Raph Koster — The Core of Fun

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Raph Koster's keynote at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in 2007. It is about the core elements of "deep structure" that go into making something fun -- particularly web apps and social media. This slidecast is constructed from the slides and mp3 available at raphkoster.com.

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Raph Koster — The Core of Fun

  1. 1. The C of F R K P, Areae Inc.
  2. 2.    I - I7 - IV - I - V7 - IV - I — I (audience claps and we sing blues)
  3. 3.   ’ (audience makes random noises)
  4. 4.   “” often have underlying S
  5. 5. “” by M D C-maj7 — C-7 — G-7 — C7 Fmaj7 — Fmaj7 — F-7 — Bb7 Ebmaj7 — Eb-7 — Ab7 — Dbmaj7 — D-7b5 — G7b9b13
  6. 6.     “” (“Solar” is a blues)
  7. 7.   : ’  When something works, it works at many levels.
  8. 8. I - I7 - IV - I - V7 - IV - I — I = I — IV — V — I = I — V — I = 8 — 7# - 8
  9. 9. SSSSongs are made of SSSSongs…
  10. 10. SSSSongs… HHHHarmonies are made of overlapping
  11. 11. Visual compositions are made of spaces
  12. 12. That are visual compositions
  13. 13.      Games are made out of Games
  14. 14. F
  15. 15.      Until you reach the interface button.
  16. 16.      FUN
  17. 17. FUN …is a chemical response
  18. 18.      SocialVisceral EasyHard
  19. 19. Games mostly focus on hard fun.
  20. 20.    H Fis about solving problems. The problems tend to be mathematical. ∴ its grammar ignores presentation & metaphor.
  21. 21.        aka Interaction Design
  22. 22. C “Acyclic process where two actors alternatively listen, think, and speak.”
  23. 23. So let’s talk about how you apply this to the Web.
  24. 24.   Let’s go to
  25. 25. Typing in the URL for Amazon or hitting your bookmark, parsing the intro page, skipping your recommendations, finding the search box, the search, narrowing the results, finding the results you want, getting distracted by that other thing you meant to buy, comparing every result, parsing the product page, reading the reviews, finding the buy button from the four choices, making the purchase, picking shipping method, picking payment method, choosing gift wrap or not…
  26. 26. The challenges are experienced sequentially, but in practice they are nested…
  27. 27. …you might have the boss level encounter with one-click multiple times in different places or for different loot.
  28. 28.  M I • TTTTerritory • PPPPreparation • CCCCore mechanic (skill required) • RRRRange of challenges • CCCChoice of abilities • VVVVariable feedback • BBBBad return on investment • CCCCost of failure
  29. 29.  M I • WWWW • WWWW • HHHH • WWWW • WWWW • FFFF • FFFF • PPPP....
  30. 30.  The core  has to be repeatable.
  31. 31.  Something that requires .
  32. 32.  Something that can handle  .
  33. 33.  Something that is .
  34. 34.  Everything you did before must matter.
  35. 35.  Whatever the opponent last did to you should matter too. Never start an interaction with no .
  36. 36.  You must be able to  for this encounter In different .
  37. 37.  The same challenge in different locales should be a fresh .
  38. 38.  The  and  should affect the outcome.
  39. 39.  The same  must be applicable to many different .
  40. 40.  Think of a verb as a H.
  41. 41.  You should present users with lots of kinds of Nails
  42. 42.  There are lots of kinds of hammers too!
  43. 43.  Users should be able to solve the challenge with their choice of tools.
  44. 44.  And you should reward them with different  for it.
  45. 45.    All the above are Quantifiable. You can arrive at a  for every challenge. You can sum them for the  of a meta-challenge.
  46. 46.  A game that only has one outcome is .
  47. 47.  V  keeps things lively.
  48. 48.  (Usually, the best feedback is a greater challenge presented by the opponent.)
  49. 49.  Sometimes, it’s a pleasant S.
  50. 50.  Either way, it has to be  . To everyone.
  51. 51.  B is bad for fun.
  52. 52.  In other words, low-risk activity for high reward is bad for fun.
  53. 53.  You need to drive users to challenges at the edge of . (cf Csikszentmihalyi’s .)
  54. 54.  Making a wrong choice has to be a . (Even if all it costs you is ).
  55. 55.  FUN does not exist where there is Zero C.
  56. 56. The absence of any of these features makes things less .
  57. 57. ..
  58. 58. http://www.theoryoffun.com/grammar/gdc2005.htm

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