Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Points don't make it a game!

4,976 views

Published on

My slides from NXNEi 2011, a game designer's perspective on gamification. It's a crash course primer, an invitation to be critical, and a starting point for designers interested in what game design might have to offer.

The conversation has proceeded and become more involved since I did this in June 2011, but more perspectives on this practice can't hurt.

Points don't make it a game!

  1. 1. Points don’t make it a game!Points don’t make it a game.
  2. 2. James (I was standing here)Hi, I’m James Everett
  3. 3. Game DesignerI’m a game designer
  4. 4. Gamificationand I’m here to discuss the current hype machine that is “Gamification”
  5. 5. Using “game mechanics” in non-game contexts to drive user engagement.Gamification is using tools from game design in non-game websites, services, or productsmore fun and engaging.
  6. 6. Extrinsic RewardsGames can be powerful, but the applications we’re seeing are almost always extrinsicmotivators. They are simple feedback mechanisms on top of simple tasks. This has led manyobservers to argue that gamification should more accurately be called Pointsification,Badgification, or Exploitationware, and a few other less kind names.http://www.bogost.com/writing/exploitationware.shtml
  7. 7. Extrinsic Rewards • PointsificationGames can be powerful, but the applications we’re seeing are almost always extrinsicmotivators. They are simple feedback mechanisms on top of simple tasks. This has led manyobservers to argue that gamification should more accurately be called Pointsification,Badgification, or Exploitationware, and a few other less kind names.http://www.bogost.com/writing/exploitationware.shtml
  8. 8. Extrinsic Rewards • Pointsification • BadgificationGames can be powerful, but the applications we’re seeing are almost always extrinsicmotivators. They are simple feedback mechanisms on top of simple tasks. This has led manyobservers to argue that gamification should more accurately be called Pointsification,Badgification, or Exploitationware, and a few other less kind names.http://www.bogost.com/writing/exploitationware.shtml
  9. 9. Extrinsic Rewards • Pointsification • Badgification • ExploitationwareGames can be powerful, but the applications we’re seeing are almost always extrinsicmotivators. They are simple feedback mechanisms on top of simple tasks. This has led manyobservers to argue that gamification should more accurately be called Pointsification,Badgification, or Exploitationware, and a few other less kind names.http://www.bogost.com/writing/exploitationware.shtml
  10. 10. Get critical and constructiveI’d like to discuss why gamification is seen this way by many in the game developmentcommunity, and provide you with some tools to critically evaluate what is on offer around theweb.
  11. 11. Who are you?So before I tackle this head on, who are you folks? How many of you are web designers?Developers? Game developers? Service designers? UX? And how many of you have heard theterm gamification?http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcobellucci/3534516458/
  12. 12. AwesomeIt was a great spread of people.
  13. 13. Game Designer?To give you some context for where I’m coming from, I think it’s important that I clarify whata game designer actually does.
  14. 14. Not art/animationWe dont create the beautiful visuals you see on screen.
  15. 15. Not codeAnd I dont write the code that makes it all work.
  16. 16. Game designers focus on the player experience, defining what the game is. Everything fromthe core rules of the game, like rock beats scissors, to high level direction like what is theplayer’s ultimate goal?http://jbc07050.blogspot.com/2010/07/rps-rules.html
  17. 17. Gamification?So if that’s what game designers do, and we love games, and feel confident that games canmake the world a better place, why does this term worry us? Supposedly gamification is theapplication of our game design principles to non-game products, services, or apps.
  18. 18. Great!Game designers have been hoping the outside world would notice that we have a bunch ofinteresting tools which might make their services more useful. In particular there are fieldslike education where we think game design could offer compelling tools for students andteachers.
