Playful design workshop   ferrara - uxlx 2014
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Playful design workshop ferrara - uxlx 2014

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An introduction to game experience design for user experience designers.

An introduction to game experience design for user experience designers.

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  • But if you’re rolling two dice you get a completely different probability distribution. <br /> <br /> [elaborate] <br /> <br /> As a designer, there’s more that you can do with this, because the rolls are more differentiated. The entire game of craps is specifically designed around this probability distribution.
  • Don’t run it in a lab with one-way glass and a ficus in the corner. <br /> <br /> Interruptions are invariably going to mess up the player’s flow. Give them directions at the outset, then just see where it goes.
  • First, define a core message. A persuasive game must be designed around a clear and concise statement of what you want players to do or to believe. <br /> This is critical to guide design decisions toward the central persuasive objective. <br /> <br /> These are often best left implicit in the game itself -- but more about that in a minute.

Playful design workshop   ferrara - uxlx 2014 Playful design workshop ferrara - uxlx 2014 Presentation Transcript

  • Playful Design John Ferrara An introduction to game experience design for UX practitioners While you’re waiting to start Screenshot a game you’re playing and tweet it with hashtag #PlayfulDesign
  • ‘Sup John Ferrara Creative director, Megazoid Games User experience designer “Let’s Move!” award winner @PlayfulDesign
  • PlayfulDesignBook.com My book
  • Today We’ll talk about games We’ll play some games We’ll take a break We’ll make some games We’ll test our games
  • Why should UX designers care about games? part 1
  • Best possible outcome if you... Skip college. Never move out of your parents' house. Never get married. Never have any children. Never travel or take any vacations. Work indefinitely past 65. Die alone in a nursing home with lots of money and no one to leave it to.
  • Leap Frog Sugar Bugs
  • Baranowski, et. al. Pediatrics February 27, 2012
  • None produced any difference in physical activity.
  • The problem is design. Games are hard to design well. Serious games are even harder.
  • Why should UX designers care about games? part 1
  • Reason #1 We’re needed.
  • 2. Game design is a lot like user experience design 3. Games are a ubiquitous activity 4. Games are innovators in interactivity 5. Technology is bringing games & UX together Other reasons
  • Things that games can do in the real world part 2
  • Games can teach
  • Learning by doing Practice is rolled in with theory. Ideas are not just illustrated, but experienced.
  • Failure based learning Getting it wrong builds a better understanding. Games are a totally safe “virtual lab”.
  • Systems thinking Working with the relationships between moving parts. Games are the best medium for this that exists.
  • Games can motivate
  • Human computation Useful outputs are a byproduct of play. “Games are algorithms that run on people.” -- Luis Von Ahn
  • Reframing Casting real-life challenges in a different light.
  • Overlay Reframing in-the-moment. A fantasy world is superposed on reality.
  • Buy the advantage Intrinsic rewards for external actions. Players must greatly value the game experience.
  • Games can persuade
  • Games are a form of procedural rhetoric Procedurality makes games unique as a communications medium.
  • Example
  • Gamficai tion?
  • A growing backlash “I don’t do ‘gamification,’ and I’m not prepared to stand up and say I think it works.” –Jane McGonigal “Gamification is bullshit.” –Ian Bogost
  • Games can achieve great things in the real world.* *If they are well designed experiences.
  • Elements ofplayer experience part 3
  • Immersion
  • Flow
  • Creativity
  • Social interaction
  • Competence
  • Catharsis
  • Interaction balance issues
  • Campaign balance issues
  • 0 HINT MENU
  • Games should be designed to be games first.
  • part 4 Paper prototyping video games
  • They’re fast and cheap They focus on the fundamentals You can playtest with them They help people speak in a common language Why paper prototypes?
  • Can you really do a video game on paper?
  • Can you really do a video game on paper? Stone Librande
  • Guidelines for paper prototyping Strip off the aesthetic and usability layers Work on the underlying gameplay
  • X X
  • Guidelines Don’t be too literal Work on small things Make it a real game Iterate Strip off the aesthetic and usability layers Focus on the underlying gameplay
  • So how might this be done on paper?
  • Let’s take a closer look at what’s really happening.
  • The objective is to climb 6 levels without getting hit by a barrel.
  • Sometimes you jump one barrel (hard). Sometimes you jump two barrels (harder).
  • Sometimes there are barrels above you. Sometimes they fall down a ladder.
  • Sometimes you get a hammer. Then you get to bust some ass. :-) But if you ever get hit by a barrell… You start over at the bottom. :-(
  • Super Jumpman Bros.
  • Tower cards Objective: Reach level 6 before your opponent. Each turn you’ll have a chance to move up one level.
  • Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options. Move your coin one space up the tower card.
  • Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options. Keep your coin where it is on the tower card.
  • Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options. Move your coin one space down the tower card.
  • Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options.
