Html5 game and gamification design from the trenches


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Problems and opportunities in developing HTML5 games and gamified solutions.

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Html5 game and gamification design from the trenches

  1. 1. HTML5 game& gamificationdesign fromthe trenchesPietro Polsinelli@ppolsinelli
  2. 2. Use HTML5 as aplatform for gamesand gamifiedsolutions.On all updated web enabled platforms.More or less.Once upon a time, there were two happy hobbits in search of an adventure. They wanted 2 to … Saturday, March 23, 2013
  3. 3. A simple mechanics, a catchy narrative, and we’ll conquer the world.
  4. 4. But they found out that it wasn’t a picnic. I was a war, where we lost hard battles.
  5. 5. First of all, what do you mean by “this works on mobile”? Wide spectrum plus do not compromise performance. We know that there are browser differences… but also devices matter a lot. In particular for games. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  6. 6. “Our audio feature requests are very limited: we want abackground track for the game, changing only at levelchange, and a few sound effects on events. The backgroundaudio is not responsive with respect to game events.Being a 3-match game, events are at a slow pace so effectsounds would be mostly played one at a time, at most twohaving a partial overlap.There is no development platform built in the last 20 yearsthat does not support such minimal requirements for audio(and much, much more, see e.g. Java, Flash, Unity…) so westarted in a quite confident mood.”From our post on HTML5 audio: Saturday, March 23, 2013
  7. 7. Example: current stateof mobile HTML5 audio
  8. 8. published an extended technical enquiry in mobile HTML5 audio – won’t enter in technical details. Demo, sources, game, all at the address above.
  9. 9. Some of the problems we found:- no concurrent audio- no starting sounds inbackground- problematic impact onperformance- no perfect sync- no preloadingResorted to sound sprites and other hacks.
  10. 10. After the first days, we felt a mixture of disappointment, rage, frustration. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  11. 11. Testing available libraries, webaudio superficially works, it doesn’treally work on mobile:1. cross browser / device2. doesn’t compromise overallperformance of the restI have audio but no animations. Or vice versa. Libraries are unreliable, not tested, not 11 maintained. Web standards ignored or twisted. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  12. 12. Its notlimitedtechnicalskills.It’s a wall.Say not playing to audio files on Android. Simply nothing to do about it. Sprites, but “combinatorial sprites” would be absurd. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  13. 13. “A game is essentially animations, 3D, things that go fast played in real time”HTML5 seems unfit by design for games. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  14. 14. Getting out zone
  15. 15. New resolve: turn weakness into power. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  16. 16. Once you accept the fact that you have limited means, you immediately get a power refill.
  17. 17. Yes I’m not the first to say that. 17
  18. 18. Admit limited means -> Stop and think: what we do best? What we really need? This way 18 we got audio to fit our needs.
  19. 19. Out of the trenches
  20. 20. “Unfit by design” is related togeeky commonplaces aboutgames & fun.“A game is essentiallyanimations, 3D, things that go fastplayed in real time”Not always true. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  21. 21. Example: this game Idesigned istechnologically andgame-mechanicallyquite simple: tech is not equivalent to simple structure. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  22. 22. It’s a misleadingsimplicity. Making itaddictive requires astudy, design, testing,previous attempts.The key here is “funbecause of hints of a nontrivial narrative througha trivial gamemechanics.”Simple and addictive Saturday, March 23, 2013
  23. 23. So… it’s timeto get creative! 23
  24. 24. GAMIFICATIONFollow me in a short detour. I have to say the obscene word.
  25. 25. Black hatgamification
  26. 26. Def. Black Hat GamificationDefinition: Adding points, badges, leaderboards & incentives to anexisting application in order to increase addictiveness.Runs under the slogan “everything is a game”.Image & ideas (a lot of them) from Sebastian Deterding
  27. 27. Undermining intrinsicmotivation:“people feeldiminished autonomyin their action, coercedand micro managedby badges & scores”#badGamificationExtrinsic motivation. 27
  28. 28. White hatgamification
  29. 29. LONG WINDED INTROA different idea of gamification, inspired by good videogames as they actually are.Gamify as find a real, anthropologically relevant core, and make it explicitly a theme. This is effective gamification.This is linked to game design as a methodology for other fields.You need the “meat”. I see developers everywhere thinking they can do games without the meat. YOU CAN’T. 29
  30. 30. Get attracted by a misleading analogy, web site / game.Those that come from web development, may fall in the mistake of a misleading analogy web site / web game. See Saturday, March 23, 2013
  31. 31. Def. White Hat GamificationProposal: Gamifying means creating anapplication that defines a meaningfulnarrative through game design elementsand… it is not a game (though it should befun).Runs under the slogan: a gamified app is actually a completely new app. Yes, relates to intrinsic motivation, autonomy, learning.
  32. 32. I say that #gamification done properly MEANS storyboarding, not badges & points. 32
  33. 33. Jj Abrams tells that Jaws is a good, memorable movie because of the writing, not because of the effects. You can do the same with games
  34. 34. What did the Romans do for us? Funnyfication of political discussion – but it is not meaningless or silly.
  35. 35. How can I talk about WW2 to today’s hurried reader? Limited mechanics, complex story. 35
  36. 36. Movie script writing is hard & fascinating. Idea: movie script writing -> call & response game -> 140 tweet -> that’s it! Here the storyboarding relationship is twisted, just to confuse your ideas further.
  37. 37. Melt-a-Plot – fast paced call & response writing game, 140 characters (quick) each, giggling. Like as hearts, top stories.
  38. 38. The way out: backto HTML5 games
  39. 39. The way out is (game specific)storyboarding.Video game storyboarding is notsynonymous with say moviescript writing (“narrative arc”,“hero’s journey”...).Tom Blissel podcast-episode-40.html Saturday, March 23, 2013
  40. 40. 10.000.000 is a beautiful game, because it is game-specifically well scripted. Needs minimal development skills.
  41. 41. This is a liberating perspective for HTML5 gamesand gamification.Entire classes of games are perfectly possible. Don’t waste your energy against walls: put them in improving your storyboarding quality.
  42. 42. Side effect: living, playing a storyleaves you something.The remembering self will begrateful for the story thatunfolded – which it didn’t have tocreate itself.We desperately need stories: addicted gamblers project a logical story over gambling machines. Games that change tell stories. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  43. 43. Two storyboarding tools: Machinations, Balsamiq. Saturday, March 23, 2013
  44. 44. finale
  45. 45. Your own stories control you. Self-help & self-improvement can be seen as an ever strict self-dictatorship, articulated in stories. That’s our way of living 
  46. 46. My twitter stream is dedicated to game design: A blog on game design
  47. 47. few references. 47
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