viernes, 27 de diciembre de 2013
jueves, 12 de diciembre de 2013
This Blogpost was originally published on Gamifeye by Victor Manrique. Check it out here
Games have existed since ancient times. Some studies find the early origins of games in a small village called Shahr-e-Sookhteh (Iran), built in 3200 BC, where an old backgammon set, some dice and other game-related objects were found. What’s interesting about it is that researchers found that even in the very beginning, games were a social thing: backgammon was played in pairs, playing dice was a group thing, and pretty much all the ancient games involved some kind of social aspect. And there are many more examples. Just think of the Greek Olympics, the Roman Circus, or even the jousting of the Middle Ages; all of them were social games.
It’s at that point when you realise that social media games are nothing new, just a more technologically advanced version of something that has been there all along.
Why Aristotle and World of Warcraft have so much in common
Quite some years ago, the famous philosopher Aristotle said that we were the only social animals to be found, because we don’t just meet up with others for protection or feeding purposes, as many animals do, but because we feel like doing so. And that has changed everything, even games.
But let’s return to the present…
Have you checked out the most profitable game in the last few days? Do you know which games accumulate the most hours played per year? Any idea what the most successful and downloaded apps were of 2012?
If you were thinking about social games, you were spot on.
As it turns out, games such as World of Warcraft (WoW), League of Legends (LoL) or Team Fortress 2 (Tf2) were not only some of the most played games, but also some of the most profitable. And if we add Candy Crush, Hay Day or Clash of Clans – some of the most downloaded apps of 2012 – we immediately realise that Aristotle was right all along. Games were made to be social, and a very important milestone was hit when social media platforms implemented games within them.
Going Further: Social Media and Gamification
So what happened a few years ago when games came across the social media?
Well, as many social media experts have said, it all went mad. All of a sudden millions of people started playing on a daily basis with their friends, and the time spent on those platforms skyrocketed. At the same time, and some years later, the trend of gamification appeared and the phenomena of social gamification – as gameful design applied within social media platforms – started with an increasing number of these type of experiences every single year.
So are there any social gamification examples out there already? And is there any difference between trying to get your public more engaged and making your social media teams perform better?
CaptainUP and Social Raid: 2 Great Examples
Social Media Gamification is a very new thing, and there’s still a long way to go, but up until now, we can see some great beta versions that are worth reviewing.
The first one is CaptainUp, a plug-and-play platform that allows you to engage the readers of your blog and social media channels; the second is Social Raid, a web based platform that turns social media teams into a group of raiders in search of performing their tasks better while having lots of fun.
Let’s take a closer look.
CaptainUP: Game Mechanics Made Easy
CaptainUp is a very simple and fun concept: Your blog readers are not fully engaged with your blog, so through a simple PBL (points, badges and leaderboards) system, CaptainUp turns your blog into a gamelike experience where you can reward users, see which are the top players and make them try to unlock fun achievements.
Finally, there are new gamification mechanics and more improvements coming out to the platform soon, so don’t miss out on them.
Social Raid: Gamify Your Communication
Social Raid, a platform developed by the Spanish start-up Play Jugo, is all about turning community management tasks into an epic adventure.
In Social Raid, a team of several raiders (community managers) work alongside their captain (social media manager) to improve their performance and develop a more impactful communication strategy for the accounts that they manage on Facebook and Twitter.
Right now the platform features a rich PBL system with an adventure theme, along with other gamification mechanics. More features are on the way over the next few months, such as power-ups, virtual rewards and a virtual economy. So stay tuned.
So games have never stopped being social, and in the next few years, more and more of them will embrace multiplayer modes and social mechanics. Meanwhile, the number of social gamification experiences will keep on growing until social mechanics become a new norm in game design.
domingo, 1 de diciembre de 2013
This radio show was originally published on Monica's blogtalkradio space. You can check it out here.
Monica and Victor will be discussing:
- Whether or not we can use game mechanics in Gamification
- The 3 most important factors to take into account before designing any mechanics
- Victor will give you real life case studies and examples of the rights and wrongs of game mechanics in gamification.
About Victor Manrique:
Victor is a Gamification designer at PlayJugo, a spanish based startup focused on helping people to achieve their personal and professional goals by playing games. He teaches gamification at the IEBS School as an Associate Professor as well as being the author of epicwinblog.net, a gamification-oriented blog updated on a weekly basis.
Victor is one of the organizers of Gamification Spain Meetups (GSM), an independent event for gamification professionals that takes place all over Spain and has been ranked among the top gamification experts worldwide according to leaderboarded.com
miércoles, 20 de noviembre de 2013
viernes, 8 de noviembre de 2013
jueves, 24 de octubre de 2013
The Reasons Why Game Mechanics Will Not Work With Gamification
Whether you are a game or gamification designer, I'm sure we can both agree that gamification is not a game. It has to do with games, but it's not the same.
I've enjoyed so much (and still do) playing all kinds of games for my whole life, from SNES retro games to modern ones like Guild Wars, GTA, Final Fantasy or Team Fortress 2. At the same time, I've been working on gamification, designing better or worse (not always the outcome is great) gamified systems, and I came to the point where you could say: "hey, this gamification design thing is not the same as game design".
It's totally true that Gamification comes from games, since games were first in understanding how human motivation really works and the main keys to user engagement. But once we have stated this, and after working on it for a while, anyone can see that they are not the same. Game and gamification designers are doing similar yet different stuff.
Game designers try to create and deliver meaningful and fun experiences to the player, while on the other hand, gamification is a design technique to increase people's motivation towards some objectives through fun. Fun is a one of game's most important characteristics, it's inherent to games, but in gamification, we have to create that fun, it's not there since the very beginning cause tasks or duties aren't meant to be fun. And that changes all.
