The Mechanics of Magic


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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 thing they wish users to do. As users tire of everything looking like a game, "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 work. Come and hear how mastery, irregular reward schedules and meaningful choices can make your site a pleasure for your users.

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  • What is a north star? It is the goal, the thing you are aiming for, and when you arrive, you can launch.,
  • 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.
  • Game designers are very user centered. They have to be.
  • So when you are working on your project, your northstar should be a strong emotion.
  • Warning: this video will make you cry. It’s awesome. Watch 4:28-7:20
  • We are often facile when discussing needs in wed design. If we tap deeper into basic needs, we can get more satisfying products.
  • We 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…
  • As well, Game designers are much more comfortable with creating negative emotions than wed designers, who Mostly aim for “happy.” But as part of a sequence, a slight negative can increase a positive.
  • Dan Brown’s Communicating Design Game. Sometimes stress can teach.
  • This is a classic persona my old company CarbonIQ made for a casual gaming site. It was useful. But….
  • Amy Jo Kim has developed different player types that you find in Social Games. Each one has his or her own play style. Knowing these needs shapes the feature set and core loop.
  • Backyard Monsters takes the classic tower defense loop (build defense, get attacked, redo) and adds complexity by letting you also attack and build offensive as well as defensive tools.
  • Paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper. The game of rock paper scissors lizard spock adds In two more elements for added complexity. And nerdity.
  • A constraint is usually about resource management. How much energy/money/stuff you need.
  • The pinch is the place where you run out of something. I.e. You run out of lives in the arcade, and you reach in your pocked for a quarter. Or twelve.
  • Energy is a typical social game pinch. You can solve with money or with being “social” i.e. begging from friends.
  • In cityville, real estate is an excellent pinch. You could just buy more land, but you could also upgrade to better buildings, rearrange your items, or store something. More options + more fun play.
  • In Castleville the pinch is also part of the play. New land is shrouded in shadow, so you may discover new mysteries as you look to expand.
  • Manipulation is tough. We go to the theater to be manipulated. We like a certain amount of orchestration of our feelings. But we sure don’t like being taken advantage of.
  • Name the persuasion techniques being used by these social games. Trust me, a little time on Facebook and you can collect all six. And find a few new ones.
  • 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.
  • There is a certain satisfaction in kicking a friends bum. However, if you have a place where not much social is happening, be sure to motivate me by making me beat my own high score. Not feel lonely.
  • 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.
  • Classic waterfall. Even web people don’t like this anymore.
  • From Art of Game Design, by Jesse Schell. This his process diagram, and looks accurate to me. Game people often talk about “wandering in the wilderness”: the time while you are trying to achieve fun.
  • Make it pretty, make a profit. Often web and app design just slaps some pretty on it at the end.
  • Again, game designers seem way more user centered than most others. They don’t say “we’ll do two rounds of testing.” They’ll test over and over until fun arrives.
  • Sid Meir, Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong. Watch 18:40-23:53
  • Most web app designers through learning into a quickie tutorial in the beginning. But game designers, focused on mastery and that satisfaction weave it through the game.
  • Dance Central: you have to do the moves along with the dancer to earn points
  • Dance Central made learning the moves a key part of the game, not just a simple add on. You feel like you are really learning to dance.
  • The Mechanics of Magic

