Call for opinions on Analytics

Posted by
February 24th, 2014 5:22 pm

Hey fellow devs,

I’m here to bring to the table a small discussion on analytics. What I want to ask is: what do you guys think about embedding analytics in Ludum Dare entries? Something likeĀ, for example.

I’m currently working on a full version of my last LD entry and thinking back I believe I could’ve benefited from input obtained from analytics. On what terms would you guys be comfortable with recording data from your gaming session?

Personally I wouldn’t mind anything that is non-intrusive (in other words, as long as there’s no recording any personal data). For instance the link I provided above is a great tool for developers (I don’t really care about their module for purchase intention, the cool part is analyzing hot spots to help level design).

Looking forward to some opinions, thanks! :)

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5 Responses to “Call for opinions on Analytics”

  1. Jedi says:

    Good question! Personally I think it’s OK as long as it’s disclosed and isn’t used to track any kind of purchasing or adclicking habits or the like.

    I’ve actually been interested to see that when it come’s to analytics, nobody in the industry seems to be arguing for caution. There doesn’t even seem to be a push to disclose it. Maybe that’s just my perception.

    As for disclosure, I can’t even say for sure why I think you should do it, it just seems like the right thing to do.

    I think there’s an element to using analytics that treats your players as resources, and when you do that without transparency you aren’t respecting them.

    Also, people might get paranoid if they have the type of firewall that wants approval of each program accessing the net, and if your standalone game accesses their internet when they weren’t expecting it to, they won’t know the meaning of it. Does your game have some sort of trojan or virus that’s trying to phone home? They won’t know.

    Then again, maybe nobody much cares. I’d personally feel just a little bit used if someone “analyzed” my playing their game without telling me, but I’d have no problem playing that game at all if analytics were disclosed. And frankly, I think it could be a good way to get meaningful feedback from those annoying raters that don’t leave so much as a comment.

    I’ve been thinking about this recently and I do worry that analytics can lead to more bland games.

    My favorite game for a long time was Ecco the Dolphin on Genesis. It was brutally difficult which is why I liked it. If it had gotten the same analytics treatment, it may have sold better, but I wonder if I would still have called it my favorite game? Would such treatment have led to more people in my place saying it was their favorite game?

    This leads to the questions like, “Do analytics always make better games?” and “What should the goal of a gamedeveloper be?” I guess it’s different for each of us.

    I think if you do have analytics, it would be very cool if you share what you learn! :)

    • DamnPete says:

      I fully agree with everything you said. :)

      The questions you raised are also great questions, but I think that while analytics might possibly make your game worse, that would be an exception to the rule. I believe analytics tends to make your game better overall (although a select minority might’ve preferred your game if you hadn’t used it, for instance).

      If I do use analytics I will for sure share my experience :)

  2. jimmypaulin says:

    Hi there! I think many people use Ludum Dare as something of a testing ground to try to learn what works and what doesn’t with their game development practises, and I think experimenting with analytics is a valid part of that experience… For the last LD I recorded anonymous analytics about where people died in my top down game and I think the details I learned will help my game designs in future… I wrote a blog post if you are interested:

  3. Atmospherium says:

    I don’t see any issue with the integration of analytics in a game. There were several games in LD28 that used data to build their experience (Monocraft and Rude Bear Resurrection come to mind) and I’m not aware of anyone having an issue with either game tracking the amount of data that they did. Obviously “data as gameplay elements” and “data for private analytics” serve two different purposes and may be received differently, so I think putting a bit of information about what your tracking would be beneficial for the players, but isn’t something I’d view as “necessary.”

    I can’t imagine having enough time during a game jam to integrate in-game analytics in any of my projects, but I don’t think it’s an issue if you do.

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