But why are we talking about this?
Game Design vs Gamification Design
Well, because anyone that truly wants to understand gamification must study game structures and how they are designed. Both game and gamification design are really complex and demand quite a lot of design expertise and experience. However, their main elements might be called alike, but they are quite different.
When it comes to game elements, I usually quote Jesse Schell's 4 Pillars because it's a nice and easy approach to understand what games are mostly made of. Furthermore, we can use those key elements to explain gamification main components. As we'll see on this blog soon, all 4 pillars are going to be different whether they are applied to games or gamification, but it'sthe mechanics the element that differs the most when designing gamified systems. So that's why for now, we'll put the focus on them.
But...what are game mechanics?
What Are Game Mechanics?
There are several definitions of game mechanics and not everyone agrees with them, but for our purposes, it doesn't really matter which one to take, because they all share things in common. So let's go through some of the most popular definitions:
- "Mechanics are a synonym for the “rules” of the game. These are the constraints under which the game operates. How is the game set up? What actions can players take, and what effects do those actions have on the game state? When does the game end, and how is a resolution determined? These are defined by the mechanics." (LeBlanc et al, 2004)
LeBlanc focuses on rules and constraints as the main factor of game mechanics, but he also includes the concept of mechanics as verbs, actions that players take.
- "A game mechanic is one complete loop of interaction, such as a single mouse twitch, button press or foot stomp that can be traced through the game’s programmed response and back to the player over and over again. Another way to think about mechanics is as verbs. What are the player’s abilities in the game? What can the player do?" (Swink, 2009)
Swink focuses more on the actions, those full interaction loops, the idea of the player's abilities and ways of movement. Verbs are also present in this new definition
- "Game mechanics are the core of what a game truly is. They are the interactions and relationships that remain when all of the aesthetics, technology, and story are stripped away." (Schell, 2008)
Schell gives a more simplistic definition of game mechanics that is based on the fact that mechanics will remain when the game has been stripped away of everything else; the idea of mechanics as everything that relates to the game's core.
- “Game mechanic is another term for what others might commonly call a rule. Among those in the industry, though, the term mechanic is commonplace. Mechanics are how something works. If you do X, then Y happens. If X is true, then you can do Y. In Monopoly, if you land on a property, you can buy it. If you roll the higher number, you get to go first. Each is a simple mechanic." (Brathwaite and Schreiber, 2009)
Schreiber and Brathwaite are also putting the focus on the idea of actions combined with rules as the key factor of game mechanics.
Let's see what's the meaning of this, and why it's important for gamification...
Game Mechanics vs Gamification Mechanics
So these definitions were made by some of the most famous game designers, and I could quote many others, but if we just go through these ones, some conclusions can be stated:
- Not even the very best game designers can agree with a general definition of game mechanics. It's a very abstract concept and when it comes to the highly practical world of gamification, this theoretical discussion doesn't really matter.
- 3 out of 4 definitions put the focus on gameplay actions, and Schell's one is related to them. Video games allow players to move within a space, they provide a great virtual environment for the player, some kind of real (actually virtual) "Magic Circle" where to interact while having fun.
- Designers define mechanics as a set of rules, verbs, or interaction loops and there is no distinction between what we call gamification mechanics and components/elements. That links with our first point because it doesn't matter how you call them, it's all about a space where you move yourself, and you find it fun to do so.
However, and when it comes to gamification, we're facing a different context because there are no actions that can be fun by themselves. We need to create fun by implementing some mechanics to encourage people's motivation on taking those actions. Besides, gamification space and "verbs" are quite different because they are given to us, instead of us creating it.
In fact, that's why gamification has its own type of mechanics, some kind of revamped game elements or components (names don't really matter) that are adapted to the system's main objectives. This might sound a bit weird, but it's clearer if we think of an easy example.
So many games have quests or missions that guide us and mostly everyone knows what a quest is. The main thing about them is that they are fun to do, and require many actions, movements and time to be completed. On the other hand, and speaking of gamification, quests are a way designers have to turn dull tasks into fun missions. These actions are not fun by themselves but we make them fun using gamification mechanics, which is quite different.
Gamification and Games: Similar, yet different
This topic will for sure need more research and community feedback, but for now, let's put some final words to it in order to make this clearer and easier to understand:
- Games are inherently fun, but in gamification we make (or try to) things fun
- Games have spaces, actions, movements and verbs. In gamification, those actions are tasks, duties, or work, and those things are given to us in the very beginning
- Game mechanics cannot be directly applied to gamification because they are similar yet different. They need to be revamped to match gamification special conditions
Any feedback, constructive critics, comments or questions are always welcomed! If you are interested in the materials I used for this blogpost, check this out, I basically analysed (again) 5-6 of them, plus many great game design articles and game designers points of view!
Just as a side note, I have my own special gamification mechanics that you can download for free here.
martes, 15 de octubre de 2013
The new 2.0 Version
This is the new version of my 35 Gamification Mechanics Toolkit. After the great success of v1.0 (that you can find and download here: Toolkit v1.0) I've been working hard for quite some months to improve and revamp both the mechanics design and the content itself. The former version was viewed more than 3500 times, received 85 G+ likes and has helped many people in developing their own gamification projects and I hope this new version will help many others!
This new 2.0 version includes: a new design steps system, revamped design & improved mechanics
How does It work?
Pink - Onboarding
Yellow - Late Onboarding
Orange - Midgame
Blue - Late Midgame
Green - Endgame
Purple/Epic - Everlasting experience
Let the magic begin!