  19. 19. “...gamification is the high fructose corn syrup of engagement.” -Kathy SierraBut instead we are seeing a glut of gamification approaches which take the most shallowaspects of games and layer them over tophttp://radar.oreilly.com/2011/04/gamification-purpose-marketing.html#comments
  20. 20. HFCS sugarbombGamification that takes the sugary bit of games, the points and reward systems, andcompletely ignores the nutritional value of the underlying systems of play can’t provide longterm nourishment.http://www.flickr.com/photos/boeke/267530310/
  21. 21. +1This plus-one mentality has been applied to all kinds of activities.Many gamification approaches are much the same. They focus on giving users a quick hit ofsomething sweet, like points or badges, to get them to consume more of the service.
  22. 22. Location checkincheck in at a location! Points!http://www.flickr.com/photos/marte68/118256781/
  23. 23. Location checkin +1check in at a location! Points!http://www.flickr.com/photos/marte68/118256781/
  24. 24. forum postMake a forum post? Points!
  25. 25. +1 forum postMake a forum post? Points!
  26. 26. Mundane taskDo mundane task X? POINTS!http://www.flickr.com/photos/spike55151/2883114571/
  27. 27. +1! Mundane taskDo mundane task X? POINTS!http://www.flickr.com/photos/spike55151/2883114571/
  28. 28. Raw extrinsic motivatorWhat do all of these things have in common? They are raw extrinsic motivators. Points bythemselves have absolutely no value. Points only mean something if they reflect meaningfulactions taken by the player.
  29. 29. Space invaders high scoreYour high score in PacMan is interesting because it expresses a mastery over the system thatyou accomplished and other players can recognize. This yard stick measures yourcompetitiveness with the game and other players.http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeymanforever/5688396398
  30. 30. Intrinsic motivationsIntrinsic motivations are those things which we do because we enjoy the activity itself.Snowboarding, or painting, or a good game of chess if youre so inclined, are activities whichwe enjoy because we know what greatness looks like, and we can work towards it. We areconstantly challenged by attempting something new, and so long as we can make measurableprogress toward greatness we are learning. And while we are learning, were having fun.
  31. 31. This is the genius of games, and a major reason why people love them. Games provide cleardirection, goals, and consistent feedback to tell you how far you have progressed towardthose goals.
  32. 32. “Fun is just another word for learning.” -Raph Koster, A Theory of FunRaph Koster is a game designer who wrote the brilliant A Theory of Fun, which I would highlyrecommend to everyone here. Raph says "fun is just another word for learning"and he goes into great detail about how games scratch that learning itch. At the end of theday, games make us better at something.
  33. 33. CoDNow that something might be very fine hand eye motor coordination, like shooting in Call ofDuty,http://www.flickr.com/photos/metamidia/4115550082
  34. 34. WoWor it might be the battlefield management of twenty other individuals with diverse skill setsunder unrelenting time pressure in World of Warcraft. But because were constantlychallenged we keep learning and we keep coming back. http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/226464870/
  35. 35. 10,000!Were not coming back because my score went ding over 10,000 points.
  36. 36. Interesting ChallengesInteresting challenges.
  37. 37. Edward L Deci Alfie KohnExtrinsic motivation relies solely on the ding. Its an If-Then reward system. If you do X, I willgive you Y. There is a bunch of research out there to highlight why that is an unsustainablepractice, and youve probably heard of Pink, Deci, and others research. People begin toassociate the task only with the reward.
  38. 38. Bored by Rewardbored by reward - Theyre no longer doing the activity because they want to do it, theyredoing it for the reward. And if the reward ceases to be sufficiently compelling they willabandon the task. There is a compelling body of evidence that many tasks are actuallynegatively impacted by extrinsic rewards.http://www.flickr.com/photos/scragz/91147636/
  39. 39. FoursquareHow many of you have tried foursquare? OK keep your hands up please. How many of you arestill regularly checking in to locations?
