A Design Framework for Awareness Cues in Distributed Multiplayer Games

Jason Wuertz , Sultan A. Alharthi , William A. Hamilton , Scott Bateman , Carl Gutwin , Anthony Tang , Zachary O. Toups , Jessica Hammer



In the physical world, teammates develop situation awareness about each other's location, status, and actions through cues such as gaze direction and ambient noise. To support situation awareness, distributed multiplayer games provide awareness cues - information that games automatically make available to players to support cooperative gameplay. The design of awareness cues can be extremely complex, impacting how players experience games and work with teammates. Despite the importance of awareness cues, designers have little beyond experiential knowledge to guide their design. In this work, we describe a design framework for awareness cues, providing insight into what information they provide, how they communicate this information, and how design choices can impact play experience. Our research, based on a grounded theory analysis of current games, is the first to provide a characterization of awareness cues, providing a palette for game designers to improve design practice and a starting point for deeper research into collaborative play.

Keywords:  Workspace AwarenessSituation AwarenessGame DesignDistributed Multiplayer GamesAwareness Cues


Jason Wuertz, Sultan A. Alharthi, William A. Hamilton, Scott Bateman, Carl Gutwin, Anthony Tang, Zachary O. Toups, Jessica HammerA Design Framework for Awareness Cues in Distributed Multiplayer GamesIn Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '18)ACM, New York, NY, USA  Page: 1-14.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173817