  • Look out for barrels! To avoid the barrel, you must roll anything other than the numbers that appear above it.
  • Two barrels If there are two barrels, but must roll separately for each one. So above, you’d roll twice.
  • This barrel is in front of the ladder. You must roll if you want to climb OR exit right. Barrels in front of the ladder OK Roll Roll
  • This barrel is behind the ladder. You only need to roll if you’re exiting right. Barrels behind the ladder Roll OK OK
  • Barrels above the ladder Barrels above can fall down a ladder onto you. You must roll if you’re climbing the ladder. Roll OK OK
  • Pop quiz: What could you do here?
  • If you get hit by a barrel...
  • The hammer card is awesome 1. Draw again right away. 2. Any barrels on the bottom level are smashed. 3. You still have to roll if a barrel is above.
  • Let’s play! Press start
  • Discussion In what ways was this similar to the original game? In what ways was this different? What might you change to improve the experience?
  • Lessons for design The central conflict of the game Basic strategy & tactics What the obstacles are & how often they appear How hard it should be to jump a barrel What consequences for mistakes are fair How the stakes change over time How the game ends
  • Abstraction vs. representationalism Gameplay vs. aesthetics Luck vs. skill Going deeper
  • part 5 A quick primer on essential game design concepts
  • Core mechanic The activities players are engaged in moment to moment throughout a game. Roll Move around the board Buy properties Pay rent
  • Objectives Specific conditions that players are either trying to... achieve avoidor
  • Objectives Longer games have nested objectives.
  • Constraints Limits on what the player can and cannot do. 2 types of constraints: Environmental Formal
  • Environmental constraints Hard limits set by inherent physical characteristics.
  • Soft rules that all of the players agree to follow in order to enable the game experience. Formal constraints
  • Conflict The relationship between objectives and constraints.
  • Conflict The relationship between objectives and constraints. Games necessarily involve challenge.
  • Ideal experience in UX design
  • Ideal experience in game design
  • Arbitration Some games have mechanisms that enforce the rules so people don’t have to. 2 types of arbitration: Mechanical Computerized
  • Mechanical arbitration
  • Computerized arbitration
  • It’s okay for you to do anything that the game doesn’t specifically prohibit. As a result, the design is vulnerable to degenerate strategies. Arbitration limits cheating
  • Degenerate strategy: Is this cheating?
  • To reach objectives, players may need to make choices that can have positive or negative outcomes. Uncertainty is fundamental to risk. Risk
  • Greater risks require greater rewards
  • You usually don’t directly design the play experience. You design the parameters in which play executes. The players, objectives, and constraints interact in complex ways to construct the experience as you go. Games as systems
  • 30 minutes Up next: You prototype your own games. Break time!
  • A game design game for 5 players
  • (each played by another person) 10 dragon heads 4 warriors The game ends when either all dragon heads or warriors have been removed from the board. (played by 1 person)
  • If you get anything other than a 1, nothing happens. The dragon rolls all 4 dice at once
  • Fang attack Kill any 1 warrior next to any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
  • Fang attack Kill any 1 warrior next to any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
  • Fang attack Kill any 1 warrior next to any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
  • Fire attack Kill any 1 warrior at least 3 spaces from any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
  • Fire attack Kill any 1 warrior at least 3 spaces from any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
  • Fire attack Kill any 1 warrior at least 3 spaces from any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
  • Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
  • Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
  • Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
  • Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
  • Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
  • Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
  • Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
  • Heal The dragon regrows 1 lost head, which may be placed in any space directly up, down, left, or right from any other head. Heads may regrow up to a maximum of 10.
  • Heal The dragon regrows 1 lost head, which may be placed in any space directly up, down, left, or right from any other head. Heads may regrow up to a maximum of 10.
  • Heal The dragon regrows 1 lost head, which may be placed in any space directly up, down, left, or right from any other head. Heads may regrow up to a maximum of 10.
  • Heal The dragon regrows 1 lost head, which may be placed in any space directly up, down, left, or right from any other head. Heads may regrow up to a maximum of 10.
  • Heal The dragon regrows 1 lost head, which may be placed in any space directly up, down, left, or right from any other head. Heads may regrow up to a maximum of 10.
  • Heal The dragon regrows 1 lost head, which may be placed in any space directly up, down, left, or right from any other head. Heads may regrow up to a maximum of 10.
  • So how do the warriors work? That’s up to you! Make up roles and rules for each warrior (e.g. elf, fighter, sorceress, etc.) Write everything down on the character sheets.
