Fundamentals of Immersion

Jun 20

Nicholson, S. (2012, June). A User-Centered Theoretical Framework for Meaningful Gamification. Paper Presented at Games+Learning+Society 8.0, Madison, WI.

  • My hunch is that immersion need be largely self-directed (or internally motivated). The Organismic Integration Theory may be useful for helping me define my taxonomy
  • Deterding on gamification: “use of game design elements in non-game contexts”
  • can remove the internal motivation a user has for an activity, replaced with external motivation
  • suggests “pointsificiation” for adding scoring to a non-game activity
    • focuses onĀ  goals without play
  • suggests “exploitationware” as a better description of what is going on
  • almost all forms of rewards reduce internal motivation
  • once you start giving someone a reward “you have to keep her in that reward loop forever”
  • the goal of the paper is to explore theories in user-centered gamification that is meaningful to the user and therefore does not depend upon external rewards
  • Organismic Integration Theory: a continuum of motivations based upon how much external control is integrated along with the desire to perform the activity
    • an activity is more likely to be integrated if it is meaningful to the user. If too many external controls re integrated the user can have negative feelings about engaging in the activity
  • In order to be meaningful the activity must be relevant to the user
  • by involving the user in the creation and customization of the gamification system the user can select or create meaningful game elements and goals
  • Situated Motivational Affordance: a user is motivated only when there is a match between htat aspect and the backgorund ofthe user. example: if an element of gamification in a company is tied to financial reward, the perception of this as a controlling activity is greater than if the element is tied to a badge
  • Universal Design for Learning: courses should be designed so students can demonstrate learning in a number of ways.
  • Gamification needs to allow different ways for users to achieve goals so that users can be involved in the ways most meaningful to them
  • external rewards are not user-centred

Nicholson, Scott. (2016). Ask Why: Creating a Better Player Experience Through Environmental Storytelling and Consistency in Escape Room Design. Paper presented at Meaningful Play 2016, Lansing, Michigan.

  • Nicholson is primarily concerned with narrative consistency within escape games and the associated player experience. His “Ask Why” paradigm is valuable for designers of narrative-driven experiences.
  • embed the challenges in the game along with the narrative into the environment using the concept of Narrative Architecture
  • consistent genre, setting, world, challenges make more engaged player experience
  • player is their own avatar and are thus more sensitive to inconsistencies
  • cognitive dissonance between who they are supposed to be in the game and what they are doing in it
  • game designers should start with the experience they are trying to create, then every design decision should move players closer to that experience.
    • question a decision which does not move players toward the core experience
  • Narrative Architecture (Henry Jenkins, from the theme park industry) gmae mechanisms are embedded in a larger world. players explore that world as they explore game mechanisms, the story is woven into the space the player is exploring. they are also exploring the story as they explore the mechanisms.
  • Ask Why: ask “why is this here” when looking at every element of a game space.
  • Lee Sheldon: audiences want 3 things from storytellers:
    • Take me to a place I’ve never been
    • Make me into something I could never be
    • Let me do things I could never do
  • players should have a meaningful reason for taking on a task other than “its in the room”
  • Meaningful Play: for play to be meaningful, the actions a player take have to be discernible, meaning the player understands the result of what they are doing, and integrated, meaning the actions the player takes makes a difference.
  • Meaningful challenges:
    • engage with an element of the narrative that has been presented to the player
    • interact with the world in which the player exists
    • have a direct impact on the player or other characters
  • When the world is incoherent, and immersive elements are not put into place, players can’t psychologically step into the world and imagine navigating it
  • a good puzzle is about creating frustration for the player
    • the player experiences some frustration but also provides checkpoints so the player knows they are on the right path
    • they have a clear solution
    • a puzzle with no choices is a task
    • a puzzle must balance the requirement for effort and inspiration to solve
    • Escape rooms can be categorized by technology
      • Gen 1: mostly mechanical and require human engagement and human power
      • Gen 2: more electronic sensors, mag locks, remote controls, but still human triggered
      • Gen 3: technology and computer control is integrated so the room can respond to the actions of the players without human involvement
      • Gen 4: automated clue systems, control the flow of players, change the game space based on the players needs
  • “Round Up To Fun”
    • sometimes something needs to be adjusted away from realism to make an enjoyable player experience

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