Harness the Power of Play: The 5 steps of Game Design
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- Learn step by step Gamification methods for your business.
- This course will teach you the basics of Game Design. It is the equivalent to your first semester of Game Design at college level.
- The theory and skills taught in this course can be applied to Marketing, HR, Business Development, Education, Wellness and Sustainability sectors.
- You will design a Game to change your world for the better.
- You will learn the tricks of Game Designers, and become a better game player.
- NO programming or computer skills are needed for this course.
- Have you played games as a child, teenager or adult? Some knowledge about basic games such as football, poker, chess is helpful in this course.
The Game Beyond is a crash course in Game Design. You will be taken through the 5 core steps that are needed to design compelling games.
This course is perfect for anyone who wants to gain a basic understanding of Game Design to use in other markets or fields. If you are looking for more information on 'Gamification', this course will give you the core tools to really shine.
This course is based upon 15 years of higher education and Game Design experience. You will receive the equivalent of the first semester at a Game Design Master's program.
What will you learn? The 5 core steps to designing games.
- How to define goals.
- Learn what feedback loops are and how do they affect the brain and habits.
- Learn what are the 3 rule sets needed to define your game.
- Understand how to change your game design using Narrative structures.
- Learn the different types of game players, and what they are attracted to in your game.
In this course we will examine a number of award winning games and advertising case studies from around the world. You will learn the key processes and mechanics that are used in these cases.
This course will introduce the affects and processes that games have on the Human Brain.
You will examine historical events through the context of a Game Designer and understand how games have shaped the world we live in today.
The only materials you need can be found in board games, card games or role playing games you have lying around. Start playing now and press "take this course".
- If you want to become an Expert in Gamification, take this course.
- If you are skeptical about 'Gamification" you should take this course.
- This course is perfect for: teachers and educational professionals, health and wellness professionals, advertising and marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and C-Level managers.
- Do you enjoy playing games? Sports, card games, board games, video games? This course will teach you how to be a better player.
Welcome to The Game Beyond! Your first step in learning how to "Harness The Power of Play".
Meet your Instructor, Gabe McIntyre.
Course Mini-Game: "Spot The Dude"
- Some pictures in the course will contain an action figure of "The Dude" from the movie "The Big Lebowski".
- Count how many times you see "The Dude" appear in the course lectures.
- Give your answer at the end of the course.
Main Course Objective: Design a Game to Change Your World!
- At the end of the course you should be able to design a game that can change the world for the better.
- This may not be a video game, it could be a board game, a card game or even a flash mob game.
- After this course you should be able to overcome life's obstacles using game design.
Invite a friend or colleague to take the course with you.
This course works best if you have friends or colleagues participating with you. This allows for better creative collaboration and easier play testing. You must play your game to test it, and it's always more fun to play together than alone.
In this video we discuss the power of games to access 'Cognitive Surplus'.
A word coined by former Silicon Alley reporter and columnist Clay Shirky to describe the free time that people have on their hands to engage in collaborative activities, specially as applies to web 2.0. For more information on 'Cognitive Surplus' watch Clay Sharky's TED Talk in the resource links.
SETI @ HOME
How did the organization SETI create the world's largest supercomputer? In an effort to process all the signals from space in search for intelligent life, SETI made a screensaver which was free to download. The screensaver would activate to process information packets sent by SETI, during the personal computer's downtime.
Lan PartiesAn event whereby gamers gather together in large groups on a Local Area Network to play games for an extended period of time. On November 28, 2013, in Sweden, Dreamhack hosted the largest LAN Party with 22,810 people.
This lecture examines the case study of the game FOLD.ITFOLD.IT was a game designed for gamers to assist in important scientific research. Players had to attempt to fold proteins and amino acids to ascertain the building blocks of DNA. In 10 days, 250,000 people discovered new building structures of HIV.
