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Game Design Theory: Game-play Experience

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Theory and Principles of Game Design: Emotions in Games. Authors and filmmakers who wish to evoke particular emotions in their audience often rely on the audience's ability to empathize with the characters portrayed in the narrative, and especially with the protagonist.

Theory and Principles of Game Design: Emotions in Games

The author sets up situations in which characters experience particular emotions in the hope that the audience will themselves have similar feelings, or at least understand why the characters feel the way they do. The author is in control of the characters' emotions, while the audience's emotions derive from sharing in those characters' feelings and experiences. Game designers who wish to evoke particular emotions have it somewhat more difficult. Unlike books and movies, where the author is in full control of the protagonist, it is the audience itself that is largely in control of a game's principal character or characters. How, then, does a game designer create emotions? Features - Understanding Challenge. What is challenge?

Features - Understanding Challenge

Talking about challenge is difficult when the vocabulary we have is limited to "physical" or "mental. " It doesn't give us the necessary tools to examine games with any sort of substance. The Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework states "Charades emphasizes Fellowship over Challenge; Quake provides Challenge as a main element of gameplay. "1 We inherently recognize that the challenges between these games are significantly different, but there is no language available to explain that difference. Five Ways Games Appeal to Players. I once happened upon my brothers attempting to fly an SUV off a cliff.

Five Ways Games Appeal to Players

This was years ago, when Grand Theft Auto III was still new, but it was already easy enough to search online for the cheat code to make cars fly. After about an hour of trying to glide across a river and into a football stadium, they finally cleared the edge of the wall, landed the car inside, and broke into proud laughter upon discovering the Easter egg inside: an image of fans spelling out the name of Liberty City's football team: "COCKS". Ethics in Gaming 1.0. The Unwritten Rules of the Game The same questions regarding ethical issues seem to pop up on the sites I read again and again.

Ethics in Gaming 1.0

I have reflected on these questions for a while and would like to put my thoughts down in writing. I intend to eventually cover every aspect of ethics and gaming, if the muse lets me. I have been gaming since I was little, first the usual dull children games, then Bridge, D&D and Cosmic Encounter throughout the 1980s, and Magic: the Gathering and the Catan games in the 1990s. The collected game design rants of Marc LeBlanc. Game Design: 8 kinds of fun. A game is a set of rules that determines what the players involved can and can not do.

Game Design: 8 kinds of fun

So how to you make a set of rules into something that is "fun"? This is what all game designer and makers should ask themselves. Yours truly, back in 2011 was a computer science/ digital media student and came across the theory of "fun" which hopes to address the above question. Why Behavior Change Apps Fail To Change Behavior.

Editor’s Note: Nir Eyal writes about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business at

Why Behavior Change Apps Fail To Change Behavior

Follow him @nireyal. Imagine walking into a busy mall when someone approaches you with an open hand. “Would you have some coins to take the bus, please?” He asks. Research. Flow, Player Journey and Employee Satisfaction - Andrzej's Blog. What follows is an exploration of what happens when you start to map player journeys in games onto Flow theory and then try to bring that into the workplace.

Flow, Player Journey and Employee Satisfaction - Andrzej's Blog

Just for fun! It was inspired by Mr Scott Golas after seeing last weeks post on relatedness. It may or may not have any worth, but it has been fun to develop. Game Design: 8 kinds of fun. Real-Life Skills We Learn From Gaming. “Video games are a waste of time”.

Real-Life Skills We Learn From Gaming

If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably heard this sentence many times throughout your life, often from a partner who’s upset they’re not getting enough attention. Of course, this isn’t the only instance where one might hear the phrase. Parents, teachers, and just non-gamers in general are fond of belittling our favorite pastime. The Origins of Flow. As a reader of MP, there's a decent chance that you're already familiar with the concept of "flow" championed by positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced like this, not this).

The Origins of Flow

If you aren't up to speed on it, fear not; I'll go into the details in just a moment. The notion is immensely popular among game designers and theorists, whether they want to leverage games' power to put us into a flow state to pursue social good, are using psychophysiological tools to quantify flow and keep players in it, or simply using it as the blueprint for good game design. But as much as the games community wants to take flow as its own, there's more to the story.

I finally sat down and read Csikszentmihalyi's principal book on the topic, and the truth of the matter is that "flow" is much more than a gaming concept. The key realization, and the one Csikszentmihalyi is famous for, is that there's a sweet spot where challenge and skill are well-matched that he dubbed the "flow channel". Refining the flow diagram. Last month, I posted on the origins of Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow, but the diagram I focused on there (and that tends to pervade discussion of flow among game designers) is actually a bit dated.

Refining the flow diagram

Preparing for a reading group on engagement here at IU, I came across this very readable chapter from the Handbook of Positive Psychology, in it was introduced to a much more nuanced version of the Flow Diagram. If you're familiar with the classic flow diagram, you might notice it has some deficiencies. Most notably, the experience of being in a high-skill, high-challenge state is markedly different that a low-skill, low-challenge state, even though both fall within the so-called "flow channel". As research on flow has progressed, it has become clear that the traditional model needs expansions, and the result is the diagram you see above.

Features - Fun is Boring. In the two weeks before writing this piece, I've seen easily a dozen scattered, derivative definitions of fun. Five page "manifestos" and weird Rubik's Cube personal philosophies. Games Are Not Experiences. E3, trailers and previews mostly sell games based on potential experience. Look at the haunting graphics of Journey or listen to a podcast about the epic scope of Skyrim, and the promise of experience is there.

Come into our worlds, they say, they are thaumatic. Sometimes they are, however those worlds which are successfully so are based on more than just experiences. The Joys of Gaming [Game Design. One Fun To Rule Them All There are several models which describe the emotions surrounding games, and why people play them. One model (from Nicole Lazzaro) separates fun into four 'keys': Hard Fun: Challenges, strategies and puzzles. Figuring a game out. Features - Intuition, Expectations and Culture: Learning from Psychology to Build Better Game Interfaces. Intuition, Expectations and Culture: Learning from Psychology to Build Better Game Interfaces [In this Game Developer Magazine reprint, designer Ara Shirinian discusses affordances -- how interfaces suggest what they let people accomplish versus what they actually let people accomplish -- and how that affects game players.]

One peculiarity of video games is that we often think of them in terms of "games we are able to play" and "games we are not able to play. " Much like a sport, and unlike most other forms of consumer entertainment, video games typically demand some standard of performance ability before the player can even begin to enjoy their various workings. From the very moment we start playing a game, we develop an impression of how easy or hard a time it's going to give us. Some games are quite easy to understand. Features - Cognitive Flow: The Psychology of Great Game Design. Designing Meaning in Games » #AltDevBlogADay. Integrated Design for Games. Shadow Emotions and Primary Emotions. Not all emotions are created equal. Consider: It is a distinctly different thing to feel sad while reading about a dying mother than to actually feel sad because your mother is dying.

July 2011. Not all emotions are created equal. Consider: It is a distinctly different thing to feel sad while reading about a dying mother than to actually feel sad because your mother is dying. Triple Town Beta (Now with Bears) Games are not like real life - human psychology in games.