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The
Mechanics
of Magic
7 lessons
from game
design
@cwodtke www.eleganthack.com
I do not have New Year’s Resolutions
I have New Year’s projects. One year it was games

These are the wise people I learned from
Some I interviewed, some I rea...
What is the first game you can remember?
Every project needs a goal that everyone agrees is worth doing.

FIND YOUR NORTH STAR
FUN
Go here to watch full talk: http://youtu.be/VWu4Nu0F4eg

Brenda Romero nee Braithwaite at TEDx Phoenix
Conversion is a crap north star

DESIGN FOR AN EMOTION
Surprise & delight
AFFECTIONATE
compassionate
friendly
loving
open hearted
sympathetic
tender
warm
ENGAGED
absorbed
alert
curious
engrossed
e...
PEACE
beauty communion ease harmony order
There is no shortage
of “organization
porn” on the web.
We have a deep
seated dream of a
place of tidy
harmony.

There is ...
Frustration
AFRAID
apprehensive
dread
foreboding
frightened
mistrustful
panicked
petrified
scared
suspicious
terrified
wary
worried
AN...
Should we avoid negative
emotions? Can negative
emotions be fun?
• More pleasure
and excitement
in
active failure
than in success
• However:
passive
experience of
failure makes
players
di...
Obviously Mr.
Right

Could Coffee meets bagel play up the anguish of missing
a match in a fun way that engages you more de...
“People find role playing
cheesy, makes them self
conscious.
The game forces you into
uncomfortable situations.
You take a...
Until my
players feel
_____, I will
not ship
PICK YOUR NORTHSTAR
TYPES VS
PERSONAS
Grace
(62/ female/ widowed/ Little Rock, AR.)
“I like playing my favorite games online, but if I can play with
friends, we...
Richard Bartle http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm

Drawing: Frank Caron http://frankcaron.com
4 Key Engagement Styles in Social Gaming
Express

Explore

Compete

Collaborate

Amy Jo Kim amyjokim.com @amyjokim
What if Amazon was a Game?

Satisficers

Socializers

Optimizers

Self-discovery
WHO ARE THE
PLAYER TYPES?
LOOP
DE
LOOP
This is a core loop for a very simple game. Start with fish eggs, that you grow
into fish that you sell to buy more valuab...
Will Wright on Game Design: full talk: http://youtu.be/CdgQyq3hEPo
Build defense
and offence
Attack

Defend
SHOP

REVIEW

BUY
SHARE

REACT

CONSUME
I get
knocked
down
You ain't
ever gonna
keep me
down.

But I get up
again

WHAT IS YOUR CORE LOOP?
MECHANICS
Some of the more sleezy gamification gurus use this term as mind-control tricks. But really they are just what
m...
Rules are
Mechanics
Just in case you need it
http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/generic/b597/
SOMETIMES MECHANICS
ARE CONSTRAINTS
Pinch

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 yo...
But it’s ok because I feel something?

SOMETIMES MECHANICS
ARE MANIPULATIONS
6 key principles of persuasion
by Robert Cialdini
Reciprocity
Social Proof
Commitment and Consistency
Authority
Liking
Sca...
Reward me

ACHIEVEMENTS
Celebrate microwins!
Actions taken successfully
create mini-rewards in the
form of doobers (stars and
slot-machine sounds)...
Celebrating
CELBRATING
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!
Leaderboards
There is a certain satisfaction in kicking a
friends bum. However, if you have a place
where not much social ...
Leaderboards are used extensively to
motivate behavior
But it can lead to abuse
Amazon handles it by retiring players.
Digg got rid of their leaderboards
ART
FROM
THE
START
We treat designer like
flip this house: give
them wireframes and
tell them to make it
pretty

ITE
E B$
W
Concept design by Min Zhou
http://minzhouportfolio.blogspot.com/

Grace and Glory enemy concept
designs by Yusuke Hashimot...
Learn how
to teach
In Bubble
Witch Saga,
they give you
only a couple
instructions in
the first level
And in the next
level they teach
you a few more
game elemnts,
slowly
revealing the
play.
In Tiny
Wings, the
first level
has your
finger light
up when
you should
touch the
screen
To play Dance Central, you have to learn the moves
They make the learning into a game too– if you can
decode the picture, you can get a diamond and skip the
practice
SO YOU THINK YOU ARE
USER CENTERED?
Playtest like you mean it
Sid Meir, Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong.
Full talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY7aRJEoOY&feature=BFa&list=PL8...
HOMEWORK
Play Bastion

http://supergiantgames.com/index.php/
media/

How do these principles apply?
1.What was the North S...
CHRISTINA WODTKE
www.eleganthack.com
www.boxesandarrows.com
@cwodtke
I can’t be bought, but I can be rented.

