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Chapter 2.0 Understanding Fun “Funativity” – thinking about fun in terms of measurable cause and effect.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 2.0 Understanding Fun “Funativity” – thinking about fun in terms of measurable cause and effect."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 2.0 Understanding Fun “Funativity” – thinking about fun in terms of measurable cause and effect

2 2 Natural Funativity Theory Basic concept is that all fun derives from practicing survival (and social, cuz it helps) skills Key skills relate to early human context, but often in modern guise Three overlapping categories Physical, Social, and Mental

3 3 Hunting and Gathering For most of our species’ history we were tribal hunter/gatherers Current popular games reflect this Shooters, wargames = hunting Powerups, resources = gathering Sims, MMO = social, tribal interaction

4 4 Physical Fun Sports generally enhance our str, con, dex, etc. Exploration is fun Both of local area and knowledge of exotic places Precondition of hunting/gathering Hand/eye coordination and tool use are often parts of hobbies etc.

5 5 Social Fun Storytelling is a social activity A way to learn important survival and social lessons from others Gossip, sharing info w/friends popular Flirting, showing off, finding mates is a key interest in social fun Language is paramount

6 6 Mental Fun Our large brains make humans unique, improves our scalability Kinds of fun that enabled civilization Pattern matching and generation Music, Art, and Puzzles all pattern based Gathering also depends on memory Various optimization problems

7 7 Multipurpose Fun Games that mix several kinds of fun tend to be very popular --> Incorporate ways to practice these skills to increase the popularity of your game

8 8 Definition of a Great Game A great game is a series of interesting and meaningful choices made by the player in pursuit of (a clear and compelling?) goal

9 9 Interesting and Meaningful Choices Choices convey interactivity Choices may be dull and uninteresting because it was easy to code that way, or they may be the reflection of a lazy designer (!?!) Meaningful choices are perceived by the player as having significant consequences May not have actual consequences…

10 10 Clear and Compelling Goal Clear goals it is not fun to flounder aimlessly Avoid the “protagonist with amnesia” cliché Compelling goals usually follow the concepts in Natural Funativity Survival is always a compelling goal

11 11 A Series of Choices No choice

12 12 A Series of Choices Meaningless choices Obviously fold back into same path Players discover this quickly

13 13 A Series of Choices Infinite choices Quickly become unmanageable

14 14 A Series of Choices Choose wisely Kill off player with any wrong choice Better but frustrating (Dragon’s Lair)

15 15 Classic Game Structure A convexity Starts with a single choice, widens to many choices, returns to a single choice

16 16 Convexity Qualities Go from one to many to one Can be a level, an act, an episode Can be any kind of choice Geography, weapons, tools, skills, technologies, quests Examples Exploring an island Technology build tree

17 17 A Series of Convexities Many games are chains of convexities Points of limited choice (A) alternate with points of many choices (B)

18 18 A Series of Convexities Many overlapping or nested convexities in great games Examples include Halo, Zelda games, Civilization, Diablo II, many others Player can be starting one task or area, in the middle of another, and at the end of a third, all simultaneously

19 19 Why Is This Structure So Good? Give the player choice but not an infinitely expanding set of choices Mix of some “any order” choices (B) and some in fixed order (A), blending freedom with linear storytelling Can be structured so players see most of the game, minimizing waste Can have difficulty go up in new levels

20 20 Psychological Advantages of Classic Structure Alternating intense learning (A) with time to practice (B) is the best way to master new skills Gradual learning and introduction of new skills at the heart of fun game play “Easy to learn, difficult to master”

21 21 Flow Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi His book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” Flow is a state of exhilaration, deep sense of enjoyment Usually when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile

22 22 The Flow Channel Start with relatively low level of challenge to match starting skill levels Gradually increase challenge Fast enough to prevent boredom Not so fast as to induce frustration

23 23 The Flow Channel

24 24 The Flow Channel Flow state is common while developing same Physical, Social, and Mental skills noted in Natural Funativity Best to introduce skills one at a time, let player master them, move on to new This results in staggered increase in difficulty (wavy difficulty line)

25 25 Difficulty Increase Varies

26 26 Typical Game Mechanisms High difficulty increase: Boss monsters, climactic battles, quest resolutions Low difficulty increase: Bonus levels, new resource- and treasure-rich areas, series of easy “minion” enemies Overlap introduction of new skills, areas to explore, tools, enemies

27 27 Story and Character Back to “interesting choices” and “compelling goals” – how to achieve? Story and character can add emotional association, strengthen reaction Storytelling has long history, but interactive storytelling can differ critically from traditional linear modes

28 28 Interactive Storytelling Blend storytelling with design early Use experienced interactive writers “Do, don’t show” – let players experience story through interaction Make it personal by having players make key choices, events affect them

29 29 It’s All About Interactivity Don’t make choices for the player Story should add emotional context to the choices Keep any cut scenes brutally short Break up non-interactive sequences by adding interactivity, even if very simple

30 30 Characters Characters can make the game world seem more real and exciting Bold stereotypes may seem crude but are better than colorless characters, and can help avoid boring exposition Bring out character through action, not description or exposition

31 31 Gameplay Trumps Story If you have a conflict between gameplay or story, first look for a compromise that favors both Failing that, make sure that the gameplay is good at expense of story Always signal player clearly in narrative to interactive transitions with visuals, audio

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