CGA Amsterdam 2007 failure talk

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Giving Players Bad News: 

February 7-9 2007 CGA Europe: West 2007 Giving Players Bad News Under the Game Design Microscope

Who am I?: 

2 Who am I? Nicholas Fortugno

Who am I?: 

3 Who am I? Nicholas Fortugno Co-founder/CCO of Rebel Monkey

Who am I?: 

4 Who am I? Nicholas Fortugno Co-founder/CCO of Rebel Monkey Previously Director of Game Design at Gamelab

Who am I?: 

5 Who am I? Nicholas Fortugno Co-founder/CCO of Rebel Monkey Previously Director of Game Design at Gamelab Designed/produced/wrote for over 20 digital and non-digital games Diner Dash Plantasia Ayiti: The Cost of Life

Game Design Microscope?: 

6 Game Design Microscope? Desire for a deeper game design talk

Game Design Microscope?: 

7 Game Design Microscope? Desire for a deeper game design talk Both a theoretical and practical examination of an issue

Game Design Microscope?: 

8 Game Design Microscope? Desire for a deeper game design talk Both a theoretical and practical examination of an issue So, let’s look closely at design. Focus on one small thing.

Under the Microscope Today…: 

9 Under the Microscope Today…

Under the Microscope Today…: 

10 Under the Microscope Today… FAILURE

Failure and Casual Games: 

11 Failure and Casual Games Reports have shown that casual gamers play to relax and unwind.

Failure and Casual Games: 

12 Failure and Casual Games Reports have shown that casual gamers play to relax and unwind. Myth: Therefore, casual games must be easy, and designed to make players win and progress.

Failure and Casual Games: 

13 Failure and Casual Games But that’s not true for all casual games. Zuma Diner Dash Breakout games

Failure and Casual Games: 

14 Failure and Casual Games But that’s not true for all casual games. Zuma Diner Dash Breakout games And even in easier games, there is still bad news to deliver (deducted points, lost lives, etc.)

Why Bad News?: 

15 Why Bad News? If the point of casual games is to help players unwind and give them a sense of accomplishment, why failure at all?

Why Bad News?: 

16 Why Bad News? If the point of casual games is to help players unwind and give them a sense of accomplishment, why failure at all? The simple answer is you need the possibility of failure to feel accomplishment…

Why Bad News?: 

17 Why Bad News? If the point of casual games is to help players unwind and give them a sense of accomplishment, why failure at all? The simple answer is you need the possibility of failure to feel accomplishment… …or, in fact, real enjoyment at all.

A Couple Slides of Theory: 

18 A Couple Slides of Theory

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

19 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Two emotions associated with the avoidance of stress: pleasure and enjoyment. (Aristotle)

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

20 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Two emotions associated with the avoidance of stress: pleasure and enjoyment. (Aristotle) Pleasure is the feeling we get from merely distracting our minds from stress.

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

21 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Two emotions associated with the avoidance of stress: pleasure and enjoyment. (Aristotle) Pleasure is the feeling we get from merely distracting our minds from stress. e.g. Television

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

22 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Two emotions associated with the avoidance of stress: pleasure and enjoyment. (Aristotle) Pleasure is the feeling we get from merely distracting our minds from stress. e.g. Television Keeps us from being stressed, but doesn’t make us deeply happy

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

23 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Two emotions associated with the avoidance of stress: pleasure and enjoyment. (Aristotle) Pleasure is the feeling we get from merely distracting our minds from stress. e.g. Television Keeps us from being stressed, but doesn’t make us deeply happy Often produces listlessness and a sense of waste

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

24 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Enjoyment is also an avoidance of stress, but is an active feeling of happiness.

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

25 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Enjoyment is also an avoidance of stress, but is an active feeling of happiness. Unlike pleasure, it accompanied by feelings of empowerment, self-confidence, and agency.

