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Gamification

This is an open group for all gamification enthusiasts, developers, experts and members to provide ideas, guidance and feedback.

Members: 16
Latest Activity: Sep 21, 2011

Gamification for A Better World!

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Seeking board game development help

Hi all,I've been joining groups like this one to see if I can connect with some folks who can help with bringing our board game to market. We've been developing this for about a year:…Continue

Started by Scott Cooney Sep 21, 2011.

What would you like to see gamified? and Why?

 If you had a magic wand that you…Continue

Tags: gamify, gamification

Started by Emre Tuncbilek Jul 13, 2011.

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Comment by Emre Tuncbilek on August 10, 2011 at 2:06am

Gamification

chess_332948_5742_small.jpgAt the most fundamental level, gamification is the use of game mechanics to drive game-like engagement and actions. The logic is dead simple. People love to play games. But in everyday life, we are often presented with activities we hate, whether it is boring chores or stressful works. Gamification is the process of introducing game mechanics into these abhorred activities to make them more game-like (i.e. fun, rewarding, desirable, etc.), so that people would want to proactively take part in these tasks.

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Comment by Emre Tuncbilek on August 10, 2011 at 2:03am

Game Dynamics 

The basics sound great right, and it appears we are ready to change the world now! As always it’s not that simple, because game mechanics are not enough. Why? Well of course, people are different and they are motivated by different thing in many different ways. Game mechanics that work well for one type of players may work poorly for other types. Moreover, people get bored with routines after a while, so this is where gaming dynamics comes in.

 

Gaming dynamics are temporal evolution and patterns of both the game and the players that make the game (or any gamified activity) more enjoyable. Early game researcher, Richard A Bartle, has identified at least four type of gaming personality: AchieverExplorerSocializer, and Killer, and different gaming dynamics are required for different types of gamers. For example, killers require a gaming dynamics that are much faster than those for socializers. An engaging game will tend to get progressively harder to challenge the achievers inside everyone of us, so we don’t get bored. The appointment dynamic, used in Farmville, can coordinate different players that are rewarded by different game mechanics to collaborate together. The progressive-unlock dynamic, used in Foursquare, adds serendipitous surprise to the more routine points and achievements game mechanics.

 

chess_332949_7522_small.jpgAre you starting to see the difference between game mechanics and gaming dynamics? Point and achievement are game mechanics used to motivate behaviors, but how and precisely when the badges are unlocked over time and the precise reward schedule are gaming dynamics. Clever game designers can create new gaming dynamics by combining various game mechanics over time to make game play more interesting and engaging. This is the reason why so many people are confused about the distinction between game mechanics and gaming dynamics. Some people even treat these two terms synonymously, but really they are two different things.

 

Players can also go through various gaming dynamics too. The simplest is the player’s level-up journey: novice — experienced — expert — master. Gaming dynamics is all about timing! A well designed gaming dynamic brings players to the next stages at the right time so the players feel accomplished. On the other hand, poor gaming dynamics tend to lose players along the way, either due to boredom or creating overly-complex challenges, and therefore make the game less engaging.

Comment by Emre Tuncbilek on August 10, 2011 at 2:00am

Game Mechanics

So what are game mechanics? They are principles, rules, and/or mechanisms (much like mechanics in physics) that govern a behavior through a system of incentives, feedback, and rewards with reasonably predictable outcome. Some of them are so predictable that they can almost be seen as a kind of behavioral or psychological reflex, much like the patellar reflex of your knee when tapped by a physician. There are many game mechanics, and new ones are being discovered and constructed by game designers every day. Gamification.org has compiled a list of well know game mechanics (some of these are actually gaming dynamics, see below), but there are myriad, because humans can be motivated in practically infinite numbers of ways.

 

Game mechanics are just the basic building blocks. They can be strung together and combined in interesting ways to drive a very complex sequence of actions suitable for different contexts or desired results. The outcome of this? You can pretty much gamify anything.

 

For example, gamification of education can make children want to go to school and learn. Gamification of work can make people excited about work and boost productivity. 

Comment by Emre Tuncbilek on August 10, 2011 at 1:56am

Game Theory

Now, what about game theory? The surprise to most of you may be that game theory really doesn’t have much to do with gaming or gamification. It is actually a well established branch of mathematics that tries to describe the decision process in any strategic situation, including games. Game theory is often used to analyze complex problems in economics, social dilemma, conflict/resolution, political science, social psychology, etc. The great mathematician, John F. Nash (the subject of the Hollywood movie: A Beautiful Mind) received the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research on Game Theory. Despite its promise and utility, most realistic problems in this world are often too complex to be analyzed by game theory, so Charlie Eppes (from the TV show Numb3rs) and real world mathematicians still have a lot of work ahead of them.

 

Even though game theory is not really about gaming/gamification, it is sometimes used by hardcore game designers to analyze how players make decisions in certain real-time strategic games. In a well controlled setting, game theory can reveal principles that give us a better understanding of how humans think and act. This is an active area of research in behavioral economics, a subject explored by Dan Ariely in his popular book: Predictably Irrational, which investigates some common flaws in our decision process.

 

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