No Stinking Badges: Better Lessons from Game Design


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The web world is agog over game design as the next silver bullet, slapping badges and progress bars over every annoying things they wish users to do. As user hit progress fatigue, "gamification" has come under fire. But why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Game design is to web design what rocket science is to car mechanics, and just like Tang and Velcro, there is plenty in game design we can use in our every day life. Come and hear how mastery, irregular reward schedules and meaningful choices can make your site a pleasure for your users.

Published in: Design, Entertainment & Humor
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  • Concept, Design, Implementation, Testing and Deployment. Similar to Concept, Design, Optimize, Capability in DFSS. Collaborative iteration between steps I am sure.
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No Stinking Badges: Better Lessons from Game Design

  1. 7 Lessons from Game Design When badges ain’t enoughSee notes:
  2. These are the wise people I learned fromSome I interviewed, some I read their books, some I watched their videos…
  3. 7 Lessons from game design 1.Find your North Star 2.Player Types 3.Player Journey 4.Know your mechanics 5.Aesthetics 6.Learn to Teach7.Measure the f*ck out of everything
  4. Find your North Star Every project needs a goal that everyone agrees is worth doing.What is a north star? It is the goal, the thing you are aiming for, and when you arrive, you can launch.,
  5. Game designers have an inherent North Star because they are building a game. It’s FUN. Game designers constantly ask“Is it fun yet” and if the answer is no, they don’t launch. And their team doesn’t launch. Even when it’s late late late.Because there is no point in launching an un-fun game.
  6. The Player Should Have The Fun, Not The Designer Or The Computer The algorithms were, of course, very fun to construct and interesting to discuss outside of the game. The players, however, felt left behind -- the computer was having all the fun -- so we cut the feature. From a Gamasutra Article “Analysis: Sid Meiers Key Design Lessons”Game designers are very user centered. They have to be.
  7. Emotion Your northstar is for the heart, not the headSo when you are working on your project, your northstar should be a strong emotion.
  8. Brenda Braithwaite this video will make you cry. It’s awesome. Watch 4:30-7:20
  9. Design for An Emotion Conversion is a crap north star
  10. We have been designing in Black and White. There is a world of amazing emotions in technicolor just waiting
  11. Needs CONNECTION CONNECTION continued HONESTY MEANING acceptance safety authenticity awareness affection security integrity celebration of appreciation stability presence life belonging support PLAY challenge cooperation to know and be known joy clarity communication to see and be seen humor competence closeness to understand and PEACE consciousness community be understood beauty contribution companionship trust communion creativity compassion warmth ease discovery consideration PHYSICAL WELL-BEING equality efficacy consistency air harmony effectiveness empathy food inspiration growth inclusion movement/exercise order hope intimacy rest/sleep AUTONOMY learning love sexual expression choice mourning mutuality safety freedom participation nurturing shelter independence purpose respect/self-respect touch space self-expression water spontaneity stimulation to matter(c) 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication Website: understandingWe are often facile when discussing needs in wed design. If we tap deeper into basic needs, we can get moresatisfying products.
