links for 2007-11-30

My GDC Mobile 2008 proposal: accepted!

Mobile gaming by Kokeshi on Flickr

It doesn’t say so on the site yet, but I am on the pro­gram for next year’s GDC Mobile.1 Yes­ter­day I got the email that my talk — titled Design­ing a Casu­al Social Gam­ing Expe­ri­ence for Gen­er­a­tion C — has been accept­ed. To be hon­est I was quite sur­prised. I work in the blur­ry over­lap of the inter­ac­tion design and game design fields, have no actu­al game titles under my belt and pro­posed a weird sub­ject to boot. Who in their right mind would invite me to speak? Of course I am also real­ly excit­ed about this. GDC is the pro­fes­sion­al event for the games indus­try so I’m hon­ored to be part of it.2

My talk will be close­ly relat­ed to the things I’ve been work­ing on for Playy­oo. I’ll dis­cuss how short-ses­sion mobile games and a web based meta-game can inter­con­nect to cre­ate a social game expe­ri­ence that allows dif­fer­ent lev­els of play­er engage­ment. I’ll look at the ways you can align your game design with the expec­ta­tions of Gen­er­a­tion C: cus­tomiza­tion & per­son­al­iza­tion, recom­bi­na­tion and con­nect­ed­ness. I might post the extend­ed abstract some­time in the future, for now I’m just won­der­ing: Who else is going to GDC? What would you like to see me dis­cuss?

Update: The con­fer­ence site has been updat­ed, here’s the descrip­tion of my ses­sion.

  1. Don’t be scared by the big Orc in the head­er of their site. []
  2. Now I just need to fig­ure out whether trav­el­ing to the US twice in one month is a fea­si­ble under­tak­ing. []

links for 2007-11-28

links for 2007-11-23

Game player needs and designing architectures of participation

How do you cre­ate a cor­po­rate envi­ron­ment in which peo­ple share knowl­edge out of free will?1 This is a ques­tion my good friends of Wemind2 are work­ing to answer for their clients on a dai­ly basis.3 We’ve recent­ly decid­ed to col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly devel­op meth­ods use­ful for the design of a par­tic­i­pa­to­ry con­text in the work­place. Our idea is that since knowl­edge shar­ing is essen­tial­ly about peo­ple inter­act­ing in a con­text, we’ll apply inter­ac­tion design meth­ods to the prob­lem. Of course, some meth­ods will be more suit­ed to the prob­lem than oth­ers, and all will need to be made spe­cif­ic for them to real­ly work. That’s the chal­lenge.

Nat­u­ral­ly I will be look­ing for inspi­ra­tion in game design the­o­ry. This gives me a good rea­son to blog about the PENS mod­el. I read about this in an excel­lent Gama­su­tra arti­cle titled Rethink­ing Car­rots: A New Method For Mea­sur­ing What Play­ers Find Most Reward­ing and Moti­vat­ing About Your Game. The cre­ators of this mod­el4 want­ed to bet­ter under­stand what fun­da­men­tal­ly moti­vates game play­ers as well as come up with a prac­ti­cal play test­ing mod­el. What they’ve come up with is intrigu­ing: They’ve demon­strat­ed that to offer a fun expe­ri­ence, a game has to sat­is­fy cer­tain basic human psy­cho­log­i­cal needs: com­pe­tence, auton­o­my and relat­ed­ness.5

I urge any­one inter­est­ed in what makes games work their mag­ic to read this arti­cle. It’s real­ly enlight­en­ing. The cool thing about this mod­el is that it pro­vides a deep­er vocab­u­lary for talk­ing about games.6 In the article’s con­clu­sion the authors note the same, and point out that by using this vocab­u­lary we can move beyond cre­at­ing games that are ‘mere’ enter­tain­ment. They men­tion seri­ous games as an obvi­ous area of appli­ca­tion, I can think of many more (3C prod­ucts for instance). But I plan on apply­ing this under­stand­ing of game play­er needs to the design of archi­tec­tures of par­tic­i­pa­tion. Wish me luck.

  1. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, shar­ing knowl­edge in large organ­i­sa­tions is explic­it­ly reward­ed in some way. Arguably true knowl­edge can only be shared vol­un­tar­i­ly. []
  2. Who have been so kind to offer me some free office space, Wi-Fi and cof­fee since my arrival in Copen­hagen. []
  3. They are par­tic­u­lar­ly focused on the val­ue of social soft­ware in this equa­tion. []
  4. Scott Rig­by and Richard Ryan of Immer­syve []
  5. To nuance this, the amount to which a play­er expects each need to be sat­is­fied varies from game genre to genre. []
  6. Sim­i­lar to the work of Koster and of Salen & Zim­mer­man. []

links for 2007-11-18

links for 2007-11-16