the .pdf is split in 3 layers to enhance the visualization (from the highest occurency to the lowest).

The tool create a directory and put the files inside it, I have nothing to do but to change the Steam link in the code.
The way Steam website is coded makes the tool break sometimes. It can’t gather all the reviews but it often gather at least more than 5k reviews which is already a good number.
The goal of this tool is to give an effortless overall reviews of what has been said about games and allowing to find potential hot-spot to focus on in further qualitative researches.

To conclude, you can download and have an eye on the files of Hyper Light Drifter here:

Synchronicles

https://thelaststudio.itch.io/synchronicles

Overview


As you open your eyes, your soul start to pulse in rhythm with your world.
You are going to start a singular journey…

In Detail


Synchronicles is my last year student project at ENJMIN. I did word mining, user tests and ux design during the production. In the first steps I’ve realized benchmarks on signs and feedback because the game is a mix between rhythm game and metroid game which is a kind of unexpected mix. I had to do a good scanning on what had been done in the industry previously in order to be ready to provide to my team the best solutions.

I asked to plan user tests as soon as we could and doing them on weekly basis so we could see what was working or not. We had troubles to find a good control scheme and had to do back and forth in order to get the best solution. However I’m still not convinced by the current one. Unfortunately the border with game design was too close for me to have an impact on it. The best solution is to give players the possibility to rebind everything but due to production allowed time, we had to impose a control scheme.

Concerning the UX Design part, I did a wire frame on Figma in order to blueprint the menu navigation that finally was not produced due to task priorisation. I produced documents regarding signs and feedback and it was a challenging part knowing that if players did not get proper signs and feedback, they would not be able to move forward in the game. I was also there to support the team in the little choice about color, forms, sounds, metronome design and so on.

I had a lot of talks with my team 1 on 1 in order to clarify things that had been returned by players during tests and confront the current design to the problem we met so we could keep a good red wire.

I really liked to be part of this team and project, it ended my studies in the best way possible and in that, I’m very thankful to my team.

Design Documents


Aurore

https://reverie-forge.itch.io/aurore

Overview


Aurore travel by train when she starts to daydream … Escaping through the window, she enters her inner world in which she can resize elements. Aurore is a peaceful ballad throughout a young mind.
The game has received the “Excellence in Art” award in the “Rookie division” of the Busan Indie Connect Festival.

In Detail


As an UX Designer on Aurore, I mostly did User Research because of the fact that I was Game & UX Designer on Achromatic at this period which was already a consequent load of work. I wasn’t in the team at first because we had a constraint regarding the size of the team, it was something imposed by the school. I was a volunteer on the project. I did very appreciate to work with the Aurore team because all of the member paid a lot of attention to what I had to say. From the time we had a prototype to the end of the development I did user tests every week. I usually did the user tests by the end of the week and I worked in a way they could have the full report on Monday so they could adjust their production regarding what had been said in the report. I maintained this process for the last 4 weeks of production, knowing that we developed the game in 2 months and 2 weeks.

It was very rewarding to discover the feedback of players when Aurore was showed in public spaces because the feedback the developers had from most of the players at time was feedback that I correctly transmitted to them previously. Some of the feedback was taken in consideration from the team, other didn’t but in any cases, my team was fully aware of the problems or negative feedback they could receive from players. It made me feel that I did a good job. Beside of that, I talked a lot with the team in itself throughout the whole development because it wanted to include me a lot (which once again I appreciated) to solve some “micro” problems. It was fun to see that a lot of my advice was validated during user tests. For exemple I told to one of my game designer that the second camera, which is optional and aiming to bring some poetic scenes, won’t be used because the axes of the character and the camera were desynchronized and therefore not user friendly. If the players had the choice of the camera, the most user friendly camera would be the most used. It is still what happens when the players run the game, they use it to pass the tutorial because they need it and afterward not anymore.

At the end of the project, my team asked me to say more often when things go well because I was the “bad-news-guy” and sometime they felt just like nothing worked well while it wasn’t the case. I personally think that it is due to the fact that I was shared on two projects and it was hard for me to do more on this side but I have taken this feedback in consideration for the next projects I will work on.

