Finalists and Winner of the Octalysis Prime Item Design Challenge, February 2020

Iñaki’s presentation of Octalysis Prime’s Game Loop

The Item Design Challenge, 2020

It was time to add new items to the Octalysis Prime store to make the gameplay better for new and endgame users alike. So, what did our members come up with in our latest Octalysis Prime Design Challenge?

This was another great group of Octalysis Prime Design Challenge submissions making this a difficult decision. Always a pleasure when your quality gives us the pain of picking.

Based on their thoughtful analysis utilizing Human-Focused Design and aligning that to the business goals of Octalysis Prime, here are the submissions that stood out:

Winner – Iñaki
Finalists: Sergio and Olivier

Winner: Iñaki

Iñaki created the most items which we could potentially see using on the Island, and we will continue to work with him to see which might be implemented from his Alchemy Set, Hunter’s Mark, Magic Scroll, and Spirits’ Stones. Great work showing how the new items fit into the game loops on the Island.

Here is Iñaki’s presentation.

The Alchemy Set
Game Loop WITH Iñaki’s new items included

Finalist: Sergio

Sergio offered Octalysians, a character-based layer for encounters, new information, and boosters to current gameplay, with possibility to add new kinds of gameplay in the future with new characters.

Here is Sergio’s presentation.

Sergio’s example of interaction with the Shaman

Finalist: Olivier

With Olivier’s Spill Filter, Wagering, and Geomon Stroll, there would be knew ways to play the game in a non-linear way. Great pre-work analysis of the Octalysis Prime member hypothesis.

Here is Olivier’s presentation.

Discussion of Wagering on Quizzes

Make sure to join in the fun and learning on Octalysis Prime!

Design Ripples: The Daily Quest List on Octalysis Prime

This post is about how a small design decision to help new and Onboarding members created ripples for Endgame players on the Octalysis Prime Island. If you’re unclear on what certain terms are, try going to or referring to the OP Wiki.

And how the 8 Core Drives helped us find a better solution

An endgame user raises a question and provides a possible solution…

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara9 days ago
I’ve been talking with @Frank Parker lately and today that I took a look at the daily quest I had to go and look for the CD information to the map and so on…
taking some time

So I’m back with this suggestion. What do you think? @thechou@erikvanmechelen
@tiago@Leonardo Andrade easily doable?

A design suggestion from an Endgame member

Frank Parker9 days ago
Great suggestion, it would save me from going to the map to get information for potion selection. A CD3 improvement.

Erik van Mechelen

9 days ago
I think it’s a strong suggestion as well, and thank you Frank for the extra note on CD3 there. Also sent to the channel

Dirk proposes a group design thinking exercise

Dirk van Diepen

9 days ago
Thanks for sharing your idea @Iñaki (teacher). For those who want to optimize their EXP gain with potion planning it would indeed save some time to have it listed directly at the quests.

Let’s make a small design exercise out of it to judge whether it is an overall improvement for the Island! So let’s step into the shoes of the OP Development team and first try to answer these questions about why the quests were invented:

  • What is/are the Desired Action(s) the Quests are designed to enhance?
  • What player types are the Quests designed for?

—> Pitch in everybody! <—

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara9 days ago
I think Quests are made for users to come more frequently (every day if possible) and watch videos

There are two DA there. Using something similar to a Magnetic Cap and a Torture Break.You have your coins reward, which is not much but is an extra you can get, so why not ^^

I have tons of money now but I still desire to get them xDIf we analyze the basic player types, we could see what is each one getting from it.

Socializers: Probably the ones getting less from it, as items still don’t have ways of connecting with other users. They could be interested in getting coins to share them with the philanthropist but… probably not much.

Explorers: As coins are the way to get items, if they want to try them they have to get them. They can also get it with the chest. It will also work as a suggestion for them.

Achievers: They want it all, new users will probably watch that videos and more, as they also want to raise and get EXP for that, but they would at least watch those 3, to get the coins.

Killers: More or less the same as the achievers. I would say it is made for all users, but achievers could be the ones taking the most of it. Anyway, despite being designed in a way, it’s being used in many ways. As there are plenty of videos, new users can use it as a guide of what to start with. Old users usually have all the videos watched, then, they stop for a while and when the quest is back, they start another time watching videos.

It gives a suggestion on what to watch and as we want to get the most of those few videos we have to watch, so we study which CDs are more powerful, therefore we can choose how to obtain the most EXP points or how to potentiate the CDs we want. And then, full of potions, we watch them.I think I that now that I see the end of the videos near me, I even wait for the best day to watch those videos. To get the most of it.I hope I could made my thoughts understandable. My head is a little mess right nowI’d love to hear your thoughts @Dirk (edited) Also sent to the channel

Dirk van Diepen

8 days ago
Before I reply I’d love to hear from other people too. You can also keep it closer to yourself and answer this question:Does the Quest feature make you be more active? If so, what is motivating you?

