Games for Health 2014 design tutorial

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Tutorial and workshop from the Games for Health 2014 conference. Covers common problems, failings of gamification, elements of player experience, paper prototyping, and essential concepts in game design.

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  • And why are people doing this? Because they want a creative outlet. They want to build something extraordinary.
  • The artwork is so happy, but the underlying themes are all “Destroy!”
  • THis is really at the heart of what makes a game a game -- is the ability to make choices that affect the outcome. It consists of tactical decisions in the short term, and strategic decisions over the entire course of play.
  • the rules governing what players can do with them. It’s the interaction of the rules that are assigned to each of the pieces that brings chess to life, and the game wouldn’t be possible unless people agreed to abide by a common set of rules.
  • Now most games work in this way as systems, although there are a handful of exceptions.
  • Games also tend to design very idiosyncratic user interfaces, even when they’re doing the same thing.
    Here’s a screen from Deus Ex 3 that lets the player select power-ups, which is common activity in a lot of games a but this particular UI is very pretty unique to Deus Ex 3.
  • Games for Health 2014 design tutorial

    1. 1. Design Tutorial John Ferrara While you’re waiting to start Screenshot a game you’re playing and tweet it with hashtag #PlayfulDesign
    2. 2. John Ferrara Creative director, Megazoid Games User experience designer “Let’s Move!” award winner @PlayfulDesign
    3. 3. PlayfulDesignBook.com My book
    4. 4. Today We’ll talk about games We’ll play some games We’ll take a break We’ll make some games We’ll test those games
    5. 5. Games absolutely can improve people’s health.* *If they are well designed experiences.
    6. 6. An overview of the problem part 1
    7. 7. 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.
    8. 8. Leap Frog Sugar Bugs
    9. 9. Baranowski, et. al. Pediatrics February 27, 2012
    10. 10. None produced any difference in physical activity.
    11. 11. The problem is design. Games are hard to design well. Serious games are even harder.
    12. 12. Gamficai tion?
    13. 13. 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
    14. 14. Things that games can do in the real world part 2
    15. 15. 1. Teach 2. Motivate 3. Persuade
    16. 16. Games can teach
    17. 17. Learning by doing Practice is rolled in with theory. Ideas are not just illustrated, but experienced.
    18. 18. Failure based learning Getting it wrong builds a better understanding. Games are a totally safe “virtual lab”.
    19. 19. “What if”-ing Living thought experiments How might the world be different if...
    20. 20. Demo: http://youtu.be/TluRVBhmf8w?t=43s
    21. 21. Systems thinking Working with the relationships between moving parts. Games are the best medium for this that exists.
    22. 22. Games can motivate
    23. 23. Human computation Useful outputs are a byproduct of play. “Games are algorithms that run on people.” -- Luis Von Ahn
    24. 24. Reframing Casting real-life challenges in a different light.
    25. 25. Overlay Reframing in-the-moment. A fantasy world is superposed on reality.
    26. 26. Buy the advantage Intrinsic rewards for external actions. Players must greatly value the game experience.
    27. 27. Games can persuade
    28. 28. Games are a form of procedural rhetoric Procedurality makes games unique as a communications medium.
    29. 29. Example
    30. 30. Games for… evil?
    31. 31. Games for… Gatorade “Bolt” game’s goal: “...to position Gatorade as the hero helping drive better performance and higher scores with water as the enemy that hinders performance.” Media agency OMD’s case study video evil?
    32. 32. Games for… evil?
    33. 33. Serious games need ethical guidelines
    34. 34. A model for understanding game experiences part 3
    35. 35. Immersion
    36. 36. Flow
    37. 37. Creativity
    38. 38. Social interaction
    39. 39. Competence
    40. 40. Catharsis
    41. 41. Interaction balance issues
    42. 42. Campaign balance issues
    43. 43. 0 HINT MENU
    44. 44. Games should be designed to be games first.
    45. 45. part 4 A method for developing a game concept
    46. 46. 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?
    47. 47. Can you really do a video game on paper?
    48. 48. Can you really do a video game on paper? Stone Librande
    49. 49. Guidelines for paper prototyping Strip off the aesthetic and usability layers Work on the underlying gameplay
    50. 50. X X
    51. 51. 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
    52. 52. So how might this be done on paper?
    53. 53. Let’s take a closer look at what’s really happening.
    54. 54. The objective is to climb 6 levels without getting hit by a barrel.
    55. 55. Sometimes you jump one barrel (hard). Sometimes you jump two barrels (harder).
    56. 56. Sometimes there are barrels above you. Sometimes they fall down a ladder.
    57. 57. Sometimes you get a hammer. Then you get to smash all barrels. :-) But if you ever get hit by a barrell… You start over at the bottom. :-(
    58. 58. Super Jumpman Bros.
    59. 59. Tower cards Objective: Reach level 6 before your opponent. Each turn you’ll have a chance to move up one level.
    60. 60. Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options. Move your coin one space up the tower card.
    61. 61. Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options. Keep your coin where it is on the tower card.
    62. 62. Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options. Move your coin one space down the tower card.
    63. 63. Draw a card. Each gives you 3 options.
    64. 64. Look out for barrels! To avoid the barrel, you must roll anything other than the numbers that appear above it.
    65. 65. Two barrels If there are two barrels, but must roll separately for each one. So above, you’d roll twice.
    66. 66. 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
    67. 67. This barrel is behind the ladder. You only need to roll if you’re exiting right. Barrels behind the ladder Roll OK OK
    68. 68. 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
    69. 69. Pop quiz: What could you do here?
    70. 70. If you get hit by a barrel...
    71. 71. 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.
    72. 72. Let’s play! Press start
    73. 73. 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?
    74. 74. 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
    75. 75. Abstraction vs. representationalism Gameplay vs. aesthetics Luck vs. skill Going deeper
