Points and gamification have a love-hate relationship – especially when you are talking about using points to incentivize creative endeavors over rote tasks.
I am not artistic, in any way shape, or form. However, the advent of AI-based art means that I have a way to get the images in my head onto a virtual canvas by doing something I am good at – talking. As long as I am descriptive enough, I can bend AI to my will (ish) and create the things that are in my head finally.
I’ve tried loads of sites to create are, but I keep coming back to NightCafe, not because it is the best, but because it is the one that offers me the best chance to create what I am thinking about and has some fun thrown it. Let me explain.
First, NightCafe is easy to use, giving you simple options to start getting going. You can choose from engines and presets, then just say what you want to see. Like all of these things, it does not always work the first time, so you need to experiment and play around with the wording and options.
This is where the second thing comes in. Renders cost credits (mostly, there are a few that can be done for free as well). Credits can be earned (more on that in a moment) or they can be purchased. This is similar to many other sites like this, but NightCafe has a few gamification tricks up its sleeve to help with this.
Third, NightCafe has artistic challenges – they add a massive dollop of the fine into the mix! Every day there is a challenge, today it was to create something that is inspired by Snails!!
These challenges really encourage you to play with the platform and get the most out of it. However, that costs credits! So, how can you keep playing when you need to keep pumping coins into the machine?
The Gamification of Art
Beyond the challenges, there are several bits of simple gamification employed by NightCafe that help you keep your credits topped up for free, whilst doing things that are beneficial to them and fun for you.
You can boost your credits at the start of your time with them by doing simple stuff, like filling in your profile. Then there are things you can do repeatedly that earn you credits. Sharing creations to social media, voting in challenges, getting votes in challenges, getting comments, returning every day (that gets you 5 credits!), and much more.
Then there are surprises. Like getting 2 credits for publishing some work, then more for being confident and publishing even more art. These little nods all help make you feel valued whilst getting value for your efforts.
There are so many ways to earn credits, for a user like me, it is hard to run out of them. It means I can take multiple goes with the premium settings to enter the challenges. Why? Well, it is fun, but also can earn me more credits if I do well. This lets me then have more opportunities to create the images I want as well.
Finally, there is a social element with the ability to follow creators you like, comment on their art and like their art. You can even “evolve” their art and create amazing content together. Another tick in the RAMP box. In fact, it ticks a few!
- Relatedness: There is a social aspect, with comments, follows ETC
- Autonomy: You get to create whatever you want, however you want!
- Mastery: There are daily challenges and the constant skill increases as you learn how to use better prompts. The onboarding is even called “Road to Master!”
- Purpose: Art is its own purpose, but you can also work together and create great artwork.
I’ll be honest, after playing Wordle in the morning, I now go and play the daily NightCafe challenge. It is fun, creative, and valuable!
It teaches a great lesson. Points and badges can work just fine if both make you feel valued and provide you with value. NightCafe does both in buckets!
- Teaching the Value of Money with Games
- Final Fight and Relative Progress Bars
- Gamification: Why Aren’t Badges Enough?
Also published on Medium.