Learning from games – Diablo III

Diablo III

Learning from games

The core idea of gamification is take from games the best concepts and use them in real-life/non-game contexts.

 

Learning from games is the best thing we can do as experts, as we cannot hope to reveal all the secrets on EVERY single game or think we can possibly build one super game that covers everything, we must take a good look into others and constantly analyze them and take the best ideas from them.

 

I’vee been playing Diablo III for a while and it is fantastic. I believe that the part that caught my attention the most is the balance of the system.

 

Despite what many will mention in forums and several discussions around, the game is incredibly well balanced. Now, this is NOT a game review so let’s first get started there: What do I mean with balance?

 

Balancing game systems is not about a great story vs graphics vs gameplay.

 

It refers specifically on how well every type of character in the game can perform. Meaning that it doesn’t matter if you are a wizard or a barbarian, both type of players must be EQUAL.

 

This is one of the core components in gamification success. A balanced system will let all players feel they are treated fairly while the other hand might have them feel the system is against them.

So, how does Diablo III balances all player classes?

It’s actually complex in a mathematical way but incredibly simple from a game designer point of view.

The key lies within the stats of the player. There are SO MANY stats that it becomes absurd trying to learn each of them by heart knowing how much damage your wizard can make against undead which will change completely right after you pick up that brand new wand.

Having MANY stats allow the mathematical balancing of the players be a lot easier because you have room for all player types to perform and experiment with different abilities.

Here’s a quick example:

Characters have 4 basic attributes: Strength (STR), Dexterity(DEX), Intelligence (INT) and Vitality (VIT). The easy way is to create 4 classes that depend primarily on each attribute: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Wizard and Crusader. You realte each of them with an attribute and you get certain balance. Think of it as rock, paper scissors.

 STR > DEX > INT > VIT > STR

That way you have a Barbarian beating a Demon Hunter beating a Wizard beating a Crusader beating a Barbarian loop. 

Now, as you can see, mathematically it will be complex when you get to 9,803 DEX points, however, understanding that DEX beats INT, all you need to do is a simple equation:

IF (DEX ATTACK > INT DEFENSE) { Damage Wizard = DEX ATTACK – INT DEFENSE } 

It may seem a bit to “cody” for some, but it really is a simple question followed by basic math.

Now, how does all this round up against a gamified system.

In #gamification you will be dealing with many personalities. In Diablo you think of them as Character Classes. In your office or classroom they’ll manifest in very different ways.

Since you can’t measure emotion or learning, you need to build up standard abilities of your players based on their preference and styles. Close the system down to 4 types (usually the most accepted amount in EVERY brain study ever) and make sure that there is the same type of loop. 

Reward growth of each ability based on what challenge the player faces: The four types are BLUE, RED, GREEN and YELLOW. If you finish a RED mission, you get BLUE points, you finish a GREEN one, you get RED points. Based on the same principles as before: BLUE > RED > GREEN > YELLOW > BLUE. That way, people will be free to choose their own style and then GROW and PROGRESS based on such style.

Hope I’m not too overboard with explanations here… Hope you like it.

#Gamification IS about analyzing games and making great systems. If you can play ANY game and figure out the mechanics they use and how to take advantage of the rules, you are already a #gamifier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bernardo Letayf

Bernardo Letayf

E.M.B.O.

As of October 2017, I occupy the 14th position in the Gamification Gurus Power 100! I am a Gamification Keynote Speaker & the evil mind behind the operation @bluerabbit, a gamification platform for education. I also developed three frameworks to teach/learn how to create gamification systems and build gamified content at the BLUErabbit Gamification Academy Right now we are developing BLUErabbit as a MOCC aside from all the original functions to transform the educational system. I have declared a world wide war on grades.

4 + 6 =

Gamifcation Europe is coming!

#Gamifcation Europe is coming!

- Expectation -

For some of us, being part of the #gamification industry creates a lot of expectation from the world. We want engaging experiences and strong audiences and fun EVERYWHERE.

Learning that this year the Gamification World Congress wasn’t happening (they just had an local/executive edition) was something really sad for most of us. I gotta say that the expectation was really high (at least for me for previous lines), but when Pete said he would come out and play, everything fell down into place again.

