Jonathan Barone-University of Washington


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“Dollars as Points: Marrying Real and In-Game Progress”

Serious game creators want good play to create measurable real-world benefit. Players want games to provide positive feedback for good play. Learn strategies to satisfy both of these requirements in a harmonious, efficient way, and how to identify warning signs that your game may be missing the mark.

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  • Welcome, I’m Jonathan Barone, a project lead at the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington etcetc
  • This is the hope for serious games. Players play them because they want to, because they are as fun and engaging as any game, maybe even more engaging because the player understands the real-world benefit of their play. The stakeholders get a quantifiable benefit, hopefully with a better ROI than they would have achieved through methods other than SGs.
  • Now I don’t have any illusions that this talk is going to solve this problem as a whole. But I think I can help a bit with the player side and a lot with the stakeholder side.
  • Examples of a few games, shout-out/jab to Zoran
  • Mention score as general term for primary feedback mechanism
  • Dollars as only metric, changing constantly, what does it mean to a player?
  • Jonathan Barone-University of Washington

    1. 1. Dollars as Points Marrying Real and In-Game Progress Jonathan Barone Center for Game Science University of Washington
    2. 2. What stakeholders want: Users playing because they enjoy the game Measurable benefit
    3. 3. Reality: Users playing because they have to ???
    4. 4. About CGS • We make scientific discovery and math education games • then use those games for research. • Ultimate goal: expert-level knowledge from games • Foldit Treefrog Treasure
    5. 5. Intro: DNA
    6. 6. Overview • What reality-anchored scoring systems can do for serious games • How to design and implement such a system
    7. 7. What’s in a score? Super Hexagon score formula: t Civilization 4 score formula:
    8. 8. Serious games and score • How do serious games use score? Engagement Performance Evaluation
    9. 9. Serious games and score • How do serious games use score? Engagement AND performance evaluation
    10. 10. Inaccurate/arbitrary scoring You scored 6,230 points! B - “No.” “Okay.” Days? Days? Days? Weeks? Days? So, weeks or months later:
    11. 11. Well-correlated scoring Instant (Little later) Work
    12. 12. Designing a scoring system • Is a score that reflects real metrics feasible and practical? • How much flexibility do we have? • Prototype/iterate. • Does it work for the players? • Does it work for the partners?
    13. 13. Should we bother? 66% 33% yep
    14. 14. Acceptable abstraction Scientists Players 100% 66% B-
    15. 15. Prototype, iterate • You know the drill. • One catveat: involve a domain expert from the start.
    16. 16. Does it work for players? • Qualitative, non-leading questions: – Do they understand the concepts? – Is it motivating them? • A/B test if possible • Hopefully:
    17. 17. Does it work for partners? • Quantitative, statistically significant data: – Compare to control group. – Show transfer to real life. – Compare to value of non-game methods. • Hopefully:
    18. 18. Outro: DNA
    19. 19. Conclusion • Scoring needs to suit the players. • For use as a real metric, it needs to suit the partners, too. • It’s critical for the designer to understand the field and constraints. • Qualitative evidence from players, quantitative evidence to partners.
    20. 20. Acknowledgements • The DNA team: Brian Britigan, Matt Burns, Seth Cooper, Rowan Copley, Barbara Krug, Sundipta Rao, Zoran Popovic, Georg Seelig, and Eric Winfree • • Screenshots credited to: Terry Cavanagh, Firaxis, Green-Eye Visualization