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Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Gamification- Research and My Ideas

Last week i was absent from the session in which Paul delivered a brief for gamification. The brief is the gamificate something that hasn’t been gamified before, we have to research ideas on gamification in everyday life to see if it has been done before then try come up with an individual idea to make a game from. If it has been done before or the overarching theme (example working) has been over done then it will be denied by Paul and we will have to find another idea.

With missing the session I have also missed any videos or examples that was shown in session. Therefore im going to research into gamification myself to get up to speed.

What is gamification:

The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service: ‘gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun’ – Oxford dictionary definition

That being the definition the key in that would be the example quote

“Gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun”

This should immediately spring loads of ideas to mind as surely everything can be gamified in some way or other. One example of this I found was a game called HabitRPG this game basically makes your life a game in order to create habits, it rewards you for meeting targets and punishes you for missing them. The idea is to form working habits so that could be do the ironing at 8pm every Tuesday, you can set this in a to-do which if you meet it a reward can be redeemed using in game coin to have say 1hour of video games.

Layout of HabitRPG on laptop and phone

Layout of HabitRPG on laptop and phone

This is a fairly simple idea but with rewards and graphs showing you your productivity progress it gives purpose to those boring household chores. Something similar to this targeted at children is the app ChoreMonster its a childs version and when they meet the chores they get a ticket to the monster carnival to earn random monsters to help them on their journey. Simple things like this really help people engage in what they are doing as it gives purpose, especially for children it adds fun to the dreaded clear your toys away as they get rewarded for it.

ChoreMonster multiple levels, design, layout, platforms.

ChoreMonster multiple levels, design, layout, platforms.

This was what i intended to do on first thought before research was a chore game so that when you ticked off chores done in a day you gained points to earn relax time, but as it has been clearly done for adults and children this can be ruled out as my tutor will most likely deny it.

My other idea I had was a waste/recycling game where if I made sure i partitioned recycling and rubbish waste i would be rewarded and shown a healthier planet. This could be a good app where you swipe the food on the screen into either the blue recycle bin or the green waste bin. It would make people more aware of what goes in which bin and reward them for it by maybe showing a field if you do wrong trees are lost as less recycling is done but if recycle more trees are saved.

With a bit of research I found out this is also done, not in the same style at what i was thinking but on a more global scale and has been running for a while called Recycle Bank and here is a article on it at mashable. Here is a video on it showing some really inspiring stuff to bring a wider community together to benefit the planet and reward them for it:

This may have been done in a professional manner but as a little mini game/app im sure i should be able to proceed with this idea. I was thinking due to the tutors and cleaners constantly mentioning about tidying up in the studio a cartoon style game where you need to clear the studio of litter as fast as possible but swiping the litter into the bin. This would be good on the app store as currently i haven’t found anything of the sort.

The best idea i felt I had though was a walking to work or shopping or anything you need to be at, the idea you set your track using a  map of your area and then you are time trialed to get there as fast as you can walking. This then would be saved into a leaderboard of times to compete with yourself and colleagues, when loading up you could choose previous tracks done named appropriately by yourself so try beat your last time or friends time. This would then give you points dependent on speed, beating others, beating your own time, arriving early to work and so on. The funny side of it I would like implemented but its unrealistic due to technical restraints would be walking down a road your phone connects to another if headphones are connected to ask another person to race on a set track, this would then show the other persons statistics, win ratio, average speed etc. It would look rather odd seeing two people busting a gut to out walk another from McDonald’s to city hall but it gamifies your standard journey. I know that walking races are an actual sport and profession for trained professionals but applied in a daily life journey I don’t believe has been done. How I would go about this i have no idea as of yet but if accepted i would have to research into custom tracks on a map that are timed and tracked by your phones location sort of like a sat nav in a car.