Pete Jenkins, Chair / Ambassador from GamFed, owner of Gamification Plus and Gamification Guru of the year candidate (several times!), decided to take a step into making a world-competitive conference in Brighton.

I’m thrilled and honored to be speaking at the conference this year thanks to an invitation from Pete and Vasilis who are running EVRYTHING in less than 3 months.

My expectations are high as always (with everything) but I’m really excited about sharing stage with some of the greates gamification experts in the world.

PLease go to http://gamification-europe.com to learn more about who will be there, however I can lay some spoilers: Michael Wu is back! Melinda Jacobs, Andzrej Marczewski, An Coppens, Sylvester Arnab, Joris Beerda, Nicholas Babin, Toby Beresford, Roberto Alvarez, Ahmed Hossam, Marigo Raftopoulos, Michiel Van Eunen, Ercan Altug and many more.

If you have a slight idea who this guys are you must be present. If you have NO idea who they are, it’s basically the #gamification powerhouse of the world.

This is one of the widest and broadest build of speakers I’ve seen (and I’ve been around guys) and with just 3 months to set up means Gamification Europe is a guaranteed success beforehand.

Take a step into the #gamification industry’s greatest insight of the year.

Take as step into #gamification europe.

Register now to attend Gamification Europe 2017 in Brighton, UK on 28-29th November:
https://gamification-europe.com

Bernardo Letayf

Bernardo Letayf

E.M.B.O.

As of October 2017, I occupy the 14th position in the Gamification Gurus Power 100! I am a Gamification Keynote Speaker & the evil mind behind the operation @bluerabbit, a gamification platform for education. I also developed three frameworks to teach/learn how to create gamification systems and build gamified content at the BLUErabbit Gamification Academy Right now we are developing BLUErabbit as a MOCC aside from all the original functions to transform the educational system. I have declared a world wide war on grades.

5 + 12 =

How school should be

How schools should be.

So... you wanted a fully gamified school?
READ THIS NOWThe actual school link

The point is simple.

We want BLUErabbit to make all schools like this one. The concept is so fantastic many ideas went through our heads and will be working towards them.

The #gamification of #education is actually possible. It’s not a matter of hopes and dreams.

École 42 is a french school with NO teachers and NO tuition fees. Oh… and it’s the best coding school in the country.

Thinking that the students need to be guided every step of the way is actually only GETTING in the middle of their education. School is a place for LEARNING to happen, not for teachers to force it into the players’ heads.

When I presented BLUErabbit to a Venture Capitalist a couple of months back, I was asked if we could show a quantitative measure for learning. Truth is that no one can. You cannot display how much a person has learned from something. How many bits of information were properly embedded into a human’s mind. At least not yet (and I know the future is already yesterday but I believe that we are still far from having an accessible way for everyone to see how much bits each of us have in our minds).

Now the point of this school is to develop great developers in the simplest and neatest way possible. They are faced with a problem and must solve it. THAT’S IT!!!!

No more curriculum.

No more guided learning.

No more grumpy teachers.

Just.

Plain.

Creativity and skill.

More about it here. Trust me. You’ll want to change career once you know you can learn like this.

I really hope more people share this so schools move themselves into this thought.

I’ll close with a short video by the World Economic Forum…

This innovative coding school in France has no teachers

Students decide how they want to work. Read more: http://wef.ch/2f056Kz

Posted by World Economic Forum on Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bernardo Letayf

Bernardo Letayf

E.M.B.O.

As of October 2017, I occupy the 14th position in the Gamification Gurus Power 100! I am a Gamification Keynote Speaker & the evil mind behind the operation @bluerabbit, a gamification platform for education. I also developed three frameworks to teach/learn how to create gamification systems and build gamified content at the BLUErabbit Gamification Academy Right now we are developing BLUErabbit as a MOCC aside from all the original functions to transform the educational system. I have declared a world wide war on grades.

4 + 1 =

A sweet Milestone

Well, we just found this:

Our logo shows up when people look for BLUErabbit in google images. It wasn’t there a couple of days ago! 😀

Thanks for using BLUErabbit! Let’s keep putting #gamification in every classroom!

