On Gamification

Sebastian Deterding on Meaning, Mastery, Autonomy in Games

Creating Meaning
  • Try to offer user customizable goals- an opportunity to bring in users own personal goal -could be a passion- a connection to meaningful community - community generated goals- a meaningful story with supporting visuals and copy- beware social context meanings

"Fun is just another word for learning." (under optimal conditions)
  • Creating Interesting Challenges- set a goal, add some rules- clear, visually present goals; structured flow of goals- small goal then medium term goal- scaffolded challenges to level up- varied pacing provides "failures to learn from" and experiences of mastery- game your own system to check for unintended emergent behaviour
  • Play is voluntary-motivation because we choose it- example ->Tom Sawyer's fence
  • Beware of curbing Autonomy- the perils of extrinsic rewards, if -then reward curbs autonomy and devaluating the activity
  • Beware of devaluing your product--no-strings attached, shared goals with individual pursuit, informational feedback ( how far you are and how to get there), unexpected rewards
Think process not features
  1. Read the rules- start playing board games and understand how they motivate
  2. Know your users- what kinds of play and motivations do they have?
  3. Build a prototype, playtest and iterate
  4. Bring in data on the game -check challenges
To design for meaningful play provide a story with meaning , add rule system they can master; be mindful of side effects and social context.

also see an article at BBC News Gamification time: What if everything were just a game?
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