#Gamemechanics – Time Category

#Gamemechanics – Time Category

Time Category #gamemechanics

How long will the players have to overcome all challenges.

Time should not only be perceived as minutes, seconds or days. In #gamification we see time as a lot more than that.

For instance, the fact that a player has a set number of attempts to overcome a challenge is one thing (which does define the time), however, what if you say “the first to accomplish”.

Time doesn’t have to be set as a number of days, although using normal time might be the easiest thing, in #gamification it just refers to how long, how many times and/or when can the players play.

As I said before, turns are a great way to set the time for a challenge. We will all take turns to attempt this, but with the following order.

When you use this #gamemechanic, make sure you are FAIR in how players earn their turn. If it’s a random thing (alphabetical order by last name IS random, nobody chose theirs), make sure everyone has at least one try. You can then offer a sudden death for all those who overcome with the same results or just define the winner by performance.

Turns based games are often slower than others. You have to wait in line for the guy in front to attempt and if there is no time limit to his turn it could be days before your chance. If you are using the “first guy to make it” mechanic and I know I can do it, but the guy in front gets it first even before I attempt it, then it will feel really unfair (you even think he knew before or had help)

Make sure when using turns EVERYONE gets a shot at it, at least once and each attempt is equally fair for all (or at least all players can have the same level of ability before attempting).

 

One thing is the order in which you attempt and a very different thing is how many times you can try to overcome.

Not much detail to get into, but make sure, as always, to make it fair for everyone. If you are giving three attempts, EVERYONE either gets them or has the ability/possibility to get as many. If you earn attempts depending on performance, make sure it’s available for all and it’s not harder for some.

This #gamemechanic does refer to time as literal.

How many seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years does the player have to master the system or overcome a challenge.

Easy to think about it that way, how about thinking a different thing that most people forget:

What is the FASTEST they can do it?

When I started gamifying my classroom, I thought my players will take the whole semester to finish my challenges (ha!). Little did I know about the power and impact #gamification has on high school students. Two months in my players had eaten ALL the content I proudly prepared for the semester and I had no way of feeding their content demand as fast.

The result?

My system collapsed and had to resort to old practices to level the class… sad right?

I learned that defining your time limit BOTH ways is crucial for a system to be successful.

Set boundaries to the time players CAN and HAVE to finish. This way you won’t be surprised by some players saying they went through all the content overnight when you wanted them to go through it for five weeks.

 

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.

14 + 2 =

#Gamemechanics – Space Category

#Gamemechanics – Space Category

Space Category #gamemechanics

The place where the players play.

So where are the players playing? Is there a board? An app? A website? An imaginary place on their heads?

Yes, the last one is real, although you would have to define some BOUNDARIES on to what is acceptable, however when thinking of the SPACE where the players play, there are no limits.

Thanks to technology and creativity, players can play through and absolutely ANYWHERE. Don’t restrain yourselft.

Now, in terms fo #gamification and #gamemechanics, we’ve separated three that include each other somehow, so basically you would need to define all three (not hard at all)

Easy, normal or hard mode are pretty much the easiest way to explain this mechanic. The stage is not physical but environmental. It refers to the type of field the players are in.

An easy way to resemble is the Ice stage vs the Lava stage of a game. It’s not just about difficulty, but about what abilities the players will need to overcome the challenges.

When you offer the players different stages of growth they will try to play where they are best at. So we could make the stage the class the players are in. People often think math is the hard class and art the easy one, but what if we put the same strict rules in both classes. Players who are good at math will think the Math class is easy while art is really hard and others might think P.E. is the hardest.

As long as rules apply to all players equally, the difference in difficulty will not be the STAGE itself, but the preference and abilities of the players.

Now, talking about difficulty would be another thing: If the difficulty level increases, the system should be harder no matter what STAGE you are on (or maybe the stage is not a change of environment but a new challenging level)

Remember to balance it for all players. Here are just some tips on how you can define your STAGES:

  • The environment can be related to the difficulty but it’s not forceful.
  • Difficulty increases the challenge for all fields and players regardless of the environment.
  • Stage is defined by the abilities players need to overcome the challenge(s).
  • Always do your stages by reverse engineering from the abilities point of view, this will let you know how hard or easy and what moment is good for the players to be faced against such challenge.

 

It could literally be a field. Like in sports. However the point is that this is the BIGGER SPACE where the players deposit DATA.

The field is where they literally the place where they play and interact. EVERY SINGLE place where the players can play: the street, the room, the office, the website, the blackboard in a classroom or all of the above.

Think of the field as the playing board. Think big and creatively. There is no limit on where can data be input.