Testing your design

Testing your design

Testing your design

How to know you are going in the right direction

Knowing you are doing the right thing in #Gamification is really hard when you don’t have the right tools at hand. Now, the first thing you should keep in mind are your KPIs. These little guys will tell if ANY project is going in the right direction, however, one thing is the business side of the system and a different the gamified side. When building your system first hand, before ANY data comes in (which is ultimately the one and only compass you must follow) there are a couple of toys you can use to see the north:

Dynamics.

In our Game master framework, the first thing you do is build the game dynamics. Each of them provide a simple question to see if you have dealt with all basic components of a gamified system:

  • Narrative > Why are the players here?
  • Environment > How do the players feel? Are they playing together or against each other?
  • Win State > How do you know you win/finish the game? At what point can I call a victory or a defeat?
  • Progression > How do I know if I’m going forward or backwards? Do you provide enough feedback to your players?
  • Relationships > How do players play between them and by themselves? Are there enough tools that will allow them to play?
  • Boundaries > How long and where can the players play?

SAPS

Introduced by Gabe Zichermann, this simple model helps you check that your rewards are in place and well done:

  1. STATUS: It refers to a position of a player in relation to the rest. This DO NOT mean at any point better or worse. Status as a reward can be received in many different ways.
  2. ACCESS: Players gain access to information, items, objects, experiences or anything that NOT all players do. STATUS can grant ACCESS to some place (like a palace or the store in front) therefore killing two stones with one bird
  3. POWER: The word EMPOWERMENT applies too. The ability to do something not all players can. STATUS can grant ACCESS to information that gives the player POWER to make decisions other players can’t (for example)
  4. STUFF: Things not all players have. Things players earn by completing tasks, quests or challenges. STATUS can grant ACCESS to a place where the player has the POWER to use the information he earlier gained to earn STUFF they couldn’t get anywhere else.

When using SAPS make sure players receive rewards that are well rounded in all FOUR types. STUFF can be perceived as money (and it usually is). Not the best way to reward players because by human nature, MONEY IS NEVER ENOUGH!

4K2F

Nicole Lazzarro made this amazing thing called the FOUR KEYS TO FUN where she explains FOUR different kinds of FUN:

  1. EASY FUN: Curiosity, surprise, wonder, awe. This are basic elements to consider. Everybody likes having simple fun.
  2. SERIOUS FUN: Excitement, Zen focus, engagement. The feeling you get when doing something you like.
  3. PEOPLE FUN: Amusement, Admiration, teamwork. Everything is more fun with someone else, right?
  4. HARD FUN: Frustration, Fiero, relief. How good does it feel when finishing off a hard project? There. That’s it.

Inclusion

This part refers to the player types and the differences. Make sure to include them in your design as well. We based our framework in the use of the HEXAD from Andrzej Marczewski. All details can be found in his website and in one of the following posts.

The Hexad covers basically 6 different type of players. Based on the work by Richard Bartle, Marczewski proposes four intrinsically motivated player types and 2 additional ones: The player/user type and the disruptor.

  1. Achiever: Motivated by MASTERY, this type of player will try to achieve EVERYTHING in the system (finish each and every quest). Think of them as the “A” student, always in front of the class, always studying. Favorite question: “Am I the only who read the instructions?”
  2. Philantropist: Motivated by PHILANTROPIC PURPOSE. Really important to make the difference. These players will want to help others just because they want to. They also like to be or lead teams in order to accomplish meaningful goals. Great Leaders. Favorite question: “Why won’t you separate plastic?”
  3. Socialiser: Motivated by RELATEDNESS, this players will want to connect with as many others as possible. They love social games, cooperation and competition as long as it means connecting with more players. Favorite question: “So what’s the best place to party around here?”
  4. Free-Spirit: Motivated by AUTONOMY they will want to follow their hearts through the game. They use their guts as guidance and love to explore EVERYTHING that seems explorable. Favorite question: “Can I go to the top of the mountain?”

Now, this are just 4 different ways to test your design. We are missing the most crucial one, but we’ll talk about it in another post. This one is already too long.

 

 

Bernardo Letayf

Bernardo Letayf

E.M.B.O.