Brian Sutton-Smith was a play psychologist who discovered that we are being activated at our fullest potential when playing games. From this he concluded, "The opposite of play is NOT work, it is depression."
Games activate our:
- Attention systems
- Memory systems
- Reward systems
Dopamine is the chemical which the brain releases into the body to make us feel 'euphoric'. The brain releases this chemical when we successfully learn something new, or complete a task or challenge. Games and other media can rapidly activate dopamine, making it very addictive.
It is estimated that children will spend 10,000 hours during childhood playing games. This is equal to a perfect school attendance from the age of 10 to 18.
Nolan Bushnell is considered to be "The Father of Video Games". His new company, Brainrush.com uses game flow and scheduling algorithms into online game lessons. He claims to be able to teach 4 years of high school level education with retention in 6 months.
The Projected Instrument Augmentation system (PIANO) was developed by pianists Katja Rogers and Amrei Röhlig and their colleagues at the University of Ulm in Germany. It uses user interface and feedback loops to teach students how to play the piano.
Tetris is a Soviet tile-matching puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov. It became widely popular in the early 90s when it was released onto the Nintendo Gameboy. Soon after, an overwhelming number of students began to score higher on standardized tests in geometry than their predecessors. Researchers attribute the rise in this academic skill to the game Tetris.
Game flow is the term designers use to describe how a player moves through a game–both through the framing interface and the game itself. It refers to the level of skill vs. challenge a player must have to complete the game objective.
If a game requires too much skill for the challenge being given, this results in anxiety.
If the game requires too little skill for the challenge being given, this results in boredom.
In this lecture we discuss how games increase the challenge over time using Leveling. Levels are used to train the player in the skills needed to complete the challenges. They provide a system for measuring the skills from beginner or novice to becoming a master.
The 3 main stages of game levels
Novice / Beginner / NOOB / Apprentice
This stage of levels introduces players to the game system and how to play. This is also the "on boarding" levels for your players. These levels should give the overall goal and rules of the game in a tutorial. The players must learn how to operate the game interfaces to accomplish simple goals. The challenge levels of the puzzles or opponents reflect the most basic skills needed to start playing the game.
Intermediate / Journeyman
Players at this stage should have a handle on how to control or play the game. At this stage the challenge has increased to the advancing skill of the player. Players begin to explore the feedback systems and rule sets which control the game, gaining a deeper understanding of the game mechanics. At this level the puzzles or opponents become more difficult, beyond the basic challenge of beginners.
This is the final stage for the players. They have mastered the controls of the game. They have full knowledge of the feedback systems and rules which define the game and are able to manipulate these systems to their advantage. At this level we see the Big Bosses or final puzzles which must be conquered and solved to complete the game and obtain an Epic Win.
To see how a game with only 1 level works, play "This Is The Only Level" game. In this game, players are told to use the arrow keys, and discover the different systems behind those controls.
In this lecture we discuss what defines a game."Playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." This definition is given to us by Bernard Suits in "The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia".
Why do people participate in these unnecessary challenges in games? What are the reward systems driving this behavior? In this lecture we examine the 4 reward systems which games provide.
This rewards some material gain which the players will receive if they win a game. Popular goods reward systems are sweepstakes, lotteries, or coupons which offer monetary or material goods. The goods may also be virtual items such as coins, new objects or vehicles which are normally purchased. Goods are an effective system for gaining players early into a game, but over time become difficult to sustain when dealing with physical on monetary goods.
Glee refers to the emotion we receive when our mind successfully overcomes a surprise or challenge, and learns something new. Our brains reward us when we see and successfully comprehend new patterns in systems. Surprise is a key element to enforcing the glee reward system. Players are not playing for any goods or monetary gain as the base reward system. In essence, people translate this to "We play because it is fun".
Glory refers to the reward system of social recognition for winning. The Olympic medals, trophies, leader boards, tournaments and red carpets are examples of glory rewards. To be at the top amongst your peers and gain the recognition is a powerful social reward for many players.