  12. AFFECTIONATE CONFIDENT GRATEFUL PEACEFULcompassionate empowered appreciative calmfriendly open moved clear headedloving proud thankful comfortableopen hearted safe touched centeredsympathetic secure contenttender INSPIRED equanimouswarm EXCITED amazed fulfilled amazed awed mellowENGAGED animated wonder quietabsorbed ardent relaxedalert aroused JOYFUL relievedcurious astonished amused satisfiedengrossed dazzled delighted sereneenchanted eager glad stillentranced energetic happy tranquilfascinated enthusiastic jubilant trustinginterested giddy pleasedintrigued invigorated tickled REFRESHEDinvolved lively enlivenedspellbound passionate EXHILARATED rejuvenatedstimulated surprised blissful renewed vibrant ecstatic restedHOPEFUL elated restoredexpectant enthralled revivedencouraged exuberantoptimistic radiant(c) 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication Website: rapturous thrilledWe are limited in how we talk about emotion in Wed Design. We talk about delight, and frustration.But there are many more words we could be designing for…
  13. AFRAID lost DISQUIET PAIN TENSE AVERSION apprehensive mystified agitated agony anxious animosity dread perplexed alarmed anguished cranky appalled foreboding puzzled discombobulated bereaved distressed contempt frightened torn disconcerted devastated distraught disgusted mistrustful disturbed grief edgy dislike panicked DISCONNECTED perturbed heartbroken fidgety hate petrified alienated rattled hurt frazzled horrified scared aloof restless lonely irritable hostile suspicious apathetic shocked miserable jittery repulsed terrified bored startled regretful nervous wary cold surprised remorseful overwhelmed FATIGUE worried detached troubled SAD restless beat distant turbulent depressed stressed out burnt out ANNOYED distracted turmoil dejected depleted aggravated indifferent uncomfortable despair VULNERABLE exhausted dismayed numb uneasy despondent fragile lethargic disgruntled removed unnerved disappointed guarded listless displeased uninterested unsettled discouraged helpless tired exasperated withdrawn upset disheartened insecure weary frustrated forlorn leery worn out impatient EMBARRASSED YEARNING gloomy reserved irritated ashamed envious heavy hearted sensitive ANGRY irked chagrined jealous hopeless shaky enraged CONFUSED flustered longing melancholy furious ambivalent guilty nostalgic unhappy incensed baffled mortified pining wretched indignant bewildered self-conscious wistful irate dazed livid hesitant (c) 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication Website: outraged resentfulAs well, Game designers are much more comfortable with creating negative emotions than wed designers, whoMostly aim for “happy.” But as part of a sequence, a slight negative can increase a positive.
  14. People find role playing cheesy, makes them self conscious. The game forces you into uncomfortable situations. You take a situation and a pattern and match them up.. It might be a pattern you avoid because you aren’t good at it. And it creates much more teachable scenarios.Dan Brown’s Communicating Design Game. Sometimes stress can teach.
  15. incensed invigorated giddy discouraged encouraged aggravated perplexed serene burnt out empoweredDesign exercise: what could be made to create these emotions?
  16. Well, I didn’t expect that.
  17. Types vs Personas
  18. Grace (62/ female/ widowed/ Little Rock, AR.) “I like playing my favorite games online, but if I can play with friends, well that’s even better!” Personal Background: Her husband has passed on. She has two grown kids, both of whom live far away. She misses the kids, but has a fairly large circle of friends that she spends time with. Technical Proficiency: Limited. Can use her browser and her email. MS Word confuses her, and she doesn’t like using it. Doesn’t know what an OS is. Tends to click yes if the browser prompts her to do anything, and will click wildly until things work. History with games: Plays crossword puzzles daily and saves them. Plays card games, PhotoJam, but is offended by South Park cartoons Game’s opportunity: If Grace can be convinced to participate in community activities, she will become a loyal user of the site. 2001 She needs to be sheltered from the sick and twisted content, however.This is a classic persona my old company CarbonIQ made for a casual gaming site. It was useful. But….
  19. Richard Bartle Drawing: Frank Caron http://frankcaron.comUnderstanding behavioral patterns in player types, and what features support the behavior desired is also useful.Maybe more useful.
  20. 4 Key Engagement Styles in Social Gaming Express Compete Explore Collaborate Copyright Amy Jo KimAmy Jo Kim has developed different player types that you find in Social Games. Each one has his or her ownplay style. Knowing these needs shapes the feature set and core loop.
  21. The Core Loop And the Mechanics
  22. This is a core loop for a very simple game. I’m actually shocked we don’t map this on other projects. Amazon’s isSeek, evaluate, buy.
  23. Will Wright on Game Design: Watch 30:27-33:27
  24. Backyard Monsters takes the classic tower defense loop (build defense, get attacked, redo) and adds complexityby letting you also attack and build offensive as well as defensive tools.
  25. MechanicsSome of the more sleezy gamification gurus use this term as mind-control tricks. But really they are just whatmakes games tick.
  26. Sometimes they are rules
  27. Paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper. The game of rock paper scissors lizard spock addsIn two more elements for added complexity. And nerdity.