In Dungeons and Dragons, game masters usually put figurines on a board with squares to represent the position of the players, same with chess or pretty much any BOARD game, however the FIELD in Dungeons and Dragons lies within the Game Master’s notebook where he has planned almost every scenario and every PLACE the players will be. So the board can be just squares, but it’s not the field. The field, is the world the players are in.

So, how will you track the progress of the player? How do you know if you are winning on chess? How do you know how good you are performing?

The pieces are the tools that will tell the player where they are. In more technical terms, they are tools used to track player’s progress. I know, all #gamemechanics are that right? Yes and no. This refers to a more “physical” element that will show the players their position.

Now, each piece can have their own set of rules (mechanics) and at the same time each piece will give a different piece of data to both, players and system.

I said before that these three #gamemechanics are connected to each other and its most likely you will end up defining all three always. The reason is as follows:

You can’t have a stage without a field without pieces to track where and how the players have grown through it. In a classroom the pieces might be the student standing in front of you (the player) but they could also be those little cardboard pieces you gave them to track their progress.

The virtual currency is not a piece in the field (unless its part of the mechanics), but the hat that tells you where you have to pay rent is. That way, the piece tells the player everything they need to know at that specific moment. The card of the property explaining the amount of money to be paid is another piece in the board.

 You put the pieces in the field and let the players feel the stage.

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 + 1 =

#Gamemechanics – Solo Category

#Gamemechanics – Solo Category

Solo Category #gamemechanics

The relationship between the player and the system. Mechanics that define the player by itself.

The player must have a set of mechanics applied directly to her. All other mechanics we’ve checked apply to the system and the player interacts with the system, however there are elements, that will give each player a simple way of knowing where they stand.

 

Using a tutorial is somehting that each player must be able to do completely on their own. Guiding the player through a part of your system where she won’t need to interact with anyone else but the system is one of the best (if not the best) wayof bringing the players through the On-Boarding phase.

Games are learned by playing them. Let your players PLAY. Even if it’s not a game (ask @RomanRackwitz what it means).

Tutorials shoudl be FUN-ny. They have to be serious but entertaining. Remember the player willbe alone in tis short trip and it must offer a sense of progression

What happens if the players are beign followed without them knowing?

Leadership is a form of art. It is impossible to fake it. People will only follow others who they believe they deserve. We all do. Seth Godin explains leadership fantastically in his book Tribes. Everyone has the ability to create a movement and lead it.

When players have this ability within the system they will be able to have followers (YES, just like Twitter). It’s not the type of relationship that interacts every second with others, but being followed is a powerful motivator for most players.

Ah, fame. It makes people fight for attention all over the place. Imagine a classroom where grades are defined by how high the reputation of the players is? How about we base that reputation on the perception of the quality of the work each player produces.

Suddenly players will have to deliver GOOD work instead of “just right”.

Reputation is a great way to have players identify each others’ “general” ability. It doesn’t have to be  number and it definetely shouldn’t be domething specific but known… Something like “We know Ursula is the best at…[whatever]”.

Usually rating is expressed in stars (yes, cheeky, I know), but the point is to express their skill related to others. Even though it has something to do with other players it’s still something that defines the player on its own and its a great reference for new players to know where they stand and other players stand.

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.

14 + 3 =

#GameMechanics – Points Category

#GameMechanics – Points Category

Points Category #gamemechanics

You can't do #gamification without data. Data can be best tracked by points.

We’ve thought about this for quite a while now. In how many ways are can you achieve victory? From our point of view, you can win either by points or by goal.

The points WIN STATE means that you win when you reach X number. Think of the difference between running the 100 meters and  volleyball. A very important point is that TIME is NOT important. The win state has nothing to do with the amount of time you have to play. It has to do with the CONDITION the player must meet in order to declare a victory.

So when you use a limit to the points a player can earn it can be set in many ways and in different levels of tolerance.

Setting the limit to the amount of MONEY a player can get might be not a very good idea, unless the GOAL is to reach X amount of money.

Usually in terms of Experience Points you only set a limit to each level. If you are not relating XP to a level, you can leave it open.

If players will spend ANY amount of points in your system, limiting the amount of “expendable points” they can keep in you wallet will force players to use them so they can keep earing them.

Also you can put a limit on the minimum points needed for staying in the game. That way it will always be pushing the players forward and keep lazy guys away.

The virtual currency mechanics is part of the points win state as it can define the victory of the players fairly easily. The currency does not have to be money. There are plenty of games where you spend the XP your character earns in order to do powerful stuff.

Think that you could set a price to the king’s crown. However the price is in MP (Magic Points) and those are earned by overcoming challenges and defeating dragons. So, despite the money the player has to buy “stuff” she earns this currency as experience. It’s a type of points that CANNOT be awarded any other way.