GodsThe most powerful reward system is the gods reward. This reward refers to the ability players have in games to control their own destiny. The feedback systems and the choices that are made in games give players a sense of control about the outcome of their lives while playing games. Many games, called "sandbox" games, allow for players to create entire worlds, just like gods. Many games have a "god mode" which makes players indestructible and allows access to all the game systems. To enhance the reward system of gods, designers allow for increased access as a reward.
Every game has a goal at its core. These goals can be adapted from a typical video game such as Mario's goal to save the Princess, to goals to battle obesity, improve education or social interaction.
Write a list of things that irritate you in your daily life, or problems that you are facing. Some examples to get you started:
- Getting your kids to clean up their rooms.
- Have friends stop looking at their phones during social gatherings.
- Have your partner take you on more dates.
What are the 3 core parts to a GOAL?
A goal must be measurable. If we cannot measure our goal in some way, we do not know if we have achieved that goal or not. Often in life we are told to be better, do better without any frame of reference as to knowing when we have achieved our goal.
Example: In football (soccer) players must place a ball (score a goal) in an opponent's goal more times than the opponent team does.
A goal must have a set amount of time. Without a set amount of time a goal will never be achieved but will always stay in a "dream" status. A deadline may be variable depending on the challenges placed by outside forces.
Example: A normal football (soccer) game will last for 90 minutes. However, depending on the result, overtime or a 'sudden death' may be allotted to the teams to complete the goal.
An external challenge is added to the goal, forcing players to use their creativity to solve the problems.
Example: Football (soccer) players are not allowed to use their hands, which adds an artificial challenge to the game.
In this lecture I want you to examine one of the greatest games ever played by mankind. For that reason we will analyze the speech which was given by John F. Kennedy in his Address Before a Joint Session of Congress, on May 25, 1961.
Examine the 3 parts of the goal.
- What is the Quantifiable Outcome?
- What is the Deadline?
- What is the Artificial Conflict?
In this lecture we examine the 3 parts of s Goal from a Historical Case Study.
"Send a man to the Moon and return him safely to the Earth." This is a measurable goal, however epic or inconceivable at the time. The man must not just make it to the Moon and land, but must also return safely back to Earth.
"Before this decade is out". The speech was given on May 25, 1961. This meant that America had less than 9 years to accomplish the goal, while all other rocket missions to that point had failed. On July 20, 1969, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed safely on the Moon. The Apollo 11 mission became a success when the astronauts returned safely to Earth on July 24, 1969. J.F.K. never saw this event due to his assassination on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
The primary opponent or artificial conflict given in the speech is the Russians. At that time the Russian Space Program was more advanced than the American Apollo missions. The fear that the Soviet forces would use space as a military advantage gave the necessary urgency to completing the challenge. The competition to secure space as a non-military territory is often referred to as the "Space Race".
Look at the problem you want to solve. Write down ways in which you could measure your goal, and what deadlines would be achievable for that goal. The artificial conflict will come as we begin to examine the rules and mechanics of games.
Define the 2 parts of your goal.
- What is the Quantifiable Outcome?
- What is the Deadline?
To know when a goal has been completed, we use feedback loops. Feedback loops are running non-stop throughout our lives. These systems are responsible for how our habits, (good and bad) are formed. Feedback loops are used by our brains to trigger automatic tasks requiring less conscious brain activity to occur, conserving energy.
There are 3 parts to a feedback loop
This is a signal that comes through one of the senses. This signal can be a sound, a light or visual cue, a taste, a smell or some other sensory perception the brain uses to establish the current state of the environment.
Depending on the cue that is received, the brain will begin the process of actions associated with the cue to obtain the positive outcome. The neurons in our brain which have been continually strengthened to the cue will begin to fire and the action process will begin.
If the correct sequence of actions is followed in the routine, a reward is given to mark the end of the routine.
