MasterClass: Cognitive Science and a UX framework to Improve Your Game
Jun 9th 2021

MasterClass: Cognitive Science and a UX framework to Improve Your Game

Online Event

Date & Times: Wednesday, June 9th 2021
4pm to 7pm
Location: Online Event
Expected Size: Up to 50
Ticket Cost: 300 GBP
Event Type: Online Event


Making fun and engaging videogames is hard, and with thousands of games being released every year, the competition is fierce.

Although there is no guaranteed formula for crafting games some clear ingredients do exist, which game developers can use to make their own successful recipe. User experience (UX) and cognitive science combined provide developers with those ingredients - across all types of games, platforms used, or target audiences - to guide them along the development process. Experiencing a game happens in the player's mind. This is why understanding the human brain (especially its limitations) while it perceives and interacts with a game is paramount to accomplish faster and more efficiently your developers' goals.

This MasterClass will delve into how the human brain works in terms of perception, attention, and memory (critical elements for usability), and offers guidelines to significantly improve the experience of a game, as perceived by its target audience, not only in terms of usability, but also in terms of engagement.


Key takeaways include:

  • The main characteristics and limitations of the human brain (in terms of perception, attention, memory), the three main learning processes, and how this knowledge can help game development.
  • What makes a game engaging and how to foster these components in a game.
  • Have a clear and concrete understanding of what having a UX mindset and developing a UX strategy entail.


Mentor: Celia Hodent

Celia Hodent is recognized as a leader in the application of user experience (UX) and cognitive science in the game industry. Celia holds a PhD in psychology and has over 12 years of experience in the development of UX strategy and processes in video game studios.

Through her work at Ubisoft (Rainbow 6), LucasArts (Star Wars: 1313), and as Director of UX at Epic Games (Fortnite), she has contributed to many projects across multiple platforms, from PC to consoles, mobile, and VR.

Celia is also the founder of the Game UX Summit, advisor for the GDC UX Summit, author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design and of The Psychology of Video Games.

She currently works as an independent consultant, helping studios increase the likelihood of their games to be engaging and successful.



Part 1: 

Introduction to cognitive science and psychology to understand how the brain works and, more specifically, how it learns. We will look into the capabilities and limitations of human perception, attention, memory, and motivation using multiple examples taken from video games and beyond.

Part 2:

Focuses more specifically on the User Experience (UX) framework you can apply when developing your game, and how it relates to the brain capabilities and limitations. We will break down game UX into ‘usability’ (e.g. signs and feedback, form follows function, minimum workload, accessibility...) and ‘engage-ability’ (motivation, emotion, and game flow). We'll focus more specifically on engage-ability, which is about making a game emotional and engaging, with an emphasis on human motivation. We will dive into extrinsic motivation (clear goals and rewards), intrinsic motivation (self-determination theory), emotion in design, and the concept of game flow. The “engage-ability” part also covers how to successfully onboard players (i.e. first time user experience) as well as how to keep players engaged over time, with a specific focus on player motivation.


How to push for greater UX maturity in a game studio.



This will be a highly interactive session. We’ll use Zoom as our primary platform, and we will mainly have discussions around specific UX challenges in games. We will have the following format:

Part 1:

  • Presentation (40 minutes)
  • Group work (15 minutes)

Part 2:

  • Presentation (85 minutes)
  • Group work (25 minutes)


  • Summary and Q&A (15 minutes)
  • There will be audience participation encouraged throughout the MasterClass.



3 for 2: Book three MasterClasses for the price of two!
Corporate discount: a group of six or more from one company can get 30% off if booked together.

To arrange any of the bespoke packages above, please email sally.kevan@steelmedia.co.uk for more information.

Tickets are limited so be sure to get in touch today to secure your place.

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