Game thinking from Adam Clare

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Anti-Social Behaviour and Anti-Fun

One thing any gamer designer finds out quickly is that the player will do whatever they want no matter how well designed your game is. Have a rainbow and hug zone? Well, that can become the slander and maim zone. So how does one go about convincing the player to do the ‘proper’ thing?

There is no clear way to do this but we do know of some approaches that tend to work more than not.

At Gamasutra there is a good article on Engineering, Enforcement, and Education (the 3 Es) approach to curbing unwanted behaviour.

Engineering is basically designing the game so unwanted behaviour can’t happen.
Enforcement is classical conditioning with punishment.
Education boils down getting the player to understand why things happen.

The game itself can cause anti-social behaviour from direct competition in things like MOBA games. This is covered in the article above, as is a lot about Riot.

At Riot (who incorporate neuroscience into their behavioural approach), they take an approach to game design which is essentially balancing fun with anti-fun.

Anti-fun is the negative experience your opponents feel when you do something that prevents them from ‘playing their game’ or doing activities they consider fun. While everything useful you can do as a player is likely to cause SOME anti-fun in your opponents, it only becomes a design issue when the ‘anti-fun’ created on your use of a mechanic is greater than your fun in using the mechanic

They call this approach Anti-Patterns and there is a good write up on their forums.

When making an online game in which people interact with one another via gameplay it’s a good idea to take the above

Thanks to Aaron!

Notes on Creating an Economy for a Social Game

Creating an effective game economy is hard no matter what sort of game is being created. The relationship between the economy and game flow cannot be understated.

Amit Mahajan from Zynga provides a good overview of economy and social interaction.

The Dubit Platform looks promising as a tool for creating the basis of your economy. The image at the top of this post is from their good post on designing a social game economy.

I haven’t used their tool yet, so I can’t comment on what it’s like to use it. You can access it here.

Cafe World is a Facebook game that has an economy that you can see in spreadsheet form. An obviously out of date spreadsheet of their game is available on Google Docs.

If you know of any other tools for designing an in-game economy please let me know!

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