ideaBOOST Case Studes: Video Ethnography – Rollers of the Realm

Observation: Video Ethnography

site de rencontre pour maman solo Author: Zan Chandler Lead facilitator: Thomas Detko


Rollers of the Realm, Phantom Compass

go to the website Combining the skill mastery and physics of pinball, with the challenge of physics-based puzzle play, and the engagement of role playing games, Rollers of the Realm (RTR) offers a new yet familiar and accessible gaming experience. Supported by epic fantasy narrative and an ensemble cast of meaningful characters, Rollers of the Realm provides challenging, bite-sized game-play for the casual gamer.

click over here now From the fall 2012 until spring 2013, Rollers of the Realm was one of seven teams to participate in the CFC Media Lab’s digital entertainment accelerator, ideaBOOST. The program employs the best practices from tech’s lean startup movement and other disciplines. The program’s goal is to help companies navigate the entertainment and technology startup market, sharpen their product vision, and refine their strategies to target audiences and generate sustainable revenues. As part of this program, the teams were exposed to a number of participatory design techniques. Each team made use of several techniques in order to further the development of their projects.


sistema de citas online coopesiba Video ethnography enabled the Rollers of The Realm team to observe participants playing the game without being intrusive into the process. While in some cases, researchers may be absent while the subject is being videotaped, in this case, team members were present during the recording. While this method is generally used in the discovery phase of a project, it was combined with Contextual Design: Think Aloud in support of the design phase of the game.


our website Prior to their participation in ideaBOOST, the alpha version of Rollers of the Realm had been tested by approximately 140 people. While these alphas testers represented a broad spectrum of users, the team needed to get feedback on the physics, game-play experience and story line from their target audience – fans of pinball and RPG games. Participants at this session were players who had expressed an interest in testing a pinball-roll playing game mashup.

Supportive methods:

opcje binarne jak to dzia___a This method was used in conjunction with Think Aloud and User Testing in order to gain a deeper understanding of casual gamers who are interested in pinball, puzzle, and role-playing game play.


mann sucht frau in wien This method was selected because it does not disrupt the experience of the participants. The players are free to immerse themselves fully in the game playing experience without distraction or interruption. Only afterward, aided by the video playback of their game play session, were they asked about their impressions, experience and decision making process.

Process summary:

consulat france canada Testers were invited to test the alpha version of Rollers of the Realm. On the day, the team set up two playing stations with video cameras trained on the players as they tested the alpha version of the game. Players were free to immerse themselves in their game play. After they had finished, the players watched a video playback of their own game play experience and were asked questions about the game’s design, user experience and game play elements.

Images or diagrams:

A tester plays the game while being recorded for later playback

Look At This A tester plays the game while being recorded for later playback


The Video Ethnography method, in combination with Contextual Design: Think Aloud enabled game testers to have immersive and uninterrupted game play while also providing them with the opportunity to communicate their impressions and experiences of the game. The Rollers of the Realm team received positive feedback on the game’s design and high-quality insights into the cognitive model of their  testers. While the number of people who played the alpha version of their game was small, this combination of methods enabled the team to gain a detailed understanding of in-game play. The game testers drew connections to the very popular casual game, Angry Birds, particularly in terms of the physics of the pinball aspects of the game play. The team also discovered that that testers saw the game as a puzzler, and not merely as a pinball-type game with role-playing elements.


With the realization that their game appealed to puzzle lovers, the team reframed their branding of the game to include puzzle play and expanded their target audience from pinball game fans to casual gamers.

ideaBOOST is the CFC Media Lab’s accelerator that emphasizes Audience Engagement for entertainment platform development. This case study was prepared for the ASTOUND initiative, a partnership between the CFC, HotDocs, and OCAD University.