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

26 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Enjoyment is also an avoidance of stress, but is an active feeling of happiness. Unlike pleasure, it accompanied by feelings of empowerment, self-confidence, and agency. Psychological term for this kind of enjoyment is flow…

Pleasure vs. Enjoyment: 

27 Pleasure vs. Enjoyment Enjoyment is also an avoidance of stress, but is an active feeling of happiness. Unlike pleasure, it accompanied by feelings of empowerment, self-confidence, and agency Psychological term for this kind of enjoyment is flow…and flow is what we want from games.

Prerequisites of Enjoyment: 

28 Prerequisites of Enjoyment Enjoyment occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. We must be able to concentrate fully on what we’re doing. In fact, task must demand enough of our energy and effort to pull our awareness from distractions. Task must have clear goals and immediate feedback. We must feel a sense of control over our involvement.

Prerequisites of Enjoyment: 

29 Prerequisites of Enjoyment Enjoyment occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. We must be able to concentrate fully on what we’re doing. In fact, task must demand enough of our energy and effort to pull our awareness from distractions. Task must have clear goals and immediate feedback. We must feel a sense of control over our involvement.

Graph of Flow: 

30 Graph of Flow

Back to the Practical: 

31 Back to the Practical So, to create flow (and thus enjoyment), the difficulty of the game has to match the player’s skill.

Back to the Practical: 

32 Back to the Practical So, to create flow (and thus enjoyment), the difficulty of the game has to match the player’s skill. Of course, that’s impossible to do accurately for every player.

Back to the Practical: 

33 Back to the Practical So, to create flow (and thus enjoyment), the difficulty of the game has to match the player’s skill. Of course, that’s impossible to do accurately for every player. So, since it’s better to be hard then boring…

Back to the Practical: 

34 Back to the Practical So, to create flow (and thus enjoyment), the difficulty of the game has to match the player’s skill. Of course, that’s impossible to do accurately for every player. So, since it’s better to be hard then boring… FAILURE

Hardcore vs. Casual: 

35 Hardcore vs. Casual Of course, people have different tolerances for challenge and demands for learning.

Hardcore vs. Casual: 

36 Hardcore vs. Casual Of course, people have different tolerances for challenge and demands for learning. That makes one of the primary differences between hardcore game players and casual game players.

Hardcore Failure: 

37 Hardcore Failure

Hardcore Failure: 

38 Hardcore Failure

Hardcore Failure: 

39 Hardcore Failure

Casual Failure: 

40 Casual Failure Casual players have less tolerance to struggle.

Casual Failure: 

41 Casual Failure Casual players have less tolerance to struggle. But the games must still challenge them.

Prerequisites of Enjoyment: 

42 Prerequisites of Enjoyment Enjoyment occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. We must be able to concentrate fully on what we’re doing. In fact, task must demand enough of our energy and effort to pull our awareness from distractions. Task must have clear goals and immediate feedback. We must feel a sense of control over our involvement.

Example 1: Zuma: 

43 Example 1: Zuma

Example 2: Diner Dash: 

44 Example 2: Diner Dash

Example 3: Ricochet: 

45 Example 3: Ricochet

How to Give Players Bad News: 

46 How to Give Players Bad News Obvious failure conditions Failure should be both understandable and predictable. (e.g. Zuma)

How to Give Players Bad News: 

47 How to Give Players Bad News Obvious failure conditions Failure should be both understandable and predictable. (e.g. Zuma) Clear feedback Players should constantly be getting clear alerts about the things that are going wrong. (e.g. Diner Dash)

How to Give Players Bad News: 

48 How to Give Players Bad News Obvious failure conditions Failure should be both understandable and predictable. (e.g. Zuma) Clear feedback Players should constantly be getting clear alerts about the things that are going wrong. (e.g. Diner Dash) Strong sense of agency Players should feel that it was within their power to create success and prevent failure. (e.g. Ricochet)

Thank You : 

49 Thank You Nick Fortugno Rebel Monkey nick@rebelmonkey.com

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