On the other hand, using actual money. Not real but expendable money regardless of the player growth can help them move forward the goal by making their lives easier. The goal of a virtual currency is to simplify the players progress or to allow it.

It could define the goal, progression or status.

Another point system that shows the REPUTATION of the players or their work based on the perception of others.

Rating is always fun and it can be a very powerful tool to get other players view into your own development. This mechanic is connected to the REPUTATION mechanic in the SOLO category which we’ll address further but, in simple terms, a player won’t get a good rating unless they cover all aspects of a quest.

Setting it up as a WIN STATE involves defining that yu will win when you develop a score that is accepted by everyone else. If the rating is only evaluated by the system it will not feel fair and therefore it wil become a GRADE which is a different mechanic (that would fit in this category)

Remeber that the goal of a WIN STATE is to very easily tell the player if they did it right or not.

What condition must be met to win?

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.

13 + 3 =

#GameDynamics – Boundaries

#GameDynamics – Boundaries

Boundaries #gamedynamics

Where does it start and when does it end?

So, what’s the limit?

It’s fair to say the game ends when someone wins. That could be your limit in terms of time but, you must define where can they play.

Yes, you can also say “anywhere” but, what’s the game about?

There is absolutely no game that has no boundaries. If you don’t limit the game in terms of place and time, it’s not a game, it’s just play.

But, what about Pokemon Go? Isn’t that a game you can play LITERALLY anywhere?

NOPE. You can’t play it unless you have your cellphone/mobile device with you. Starting to see the difference? The boundaries of a supposedly limitless game are defined by the tools you have to use.

The boundaries of time are also important. As “infinite” as it seems, Pokemon Go actually is a connection of many very short battles. This way, you play for a couple of hours and then go back to your life. In a gamified system you MUST think exactly like that. You get into the system, interact for a while with it, define your goals, check your progression and REST.

Think of a soccer match. If it didn’t have boundaries of space. You could keep kicking the ball all the way to the ocean… seems a bit off right? And in terms of time? How long can the players actually play without falling to the ground completely spent?

Defining the boundaries of space not only depend on the physical space but also on the tools you need to interact (like facebook)

Defining your boundaries of time not only depend on how long will it take the players to get to the Win State but, the amount of actual time they can play through each attempt.

Perhaps when we get to the definition of this game mechanics we can see even more examples.

Upcoming, Game Mechanics, the 12 categories.

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.

#GameDynamics – Relationships

#GameDynamics – Relationships

Relationships #gamedynamics

How do the players play?

How can the players interact with the system and what is their relationship with other players?

Another way to see this is answering how the players connect to each other and to the system.

Let’s say you give them points. What are the points used for? Can they spend them like money or can they use them to increase their abilities to upgrade themselves and tackle even bigger challenges?

Yes it starts to sound a bit redundant but, at this point, you want to define what the players can do with everything they have built and worked so hard for.

Can they hire other players to make theirs paths easier? Can they hire them to get help? Are they part of a guild?

I divided this Dynamic into Solo and Team relationships. Solo defines mechanics that the player uses to define himself within the system (like defining their rating as a hunter or a researcher) while the team relationships are about who they are working with (like building guilds or alliances).

What does that player level actually represents? Imagine you give 4 different paths. The Win State is defined by mastering two of those paths. The level of the player represents his progress in those paths, however, they can only achieve the master level by mentoring lower level players. At this point, your relationship dynamic should say something like: Players must be mentors of lower levels when they get to X level.

Notice how one thing is saying they are part of a guild and ANOTHER is defining HOW the players play with the system and between themselves. Regardless of the guild you are into, the players must GROW both ways, as an individual and as part of something bigger.

Upcoming, the last dynamic: Boundaries

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.

#GameDynamics – Progression

#GameDynamics – Progression

Progression #gamedynamics

Are the players moving towards the goal or not?


You just got one gazillion points in your wallet! Are they good for something? Is it good to have that many? Is the goal of the game getting as many or as few points as possible?

The progression is the way for the players to know where they stand at any given moment. When a soccer player looks to the score board, they know if they are winning or losing based on a simple number and just a little bit of math.

When you define your progression you have to make sure there is a clear mechanic keeping track of it and a perfect order the players which way is north.

Let’s say in our example, getting a gazillion points (GP) is good but the goal of the game is to get 8GP You know you have 7 GP to go, you realize its not even half time and you see there are still plenty of opportunities for you to build upon those points. We know, we are moving TOWARDS the goal.

