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I Have No Words & I Must Design

This article was published in 1994 in Interactive Fantasy #2, a British roleplaying journal. A more recent version of the piece may be found here. There's a lotta different kinds of games out there. But do these things have anything at all in common? Well, we can all do the latter: "Good game, Joe," you say, as you leap the net. As game designers, we need a way to analyze games, to try to understand them, and to understand what works and what makes them interesting. We need a critical language. What Is a Game, Anyhow? It's Not a Puzzle. In The Art of Computer Game Design, Chris Crawford contrasts what he call "games" with "puzzles." Some puzzles are obviously so; no one would call a crossword a "game." To be sure, Zork is not entirely static; the character moves from setting to setting, allowable actions vary by setting, and inventory changes with action. A puzzle is static. It's Not a Toy. According to Will Wright, his Sim City is not a game at all, but a toy. Just so Sim City. Aha! Goals Related:  Gamification

Features - The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1: Documentation Guidelines for the Game Concept and Proposal The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1: Documentation Guidelines for the Game Concept and Proposal The purpose of design documentation is to express the vision for the game, describe the contents, and present a plan for implementation. A design document is a bible from which the producer preaches the goal, through which the designers champion their ideas, and from which the artists and programmers get their instructions and express their expertise. Unfortunately, design documents are sometimes ignored or fall short of their purpose, failing the producers, designers, artists, or programmers in one way or another. This article will help you make sure that your design document meets the needs of the project and the team. The intended audience is persons charged with writing or reviewing design documentation who are not new to game development but may be writing documents for the first time or are looking to improve them. The Purpose of Documentation The Benefits of Guidelines

Bing gordon-hacking-gamification Features - Building the Foundation of a Social Future To say that social games are booming is an understatement. After having been in existence for only a scant few years, games on social networks like Facebook and MySpace are gaining users explosively. There are now over 200 million monthly users playing the top 10 Facebook games alone -- up by 50 million from August to September. Investors have certainly taken notice and, even in the depths of a recession, startups have been popping up left and right. Rather than dashing headlong into this new space, throwing money, resources and litigation blithely and blindly, it may behoove us to pause for a moment and consider: just what is a social game? The term "social" is perhaps not very descriptive. Well, large persistent games aren't exactly very new either; as long as there has been an internet, there have been games like MUDs. In some ways, nothing's changed -- games are still engaging and fun for all the same reasons they've always been -- but in other ways, everything has changed. 1. 2.

The Perfected Self - David H. Freedman B. F. Skinner’s notorious theory of behavior modification was denounced by critics 50 years ago as a fascist, manipulative vehicle for government control. Frederik Broden My younger brother Dan gradually put on weight over a decade, reaching 230 pounds two years ago, at the age of 50. He’d be in good company: a 2007 study by TheJournal of the American Medical Association found that each year, 160,000 Americans die early for reasons related to obesity, accounting for more than one in 20 deaths. Dan had always been a gregarious, confident, life-of-the-party sort of guy, but as his weight went up, he seemed to be winding down. Today, my brother weighs 165 pounds—what he weighed at age 23—and his doctor has taken him off all his medications. Sorry if this sounds like a commercial for a miracle weight-loss program. Alcoholics don’t seem to face such dismal prospects, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and similar multistep programs, which are widely regarded as effective treatments.

Hsiao Wei Chen's Blog - A Peek into the Mind of a Social Gamer The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. I have been thinking and over thinking this post for the past few days, so now, I'm just going to go into it. Forgive me for the occasional stream of consciousness and enthusiasm that will probably litter this post. Okay, long intro, let's get into it. I'm just going to assume that not many, social gamers (social gamers, I remember before I was calling myself a casual gamer and now there's this whole new term called social gamer, wow, anyways, can I continue calling myself a casual gamer, I haven't gotten used to the term 'social gamer' yet.) So, I read what Tony Ventrice wrote about Building a Social Foundation. So, what do social gamers really want in their games anyway? For me, games are like candy. Oh, the game mechanic themselves don't have to be cute though. So that's it!

Meaningful Play - coding conduct Meaningful Play Meaningful Play. Getting »Gamification« Right. Presentation, Google Tech Talk, January 24, 2011, Mountain View, CA. Between promises of plain mind control and warnings of »pointsification«, the debate on »gamification« is deeply split. How to design for a playful experience that is truly meaningful to its users instead of a shallow and transient novelty effect? In this talk, summarising and expanding on previous ones, I provide an overview of the gamification movement, lay out three currently »missing ingredients« – meaning, mastery, and autonomy –, and how they can be translated into design principles and process. Short link:

Opinion: This Is The Game That Doesn't End [Looking at feedback from her recent iOS release, Mobili Studio's Hsiao Wei Chen examines if it's preferable to build levels or to implement infinitely replayable stages, in this #altdevblogaday-reprinted opinion piece.] Almost two years ago, I wrote a blog post on Gamasutra, "A Peek into the Mind of a Social Gamer" (excerpt: "A social gamer (a.k.a. me) writes about what we, social gamers, like and look for in social games"). In that blog post, I said that casual gamers want their games cute, simple, and what's the last one again, oh yeah, easily accessible. I mentioned: "KISS. I also brought up easily accessible -- back then it meant Alt-Tab, and Facebook, "we just have to switch tabs on our Firefox to play games while we're pretending to be researching stuff." And then almost a year ago, I wrote another blog post on Gamasutra, "I Want My Games In Bite Sized Chunks!" In it, I argued: "Games HAVE to be pick up and play. But why would we want a game that never ends?

Studies Find Reward Often No Motivator Creativity and intrinsic interest diminish if task is done for gain By Alfie KohnSpecial to the Boston Globereprinted with permission of the author from the Monday 1987-01-19 Boston Globe In the laboratory, rats get Rice Krispies. In the classroom the top students get A's, and in the factory or office the best workers get raises. But a growing body of research suggests that this law is not nearly as ironclad as was once thought. A related series of studies shows that intrinsic interest in a task -- the sense that something is worth doing for its own sake -- typically declines when someone is rewarded for doing it. If a reward -- money, awards, praise, or winning a contest -- comes to be seen as the reason one is engaging in an activity, that activity will be viewed as less enjoyable in its own right. With the exception of some behaviorists who doubt the very existence of intrinsic motivation, these conclusions are now widely accepted among psychologists. The results were clear.

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