Gamification, Game Mechanics and Game Dynamics – The Trouble with Language

Game Mechanics Gamification Game Mechanics and Game Dynamics 8211 The Trouble with Language

One of the key issues facing gamification as it moves defiantly into its mid-teens is a lack of consistency and interoperability of the language used to describe it. The first and most obvious example of this is the lack of anything resembling an agreement on a definition of gamification. Wikipedia seems to change pretty regularly, and almost every gamification expert out there has their own version. Very few like the Wikipedia version either; “The use of game elements in non-game contexts” being the most popular. Don’t get me wrong; I love Sebastian Deterding, and the definition fits the original meaning of gamification, but things moved on a little, or at least I hope they did. Read More ...

What’s Your Biggest Gamification Challenge? (And Episode 3 of the podcast is out)

I wanted to ask you guys what you feel your biggest challenge in gamification is? For me, it is getting folks to take gamification as an industry seriously. There are many reasons for this, a lot of which we dive into in the latest Andrzej & Roman Show (Yeah shameless plug)!

Whatever the reason for this may be, it is imperative that you overcome it quickly. I’ve told this story many times, but it is worth repeating. I once sat in a meeting where less than 5 minutes into the presentation, the client just stopped me and said “I hate everything you have said so far. We don’t play games, we are too busy” Read More ...

Introduction to Gamification Part 9: Elements and Mechanics

Game mechanics are covered in multiple places on this blog, but to continue with the introduction series, I thought I would have a brief revisit here, with less personal opinion than usual (ish)! There are many definitions of game mechanics, but rather than going into those, I will just present the one that I use.

“A distinct set of rules that dictate the outcome of interactions within the system. They have an input, a process and an output.” Read More ...

Should I Start Defining the Game Elements Now?

When you get going with gamification, it can be really really exciting. You are creating engaging solution using game elements and ideas, how cool is that??

But when do you start to define what elements, mechanics, game design ideas and so on?

It is really tempting to do it after the very first conversation with a client. They have told you what they want and you have an idea. A few mechanics here, a narrative and bingo – you have the solution.

But whoa there, do you really have the solution? What was the problem you where trying to solve? The client told you what they wanted, but did you discover what they needed?

It is fine to start to outline what could be done before you see the full picture, but defining mechanics and elements before you actually know what the core of the problem is will lead to a solution that needs to be shoehorned into the problem.

Remember to ask the right questions and to keep digging, even as you begin your designs. Never stop asking what, why, what and how!

And always make sure you can answer the question “Why am I adding gamification” long before you define the mechanics!!

So, when do you start defining the mechanics etc? When you are sure you know what the problem you are trying to solve is.

Defining Game Mechanics in a Gamification Context

Ok. I’ve approached game mechanics a few times, but the conversation still persists and the misuse of terms gets worse and worse! I wanted to put together a little glossary with contextual examples, based on my research – so feel free to disagree.

Mechanic: A distinct set of rules that dictate the outcome of specific interactions within the game.

  • Game Example: Digging blocks is the core mechanic. Crafting is another mechanic.
  • Gamification Example: The drag and drop mechanism in timeline sort challenge. The timer is also a mechanic as is the act of turning over cards in the memory match game.

Dynamic. The emergent outcomes of player and system interactions with game mechanics.

  • Game Example: Building a fortress in Minecraft with friends.
  • Gamification Example: Pooling knowledge in the social chat area to help each other complete the challenges.

Aesthetic/Immersion: The feelings and emotions the game evokes in the player.

  • Game Example: The feeling of loss and sadness when a character dies in The Walking Dead.
  • Gamification Example: The feeling of fiero / epic win when finally cracking that extra tough challenge.
  • Read More ...

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