    1. 1. TheMechanics ofMagic7 Lessons fromgame designWe don’t need nostinkin’ badgesSee notes:
    2. 2. @cwodtke#Magic7
    3. 3. These are the wise people I learned fromSome I interviewed, some I read their books, some I watched their videos, some reviewed thistalk…
    4. 4. 7 Lessons from game design 1.Find your North Star 2.Design for Emotion(s) 3.Use Player Types 4.Know Your Mechanics 5.Consider the Elder Game 6.Learn to Teach 7.Always be Testing
    5. 5. Find your North StarEvery project needs a goal that everyone agrees is worth doing.
    6. 6. FUNChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    7. 7. 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”Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    8. 8. EmotionYour northstar is for the heart, not the head
    9. 9. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    10. 10. Design for An Emotion Conversion is a crap north star
    11. 11. Frustration Satisfaction DelightChristina Wodtke @cwodtke is a world of amazing emotions in technicolor just waiting We have been designing in Black and White. There
    12. 12. 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:  understandingChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    13. 13. PEACEbeauty communion ease equality harmony inspiration orderChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    14. 14. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    15. 15. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    16. 16. Life with Alacrity on his itunes rating practiceChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    17. 17. 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 thrilledChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    18. 18. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    19. 19. 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 (c) 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication Website:      hesitant outraged resentfulChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    20. 20. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    21. 21. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    22. 22. “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.”Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    23. 23. Types vs Personas
    24. 24. 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 2001 participate in community activities, she will become a loyal user of the site. She needs to be sheltered from the sick and twisted content, however.    Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    25. 25. Richard Bartle Drawing: Frank Caron http://frankcaron.comChristina Wodtke @cwodtke and what features support the behavior desired is also useful. Understanding behavioral patterns in player types, Maybe more useful.
    26. 26. 4 Key Engagement Styles in Social Gaming Express Compete Explore Collaborate Copyright Amy Jo Kim
    27. 27. Satisficers Socializers Optimizers Self-discoveryChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    28. 28. The Core Loop And the Mechanics
    29. 29. This is a core loop for a very simple game. I’m actually shocked we don’t map this on other projects. Amazon’s isChristina Wodtke @cwodtkeSeek, evaluate, buy.
    30. 30. Will Wright on Game Design:Christina Wodtke @cwodtke Watch 30:27-33:27
    31. 31. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    32. 32. SHOP REVIEW BUY Loop for amazon, but also tripadvisor and YelpChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    33. 33. SHARE REACTION CONSUME Loop for most social sites, from facebook to instagram to flickChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    34. 34. MechanicsSome of the more sleezy gamification gurus use this term as mind-control tricks. But really they are just whatmakes games tick.
    35. 35. Sometimes they are rules
    36. 36. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    37. 37. Just in case you need it Wodtke @cwodtke
    38. 38. Sometimes they are constraints
    39. 39. Pinch
    40. 40. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    41. 41. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    42. 42. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    43. 43. Sometimes they are manipulations But it’s ok because I feel something?
    44. 44. 6 key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini Reciprocity  Social Proof Commitment and Consistency  Authority Liking  Scarcity Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    45. 45. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    46. 46. Acheivements Reward me
    47. 47. Short term: Actions taken successfully create mini- rewards in the form of doobers.Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    48. 48. Leaderboards
    49. 49. MasteryCrafting in Castleville, and many other gamesis all about repetition. Is the user really feelingmastery 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.
    50. 50. The Elder Game
    51. 51. Christina Wodtke www.eleganthack.comFTUE (first time user experience) and elder game at a minimum. Almost All game designers I’ve met talk about @cwodtke no web/app developer I speak with discusses these much if at all. Is a tutorial enough?
    52. 52. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    53. 53. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    54. 54. Process
    55. 55. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    56. 56. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    57. 57. AestheticsBeginning Middle and End
    58. 58. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    59. 59. Grace and Glory enemy concept designs by Yusuke Hashimoto. From the upcoming video game Bayonetta. Concept design by Min Zhou Wodtke @cwodtke
    60. 60. MeasurePretend you have OCD.
    61. 61. Playtestlike you mean it
    62. 62. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    63. 63. Sid Meir, Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong. Watch 18:40-23:53 Wodtke @cwodtke oOY&feature=BFa&list=PL8E8E672C0031DC3A
    64. 64. Learn how to teach
    65. 65. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    66. 66. Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
    67. 67. WHAT IF SXSW WAS A GAME?
    68. 68. Networkers Partyers Learners Fame HosChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    69. 69. Nap in Panel Party Check twitterChristina Wodtke @cwodtke
    70. 70. A good mechanic might be collecting.
    71. 71. A good pinch,private parties.
    72. 72. Now Playtest!
    73. 73. @cwodtke The #sxswinning Me: Thank You! cq1