  40. 40. Foursquare is a good example of an extrinsic reward system. When you visit a place, youcheck in. There is no gameplay in checking in, you simply click a button and decide whetherto share that checkin with various social networking services. No real harm there, but nochallenge either. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gumption/4395362941
  41. 41. Foursquare rewardsAfter you have checked in at some specified number or type of locations, you will be awardedwith a badge for your accomplishment. So you did nothing, and you received nothing but avirtual token indicating your travels. And then you got put on a leaderboard, with a bunch ofother people who happened to go to the same location as you. As you can see from myentirely non-scientific poll of the audience, that doesnt really stick long term.http://www.flickr.com/photos/superamit/3724330161/
  42. 42. What do you use Foursquare for?Of the people who said theyre still checking in, who has been using Foursquare for morethan six months and youre still checking in? What are you using it for?* keeping track of where Ive been* rewards which outweigh the mundane repetition of checking in* sharing my current position with others for some reason* curation* competition
  43. 43. Intrinsic vs. ExtrinsicSo, to recap, intrinsic motivation is performing an activity because we derive some value orpleasure from the activity itself. Extrinsic motivations encourage us to perform an activitywith the promise of a reward. Both of these types of motivation have their place.
  44. 44. Extrinsic motivation is often useful for routine tasks which must be performed on aconsistent schedule. Given no other flexibility in the system, no way to see an improvementpast a fixed maximum, knowing that there is some reward attached to that activity may keepyou doing it.http://www.flickr.com/photos/whsimages/998243013
  45. 45. World of Warcraft progressionIn games we often use extrinsic rewards as feedback to keep our players informed as to theirprogress. We use experience points and skill progression to unlock new abilities after theyhave mastered one set. For example in World of Warcraft you receive experience points forevery monster you slay and quest you complete. When youve accumulated enoughexperience points, you go up a level. When you go up a level you get to enhance one of yourcharacters abilities, or unlock a new one.
  46. 46. Reward based on SkillThe extrinsic reward, the point system and even the unlocking of new abilities, is completelydependent upon the core mechanics of the game. In this case its carefully juggling theresources of health, abilities, and magic, and prioritizing which abilities to use on whichenemies or allies in the heat of battle.
  47. 47. And knowing when to run screaming for the hills.http://www.mmorpg.com/photo/f516cb62-46e4-48fe-97d5-d245c77b467b
  48. 48. Intrinsic + Extrinsic comboIn video games we often take these combinations of great intrinsic motivators, our coregameplay, and the right dash of extrinsic motivators, experience points and loot, and usethem hand in hand to keep our players challenged and interested.
  49. 49. Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiWho is familiar with this name, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi?
  50. 50. High Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeExcellent, so most of you are familiar with his theory of how a flow state is created: ifsomeone is challenged enough that they are not bored, but not challenged to the point offrustration they can make consistent progress and they remain engaged.
  51. 51. High Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeExcellent, so most of you are familiar with his theory of how a flow state is created: ifsomeone is challenged enough that they are not bored, but not challenged to the point offrustration they can make consistent progress and they remain engaged.
  52. 52. High Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeExcellent, so most of you are familiar with his theory of how a flow state is created: ifsomeone is challenged enough that they are not bored, but not challenged to the point offrustration they can make consistent progress and they remain engaged.
  53. 53. High w Flo Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeWell balanced games, like WoW, do this to create a sublime flow. In WoW you start off able tokill simple monsters in small groups, the novelty engages you and youre taught the basicprinciples of the game.Just as youre starting to get used to that and you might be drifting toward boredom, theenemy groups get larger and you have to work harder to stay alive. As you kill more monstersyou are rewarded with experience points to indicate your characters growth, money whichcan be used to buy new gear, and sometimes they even drop useful weapons. These rewardsprovide feedback to the player that they are making progress and also smooth out that ramptoward challenge and anxiety.
  54. 54. High w Flo Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeWell balanced games, like WoW, do this to create a sublime flow. In WoW you start off able tokill simple monsters in small groups, the novelty engages you and youre taught the basicprinciples of the game.Just as youre starting to get used to that and you might be drifting toward boredom, theenemy groups get larger and you have to work harder to stay alive. As you kill more monstersyou are rewarded with experience points to indicate your characters growth, money whichcan be used to buy new gear, and sometimes they even drop useful weapons. These rewardsprovide feedback to the player that they are making progress and also smooth out that ramptoward challenge and anxiety.
