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Game Design Psychology and Everyday Life

The talk covers the historical significance of games in our civilizations. Hazel’s journey in game design and her specialization in the field of ‘serious games’. Plus, how serious game design practice informs her present work in government. The body of the talk unpacks how the psychological theories of motivation, skilled performance creation and Flow theory can be combined to create engaging experiences and interactions. Hazel explains how these theories relate to design thinking and daily life, not just game design. Hazel finalizes the talk with a set of takeaways that provide the audience with some tips on how to ‘get some Flow in your day’.

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Game Design Psychology
& Everyday Life
Dr Hazel Bradshaw
Hazel@driedfrog.co.nz
@driedfrog
• History
• Journey
• Usefulness
• Psychology
• Takeaways
Games
History
@driedfrog
Royal Game of Ur - Iraq
2600-2400 BC
5000 yrs.
@driedfrog
Little Wars
H.G. Wells
1913
100 yrs.
@driedfrog
Spacewar! - Arcade
America
1971
40 yrs.

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Game Design Psychology and Everyday Life

Editor's Notes

  1. Games – 5000+ years Premodern: Table games – civilization we get games Aprox 4500 thousand years ago - The Royal Game of Ur is a Sumerian version of the ancient Middle Eastern game generically called The Game of Twenty Squares, in Royal Tombs of Ur in Iraq by Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1926-1927, and is dated to roughly to 2500 BCE. One of the copies from Ur is kept in the British Museum. But why games? History of Game in Society –, - Modern: Board games and wargames Electronic: PvC then MMOGS and now Serious Games. A game provides a contextual experience. It can show the relationship between different abstract ideas, It offers a way to play with ideas in a safe, controlled environment. It can provide a guiding narrative with points of interaction with the story. It involves multiple senses and does not favour abstract cognition alone.
  2. Modern: Board games and wargames Little Wars - H.G. Wells played war games. In 1913 he published a set of rules for playing with miniature infantry, cavalry, and artillery, worked out with his friend Jerome K. Jerome while playing with toy soldiers after lunch one day.
  3. Electronic: Arcade & Player vs Computer Space wars and Pong – 1st console game
  4. Electronic: Console PC and Online games – 1980 - 1990s - present
  5. Electronic: Serious Games – 2000s onwards Serious game sis a game design Fold IT – Foldit is an online puzzle video game about protein folding. A serious game or applied game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. The "serious" adjective is generally prepended to refer to video gamesused by industries like defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, and politics.
  6. I am Gameplay Designer, Researcher & Developer I want to know: Why people play games? How do we design them better? Can we use them for social impact?  
  7. The Structural Playability Process (SPP) A practical framework for structuring the design and implementation of gameplay experiences.
  8. GeoThermal World A virtual geothermal field-trip game experience for training geologists
  9. Ora - Save the Forest! A simulation driven game for pest management in New Zealand forests
  10. Minecraft – ShakerMod An build your own Earthquake simulation Mod
  11. An experimental R&D lab situated at the heart of New Zealand government Innovative Service Design with a focus on Digital solutions Open Lab – so feel free to come and visit us
  12. In the beginning – we did a lot of learning Learning is universal, It’s a survival method. The more knowledge we acquire the more likely we are to adapt and survive when things get difficult.
  13. Play is evolution's way of making sure animals acquire and perfect valuable skills in circumstances of relative safety Play is a way of learning – we do it and as you can see, we are not the only animal that plays
  14. Advantage of being a human is our cognitive abilities. We can think though problems and that means we can use thinking to learn new things. Because you “Can’t solve complex problems though play alone” such as Astro physics We developed education as a way to share knowledge… but here we begin to run into a bit of a problem. - Education systems as a means to share knowledge
  15. Game are the bridge between play and cognition The future of education will be through game like simulations and experiences
  16. Humans – three theories fit together that support our engagement with games and also with everyday life
  17. Before we will be motivated to do a task we need to feel like we are self-determining the outcomes Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behaviour Deci and Ryan (1985)
  18. Self-determination is necessary for an individual to become intrinsically motivated
  19. “we learn through acquiring skills and skilled performance always involves organised sequences of activities. Organisation, goal directedness and utilisation of feedback are basic characteristics of a skilled performance” Human Performance Theory Fitts and Posner (1967) It also has many factors in common with a feeling of being in ‘Flow’
  20. A universal theory of enjoyment Flow is the balance between challenge & skill. Being in ‘Flow’ reduces boredom and anxiety and supports self-determined behaviour. Being in ‘Flow’ is the word used to describe engagement and immersion in an activity. It is a universal theory to describe enjoyment. When in a flow state it is usual for a person to be extremely self-motivated to continue the experience. Computer gameplay structures naturally lend themselves to the creation of ‘flow-states’.  
  21. A universal theory of enjoyment Flow is the balance between challenge & skill. Being in ‘Flow’ reduces boredom and anxiety and supports self-determined behaviour. Being in ‘Flow’ is the word used to describe engagement and immersion in an activity. It is a universal theory to describe enjoyment. When in a flow state it is usual for a person to be extremely self-motivated to continue the experience. Computer gameplay structures naturally lend themselves to the creation of ‘flow-states’.  
  22. A universal theory of enjoyment Flow is the balance between challenge & skill. Being in ‘Flow’ reduces boredom and anxiety and supports self-determined behaviour. Being in ‘Flow’ is the word used to describe engagement and immersion in an activity. It is a universal theory to describe enjoyment. When in a flow state it is usual for a person to be extremely self-motivated to continue the experience. Computer gameplay structures naturally lend themselves to the creation of ‘flow-states’.  
  23. In psychology ‘flow’ describes the universal theory of enjoyment. It is a well-documented and researched phenomenon comprised of eight stages; a challenging activity that requires skills, the merging of action and awareness, clear goals and direct feedback, concentration and a sense of control, which combine to create a pleasant state of immersion in an activity, where you become unaware of the passage of time. Eight conditions for finding Flow 1. A Challenging Activity That Requires Skills “The experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. 2. The Merging of Action and Awareness We must be able to concentrate on what we are doing. 3. Clear Goals and Feedback The concentration is usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and provides immediate feedback. 4. Concentration on the Task at Hand One acts with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life. 5. The Paradox of Control Enjoyable experiences allow people to exercise a sense of control over their actions. 6. The Loss of Self-Consciousness Concern for the self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over. 7. The Transformation of Time The sense of the duration of time is altered; hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch-out to seem like hours.” Computer gameplay structures naturally lend themselves to the creation of ‘flow-states’.
  24. As Csikszentmihalyi states ‘optimal experiences are reported to occur within sequences of activities that are goal-directed and bounded by rules - activities that require the investment of attention and that could not be done without skills.’
  25. As Csikszentmihalyi states ‘optimal experiences are reported to occur within sequences of activities that are goal-directed and bounded by rules - activities that require the investment of attention and that could not be done without skills.’
  26. Building blocks for gameplay desing but also for eveyday exoeriances Motivation sets the intention/engagement channel for the player – User focused Skilled performance sets the progression and skill acquisition – designer focused Flow, describes and measure the quality of the experience – Experience focused
  27. be it a 10 minute motivational timer to race against, or a defined point when you reach out for some constructive criticism from your boss or community.