This research design contains following steps:
- From a theory, a model, concepts or analysis of existing games to design features
- Developing a game that contains the design features. The role of the game is to explore the design features – and theories, models, or concepts behind those – with the game as well as the players’ reactions to features. The game does not necessarily need to be a good game; however, a certain level of quality is needed in order to explore the features of interest.
- Evaluating the game in order to learn more about the design features and theories behind those
This example study is looking for different ways to break the fourth wall. The fourth wall concept comes from the theater where the fourth wall is an invisible wall between the audience and the stage. It is a convention naturalism theater that actors act like there are nothing behind the fourth wall. Breaking the fourth wall denotes breaking the convention and addressing or acknowledging the existence of the audience or the fiction the actors are in as a fiction. In games breaking the fourth wall includes, in addition to referencing game as fiction or player, the cases where game references its system.
1. Analyzing existing games
Based on formal analysis of a set of games, we can formulate gameplay design patterns XX, YY, ZZ.
2. Developing a game
The game design revolves around the patterns isolated in step 1 (XX, YY, ZZ).
Stimulated recall interview asking about reactions to the game events where the fourth wall is broken and relating those events to patterns XX, YY, ZZ.