links for 2007-09-28

links for 2007-09-27

Summary of my Playful IAs argument

I thought I’d post a short sum­ma­ry of the argu­ment I made in my Euro IA Sum­mit 2007 talk, for those who weren’t there and/or are too lazy to actu­al­ly go through the notes in the slides. The pre­sen­ta­tion is basi­cal­ly bro­ken up into three parts: 

  1. Future web envi­ron­ments are becom­ing so com­plex, they start to show emer­gent prop­er­ties. In this con­text a lot of tra­di­tion­al IA prac­tice does­n’t make sense any­more. Instead of direct­ly design­ing an infor­ma­tion space, you’re bet­ter off design­ing the rules that under­ly the gen­er­a­tive con­struc­tion of such spaces. In oth­er words, IA is becom­ing a sec­ond order design problem.
  2. IAs tend to argue for the val­ue of their designs based sole­ly on how well they sup­port users in achiev­ing their end goals. I pro­pose sup­port­ing expe­ri­ence goals is just as impor­tant. From there I try to make the case that any pow­er­ful expe­ri­ence is a play­ful one, where the user’s fun fol­lows from the feel­ing that he or she is learn­ing new stuff, is kick­ing ass, is in flow.
  3. Game design is not black mag­ic (any­more). In recent years a lot has become under­stood about how games work. They are built up out of game mechan­ics that each fol­low a pat­tern of action, sim­u­la­tion, feed­back and mod­el­ling. Design­ing play­ful IAs means tak­ing care that you encour­age dis­cov­ery, sup­port explo­ration and pro­vide feed­back on mastery.

Get the the slides, and a list of sources for the talk in this ear­li­er post.

Playful IAs — slides for my Euro IA Summit 2007 talk

After a con­sid­er­able amount of fid­dling with SlideShare I’ve final­ly man­aged to upload a ver­sion of the slides that go with my Play­ful IAs pre­sen­ta­tion. This more or less as I pre­sent­ed it at the Euro IA Sum­mit 2007 and includes an approx­i­mate tran­script of my talk. I hope to get an audio/video record­ing of most of it in the near future as well. When I do I’ll update this page.

Update: I’ve post­ed a short sum­ma­ry of the cen­tral argu­ment of my talk.

Down­load a ver­sion includ­ing an approx­i­mate tran­script (14,5 MB).

I had some great reac­tions to this talk and I want to thank all the peo­ple who engaged with me in dis­cus­sions after­wards. It’s giv­en me a good pic­ture of what areas I should devel­op fur­ther in future sub­se­quent talks. I’m also pleas­ant­ly sur­prised to see that con­trary to what some peo­ple think, the IA com­mu­ni­ty (the Euro­pean one at least) is very much open to new ideas. That’s real­ly nice to expe­ri­ence firsthand.

A lot of peo­ple asked for a list of books and oth­er good sources on the top­ics I cov­ered. Here’s an incom­plete list of stuff I’ve used at some stage to inform my thinking:

If that does­n’t keep you busy for a while, you could always have a dig through my links. There’s plen­ty of good stuff there. Of course of if you ever find any­thing you think would be of inter­est to me, do let me know. Just tag it for:kaeru.

links for 2007-09-20

Notables in the overlapping area of interaction and game design

With the Euro IA Sum­mit soon approach­ing and my pre­sen­ta­tion more or less done, I think it might be a good time to post a list of peo­ple I’ve found inspir­ing while work­ing on it. These are all per­sons who one way or the oth­er are work­ing in the over­lap­ping area of inter­ac­tion and game design (at least as far as I’m concerned.)

Katie Salen and Eric Zim­mer­man are the authors of the excel­lent book Rules of Play. This is arguably the foun­da­tion­al text on game design the­o­ry. It is so good even that much of it is read­i­ly applic­a­ble to the broad­er domain of inter­ac­tive media. 

Daniel Cook has writ­ten some thought-pro­vok­ing pieces on his blog regard­ing the appli­ca­tion of game design to inter­ac­tion design. I admire the way he com­bines an ana­lyt­i­cal mind with con­sid­er­able skill in visu­al arts, allow­ing him to com­mu­ni­cate his ideas in a very engag­ing way.

Raph Koster is the author of A The­o­ry of Fun for Game Design, a book I have yet to read. He’s the design­er of the ear­ly MMOG Ulti­ma Online and has since gone on to found his own com­pa­ny that is appar­ent­ly focussed on deliv­er­ing games every­where. He’s recent­ly pre­sent­ed some worth­while talks on the area where the games and inter­net indus­try meet.

There are more, but I’d just like to high­light these three because they’ve all pro­vid­ed their own frame­work for think­ing about games in such a way that it can be under­stood and used by rel­a­tive out­siders like me. Take a look at their work, and let me know what you think.