Monday, November 05, 2012

Behavioral Game Design

Microsoft User Researcher John Hopson (now at Bungie) explains that developers are masters of behavioral psychology; they just don't know it yet. Hopson's "Behavioral Game Design" lecture explores the relationship between this science and game design, along with the psychology of how and why contingencies (the rules under which rewards are provided) in their games work. Fixed-ratio contingencies occur in games with a fixed amount of work, such as collecting experience points to level up or coins for a 1-up. The danger of this contingency is a post-reward pause, where players will not actively try to achieve the reward again for a short time, quitting the task and possibly the game. Hopson also explores contingencies such as variable-ratio and fixed-intervals, along with "extinction" situations, which happens when the game stops providing rewards for players. more

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