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SCVNGR's 47 Game Mechanics

SCVNGR's 47 Game Mechanics

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Published by Morgan Brown
This document captures the 47 game mechanics published by the location based company SCVNGR on an earlier TechCrunch blog post.
This document captures the 47 game mechanics published by the location based company SCVNGR on an earlier TechCrunch blog post.

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Published by: Morgan Brown on Jan 12, 2012
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01/12/2012

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Morgan Brownmorgan@oakcreektrail.comwww.oakcreektrail.com
47 Popular Game Mechanics
ThesegamemechanicswereoriginallypublishedbyTechCrunch,fromSCVNGR,alocation-basedmobilegame.Theoriginalarticlecanbefoundhere:http://tcrn.ch/xDBB3C
1. Achievement
Definition:
Avirtualorphysicalrepresentationofhavingaccomplishedsomething.Theseareoftenviewedasrewardsinandofthemselves.
Example:
abadge,alevel,areward,points,reallyanythingdefinedasarewardcanbeareward.
2. Appointment Dynamic
Definition:
Adynamicinwhichtosucceed,onemustreturnatapredefinedtimetotakesomeaction.Appointmentdynamicsareoftendeeplyrelatedtointervalbasedrewardschedulesoravoidancedyanmics.
Example:
CafeWorldandFarmvillewhereifyoureturnatasettimetodosomethingyougetsomethinggood,andifyoudon’tsomethingbadhappens.
3. Avoidance
Definition:
Theactofinducingplayerbehaviornotbygivingareward,butbynotinstitutingapunishment.Producesconsistentlevelofactivity,timedaroundtheschedule.
Example:
Pressaleverevery30secondstonotgetshocked.
4. Behavioral Contrast
Definition:
Thetheorydefininghowbehaviorcanshiftgreatlybasedonchangedexpectations.
Example:
Amonkeypressesaleverandisgivenlettuce.Themonkeyishappyandcontinuestopressthelever.Thenitgetsagrapeonetime.Themonkeyisdelighted.Thenexttimeitpressestheleveritgetslettuceagain.Ratherthanbeinghappy,asitwasbefore,itgoesballisticthrowingthelettuceattheexperimenter.(Insomeexperiments,asecondmonkeyisplacedinthecage,buttiedtoaropesoitcan’taccessthelettuceorlever.Afterthegraperewardisremoved,thefirstmonkeybeatsupthesecondmonkeyeventhoughitobviouslyhadnothingtodowiththeremoval.Theangeristrulyirrational.)
5. Behavioral Momentum
Definition:
Thetendencyofplayerstokeepdoingwhattheyhavebeendoing.
Example:
FromJesseSchell’sawesomeDicetalk:“IhavespenttenhoursplayingFarmville.Iamasmartpersonandwouldn’tspend10hoursonsomethingunlessitwasuseful.Thereforethismustbeuseful,soIcankeepdoingit.”
 
Morgan Brownmorgan@oakcreektrail.comwww.oakcreektrail.com
6. Blissful Productivity
Definition:
Theideathatplayinginagamemakesyouhappierworkinghard,thanyouwouldberelaxing.Essentially,we’reoptimizedashumanbeingsbyworkinghard,anddoingmeaningfulandrewardingwork.
Example:
FromJaneMcGonical’sTedTalkwhereinshediscusseshowWorldofWarcraftplayersplayonaverage22hours/week(aparttimejob),oftenafterafulldayswork.They’rewillingtoworkhard,perhapsharderthaninreallife,becauseoftheirblissfulproductivityinthegameworld.
7. Cascading Information Theory
Definition:
Thetheorythatinformationshouldbereleasedintheminimumpossiblesnippetstogaintheappropriatelevelofunderstandingateachpointduringagamenarrative.
Example:
showingbasicactionsfirst,unlockingmoreasyouprogressthroughlevels.MakingbuildingonSCVNGRasimplebutstagedprocesstoavoidinformationoverload.
8. Chain Schedules
Definition:
thepracticeoflinkingarewardtoaseriesofcontingencies.Playerstendtotreattheseassimplytheindividualcontingencies.Unlockingonestepinthecontingencyisoftenviewedasanindividualrewardbytheplayer.
Example:
Kill10orcstogetintothedragonscave,every30minutesthedragonappears.
9. Communal Discovery
Definition:
Thegamedynamicwhereinanentirecommunityisralliedtoworktogethertosolveariddle,aproblemorachallenge.Immenselyviralandveryfun.
Example:
DARPAballoonchallenge,thecottageindustriesthatappeararoundMcDonaldsmonopolytofind“Boardwalk”
10. Companion Gaming
Definition:
Gamesthatcanbeplayedacrossmultipleplatforms
Example:
Gamesthatbeplayedoniphone,facebook,xboxwithcompletelyseamlesscrossplatformgameplay.
11. Contingency
Definition:
Theproblemthattheplayermustovercomeinthethreepartparadigmofrewardschedules.
Example:
10orcsblockyourpath
 
Morgan Brownmorgan@oakcreektrail.comwww.oakcreektrail.com
12. Countdown
Definition:
Thedynamicinwhichplayersareonlygivenacertainamountoftimetodosomething.Thiswillcreateanactivitygraphthatcausesincreasedinitialactivityincreasingfreneticallyuntiltimerunsout,whichisaforcedextinction.
Example:
BejeweledBlitzwith30secondstogetasmanypointsasyoucan.Bonusrounds.Timedlevels
13. Cross Situational Leader-boards
Definition:
Thisoccurswhenonerankingmechanismisappliedacrossmultiple(unequalandisolated)gamingscenarios.Playersoftenperceivethattheserankingscenariosareunfairasnotallplayerswerepresentedwithan“equal”opportunitytowin.
Example:
Playersarearbitrarilysentintooneofthreepaths.Thewinnerisdeterminedbythetopscoreroverall(i.e.acrossthepaths).Sincetheplayerscanonlydoonepath(andcan’tpick),theywillperceiveinequityinthegamescenarioandgetupset.
14. Disincentives
Definition:
agameelementthatusesapenalty(oralteredsituation)toinducebehavioralshift
Example:
losinghealthpoints,amazon’scheckoutlineremovingalllinkstotunnelthebuyertopurchase,speedingtraps
15. Endless Games
Definition:
Gamesthatdonothaveanexplicitend.Mostapplicabletocasualgamesthatcanrefreshtheircontentorgameswhereastatic(butpositive)stateisarewardofitsown.
Example:
Farmville(staticstateisitsownvictory),SCVNGR(challengesconstantlyarebeingbuiltbythecommunitytorefreshcontent)
16. Envy
Definition:
Thedesiretohavewhatothershave.Inorderforthistobeeffectiveseeingwhatotherpeoplehave(voyeurism)mustbeemployed.
Example:
myfriendhasthisitemandIwantit!
17. Epic Meaning
Definition:
playerswillbehighlymotivatediftheybelievetheyareworkingtoachievesomethinggreat,somethingawe-inspiring,somethingbiggerthanthemselves.
Example:
FromJaneMcGonical’sTedTalkwhereshediscussesWarcraft’songoingstorylineand“epicmeaning”thatinvolveseachindividualhasmotivatedplayerstoparticipateoutsidethegameandcreatethesecondlargestwikiintheworldtohelpthemachievetheirindividualquestsandcollectivelytheirepicmeanings.

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