Spectrum is a design tool that I made as part of my Thesis project while reading for my Masters in Digital Games. It is inspired by similar design tools that use playful techniques of experimentation to encourage brainstorming or reflection that revolves primarily around Player Experience.
Spectrum stands for Simple Player Experience Cards, which summarizes the principles that influenced the tool's design. It is made up of a set of 35 double-sided flash cards, each of which corresponds to a pair of polar-opposite emotions as well as neighboring or similar emotions within the deck. They can be used in many ways to build a specific type of emotion, which in turn can be applied to generate new ideas about a given subject.
Initial testing with the cards showed that Player Experience may be too abstract to be immediately useful to designers, and must always be complemented by examples of gameplay mechanics or aesthetics to ground the ideas in a practical way. The cards are intentionally designed to make no suggestions of the relationship between the experiences and any game design elements, as emotions are largely open to interpretation both in their meaning as well as their significance as part of the design process.
The player-focused testing yielded similar results. Many participants commented on the difficulty faced with relating very specific emotions to prior gameplay experiences. However, the process itself was ultimately enriching to those who made a more serious effort to recall relevant experiences based on the cards. This also showed that although games can elicit a wide variety of emotions in players, they are largely ignored within the broader scope of either "enjoying" or "disliking" an overall gaming experience.
Although the cards were created with game design in mind, they can feasibly be used in other fields. They have not been tested outside of game design, but there is potential, and I am open to the idea of using them in ways other than initially intended.
The cards are not yet available for sale anywhere. I am open to the possibility of publishing them in future.
You can contact me via email if you'd like to ask me any questions. A more comprehensive paper and my full thesis is available for download on my Academia.edu profile.