  55. 55. High w Flo Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeWell balanced games, like WoW, do this to create a sublime flow. In WoW you start off able tokill simple monsters in small groups, the novelty engages you and youre taught the basicprinciples of the game.Just as youre starting to get used to that and you might be drifting toward boredom, theenemy groups get larger and you have to work harder to stay alive. As you kill more monstersyou are rewarded with experience points to indicate your characters growth, money whichcan be used to buy new gear, and sometimes they even drop useful weapons. These rewardsprovide feedback to the player that they are making progress and also smooth out that ramptoward challenge and anxiety.
  56. 56. High w Flo Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeWell balanced games, like WoW, do this to create a sublime flow. In WoW you start off able tokill simple monsters in small groups, the novelty engages you and youre taught the basicprinciples of the game.Just as youre starting to get used to that and you might be drifting toward boredom, theenemy groups get larger and you have to work harder to stay alive. As you kill more monstersyou are rewarded with experience points to indicate your characters growth, money whichcan be used to buy new gear, and sometimes they even drop useful weapons. These rewardsprovide feedback to the player that they are making progress and also smooth out that ramptoward challenge and anxiety.
  57. 57. High w Flo Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeWell balanced games, like WoW, do this to create a sublime flow. In WoW you start off able tokill simple monsters in small groups, the novelty engages you and youre taught the basicprinciples of the game.Just as youre starting to get used to that and you might be drifting toward boredom, theenemy groups get larger and you have to work harder to stay alive. As you kill more monstersyou are rewarded with experience points to indicate your characters growth, money whichcan be used to buy new gear, and sometimes they even drop useful weapons. These rewardsprovide feedback to the player that they are making progress and also smooth out that ramptoward challenge and anxiety.
  58. 58. High w Flo Anxiety Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeJust as the monster groups start to feel really tough and youre edging up towards the gamebeing too hard, those experience points youve been collecting accumulate enough to awardyou a new level. With this new level you are awarded an increased amount of health andmana, making it easier for you to survive, and you can also improve or unlock an ability.These new tools make the monsters you were just cursing that much easier to defeat, and thecycle begins again.
  59. 59. High w Anxiety Flo Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeIf a new player was dumped in around the level 20 mark of WoW they would be torn to bits.Even given a character that has accumulated the same number of experience points, thesame gear, and the same spells they would not have the skills to have fun playing the game.They would quit.
  60. 60. High w Anxiety Flo Challenge Boredom Low Low High Skill/TimeIf a new player was dumped in around the level 20 mark of WoW they would be torn to bits.Even given a character that has accumulated the same number of experience points, thesame gear, and the same spells they would not have the skills to have fun playing the game.They would quit.
  61. 61. Shiny armourAn experienced WoW player has developed a set of tactical and time management skills byexpending great effort in the pursuit of this game. The awesome was not the shinier armour,or the better spells, or the gold dropped that kept them playing. Those were simply toolswhich enabled them to push up against increasingly brutal odds. It was the process oflearning how to overcome those challenges which made the game fun.http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicolelee/154701422/
  62. 62. Points != GameThis is why game designers are so concerned about gamification: We only put points onsomething when its already interesting. Points are a granular feedback mechanism, they are*not* the game.
  63. 63. It’s here.If youre building apps, or websites, or services chances are youve encountered the termgamification already. Perhaps youre already working on gamifying your project in some way.If you havent youre either going to consider, or be asked by a client, to try gamifying yourproject.
  64. 64. Playful design is awesomeI have to stress, I dont think applying gameplay, or playful design, to non-game projects is abad idea. I believe there are a myriad of useful ways to apply game design outside of thesphere of games, and hopefully a couple of examples that I share today will spark yourimagination.
  65. 65. RED FLAGSHowever, there are a couple of buzzwords associated with gamification which I consider RedFlags and would urge you to examine carefully when they come your way.http://www.flickr.com/photos/rvw/116017204
  66. 66. Game MechanicsMany gamification proponents claim theyre applying game mechanics to non-game designs.