Now, in terms of categories, I divided progression into Alternative and Linear. In a Linear progression you have to go in  order from activity to activity to progress, so to reach goal 8 you need to finish tasks 1 through 7 first. However, in alternative progression you don’t have to follow a set of objectives in order, you just finish them in any given order according to your liking. You don’t have to reach goal 8 because they aren’t in order, but you have to complete 8 tasks to finish.

Other ways to see these is offering the players multiple paths. You will become either a doctor or a web designer but it’s really hard to become both, however if the goal is to achieve a degree in something, it doesn’t matter which way you go. Now, you can have systems that offer multiple choices (like paths) but, once in the path, you have to follow a linear progression to get to the goal and can’t change that road until a certain point in the system.

A cool idea is to tie each path to certain skills so the players will actually require such to move forward and overcome the challenge.

On our next post, we will check how players interact with the system: The Relationship dynamic

 

 

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.

#GameDynamics – Win State

#GameDynamics – Win State

Win State #gamedynamics

How does it end?


There is a huge difference between time running out and winning the game, right?

The Win State dynamic is ABSOLUTELY fundamental. Unless of course you think you can keep your players playing forever which is impossible.

After you have decided what your Narrative is, make sure you are clear on how the game ends.

What condition MUST be met in order to declare a win or a loss? In soccer, you know if you are 3 goals ahead that you are winning, but you DON’T WIN until the time is over and that goal difference stays the same.

Making it clear on the conditions of winning should clear out any doubts in the players’ head. Think of it as when you read the instructions on a new board game. You want to know what’s the point and how to win. All other details are usually figured out by doing the most outrageous thing: playing.

Make sure that even if your system can’t be beaten (like tetris, where you literally CAN’T win) there has to be some indication of success on each attempt. Always show how they are performing and make sure it FEELS in the right or wrong direction.

Maybe it’s all about how many points you manage to collect this day and everyday the points are reset but, knowing how many points you got today vs yesterday will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Our next post is about feedback. Once you know where to go, you have to plan your trip: The Progression Dynamic

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.

#GameDynamics – Environment

#GameDynamics – Environment

Environment #gamedynamics

How does it feel to play?

 It’s not the same to play with your friends than against them. The Environment dynamic will dictate how the players will feel through their playing.

I always address this with a simple question: Is it a competition or a team effort?

Do you want a classroom to feel more cooperative and work together towards a goal or do you want them to prove who is better between the players?

It’s known that cooperation is preferred by women and competition is usually favored by men, however, you must be careful in your choosing towards each mechanic tied to this core.

If you promote a cooperation environment in a place that needs competition (like the sales department) you might end up demotivating your players. On the other hand, if you have players that want to work together as a team and won’t let them, it will result in catastrophe.

You can alternate between modes, just like a game where you can invite friends to play and help you when a level is too hard but, you will always keep your personal score.

Competition is really fun as long as it won’t stumble upon other players. Unless of course your players are all disruptors looking to take all the others out of action and you just want the last survivor.

Cooperation can also make people the game is unfair if not all players are “sort-of” forced to contribute to the same effort.

Just make sure you have defined your audience and are sure how they should feel why playing. It’s all about these emotions what will drive them towards our next post: The Win State Dynamic.

 

Reference:

Marczewski, A. (2015). User Types. In Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking and Motivational Design (1st ed., pp. 65-80). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • ISBN-10: 1514745666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1514745663
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.

#GameDynamics – Narrative

#GameDynamics – Narrative

Narrative #gamedynamics

Why are the players playing?

In terms of #gamification and #gamedynamics, the narrative is not just a story or a writing technique/style or whatever the term for writers mean (hehe).

Narrative is really a powerful tool. It can guide your system into success within seconds or destroy it forever. You must be very careful when writing as it will prove its sensitivity to player behavior far more than any other dynamic. It is used to connect the players to the reason why they are playing. It will help them visualize objectives easily and always return to the path without having to analyze or process a lot of information.

When you tell people they have to save the world, it becomes way to ambiguous, however, if you say they must save it from a specific threat, they will always know WHY they are doing/learning whatever it is you are trying them to learn/do and they’ll know what will be a victory or a failure.

I have divided narrative into two game mechanic categories: Story and Objectives. This basically means that you either work towards a series of objectives or you are told a story you want to be part of.

When using a Story, you tell your players something like “Here you will become the best web designer on the planet, however, the road is unclear and heavy, but we will guide you into it”

When you use Objectives, you tell your players something like “In order to become the best web designer, you must finish the following tasks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… ,938”

There is NOTHING wrong in combining mechanics and there isn’t one better. Both of them work wonders on your system as long as the goal is clear.

The narrative is the answer to WHY the players are playing. How do you want them to find such answer lies in the choice of the category.

Let me know if you find a different way to organize the categories and your thoughts!

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.