  • Design a system of rules that interact to make a game experience that’s: The designer’s objective Sustained. Challenging . Fair. Enjoyable.
  • Let’s design! 10 minutes. Then play begins. SUSTAINED - CHALLENGING - FAIR - ENJOYABLE
  • Time to play! 15 minutes. Make changes as you go. SUSTAINED - CHALLENGING - FAIR - ENJOYABLE
  • Discussion Did anyone develop a character that worked well? What was the biggest problem in your game? What might you change to get rid of that problem?
  • Iteration 2 Start over. Try to improve the experience. Make new characters with new rules. You can change the rules for the dragon. Incorporate at least 2 environmental pieces.
  • Let’s design again! 10 minutes. Then play begins. USE AT LEAST 2 ENVIRONMENTAL PIECES
  • Time to play! 10 minutes. AT LEAST 2 ENVIRONMENTAL PIECES
  • Was the game better or worse this time? Were you able to solve the problems? Did new problems come up? What’s the most significant problem now? Discussion
  • part 6 Playtesting
  • What should playtesting evaluate?
  • UI usability
  • Control mappings & ergonomics
  • Control mappings & ergonomics
  • Balance
  • Puzzles
  • Puzzles
  • Skill level
  • Skill level
  • Fun! one more...
  • The “good-tough” problem Ask yourself Are players having a hard time for the right reasons? Do players see the challenge as engaging or discouraging? Is the challenge appropriate for the current level of the game? What actions to players take in response to the challenge? How do players reflect on the challenge after surmounting it?
  • General playtesting guidelines Recruit selectively. Test in a cozy space. Do an observation script. If your game is long, run long sessions. Watch. Listen. Chill.
  • Iteration 3 Carry forward your favorite characters and rules from iterations 1 & 2, or create new ones as needed. Change the rules to promote one of these effects: Easy: Maximize risk taking among the warriors. Easy: Maximize the dragon’s aggressiveness. Medium: Maximize collaboration among the warriors. Medium: Incentivize the dragon to hold one edge of the board. Hard: Incentivize the warriors to betray one another. Hard: Create a way for the dragon to trick the warriors.
  • Let’s design again again! 15 minutes. Then play begins. ACHIEVE AN EFFECT FROM THE INSTRUCTIONS
  • TEAM SWAP!!! 10 minutes. 2 players from another team will join your table. Explain your game and conduct playtesting.
  • Thank you! Please complete the assessment form. Connect with me: @PlayfulDesign
  • A case study
  • Understand the nutritional attributes of food Build a knowledge base of food choices Develop skills to interpret nutrition information Learn to value healthier food choices Kids need to:
  • More than anything, the problem is cultural.
  • Challenge to create games that teach 8- to 12- year olds healthier eating habits
  • Virtual pets. Real nutrition.
  • Player is responsible for maintaining the health of a virtual pet Must shop for the critter's food, cook for it, and feed it Each day the player must fill the critter's green bars without filling the red bars
  • A quick demo
  • Designing persuasive games
  • 1. Define a core message A persuasive game must be designed around a clear and concise statement of what you want players to do or to believe.
  • 2. Tie the message to strategy Games drive players to find the most efficient ways to win. If the message represents the ideal strategy, then the process of playing serves as a proof of its truthfulness.
  • Tiered system of rewards Better food choices Health goes up Greater productivity, more sports wins, sick less often Earn more money Trick out your pad Social rewards
  • 3. Enable self-directed discovery Self-directed discovery persuades by giving people a feeling of ownership of the insight they've uncovered.
  • Discovering better food choices
  • Discovering better food sourcing
  • Discovering healthy recipes Players can cook, combining ingredients into prepared meals. Meals of greater nutritional merit are worth more than their constituent ingredients
  • Meals can be sold to the restaurant for a profit. Other players can then purchase them, enabling social learning.
  • 4. Offer meaningful choices If there is no benefit to making the wrong choice, then there is no choice at all.
  • Effects of high-calorie foods Advantages: ● More energy for sports games ● More energy for work Consequences: ● Exceed daily limits faster ● Critter starts rejecting healthier options
  • 5. Keep it real Video games' capacity to simulate the conditions of the real world can impart credibility to embedded arguments.
  • Fitter Critters has real nutrition data for 675 actual food items
  • ...and the daily objectives are based on real consumption guidelines
  • Pilot Study, November 2011Northbridge Elementary, MA Run by University of Massachusetts Medical School 100 5th graders, 4 class periods 1. Significant increases in positive attitudes toward nutrition and fitness 2. Significant increases in students' self- efficacy 3. Moderate increases in nutrition knowledge
  • Balanced gameplay
  • Often, you don’t directly design the play experience. You design the parameters in which play executes. The players, objectives, and constraints interact in complex ways to construct the experience as you go. Games as systems Although some games aren’t systems, e.g...
  • There are some big design issues here!! Games execute outside of the designer’s control. The real-time interactions between game elements are complex and hard to predict. Unintended degenerate strategies can emerge. Players may not understand a game or they may struggle with its UI. Players might not be having any fun.
  • UI usability
  • UI usability
  • Balance