User Experience (UX) is a key feature in game design, where it is known as gameplay. Research on how to achieve better gameplay is ongoing, and it can benefit from theoretical frameworks, such as the Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics (MDA) model [Hunicke et al. 2004], and the distinctive feature (DF) framework, that we proposed in a previous paper [Duarte et al. 2014]. This paper presents further research about the DF framework. In the course of pilot studies, we created a tentative inventory of DFs, with focus on strategical analysis characteristics. Following this, we offered an extension course, in which enrolled participants were asked to play several modern board games, and to evaluate them according to those characteristics. The collected data was compared to our tentative inventory, and the MDA framework offered a key insight in the analysis. The results indicate that the MDA framework can be used as a guideline for the development of new DF systems, enabling game designers to create better products.
This is one of two articles presented to SBGames XIV (2015 Brazilian Symposium on Digital Games and Entertainment, organized by the Brazilian Computer Science Society). Here, I present a summary of the DF framework, and the developments and refinements since the previous year.