In this lecture we examine the feedback loop in navigating a car successfully in traffic at intersections.
The traffic light gives a visual cue of red, yellow or green colors to the driver.
Depending on the cue given by the traffic light, a set of actions must be taken.
Red = Stop the car before the intersection.
Yellow = Slow the car, the light is about to change to red.
Green = Continue through the intersection.
The reward is successfully navigating your car through the intersection and avoiding any accidents.
In this lecture we examine the feedback loops that are active in the case study of Ben & Jerry's Thank You Cows campaign by INDIE Amsterdam.
Below we see the feedback loop for the Ben & Jerry fans in this case study.
A call to action via stickers and social media to "Thank a Cow".
Fans choose a cow by name and call a number to leave a voice message.
Fans could see the reaction from the cows to their voice messages. Here we see 3 reward systems in place.
- Access to send a message to the cows. (Gods reward)
- The surprise of the cows' reactions. (Glee reward)
- Hearing their voice message played. (Glory reward)
Below we see the feedback loop for the cows in this case study.
Cows hear their names.
Cows appear to become "happy" from hearing their names rather than a number.
The cows produce more milk than other non-named cows.
Now examine your problem and define what feedback loops are occurring. What are the cues, routines and rewards which are active?
- Visual = Seeing someone else smoke.
- Taste = Coffee, tea, alcohol or food.
- Emotional = Stress, boredom, etc.
Light a cigarette and smoke.
The pros outweigh the cons in the reward system for a smoker.
- Being able to breathe fire! (God reward)
- The effect of nicotine on our nervous system. (Glee reward)
- Being more sociable, or cool and calm. (Glory reward)
- Visual = Seeing something on your teeth.
- Taste = Bad breath or worse.
- Appointment = Most people have a set time of day they perform this feedback loop.
- Touch = Feeling your teeth are not clean.
Apply toothpaste in a scrubbing action onto your teeth with a toothbrush.
You start to get a foamy fun mouth like a mad dog when you are doing it right. Your breath becomes minty fresh. You fight off cavities and other dental illnesses.
What are the 5 stages of choice a player goes through? This is the core to interaction design. Answer each of these questions for every action or choice that is given to your players.
- What happened before the player was given a choice?
- How is the possibility of choice conveyed to the player?
- How did the player make the choice?
- What is the result of the choice? How will it affect future choices?
- How is the result of the choice conveyed back to the player?
Cybernetic feedback loops are the mechanical/digital version of feedback loops.
The sensor measures the system or environment, much like the cue in the feedback loop.
Compares the measurement from the sensor to a set value and determines to take action or not.
The engine which changes the state in the system.
Feedback loops create either a positive or negative change in their environment.
Positive Feedback Loop
If the data causes the system to continue moving in the same direction it is a positive feedback loop
Negative Feedback Loop
However, if the new data results in an opposition to the previous result it is a negative feedback loop.
Feedback loops give either a positive or negative change to the environment. Using them correctly can either balance a game or make an unbalanced game. These are the general guidelines to how positive and negative feedback loops affect games:
- Negative feedback stabilizes the game.
- Positive feedback destabilizes the game.
- Negative feedback can prolong the game.
- Positive feedback can end it.
Creating game flow over time
- Positive feedback magnifies early successes.
- Negative feedback magnifies late ones.
Play-test your loops
- Feedback systems can emerge from your game systems "by accident."
- Feedback systems can take control away from the players.
In this case study we will see the cybernetic feedback loop in action with the purpose of matching potential dog owners with pets that look like them.
The webcam registers the owner's face.
The webcam sends the image to the computer servers which use facial recognition technology to establish measurements for distinct facial features. There is a database for the measurements of the dogs' distinct facial features. The interpreter determines which facial recognition measurement is the closest match.
The activator then sends the information on the dog with the closest match. The feedback loop ends. The activator also offers the owner the next choice or call to action options, such as "adopt" or "share". Depending on which choices the owner makes, the next cybernetic feedback loop which will be started.
