on Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics • Analysis of what fun is, why games have it, and how to design for it • Pointing out where game design knowledge can be used for UX, UI, community, project, and company building
their players • Discovery • Power • Teamwork • Skilfulness • Fear • More... • We play games because we like experiencing these feelings • Similar reason to why we like movies, books, TV, theatre, art..
experience in which players make choices to have a meaningful experience. game /gām/ n. (pl. -games) an artwork characterized by an act of exploration. game /gām/ n. (pl. -games) an interactive object in which players interact with each other resulting in an unequal outcome. game /gām/ n. (pl. -games) a challenge in which players interact with each other resulting in a specific state of affairs. game /gām/ n. (pl. -games) a medium that involves a playful relationship representing a subset of the world. game /gām/ n. (pl. -games) a non productive activity that involves a competition confined by procedures.
is a good, simple example. o Mechanic: The goal of the game is to not be "it". o Mechanic: When the player who is "it" touches you, you are "it". o Dynamic: the player who is "it" moves towards players who are not "it", who then ﬂee. • Behaviour is separate from mechanics.
earn points, and can cause other players to lose points. o Mechanic: The winner is the ﬁrst player with 10 points. o Dynamic: When a player gets close to winning, other players will gang up on them and bring them down.
Game as unfolding story Challenge Game as obstacle course Fellowship Game as social framework Discovery Game as uncharted territory Expression Game as soap box Submission Game as mindless pastime Aesthetics are the way that games make us feel. From 8kindsoffun.com
when we describe "fun". • They're often what players are subconsciously looking for when selecting a game o "I want a game that makes me feel powerful" o "I want a game that makes me feel like I'm working in a team" o "I want a game where I can have fun with my friends"
picks some players to go on a “mission” • Players vote on whether this selection is good • Selected players secretly pick a “success” or “failure” card; these are gathered and shufﬂed, then revealed to everyone • If any “failure” cards were picked, the mission fails • Next player clockwise becomes leader • 3 mission fails = spies win • 3 mission successes = rebels win
for evidence of spies • Deduction • Rebels need to work out who they can trust; this leads to: • Creation of “circles of trust” • Small exclusionary groups form, often hostile to actual non-spies • Camouﬂage • Spies can choose to help missions succeed • Misdirection • “I’m not the spy! You’re the spy!” • Sacriﬁce • One spy denounces another, to gain trust
an Arthurian theme • One Good player is Merlin • Knows who all the Evil players are • One Evil player is the Assassin • At end of game, if Good has won but the Assassin can correctly identify Merlin, Evil wins
players, without giving themselves away • Players (both Good and Evil) try to discover Merlin's identity • Evil players pretend to be Merlin • Merlin tries to ﬁnd independent justiﬁcations for stuff they know • Multiple routes to victory for Evil players • Merlin discovery gambits • Merlin discovery counter-gambits • Merlin discovery counter-counter-gambits
• Earlier areas featured plenty of ammo • Sudden shift in availability creates contrast and unease (“Why can’t I ﬁnd ammo? Am I not playing this game right?") • To compensate, player is forced to improvise and get closer than usual to dangerous enemies • New mechanics designed to reinforce scariness
Race Inevitability The first person to pass the finish line wins the game. When players collide with item boxes, they receive a random item. One item is the Blue Shell, which is a homing missile that slows down players in front of you. When a player is in last place, they have an increased chance of collecting blue shells. ` Holy crap! That was so close, but you hit me with a shell just before I crossed the finish line! I hate you! Let’s go again!
rooms is finite Inevitability The player can walk from room to room. Rooms contain items, like books, boxes, documents, keys… Items can be picked up and examined. ` Oh man, I hope things work out for her in the end…
along paths. • Mechanic: When people walk on terrain, a rough path is gradually formed. • Dynamic: People create new paths that are shorter than the formal, paved paths. • “Aesthetic”: People are unhappy at ugly paths.
tweets can be copied and pasted. • Mechanic: Tweets have a limited length. • Dynamic: To indicate the source of a copied tweet, users add attribution (“RT @username: text of original tweet”) • Aesthetic: Users are dissatisﬁed with having to reword tweets to ﬁt within the limit • Corrective action: Deﬁne a new type of tweet, called a “retweet”, that embeds the original tweet
number of retweets is counted • Mechanic: The number of users who favourite a tweet is also counted • Dynamic: Retweets expose a tweet to more users, favourites do not • Dynamic: Users craft their tweets to be retweeted more often • Aesthetic: Retweets are considered more valuable • Aesthetic: Weird Twitter
the expression of the rules through dynamics • This is why “mandatory fun” rules never result in actual fun • You can’t design fun, but you can design for fun • You can’t design a positive company culture, but you can design systems and mechanisms that reinforce positive elements of a culture