  67. 67. Game Mechanics? • Points • AchievementsTheyre doing it wrong. Points and achievements are feedback mechanisms. Important ingames, but not the mechanics of the game.
  68. 68. Game Mechanics? • Points • AchievementsTheyre doing it wrong. Points and achievements are feedback mechanisms. Important ingames, but not the mechanics of the game.
  69. 69. Game Mechanics? • Loss Aversion • Ownership • Reward SchedulesThese three are psychological responses to the outcomes of game mechanics, not mechanicsthemselves!
  70. 70. Game Mechanics? • Loss Aversion • Ownership • Reward SchedulesThese three are psychological responses to the outcomes of game mechanics, not mechanicsthemselves!
  71. 71. Game Mechanics!Game mechanics are the interactions and relationships from which the game is derived.Regardless of the visual style, the story, or the technology in use, game mechanics are theheart of games which generate play.
  72. 72. Misused TerminologyThis is anther example of why gamification is getting game designers hackles right up. Wevestruggled a long time to develop a shared language around game design, and were stillworking at it, so when somebody gleefully takes our terminology and misapplies it, it ranklesa bit. Game Mechanics are things like
  73. 73. SpaceSpace
  74. 74. Chess boardThe space the game takes place in - a chess board or ahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/grantmac/3444059922/
  75. 75. Halo MapHalo map
  76. 76. ActionsActions
  77. 77. Mario jumpActions the player can take, like jumping
  78. 78. or moving stealthily to avoid detection
  79. 79. RulesThe rules of the game - Rules are the most fundamental type of game mechanic, and they arethe one least employed in gamification endeavours.
  80. 80. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevandotorg/4690356703/
  81. 81. We’re always building on the shoulders of giantshttp://wordpress.morningside.edu/cdl001/rpsls/
  82. 82. Turnkey GamificationGamification service providers with turnkey APIs are suspect in the mechanics department. Inthe example of WoW the rewards of experience points and loot were directly tied to the coreactivity of the game, combat. How XP is doled out for each monster killed is finely tuned tothe actions of the player
  83. 83. World of WikipediaYou could not take the reward mechanics of WoW and drop them onto Wikipedia andsuddenly get World of Wikipedia. You would have to rework the entire structure of contentcreation and curation on Wikipedia to have a hope of it being anything other than anunmitigated disaster.
  84. 84. World of WikipediaYou could not take the reward mechanics of WoW and drop them onto Wikipedia andsuddenly get World of Wikipedia. You would have to rework the entire structure of contentcreation and curation on Wikipedia to have a hope of it being anything other than anunmitigated disaster.
  85. 85. If you’re not already interesting, badges won’t helpServices which offer ways to add badges easily to your website are taking the most superficialelement of games and slapping them over the top. If you have not built for play from the verystart, these rewards will be next to useless.
  86. 86. Exclusively extrinsic = ticking time bombWithout a solid base of game mechanics or intrinsically fulfilling activities the rewards will beexposed for what they are and users will abandon them. Whats worse they could backfire onyou completely!
  87. 87. Bartle’s Player TypesProf. Bartle defined four key aspects of players in Virtual Worlds back in 1996. His researchhas since been extended by himself and others to include many more types, but we’ll reviewthe basics here as they get quoted regularly in gamification material.
  88. 88. AchieversAchievers focus on collecting as many “points” as the in-game goals will give them.
  89. 89. ExplorersExplorers want to discover the entirety of the virtual world.
  90. 90. SocializersSocializers want to converse with others and role-play.
  91. 91. KillersKillers are there to defeat other players.