Achromatic

https://achromateam.itch.io/achromatic

Overview


A dark mood, a jazzy atmosphere, welcome to Achromatic. It is game that is a tribute to Film Noir cinema genre with the particularity to be multi-platform. You play with a notebook printable and the game. Explore both of the notebook and the game to find the culprit!
Achromatic received the “Jury’s favorite” award at Hits Playtime.

In Detail


Achromatic was my main project in team during my first year of master’s degree. I did a good part of the Game Design and the whole UX Design of it. For the game design part, I did most of the level design and most of the puzzles you have to solve to find the culprit. I was less into the narrative part of it. It was a rich experience to develop the game with the school constraints that we had that were: realizing a 10 minutes game in 2 months and 2 weeks of development. This game has the particularity to be played on two different platforms simultaneously which are: a computer and a printable notebook. We put a lot efforts in it and I am very proud of what we finally had. As a UX Designer, I did research and made a cursor elegant and easy to see either if the element you put behind is black or white. I asked my programmer pretty quickly to implement an outline feature that allows the players to see which elements are interactive or not. The absence of color was quite a hard challenge to be honest. I did 4 sessions of tests during the development and it was very hard for me to make the best adjustments. The good thing is that I had the power to do so since I was both UX and Game Designer but the hard thing was to make the choice to cut or not the puzzles and to take choice having big impact of the final production. We made multiple levels of difficulty to increase or decrease the time of resolution of the puzzles. The main character is giving his thoughts on the elements he sees with more or less precision. In the hardest mode there’s no clues at all and in the easiest one, the main character pre-analyse and think of what he should do to solve the puzzles. My only true regret concerns the level design, I would have loved to put the secret room in the back of the apartment, It would have made a better staging but as the end of the experience resides in this room, we had to make it discovered by the player pretty quickly and therefore made it the first interactive element you activate in most of the time.
It was a rich project with people I was glad to work with. A bit stressful by times but we managed to do a game of which we are all proud of and it is what I retain. Having the abilities to do the user tests and make the choice of game design in consequences was a true plus during the whole project.
I became a bit obscur regarding to what was going on during the tests due to the lack of documentation from myself. I was stuck in a fast circle of production we had to maintain regarding the short period of development we had but I took this point in account for the next projects I will make. (Even though there is few chance that I have to ensure both roles simultaneously again.)

Aös | Board Game

☄️🚀

Général

This section is in French due to its specific content, my biggest project in terms of world building, narrative design, game design.


Le Jeu

Type : Jeu de plateau – Aventure narrative en coopération/compétition – Système d’alliance et trahison

Univers : Cyberpunk fantaisie dans une ambiance décalée.

Nombre de joueurs : 4 à 10 joueurs

Temps de jeu par partie : 120 min

En détail


Mensonges, alliances, trahisons :

Bienvenue à Aös, la capitale du vice !


Gameplay en résumé

Le jeu rassemble aléatoirement les joueurs par paires (une règle particulière s’applique aux cas impairs)

• Ils doivent décider de se faire confiance ou non pour gagner des points (Alliance / Trahison).

• Dès lors qu’un joueur atteint un certain nombre de points, ce dernier déclenche un événement qui décrit une situation le soumettant à un dilemme.

• Ces dilemmes sont très variés et influent la plupart du temps sur tous les autres joueurs, ils mettront vos amitiés à rude épreuve.

• Lorsqu’un joueur possède suffisamment de points, il remporte la manche.

• Pour remporter une partie, il faut gagner 3 manches au total.

Livret de règles

https://doriansouc.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/rulebook_a4-1.pdf

Voici quelques images de la boîte de jeu et des éléments la constituant :

En jeu, ça donne quoi ? (old)

Vous pouvez trouver ici, deux vidéos qui illustrent l’expérience de jeu proposée : 


Vous pouvez suivre l’évolution du projet sur le twitter, l’Instagram et le facebook dédié : (@AosUnivers)

https://www.instagram.com/aosunivers/

https://www.facebook.com/AosUnivers/

Le Ulule du projet est lancé !

https://fr.ulule.com/aosunivers/