As of October 2017, I occupy the 14th position in the Gamification Gurus Power 100! I am a Gamification Keynote Speaker & the evil mind behind the operation @bluerabbit, a gamification platform for education. I also developed three frameworks to teach/learn how to create gamification systems and build gamified content at the BLUErabbit Gamification Academy Right now we are developing BLUErabbit as a MOCC aside from all the original functions to transform the educational system. I have declared a world wide war on grades.

12 + 5 =

The effects of violent video games

The effects of violent video games

The effects of violent video games

Hard-core players of violent video games do not have emotionally blunted brains

I read this information a while back, but I wanted to share it with you.

Violent GAMES do NOT, I repeat, DO N-O-T, cause aggression.

The full article is here (please, support them by clicking) and you can read even further  here 

It’s great to know this because the brain KNOWS the difference between killing polygons and people. So please tell your parents about it.

Let everyone know that according to an FMRI study:

Excessive users of violent video games do not show emotional desensitization

Abstract

Playing violent video games have been linked to long-term emotional desensitization. We hypothesized that desensitization effects in excessive users of violent video games should lead to decreased brain activations to highly salient emotional pictures in emotional sensitivity brain regions. Twenty-eight male adult subjects showing excessive long-term use of violent video games and age and education matched control participants were examined in two experiments using standardized emotional pictures of positive, negative and neutral valence. No group differences were revealed even at reduced statistical thresholds which speaks against desensitization of emotion sensitive brain regions as a result of excessive use of violent video games.

SOURCE:  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11682-016-9549-y?wt_mc=alerts.TOCjournals
Bernardo Letayf

Bernardo Letayf

E.M.B.O.

As of October 2017, I occupy the 14th position in the Gamification Gurus Power 100! I am a Gamification Keynote Speaker & the evil mind behind the operation @bluerabbit, a gamification platform for education. I also developed three frameworks to teach/learn how to create gamification systems and build gamified content at the BLUErabbit Gamification Academy Right now we are developing BLUErabbit as a MOCC aside from all the original functions to transform the educational system. I have declared a world wide war on grades.

3 + 10 =

To change the school system

Ok, so how are we going to do this? It’s a known fact (here and here). Education as we were taught needs to die soon. And, who will be in charge of the slaughter?

The students.

It’s very simple. We can find a lot of evidence on how schools have less interest now than ever before and at the same time schooled systems are as obsoletes as a BETA tape. Our students right now have more access to information than ever before in the whole history of mankind COMBINED.

What’s the need for schools then?

jack-andrakaIf you are a 15 year old kid who suffered a trauma and can start reading and learning how to fix that problem (a good example here) you do not need a school telling you which way your education should go. Schools should be a place to help students find inspiration and motivation and passion and love and many many things. They need to stop killing creativity as they are.

But, where to start?

In my experience the system has a fatal flaw that must be exploited. Teachers are actually willing to help the change. This change has to come from the bottom. Schools DO NOT CARE what system they use or how engaged their students are. Schools are businesses. They will be happy as long as the students pay and the teachers “teach” and every year they get to graduate any number of students. But schools don’t really care about how happy or how much the students learn. They brag about having some students getting in the best universities but that’s just less than 10% of even the best highschools.

The core problem is that more often those students are realising that school SUCKS big time and they DO NOT NEED IT for them to be successful. So why would students want to be in school? Imagine things going on like this for 10 more years and your 15 year old kid goes to school, paying for tuition he doesn’t need because his online business on baseball facts has grown 20% in the last three months and he wants to take an advanced course in online marketing in an online school that will give it for free or maybe 10 bucks.

So, the place to start is the teachers. Teachers have to change the strategy. WE have to change the strategy. School can’t stay like this forever. If there is anyone out there who owns a school and thinks it’s great business to change it into the future of learning that’s awesome, but the millions of students who won’t have access to that need to get help from teachers who can adapt their own curriculum to a modern model and have the curiosity of the kids grow and thrive.

theoceancleanupIf we ignite that light within our students, the limits are absolutely gone forever! They will not only think about great solutions for the planet, they will EXECUTE them.

Teachers need to stop thinking that their job is just a consequence of unemployment or the one thing they can do easily for a paycheck. Teacher transform lives forever. Either for good or bad, but they do.