    76. 76. part 5 A quick primer on essential game design concepts
    77. 77. Core mechanic The activities players are engaged in moment to moment throughout a game. Roll Move around the board Buy properties Pay rent
    78. 78. Objectives Specific conditions that players are either trying to... achieve avoidor
    79. 79. Objectives Longer games have nested objectives.
    80. 80. Constraints Limits on what the player can and cannot do. 2 types of constraints: Environmental Formal
    81. 81. Environmental constraints Hard limits set by inherent physical characteristics.
    82. 82. Soft rules that all of the players agree to follow in order to enable the game experience. Formal constraints
    83. 83. Conflict The relationship between objectives and constraints.
    84. 84. Conflict The relationship between objectives and constraints. Games necessarily involve challenge.
    85. 85. Ideal experience in software design
    86. 86. Ideal experience in game design
    87. 87. Arbitration Some games have built-in systems that enforce the rules so people don’t have to. 2 types of arbitration: Mechanical Computerized
    88. 88. Mechanical arbitration
    89. 89. Computerized arbitration
    90. 90. 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
    91. 91. Degenerate strategy: Is this cheating?
    92. 92. To reach objectives, players may need to make choices that can have positive or negative outcomes. Uncertainty is fundamental to risk. Risk
    93. 93. Greater risks require greater rewards
    94. 94. 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
    95. 95. 15 minutes Up next: A health game design case study. You prototype your own games. Break time!
    96. 96. part 6 A case study
    97. 97. What causes childhood obesity?
    98. 98. 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:
    99. 99. More than anything, the problem is cultural.
    100. 100. Challenge to create games that teach 8- to 12- year olds healthier eating habits
    101. 101. Virtual pets. Real nutrition.
    102. 102. 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
    103. 103. A quick demo
    104. 104. Lessons
    105. 105. 1. Define a core message Design around a clear and concise statement of what you want players to do or to believe.
    106. 106. 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.
    107. 107. 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
    108. 108. 3. Enable self-directed discovery Self-directed discovery persuades by giving people a feeling of ownership of the insight they've uncovered.
    109. 109. Discovering better food choices
    110. 110. Discovering better food sourcing
    111. 111. Discovering healthy recipes Players can cook, combining ingredients into prepared meals. Meals of greater nutritional merit are worth more than their constituent ingredients
    112. 112. Meals can be sold to the restaurant for a profit. Other players can then purchase them, enabling social learning.
    113. 113. 4. Offer meaningful choices If there is no benefit to making the wrong choice, then there is no choice at all.
    114. 114. 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
    115. 115. 5. Keep it real Video games' capacity to simulate the conditions of the real world can impart credibility to embedded arguments.
    116. 116. Fitter Critters has real nutrition data for 675 actual food items
    117. 117. and the daily objectives are based on real consumption guidelines
    118. 118. Pilot Study Northbridge 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
    119. 119. A game design game for 5 players
    120. 120. (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)
    121. 121. If you get anything other than a 1, nothing happens. The dragon rolls all 4 dice at once
    122. 122. Fang attack Kill any 1 warrior next to any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
    123. 123. Fang attack Kill any 1 warrior next to any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
    124. 124. Fang attack Kill any 1 warrior next to any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
    125. 125. Fire attack Kill any 1 warrior at least 3 spaces from any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
    126. 126. Fire attack Kill any 1 warrior at least 3 spaces from any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
    127. 127. Fire attack Kill any 1 warrior at least 3 spaces from any dragon head. (Including diagonals.)
    128. 128. Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
    129. 129. Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
    130. 130. Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
    131. 131. Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
    132. 132. Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
    133. 133. Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
    134. 134. Move All dragon heads move 1 space in any direction. All must move in the same direction.
    135. 135. 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.
    136. 136. 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.
    137. 137. 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.
    138. 138. 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.
    139. 139. 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.
    140. 140. 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.
    141. 141. 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.
    142. 142. Design a system of rules that interact to make a game experience that’s: The designer’s objective Sustained. Challenging . Fair. Enjoyable.
    143. 143. Let’s design! 10 minutes. Then play begins. SUSTAINED - CHALLENGING - FAIR - ENJOYABLE
    144. 144. Time to play! 15 minutes. Make changes as you go. SUSTAINED - CHALLENGING - FAIR - ENJOYABLE
    145. 145. 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?
    146. 146. 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 1 environmental piece.
    147. 147. Let’s design again! 15 minutes. Then play begins. USE AT LEAST 1 ENVIRONMENTAL PIECE
    148. 148. Time to play! 10 minutes. AT LEAST 1 ENVIRONMENTAL PIECES
    149. 149. 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
    150. 150. Iteration 3 Turn this into a game about cancer.
    151. 151. Let’s design again again! 20 minutes. Then play begins. TURN IT INTO A GAME ABOUT CANCER
    152. 152. Thank you! Please complete the assessment form. Connect with me: @PlayfulDesign
    153. 153. Balanced gameplay
    154. 154. 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...
    155. 155. 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.
    156. 156. UI usability
    157. 157. UI usability
    158. 158. Balance

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