Frank Parker8 days ago
The Daily Quest is a feature that provides a daily goal of viewing 3 videos of the 500 videos available. The daily quest allows for a sense of progress along the way. This is a CD2 mechanism that supports a sense of achievement and progress. When you have finished watching videos, this sense of progress disappears. @Dirk@Iñaki (teacher) The daily quest mechanism also makes selection easier, eliminating the need to decide that might support insecurity. (edited) 

Frank Parker8 days ago
The daily quest design on the island also supports Explorer types by encouraging a non-linear movement through learning videos. It provides goal-setting for Achievers. (edited) 

Frank Parker8 days ago
Big disappointment when this shows the first time. It suggests complete. Returning daily to check the Quest Log is a testament to the expectation generated by this feature. I am surprised after completing the videos how excited I get to see the Daily Quest renewed with new videos. I noticed how annoyed many users get that when new videos are available and the Daily Quest log is found empty. It appears to be a bug in the application and breaks the transparency of the quest. This moment usually leads to the discovery that the Daily Quest requires videos from more than 2 categories. This breakdown suggests a break in one’s progress. It also suggests the end.

What Octalysis Primers see once they’ve completed all videos.

Peter Hyde5 days ago
I agree with @Frank Parker that it is a disappointment when you finish all videos – there should be a big win state. I don’t think it is a bug though, when I posted on this I was told if there were at least three videos available in at least three different areas of the island areas then it would show again. I am waiting for new videos to test this.

Peter Hyde5 days ago
I don’t see adding core drives to the daily quests would help. To me, you finish the three videos each day to complete the quest and receive the bonus. I never looked at what the core drives were. Less is more on the interface for me, keep it simple.

Dirk van Diepen

5 days ago
Thanks for the analyses Iñaki, Frank and Peter! I will give some feedback on your comments and share my own thoughts (note that I joined the team after this feature was implemented, so I’ll be doing some guesswork here).

The main DA the Quests aim to enhance is indeed to watch more video’s. But this does not rely on a Magnetic Cap or a Torture Break. Because you can still watch as many videos you want. This feature falls under GT#35 Quest List, which mostly relies on CD2.

The coin reward is not that much indeed. But if you are brand new to the island and are only collecting Chou Coins from the chest. The Quests will almost double your daily gold income.

Even if you have more Chou Coins than you could ever spend, as you said @Iñaki (teacher), the reward is still interesting. This is partly because you care about Chou Coins and you simply always want to get more (CD4). But probably more because the moment of receiving the reward empowers the win-state and makes you feel accomplished (CD2) your subconsciousness will ‘think’ something like this: “I did it! And I got a hundred Chou Coins, so it means something that I completed this task! I’m awesome.”

Your short analysis, Iñaki, using Bartle’s four Player Types, seems very focused on the reward, thinking about how the Chou Coins would motivate them. You make a fine addition @Frank Parker about promoting ‘non-linear movement through the island’ (CD7) for Explorers and ‘adding goal-setting’ for Achievers (CD2).

For veteran users it becomes a more practical feature. It notifies you that there are again new video’s to watch (serving as a Feedback Mechanic to trigger DA’s) and can direct you to them quickly.I agree with all of you that, after having finished watching all videos, the Quest log can feel like a disappointment. For the few, but very important, veteran users who reach this state there should be an End-Game feature. Like a repeatable quest that can only be done after ‘proving your worth’ by having all the ‘initiate video-watching quests’ completed. (@thechou lets brainstorm about this some time shall we?)

– – – – –

Besides adding the CD2, CD4 and CD7 motivation already mentioned, I think the biggest aim for the Quest Log is to address an anti-core drive.

As with any platform, one of the biggest challenges is to get Onboarding users invested in the experience.

There are over 500 videos on the island, covering a wide variety of topics, spread over many different sections and sub-topics. That is quite overwhelming, it is easy to feel lost, not knowing where to begin.I’m sure many of you have felt this at some point: “I logged on, opened my chest, enjoyed the peaceful tune, but now I’m not sure what to do. What did I watch last time? Should I start a new series? Let’s check on FaceBook first, because this insecurity, that Frank already mentioned, is making me feel uneasy.”But once you got over that first hurdle and watched one video, it is a lot easier to watch a few more. And that is where the Quest Log comes in.