By obeying rules, the player is forced to use creativity to find other solutions to the obstacle different from the normal action.
Rules create the artificial challenge needed in the development of a game goal.
There are 3 types of rules in game design that we will look at in more detail in the next lectures.
- Outside the Box rules
- Inside the Box rules
- House rules
In this lecture we discuss what game mechanics are. Game mechanics are a collection of rules or methods designed for the interaction with the game state, to provide play.
We look at examples from using the Game Seeds Mechanic cards, and think of games we know that have those types of rule sets.
Look at the Game Seeds Cards handout and select a few mechanics. Try to think of games you've played that have those same mechanics. How similar were those games to each other? What were the differences?
Use the Game Seeds Cards and select a couple mechanics that you are familiar with. An maybe a couple you are not.
What kind of games do you know that use these mechanics?
By mixing the rules we can create new games. In the example we simply take a mathematic rule set and apply it to the outside the box rules to create a new game of Twister.
We also discuss why we learn more after we are physically active.
In this lecture we look at how Coca-Cola designed a vending machine that was more difficult to use than other vending machines.
Also known as the declarative layer, the narrative (or story) defines the look and feel of the game.
What do the buttons and the user interface look like?
What does the game world look like? Where is it, when is it? What is considered precious?
Who are the characters, the heros and villains?
Example:TIE Fighter and Red Baron video games both have the same goal and rules. They both have the same cybernetic feedback loops programed. They are both flight simulators. The only difference is the story behind these games. One is based on the world of Star Wars, the other is based on World War I.
Also known as the Declarative Layer, the Narrative (or Story) defines the look and feel of the game.
What does the user interface or buttons look like?
What does the Game World look like? Where is it, when is it? What is considered precious?
Who are the Character's, the Heros and Villans?
Tie Fighter and Red Baron video games both have the same Goal and Rules. They both have the same cybernetic feedback loops programed. They are both 'Flight Simulators'. The only difference is the story behind both games. One is based on the world of Star Wars, the other is based on World War I.
The social layer describes the interaction between players and in the game world. Different player types value different interactions above others. This section gives an understanding to the key words that will drive specific player types to your game.
You need 2 things to create a community:
- Cultivate a shared interest amongst strangers.
- Give them a place and the tools to interact around that interest.
Bartle's taxonomy of player types supplies us with a framework of 4 different player types.
Killers ("Clubs") like to provoke and cause drama and/or impose them over other players in the scope provided by the virtual world. Trolls, hackers, cheaters, and attention farmers belong in this category, along with the most ferocious and skillful PvP (player versus player) opponents.
Achievers ("Diamonds") are competitive and enjoy beating difficult challenges whether they are set by the game or by themselves. The more challenging the goal, the most rewarded they tend to feel.
Explorers ("Spades") like to explore the world–not just its geography but also the finer details of the game mechanics. These players may end up knowing how the game works and behave better than the game creators themselves. They know all the mechanics, short-cuts, tricks, and glitches that there are to know in the game and thrive on discovering more.
Socializers ("Hearts") are often more interested in having relations with the other players than playing the game itself. They help to spread knowledge and a human feel, and are often involved in the community aspect of the game (by means of managing guilds or role-playing, for instance).
Bartle's taxonomy of player types supplies us with a framework of 4 different player types.
Key Trigger Words:
Choose, Hack, Customize, Decorate, Build, Design, Create
Key Trigger Words:
Win, Challenge, Show off, Compare, Taunt
Key Trigger Words:
Vote, Curate, Review, Collect, Rate, View
Key Trigger Words:
Share, Help, Give, Greet, Like, Comment
Write down all the aspects of your game. Playtest your game with friends using other materials from games you have. Find where it is or is not fun. Fix the problems, and try playing again. In the end you have a fun game! In further courses we will go into depth on how to get your game developed.