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Making mistakes fun: Game mechanics are not a panacea, but they are kinda useful!

About the Talk

February 12, 2011 9:30 AM

Boulder, CO

Boulder, CO

If you can't quite make every type of user mistake impossible, then you should at least make them fun, right? Game mechanics and game design techniques have been a much proliferated meme in the UX, IxD, and design worlds as of late (for varying definitions of 'late'). Touted as a 'solution' to the challenge of motivating certain behavior in users, or making experiences more engaging, sadly these elements of the game development world are often blindly applied without finesse or elegance - akin to to hitting the user over the head with a colorful hammer. In an effort to put this right, and help correct the flaws in the application of game mechanics that our team was seeing over and over again, we put together this 10 Step Plan to borrowing from the world of game design when considering your interaction and user interface design. Game design techniques aren't applicable to every interaction design situation, but when they are they can make the experience that much more compelling, sticky and entertaining. Learn when, and when not to consider game design and mechanics, and how best to leverage them when appropriate. Learn why game mechanics aren't just a set of interrelated feedback loops (with a heavy set of rules) and see how to integrate classic mechanics, such as collection and feedback, as well more interesting elements such as obstacles, difficulty, competitions and mini games. Finally, learn how and when to use the most interesting game mechanic of all: rewards. Oh, and most importantly: learn how to stay true to the interaction you're designing without turning it into an actual game. This session is about putting the heart and soul of game design into IxD, and using it to focus the well-meaning intention of games in the first place: making stuff more fun! This session is for everyone.

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