To judge which of the 500 videos is the ‘best’ choice to watch is hard as they are all presented as equal. The Quest Log highlights 3 of them and temporarily makes them ‘better’ than the others because there is a reward attached and it is pleasant to reach a clear goal. So this helps you to get started, after which you are more likely keep going and all the other features can do their thing to get you really invested.So I would say that the main point is to remove the anti-core drive (Anti-CD2) of uncertainty.

– – – – –

To get back to the original question, for the 95% of users it does not add much (or any) motivation to see the Core Drives listed with the Quest videos. As Yu-Kai often says:“

Any feature that does not motivate a DA is a distraction and should be discarded”

Or as @Peter Hyde correctly put it, “less is more on the interface, keep it simple”.

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara3 days ago
Hey @Dirk, thanks for such a detailed answer. About the Game techniques, I did not mention quest as it is obvious, but I wrote the other 2 GT because, despite not being exactly as they are description the manual. They gave me similar feelings. Maybe because being a Hardcore achiever player.

Magnetic cap: A limit or cap in how many times a user can perform a Desired Action over a certain period

Whenever I do an action I try to get the most of it. If I get time to watch videos but SB is not active, I’ll ask @xiaogou to activate it or wait for him to do it on its own and then start. If I see it active, I take a look at the videos and see if at least 2/3 seem interesting by title. If so I proceed to analyze the CD points, select the potions and now geomons according to my stats and watch the videos.

I could watch more videos , but as I could not get what I wanted from them, I stop doing it.

Similar to what happens with the messages on videos, after the third, with gives no reward, some people stop. I stop after the first, keep the comment on a trello board until I have the SB active and then post one or many.Torture Break: A sudden pause to the Desired Actions for a set duration of time in order to pace the user experience and create more desire to moving forward.

The torture break I though because of the pause, each day doing something instead of watching all the videos in a row as i did when I first started in the island. I entered the core and went out without clouds xD. I almost closed my eyes and could see @thechou face xD. too many hours


I tend to see the GT as a base of what can be applied and not something rigid, but I lacked on explanations back there. I hope my though is more understandable now. Maybe adding the feature as a buyable option or a power could be an idea, this way just who wants it would have it.or maybe seeing the information when you put your mouse on top of it, so it does not works as a distractions for users who do not want it. I see is really complicated to design for all player types at the same time. If I find it hard with 25-30, you having thousands…

Ulric Kurashige3 days ago
@Dirk The quest system is a pain.

  1. First I open the quests.
  2. I would have to write down the quests.
  3. Then open the map to find the videos.
  4. Write down the CDs to see how I can optimize my progress
  5. After finding the video I would then need to go to get the potions I need.
  6. Activate the appropriate Geomons.
  7. Go back to the quests and watch them.

At first, the quests were an anti-core drive to others and I, who are not so motivated. The reward to effort level is too high to make effective use of the reward.

The demotivator was the large for the number of steps to make it useful. I was lucky to be paired with @Iñaki (teacher) as a SB added a strong CD 5 and CD 1 Social/Adventure group. if I could cut out steps 2, 3, and 4 (which is grunt work to get to CD3) it would be a great help. I feel adding this feature would inspire others with CD 3 and are of the same player type like Iñaki and I.@Dirk

By the way CD7 random quest without a theme does not inspire me at all. There is usually a purpose for the quest (CD1). Random quests means I have no control of what I undertake. In most games there is a quest list. You want to take the one(s) that further your cause CD1 and CD 3 then at the end of the quest you receive either a random reward CD 7 or a meaningful reward CD 2 and CD 4. (edited) 

Time for the Chief Mentor to offer thoughts

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
Love the discussion. First thing @Peter Hyde, I believe the system will soon update to – as long as you have one video unwatched, it will show on the Daily Quest. Watching that last video will immediately reward you with the completion bonus. Treat it as a small bonus for finishing ALL the videos, which is definitely no easy feat in any standard.

I’ll have to investigate if we are already developing upgraded communication to showcase the “no more videos” win-state, which should truly feel exciting. This is a classic “anti-climatically win state” and it is there because I did not imagine the scenario where people have ALL the videos watched (some might be in autopilot mode in the background but I’m fine with that as long as they are truly watching many and benefiting/learning from those). I think a good design here would be the first time someone reaches this state, there will be a special treasure box that has something very rare – I have an idea but gonna keep it mysterious for now 😉

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
And you guys are mostly right. When the feature came out, it was for onboarding and early scaffolding users. To be honest it’s funny because we had many blue users who thought they watched all the videos but they just didn’t know they could go to more places on the Island.

So1) this told people “hey you still have unwatched stuff!”

