Welcome to the final part of the 10-episode series where Yu-kai guides us through the implementation of an engaging website design!
Using the CaptainUp gamification platform, he talks about community building, happy relationships, collection sets, power-ups, rare gems, how to make meaningful choices, and much more! Continue on and join Yu-kai on his adventure!
Engaging Website Design : Episode 6 – Building a Community
For those of you who are truly interested in creating compelling games, here is something to consider: Should a game be judged favorably because players find it hard to break away from and spend countless hours immersed in it?
It would seem so, wouldn’t it? However, it is quite possible to feel compelled to keep playing even though the entire experience has become tedious and the novelty has worn off. Likewise, this same game might instead conjure the strong emotional rewards of true gratification and accomplishment which motivates the player to keep playing.
The difference has to do with two key areas:
The standard use of behavioral conditioning principles
The strategies which engage a sense of Unpredictability as well as Curiosity (Core Drive #7), inspiring the player to find out more.
An understanding of “operant conditioning” will help you understand the fundamental principles that drive behavior. But to go beyond this level, it is important to engage the players’ mental and emotional thirst for curiosity so that they would want to continue playing and explore circumstances that are unpredictable, despite having little sense of control. This experience is vastly more rewarding than simply being in a conditioned state, practically on autopilot. Knowing this distinction will help you become better at recognizing and discerning the finer points of quality game design.
BF Skinner and Operant Conditioning
Some games compel players to reliably perform certain behaviors again and again. Why is this? Psychologists have discovered that behaviors are fundamentally learned through a process of association. Individuals learn to react in a certain way in response to a particular stimulus. This is done by rewarding the behavior. The subject ultimately learns to react in a specific way to the stimulus.
Initial studies in this area involved animals and involuntary reactions such as salivation. Later, a psychologist named BF Skinner took these findings by applying reward associations to voluntary behaviors.
Crowdsourcing is a method of actionable community engagement that harnesses the collective wisdom, contributions, and capabilities of large numbers of people (i.e. the “crowd” in crowdsourcing). Crowdsourcing has been used to solicit, improve, and address complex virtual and real-world challenges. Some of these applications are in the areas of:
Innovation and creativity
Building accurate and vast knowledge
Solving complex multi-layered problems
Achieving complicated feats within a short span of time
Crowdsourcing utilizes several core behavioral drives that compel users to collectively work together to solve problems (sometimes by breaking them into tedious, and manageable tasks). Wikipedia is one example of a crowdsource information platform that utilizes gamification principles to entice users to curate and publish regular content while holding the community (and its content) responsible for accuracy and quality.
While different crowdsourcing application utilize a wide-range of gamification principles at varying degrees (and with differing success), the decision to implement gamification mechanics depends on the quality of experience the project seeks to offer based on the understanding of their users’ drives and motivations.
In some cases, people may be naturally inspired to contribute their time and efforts towards a particular cause (e.g. Wikipedia). In other instances, it may be beneficial to enhance the experience of the crowdsourced endeavor by making it more immersive and compelling through the integration of key game mechanics.
Here are several examples (in no particular order) which highlight the achievement of large scale or complex feats through the integration of gamification and crowdsourcing.
When immersed in a great game experience, learning, doing and solving problems feels completely effortless- the hours fly by. The non-game enthusiast may see this as an idle past-time and some may even regard the compulsion to keep playing as a kind of addiction. But the people behind the Internet-Response League view this as an untapped social potential that can drive the accomplishment of enormous feats, the solving of tough problems, and the saving of lives in times of crisis and disaster.
The initiative is headed by Peter Mosur, Patrick Meier and Ahmed Meheina. Peter is a graduate student at the Metropolitan College of New York who studies emergency management. Patrick is an expert on next generation human technology and has co-directed a Harvard program on Crisis Mapping. Ahmed is an undergraduate at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alexandra who is studying communications and electronics. So what do these three have to do with this untapped potential?
The Internet Response League focuses on mobilizing and leveraging MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) communities. These groups have high numbers of players engaged with online game play where a healthy dose of enthusiasm is needed to solve difficult mission-driven challenges. With the right strategy, this problem-solving energy can be harnessed to produce socially conscious actions.