All teachers need is to stop limiting students and show them they can do whatever they wish. All schools need to do is let them.

Really. The sky is the limit.

 

Our education as a purpose

I am the proud father of a 12-year old son who has begun his first year in secondary education ( Junior High ). Since he was a little kid studying in kindergarten, I’ve seen that teachers, parents and students have deviate from the real purpose of education.

Back in the days where I was a 12-year old student, my parents and my teachers had a very specific purpose for me, to study, learn, and get good grades so I could fully understand the responsibilities the school had in me.

If I didn’t do a homework, then the teacher would send a note to my parents mentioning that this kind of behavior had to change and that I needed to bring every single one of my homework done to the class.

If I misbehave, then the Principal would call my parents to see what was going on. My parents, the teachers and the Principal would talk about me in a peaceful way and would agree on a change of direction for me.

Today, sadly I see the opposite. The moment the teacher sends a note to any parent, the parents mostly would deny their children behavior and would say that it has to be the teacher’s fault. Then they would go directly to the Principal’s office and demand that the teacher has to change its behavior rather than the student itself.

I believe this nonsense is going on, mainly because most of the parents, teachers and students have lost the true meaning of the education as a purpose.

Purpose is a strong word that changes many lives instantly, It brings joy and defines the path of any person for good.

Purpose = That which you love ( Mission ) + That which the world needs ( Vocation ) + That which you can be paid for ( Profession ) + That which you are good at ( Passion ).

If we as parents accept that these new generations of students had the same responsibilities as we did back then when we were students, then we have found our true purpose and it would reflect on being achievable of our children’s education.

The 3 ingredients for a gamified classroom

When you build a gamified classroom you need to develop two sides of the same coin. The problem with it is that it requires two almost opposite ways of thinking.

On one side you need to think as an educator and on the other as a gamification designer.

We will not address the curriculum design on this article, but we will address the gamification design. If I try to write down all the concepts of gamification here it would require one thousand posts and it’s not worthy.

However, in my experience there are three things you need to consider when gamifying your classroom.

  1. The system
  2. The feedback
  3. The story

The System

The rules. Nothing more. However, you must make them clear and balanced.

Here is a sample system.

You will give coins for every homework in turned in. The coins will be used for getting additional points in class (one to 10 scale). One point = 1000 coins. You decide to assign 100 coins to every homework turned in on time. So every time a player turns in 10 homeworks on time they will get an additional point in their final grade.

What’s the problem with this system? It’s most likely that you will assign more than 10 homeworks in a school year and at the same time if you assign 100 homeworks they already have 10 points meaning they won’t need to do any additional work, right?

Maybe you won’t assign 100 homeworks, but buying your grade for that conversion rate is a little too easy for the players to get the best possible grade.

When you build the system you need to try it and test-run it as if your players are using it. You need to play the game once you made the rules to see if it works. Just remember not to make it either too complex or too simple, the point is to make it fun.

The Feedback

Wether you choose a complex online platform to keep track or a simple spreadsheet in google apps, it really doesn’t matter as long as you make sure to give feedback to the players as fast as possible.

One of the most stressing things for the players is not to know where they stand. If you assign coins to the players, let them know IMMEDIATELY how many they have and make sure they have access to that information.

Grades can wait. They are part of the educational system of the world, but when the player receives the coins, it gives them a fair sense of PROGRESS in the class and they know they have more resources to power up their grades, you take the stress away from them and they will focus on earning an infinite amount of coins rather than the limited grade.

The Story

Hello, welcome to Multimedia Design. As of now, you are no longer students. We don’t have space in our ranks for that. You are now Creative Professional Freelancers working for the PublishUs agency and we need all your skills to help the world get better.

This is the story I tell my players the first day of school. They don’t feel they are studying. They feel they are working towards a goal. Learning happens because otherwise, they are unable to meet the goal, not because they will be punished forever with a bad grade.

Think about it.

What makes people choose between books, movies or games? What made you wait in line for 3 hours before they released the last book of Harry Potter?

This is the most important element of your gamified classroom. People need to feel emotionally attracted to your class and the best way to do it is with a story.