So these are my ideas I can propose there are many other things i have considered but dont feel them to be as strong as ones mentioned, but if none are accepted i can possibly fall back on other ideas. I think the key is to apply gamification to something that is boring, something you dont like to do so that it gives it a goal at the end of it. There are plenty of day to day life tasks that this can be applied to such as brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day or more.

Once doing some research and actually thinking about it alot of things are now gamified in some shape or form, WordPress tracks your statistics and has little achievements for amount of blog posts, Snapchat has a points system dependent on your use, Tesco’s has club card points for purchasing products as do most shops on and offline now. The list goes on some seem dull but in many ways life is a game and everything is permitted to be made a game. Finding that unique idea though is the harder task in this.


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CATS Log Book Entry 6

This logbook is the third instalment of the “Contextualising Digital Cultures” with this time we look at the “Futures” side to it, my previous 2 log books were the previous sessions on Contextualising Digital Cultures covering Histories, then modernism/new media and now futures.

I was attending a social event for my games design course during this lesson so I was unable to see the PowerPoint and take notes due to Platform Expos but I have downloaded the PowerPoint from Moodle so that I keep up to date with my notes and primarily be using that to complete this logbook.

First of all we identified some key themes to the topic. These themes were:

  • Cyber Culture- the culture that has emerged from technology.
  • Gamification- the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to
    other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
  • Social Media- websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

Then we went on to expand on each of these themes individually so firstly we have Cyber Culture. It is a relationship between science and cultural/ media studies that can be representations of human, technology and the future. An example of a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body, would be Terminator’s hand from T2, 1992 or even more recently Elysium with his exo-skeleton. another example of this would be Cyberpunk fiction which is a genre of science fiction set in a lawless subculture of an oppressive society dominated by computer technology. A more iconic version of Cyber Culture would be the HAL 900 from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey an artificial intelligence system which used its controls of the electronic environment to try kill everyone, this may imply that when this was filmed in 1968 that the fear of what could go wrong with futuristic technology is trying to be shown in this movie as a sort of warning of what could happen in the future so they thought, its now 2013 and no robot has tried to kill us all. A final example would be games related as Artificial Intelligence system Angelina Project at Imperial College London was used for construction of the game which was achieved by creating tasks for the computer to complete so a self game designing AI.

Moving onto Gamification which is the Use of game techniques, styles and mechanics within a different context as its used to solve problems which apply to everyday life scenarios. Then I was introduced to some examples of Gamification which included: Pepsi, who used SoundOff a ranking leaderboard system to reward people for commenting their opinions on recent events which some was exclusively featured because of it in advertisements with the option to also share it on your social networking sites. Below is an image of Pepsi’s SoundOff.

#####################pepsi

An example of Gamification related to my course would be that one of my tutors has Gamification in his blog http://paul-starkey.com/ which when you return, read posts, watch videos and like posts you earn points to become his most favourite follower. Another example is an iPhone app called “Epic Win”, which is a task management app that rewards you based on tasks completed.

Then finally the topic of Social Media is covered. Social Media is the use of things like Facebook, Twitter and BBM (Blackberry Mail) to communicate socially to your friends and family. how has it affected how we interact? How will it shape the future? was two questions that was asked to everyone on the first slide, well we all know how much debate and conflict some of these social websites have caused with the freedom of speech element of posting whatever you type, yes it can be reported and taken down but its being able to get it out there in the first place which causes the issues. For example the London Riots 2011 the rioters used BBM to communicate to each other which was the only messaging service the police failed to check to try and discover who was behind the riots so Facebook and twitter etc. was all analysed for little to nothing in the way of information when it was all on BBM.

Another issue of an ethnical area is the controversy over the suicide rates of workers at the Foxconn production plant in China. Which is a free text messaging service for the iPhone with 1million workers covering 90million iPhone uses and 17 suicides due to poor working conditions at Foxconn.

This concluded the session with a couple of TED Talks to watch and write up about on the future of social media and future of gaming from Sherry Turkle and Jane McGonigal which I will do in a separate document.