Tuesday, August 1, 2017

7 Rewards for Gaming

For years, I've been setting players up with adventures and watching them lust after things. All games need a reward, a mechanic that will get the players interested in taking a risk and struggle to succeed. In common parlance, a carrot to wave in on their face if it will make them haul the cart.

Trouble is, game designers get stuck thinking there are only two or three varieties of carrot—and so we get the same payoffs again and again. What's needed is a good, firm ...




This article is based on content that I included in those tutorials that I offered last year.  I went far more in depth into the material than I do in the article, generally speaking for 40-45 minutes on the subject, answering questions and making clarifications.  As well, in the tutorials, I balanced it more towards running as a DM than towards game design, which seemed like a better focus for the article.

Those who took part in the tutorial, I'm sure, can speak to the effectiveness of the content ~ but I'm not offering the tutorial anymore.  I'll be creating content from my tutorials for some time to come.

3 comments:

kimbo said...

Alexis,
A pleasure reading these reiterations, for me reading this anew allows a little more to trickle through the cracks in my thick skull.

Your last point is of course the kicker.
Game providing Purpose... as opposed to Diversion (fun, amusment, a reason for friends to gather) ...(diversion from lack of purpose?)
This is the wrong tree others are barking up... more fun, more amusement, more quirk, more silly, more variety, more systems to learn and master...

...and instead of realising (or even suspecting) that these are two quite different (perhaps mutually exclusive) Design objectives, there is vitriolic criticism (simulationist, bad wrong fun, one true way) ... reminds me of the line about the viciousness of academic rivalry "because the stakes are so very low".

Was wondering if youre familiar with the Big Five inventory of psychologcal traits?
Reason for asking is that these traits not only indicate behaviour but also something like perceptual preference in exploritory behaviour... relevant to individuals preferences for Purpose and dopamine/seratonin responses... e.g. high trait extraversion seeks out social interactions. This may be relevant to player behaviour and DM motivation/behaviour . ((From your blog writing, you Alexis seem to be very high in trait Conscientiousness (specifically in Industriousness aspect), high in Openness and Low in Aggreeablness (adversarial when necessary, no push-over)))... not say these are fixed patterns (personal development is about learning to operate in a range of behavours according to situation) but tendencies or preferences...

I can envision a situation where the players aint buying what the DMs selling because significant differences in psychological traits (and DMs lack of awareness or care for those differences)....

K

Alexis Smolensk said...

I was not familiar with the inventory but I have read it now. These organizations for behaviour are helpful in that it directs us towards what sort of dangers we should look out for and how better to control our abberant behaviour. I, as you've guessed, have a tendency to become very, very angry at stuff...

My anger is not sparked by the same sort of things that might spark others; and I know that much of my anger derives from a difficult upbringing and bullied childhood, compensated with aggressiveness and, unfortunately, bouts with hubris that sometimes gets off the chain.

But the flip side is that resisting that anger sparks feelings of anxiety that border on PTSD and, in some cases, such as my book, a crippling paralysis ... that I overcome through grappling for a greater control over my life. I can't say which of these two extremes is more "me"; they both are. I am sometimes so emotionally stable that I'm frightening; other times I am not.

Humans just aren't clear enough in their characteristics to be measured in this manner; we start from these places but we realize, mindfully, that they don't add up in the long run. Eventually, we understand that we're every dimension, and both sides of it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As far as DMs failing because of their psychological traits, what jobs or careers can we pursue that don't require we get our psychological traits in order and put them aside to get the job done? I can't be "me" when I'm DMing. I have too much responsibility. I feel that responsibility acutely when I am DMing.

I think it is perfectly reasonable for players to expect that self-awareness from anyone who wants to put themselves into a position of authority.