  28. Just in case you need it
  29. Sometimes they are constraintsA constraint is usually about resource management. How much energy/money/stuff you need.
  30. PinchThe pinch is the place where you run out of something. I.e. You run out of lives in the arcade, and you reach inyour pocked for a quarter. Or twelve.
  31. Energy is a typical social game pinch. You can solve with money or with being “social” i.e. begging from friends.
  32. In cityville, real estate is an excellent pinch. You could just buy more land, but you could also upgrade to betterbuildings, rearrange your items, or store something. More options + more fun play.
  33. In Castleville the pinch is also part of the play. New land is shrouded in shadow, so you may discover newmysteries as you look to expand.
  34. Sometimes they are manipulations But it’s ok because I feel something?Manipulation is tough. We go to the theater to be manipulated. We like a certain amount of orchestration of ourfeelings. But we sure don’t like being taken advantage of.
  35. 6 key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini Reciprocity Social Proof Commitment and Consistency Authority Liking ScarcityName the persuasion techniques being used by these social games. Trust me, a little time on Facebook andyou can collect all six. And find a few new ones.
  36. Progress
  37. All game designers I’ve met talk about FTUE (first time user experience) and elder game at a minimum. Almostno web/app developer I speak with discusses these much if at all. Is a tutorial enough?
  38. Acheivements Reward me
  39. Short term: Actions taken successfully create mini- rewards in the form of doobers.Zynga invented the “doobers” which is when something good happens you see an outflowing of stars or coins.It’s the equivalent of the slot machine flowing out, and very satisfying.
  40. LeaderboardsThere is a certain satisfaction in kicking a friends bum. However, if you have a place where not much social ishappening, be sure to motivate me by making me beat my own high score. Not feel lonely.
  41. Mastery Crafting in Castleville, and many other games is all about repetition. Is the user really feeling mastery here? In Bubblewich saga, like many match- three games, it’s all about beating your own score as well as others. You can see and feel your improvement.Moving from a novice to a master is why we play tennis, chess or even do things like knitting or woodworking.We humans love to know we are getting better at something.
  42. Stop, drop and roll Your own game
  43. Emotions appreciative Chance anxious cranky moved edgy thankful fidgety touched frazzled amazed irritable awed jittery wonder nervous amused overwhel delighted med glad Narrative, restless happy stressed jubilant mechanics fragile pleased guarded tickled helpless blissful insecure ecstatic leery elated reserved enthralled Chits sensitive exuberant shaky (characters)This slide was up for the Design exercise. Everyone got dice, five index cards and a token.
  44. Process
  45. Classic waterfall. Even web people don’t like this anymore.
  46. From Art of Game Design, by Jesse Schell. This his process diagram, and looks accurate to me. Game peopleoften talk about “wandering in the wilderness”: the time while you are trying to achieve fun.
  47. AestheticsThis ain’t flip this house
  48. Make it pretty, make a profit. Often web and app design just slaps some pretty on it at the end.
  49. Grace and Glory enemy concept designs by Yusuke Hashimoto. From the upcoming video game Bayonetta. Concept design by Min Zhou, in game design the aesthetics are considered as much a part of the game as the mechanics and loop,and work is begun on exploring direction on day one… and this inspires the mechanics.
  50. MeasurePretend you have OCD.
  51. Playtest like you mean itAgain, game designers seem way more user centered than most others. They don’t say “we’ll do two rounds oftesting.” They’ll test over and over until fun arrives.
  52. Sid Meir, Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong. Watch 18:40-23:53
  53. Learn how to teachMost web app designers through learning into a quickie tutorial in the beginning. But game designers, focusedon mastery and that satisfaction weave it through the game.
  54. Dance Central: you have to do the moves along with the dancer to earn points
  55. Dance Central made learning the moves a key part of the game, not just a simple add on. You feel like you arereally learning to dance.
  56. After Release the hounds of project managementOptimize, optimize, optimize. Determine key metrics, and watch them like a hawk. Measure everything, but knowwhat key metrics are your life blood. Test all assumptions.
  57. Now Playtest!This was the last design exercise. Users taught each other how to play their game.