Friday, January 13, 2012

The Four Approaches to Game Making

Rather than talking about games in terms of two lenses, I use four (potentially five, but I'll come back to that). Each represents a common set of assumptions and predispositions that I often see in makers, and there are correlations between them which makes for an interesting (though perhaps deceptively symmetric) diagram...Behaviorism is about considering the player as a collection of desires and creating systems that satisfy those desires. It is inspired by behavioral and motivational psychology, and considers all games as challenge, anticipation and reward engines. Behaviorists model their games on psychological hooks that open loops, draw engagement and encourage emotional attachment to outcomes. They use repetitive actions to complete those loops and deliver rewards. The anticipation of a loop's end, and the reward, has a powerful effect on the human mind and can engender feelings of optimism. In older forms that would mean money, such as a slot machine or a lottery. In newer forms it sometimes means points or virtual goods that the player will find useful toward another goal. more

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