Image form B...
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design
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Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design

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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.

Mechanics of Magic: Lessons from Game Design

  1. 1. The Mechanics of Magic 7 lessons from game design
  2. 2. @cwodtke www.eleganthack.com
  3. 3. I do not have New Year’s Resolutions
  4. 4. I have New Year’s projects. One year it was games These are the wise people I learned from Some I interviewed, some I read their books, some I watched their videos, some reviewed this talk…
  5. 5. What is the first game you can remember?
  6. 6. Every project needs a goal that everyone agrees is worth doing. FIND YOUR NORTH STAR
  7. 7. FUN
  8. 8. Go here to watch full talk: http://youtu.be/VWu4Nu0F4eg Brenda Romero nee Braithwaite at TEDx Phoenix
  9. 9. Conversion is a crap north star DESIGN FOR AN EMOTION
  10. 10. Surprise & delight
  11. 11. AFFECTIONATE compassionate friendly loving open hearted sympathetic tender warm ENGAGED absorbed alert curious engrossed enchanted entranced fascinated interested intrigued involved spellbound stimulated CONFIDENT empowered open proud safe secure EXCITED amazed animated ardent aroused astonished dazzled eager energetic enthusiastic giddy invigorated lively passionate surprised vibrant HOPEFUL expectant encouraged optimistic (c) 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication Website: www.cnvc.org     GRATEFUL appreciative moved thankful touched INSPIRED amazed awed wonder JOYFUL amused delighted glad happy jubilant pleased tickled EXHILARATED blissful ecstatic elated enthralled exuberant radiant rapturous thrilled PEACEFUL calm clear headed comfortable centered content equanimous fulfilled mellow quiet relaxed relieved satisfied serene still tranquil trusting REFRESHED enlivened rejuvenated renewed rested restored revived AFFECTIONATE compassionate friendly loving open hearted sympathetic tender warm
  12. 12. PEACE beauty communion ease harmony order
  13. 13. There is no shortage of “organization porn” on the web. We have a deep seated dream of a place of tidy harmony. There is big business in selling peace and order
  14. 14. Frustration
  15. 15. AFRAID apprehensive dread foreboding frightened mistrustful panicked petrified scared suspicious terrified wary worried ANNOYED aggravated dismayed disgruntled displeased exasperated frustrated impatient irritated irked CONFUSED ambivalent baffled bewildered dazed hesitant lost mystified perplexed puzzled torn DISQUIET agitated alarmed discombobulated disconcerted disturbed DISCONNECTED perturbed alienated rattled aloof restless apathetic shocked bored startled cold surprised detached troubled distant turbulent distracted turmoil indifferent uncomfortable numb uneasy removed unnerved uninterested unsettled withdrawn upset EMBARRASSED ashamed chagrined flustered guilty mortified self-conscious YEARNING envious jealous longing nostalgic pining wistful PAIN agony anguished bereaved devastated grief heartbroken hurt lonely miserable regretful remorseful SAD depressed dejected despair despondent disappointed discouraged disheartened forlorn gloomy heavy hearted hopeless melancholy unhappy wretched TENSE anxious cranky distressed distraught edgy fidgety frazzled irritable jittery nervous overwhelmed restless stressed out VULNERABLE fragile guarded helpless insecure leery reserved sensitive shaky (c) 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication Website: www.cnvc.org      AVERSION animosity appalled contempt disgusted dislike hate horrified hostile repulsed FATIGUE beat burnt out depleted exhausted lethargic listless tired weary worn out ANGRY enraged furious incensed indignant irate livid outraged resentful
  16. 16. Should we avoid negative emotions? Can negative emotions be fun?
  17. 17. • More pleasure and excitement in active failure than in success • However: passive experience of failure makes players disengage. • Attaining a goal DECREASES player arousal and interest. Ravaja, Niklas, et al. The Psychophysiology of Video Gaming: Phasic Emotional Responses to Game Events. Digital Games Research Association International Conference 2005. Read it:
  18. 18. Obviously Mr. Right Could Coffee meets bagel play up the anguish of missing a match in a fun way that engages you more deeply?
  19. 19. “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.” Dan Brown’s Communicating Design Game
  20. 20. Until my players feel _____, I will not ship PICK YOUR NORTHSTAR
  21. 21. TYPES VS PERSONAS
  22. 22. 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 2001 Game’s opportunity: If Grace can be convinced to 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.    
  23. 23. Richard Bartle http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm Drawing: Frank Caron http://frankcaron.com
  24. 24. 4 Key Engagement Styles in Social Gaming Express Explore Compete Collaborate Amy Jo Kim amyjokim.com @amyjokim
  25. 25. What if Amazon was a Game? Satisficers Socializers Optimizers Self-discovery
  26. 26. WHO ARE THE PLAYER TYPES?
  27. 27. LOOP DE LOOP
  28. 28. This is a core loop for a very simple game. Start with fish eggs, that you grow into fish that you sell to buy more valuable fish eggs
  29. 29. Will Wright on Game Design: full talk: http://youtu.be/CdgQyq3hEPo
  30. 30. Build defense and offence Attack Defend
  31. 31. SHOP REVIEW BUY
  32. 32. SHARE REACT CONSUME
  33. 33. I get knocked down You ain't ever gonna keep me down. But I get up again WHAT IS YOUR CORE LOOP?
  34. 34. MECHANICS Some of the more sleezy gamification gurus use this term as mind-control tricks. But really they are just what makes games tick.
  35. 35. Rules are Mechanics
  36. 36. Just in case you need it http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/unisex/generic/b597/
  37. 37. SOMETIMES MECHANICS ARE CONSTRAINTS
  38. 38. Pinch 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.
  39. 39. But it’s ok because I feel something? SOMETIMES MECHANICS ARE MANIPULATIONS
  40. 40. 6 key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini Reciprocity Social Proof Commitment and Consistency Authority Liking Scarcity
  41. 41. Reward me ACHIEVEMENTS
  42. 42. Celebrate microwins! Actions taken successfully create mini-rewards in the form of doobers (stars and slot-machine sounds).
  43. 43. Celebrating
  44. 44. CELBRATING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!
  45. 45. Leaderboards 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.
  46. 46. Leaderboards are used extensively to motivate behavior
  47. 47. But it can lead to abuse
  48. 48. Amazon handles it by retiring players. Digg got rid of their leaderboards
  49. 49. ART FROM THE START
  50. 50. We treat designer like flip this house: give them wireframes and tell them to make it pretty ITE E B$ W
  51. 51. Concept design by Min Zhou http://minzhouportfolio.blogspot.com/ Grace and Glory enemy concept designs by Yusuke Hashimoto. From the upcoming video game Bayonetta.
  52. 52. Learn how to teach
  53. 53. In Bubble Witch Saga, they give you only a couple instructions in the first level
  54. 54. And in the next level they teach you a few more game elemnts, slowly revealing the play.
  55. 55. In Tiny Wings, the first level has your finger light up when you should touch the screen
  56. 56. To play Dance Central, you have to learn the moves
  57. 57. They make the learning into a game too– if you can decode the picture, you can get a diamond and skip the practice
  58. 58. SO YOU THINK YOU ARE USER CENTERED? Playtest like you mean it
  59. 59. Sid Meir, Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong. Full talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY7aRJEoOY&feature=BFa&list=PL8E8E672C0031DC3A
  60. 60. HOMEWORK Play Bastion http://supergiantgames.com/index.php/ media/ How do these principles apply? 1.What was the North Star? 2.What Emotion(s) do you feel? 3.Who are the Player Types? 4.What’s the core loop? 5.How did you learn to play? 6. How does the art/music shape the game?
  61. 61. CHRISTINA WODTKE www.eleganthack.com www.boxesandarrows.com @cwodtke I can’t be bought, but I can be rented. Image form Baston: great game! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/basti
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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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