Metaphors are often used within computer interfaces to provide the user with cognitive prompts of how to use the system. Using concepts related to objects with which the user is already familiar, to represent similar functions within the system, interface designers are able to provide significant cognitive scaffolding. This technique, however, usually relies on a real-world equivalent on which to base the metaphor. In some computer systems, and in computer games in particular, often there are no directly analogous objects on which metaphorical prompts can be based. This has driven game designers to utilise composite metaphors; metaphors where a combination of objects, or a combination of objects and actions, are used to provide cognitive clues. This paper examines how composite metaphor is used within computer games to articulate the designers' conceptual model, subsequently guiding the user's development of an appropriate and accurate mental model.
ACM international conference proceeding series: proceedings of the 2nd Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 23-25 November 2005 / Yusuf Pisan (ed.),
Vol. 123, pp. 159-162