  92. 92. Acting KILLERS ACHIEVERS Players World SOCIALIZERS EXPLORERS InteractingTypical gamification applies only to Achievers
  93. 93. Use these as a lens at the beginning of a project, not the endIf you’re interested in Bartle’s work, and I recommend it, it’s well written interesting stuff, Iwould suggest that you look to it at the beginning of a project. I also recommend you takethe time to explore it as it is commonly and incorrectly cited in gamification circles. Whensomebody says “player types” look carefully at how they’re using them.http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm
  94. 94. Tools from Game DesignI think we have some very valuable tools in game design that you may find useful if they alignwith what you are building. Id like to share a few of those with you today. I cant give themall the time they deserve, but I hope they can serve as starting points for your own researchand Im happy to talk about them afterwards. (This bit of NXNEi was crazy busy and many offthe cuff discussions happen afterward which I unfortunately have no notes on.)http://www.flickr.com/photos/stasiland/467444438
  95. 95. 1. Goals and FeedbackGames are very good at setting goals for our players and providing them constant feedbackon their progress toward that goal.
  96. 96. Short & Long termfinish the level, upgrade your skills, Save the galaxy
  97. 97. Sometimes we splash it across the objective.
  98. 98. Sometimes we start you with one clear image to get the goal across.
  99. 99. Feedback on progressprogress bars, visual cues, keeping it all front and centre
  100. 100. Quests!Quests for structured progression.
  101. 101. Juicy interactions are ones which are highly responsive to player input and provide immediatefeedback on the effect of that input.
  102. 102. 2. Juicy InteractionsJuicy interactions are ones which are highly responsive to player input and provide immediatefeedback on the effect of that input.
  103. 103. http://benheck.comGood games go to great lengths to ensure that they are responsive at the fundamental levelof input. This is a controller built by Ben Heck which lights up an LED the instant a button ispressed. Game designers will hook one of these up to their game and then record video ofthe LED board and the game on a TV screen and count how many frames it takes for inputs totake effect.
  104. 104. I believe the term “juice” was first used by Kyle Gabler and his cohorts from 2D Boy. This is2D Boy’s World of Goo, one of the juiciest games ever created.
  105. 105. 3. TutorialsTeaching players the rules and tools of our games is an ongoing challenge. If you look atmost games they will contain some kind of tutorial mechanism to guide players through theearly stages.
  106. 106. Bad tutorialsBad tutorials happen all the time and you won’t have to go far to find examples. They aredictated to the player through walls of text or a dozen images filled with instructions andrules. Players are expected to absorb all of this information and then try to remember it whileencountering the game for the first time.
  107. 107. Good tutorials present their material as part of the game, teaching through the actual loop ofplay. This example from Plants vs. Zombies is simple, yet highly effective. Each step is takenin turn and by the time the tutorial is complete the player is already well into the first level.
  108. 108. Recap • If Gamification = Pointsification, it’s doomed • If asked to gamify, consider your audience and goals • Look to games for tools and see if they can improve your project, might not be appropriate! • Make interactions welcoming and juicy :) • Provide feedbackRecap
  109. 109. Go forth and playI urge you to embrace gameful and playful design. Examine what the world of game designmight be able to offer you.
  110. 110. Hype curveBut please be skeptical of the current wave of gamification hype. This is a massively complexissue, and it cant be resolved in just 45 minutes by one game designer.
  111. 111. Hype curveBut please be skeptical of the current wave of gamification hype. This is a massively complexissue, and it cant be resolved in just 45 minutes by one game designer.
  112. 112. While I see lots to be concerned about in the way marketing is approaching gamification, likethis thing for Coke, I also see great examples which use some of the tools of game design forprogress.
  113. 113. This is the lesson progression tree for the Khan Academy, where you can learn all kinds ofuseful stuff. They’re using some of the simple techniques we’ve already discussed, buildingin progression and showing you where you can end up by building on each lesson.
  114. 114. Interesting similarities.
  115. 115. Thank youwww.brainofjames.com @jamese
  116. 116. Further reading • Jesse Schell - The Art of Game Design http://artofgamedesign.com/ • Sebastian Deterding http://codingconduct.cc/ • Amy Jo Kim http://www.slideshare.net/amyjokim/ • Nicole Lazzaro http://www.slideshare.net/NicoleLazzaro • Raph Koster - Theory of Fun http://www.raphkoster.com/ www.brainofjames.comhttp://www.raphkoster.com/2011/02/28/gdc11-slides-for-social-mechanics-talk/

×