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Richard Bartle - "A Game Designer’s View of Gamification"

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Imagine you’re a novelist who has developed a way to write better fiction. Now suppose that journalists have adopted it for writing better factual stories; you might be moderately surprised to learn …

Imagine you’re a novelist who has developed a way to write better fiction. Now suppose that journalists have adopted it for writing better factual stories; you might be moderately surprised to learn that it works. This is my situation with Gamification: I developed a method for designing better games that seems to work for purposes expressly not games. In this talk, I discuss how and why it is that a game design tool can be applied successfully to Gamification theory, hopefully giving some insight into the game designer’s mind in the process.


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  • 1. A g a m e d e s ig n e r ’ s v ie w o f g a m if ic a t io n G a m if ic a t io n s u m M it 19th June 2012 d r Richard A. B a r t l e University of essex, uk
  • 2. introduction• imagine you’re a n o v e l i s t who has developed a way to write better f ic t io n• Now Suppose j o u r n a l i s t s have adopted it for writing better f a c t u a l stories• you might be moderately s u r p r i s e d to learn that it w o r k s• This is my situation with g a m if ic a t io n• I developed a method for designing
  • 3. Player types• So This is why i’m here today:• it’s a way to p a r t i t i o n mmo players
  • 4. Where else?• And here’s a picture of a g o th – Taken from gothsuptrees.net
  • 5. New partition #1• This is another, equally v a l i d partition:• It’s c o m p l e t e and reasonably
  • 6. New partition #2• Here’s yet a n o t h e r way of doing it:• A l s o complete and correct
  • 7. utility• New partition #1 tells you n o t h i n g you didn’t already k n o w• it’s n o t u s e f u l for game design – Unless your game has p h y s i c a l implications involving w o m b s and age• New partition #2 has more i n t e r e s t i n g things to say• You c o u l d vaguely use it in games – M inecraft/artists, mass effect/connoiseurs, angry birds/customers, the sims/designers
  • 8. New partition #3• These graphs are e a s y to come up with:• you were deciding which one you are,
  • 9. works• That one actually w o r k s for mmorpgs – Solo play versus group play – Sandbox versus theme park• It C o u l d be used in gamification, too• Also, there are p l e n t y of existing psychometric profiling systems – Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory – Five factor model• it’s n o t h a r d to take one, give it
  • 10. New partition #4• This is a slice of m y e r s - b r i G g s• Thinking/feeling, extraversion/introversion
  • 11. 15th september 1967• From my primary school mathematics book
  • 12. Player types• Given all these p o s S i b i l i t i e s , why did gamification go with m M o player types?• The answer seems to be that they strike ac hord• Other typologies look at p e r s o n a l i t y , or a c t i v i t y , or w o r ld v ie w – All of which are perfectly reasonable• Player type theory is the only one aimed at what different people find f u n
  • 13. alternatives• The alternatives a r e n ’ t fun-centric• F o r m a l approaches tend to be too b r o a d - b r u s h to jive with gamification’s requirements – Reiss d e s i r e profile: 16 intrinsic motivators, including eating, romance, v e n g e a n c e , ...• I n f o r m a l approaches rely heavily on stereotypes and folk wisdom – “women like <whatever>”, “young people dislike <whatever>”, “<whatever> attracts students”
  • 14. utility• Player types give gamification a way to marry up r e w a r d s with a c t i v i t y• If you o n l y give “points” for an activity, you o n l y reward achievers – If you want to reward e x p l o r e r s , give them more i n f o r m a t i o n , not p o in t s• It’s o b v i o u s There must be much b e t T e r partitions you can use• A g a m e d e s i g n e r would actually be l o O k i n g for these – for
  • 15. A confession• i d i d n ’ t formulate player type theory to say “t h e s e are the d i f F e r e n t things mmo players find fun”• I d i d it to say “mmo players f i n d different things fun”• P r i o r to this, designers only created mmos that they, p e r s o n a l L y found fun• t o d a y , they create mmos that p e o p l e find fun• Game designers treat p e o p l e as
  • 16. gamification• I see the s a m e thing with gamification• In my school, g o l d stars were best, then s i l v e r , then stars in b l o c k colour• yet Some kids didn’t w a n t gold or silver• T h e y wanted the s a m e block colour as their f r i e n d s• E x t r i n s i c rewards meant for achievers c o u l d have been used to
  • 17. contribution• Player type theory’s m a i n contribution to gamification i s n ’ t that the latter now accounts for achievers, explorers, s o c i a l i s e r s and killers• It’s the mere fact that it now accounts for different users a t a l l
  • 18. conclusion• Game designers find gamification w e ir d – We would be a p P a L l e d if our games were so bad we had to b r i b e people to play them• However, we d o have much in c oMmon• The first question game designers ask is: W h o do you want to p l a y this game?• For those h e r e , it’s: Who do you want