2) reduce decision paralysis (or insecurity being the vocab here?) It worked pretty well, but the funny thing is then people felt disappointed after doing the “work” of finishing the quests, they didn’t get a reward. What?! They watched all these videos and got more educated for nothing?! So that’s where the chest came to play. Then a new interesting problem in behavior happened (OP is such an interesting testing ground on human motivation!). Because it offered coins, people felt like they HAD TO watch those three videos and got pissed that we are forcing them to watch things they didn’t care about (btw, if you see the comments many people were glad they found stuff they never thought to watch too). So then, we added the ability to refresh the list with some coins so you are able to see what you like. (edited) Also sent to the channel

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
Finally, there came a new “breed” of players who really strive to grow into the EXP system and are optimizing for everything. These are our Silver+ Members haha. These are the people who MUST use potions, Success Buddy Bonus, and now Geomon bonus on every video watched, or else they feel like they are losing something (btw, orbs were introduced to make people feel the quantity of videos is not the bottleneck of your exp journey – warning: we may soon cap each video to only be rewatched with exp once a week to retain educational value).

This type of hardcore endgame playing causes someone like @xiaogou who is one of the most internally and intrinsically inspired learner to feel that it was not “useful” to watch the Daily Quest Videos because there are just too many steps that need to be done to find out what EXP is in each video before doing the potion/geomon run. As a result, the “labor” to get those things done was not worth the “reward” and the request is to reduce the labor by just having all the CD points there so they can go straight to doing the potion/geomon combos (which by itself takes time and effort). Isn’t it fascinating how a small simple tool made for beginners to prevent them from being too lost created this entire saga of ripples? That’s what I love about OP and why it exists so we can all learn things that isn’t anywhere else yet 🙂

Yu-kai Chou

3 days ago
Finally, to answer your initial request @Iñaki (teacher) . What we’ll do is that when you mouse over the Daily Quest items, you will see the values for the 8 Core Drives.

@Leonardo Andrade@tiago

Frank Parker2 days ago
Yes! I like the concluding compromise. This was a great design exercise. Thanks @Dirk

Iñaki Ibargoyen Vergara1 day ago
I’m happy to read this, and thank you all for the comments and the insightful discussion. I love talking about those things, and it helps a lot to the learning process as was shown by @Howie Ju‘s pyramid the other day

Yu-kai Chou

8 hours ago
Hey @erikvanmechelen Lets have the highlights of this conversation shared in the newsletter, maybe even a blogpost.

My pleasure! – Erik

Badges in Gameful Design: How users perceive them and how are they motivational

This is a guest post by Gustavo Tondello, Gamification Research and Consultant, who is creating a new offer a new type of service for gamification professionals. He will publish weekly summaries of research articles (or even some original articles of his when time allows) in a format that intends to help professionals quickly understand and apply the takeaways from the research on their work.

UPDATE on April 24, 2020: After advertising this idea for a few months, I did not find enough people interested in the Patreon content. So, new Patreon subscriptions are not available anymore. But enjoy this free sample, which is still available above for upload.

A common design element

Badges are the most used element in educational gameful design and the third most used element in gamification in general. They have been listed by many different gamification researchers and experts as one of the basic gameful design elements. But do you know exactly what role do badges perform on a gameful application? How do users perceive them and interact with them—do you know that there are at least nine different ways? How do badges motivate users to engage with the gameful system?

This article summarizes the latest research on how badges are perceived by users, what kind of users prefer to use them, and how do they motivate users of gameful systems. Finally, we give design guidelines to make the most effective use of badges in gameful design.

In short:

  1. Badges are often seen as a form of incentive or reward;
  2. Badges are also frequently seen as a means for goal setting and a measure of accomplishment;
  3. Users with social tendencies may enjoy utilizing badges as a means for social interaction;
  4. Badges can be useful as a form of positive feedback and encouragement;
  5. But badges can get in the way if users are already motivated to engage with the task or if they do not perceive any real value in the badges.

Do you want to know more details and the design guidelines to learn how to design badges to fulfill all these roles in your system? Keep reading below to download a free copy of the full article.

Note on Patreon Content

This article is a free sample of the kind of content I am publishing as a Patreon content creator. Please download the file below to read the full free article. Badges-in-Gameful-DesignDownload

As a subscriber, you will have access to weekly articles like this, summarizing a topic from gamification research in an easy and practical format, with guidelines on how to apply it to your practice. Have you ever felt that it would be great to keep up with the latest gamification/UX research, but there is never enough time? Now you can do it!

If this sounds interesting, please check Gameful Bits on Patreon and subscribe now!

Gustavo Tondello, Gamification Research and Consultant

How to Use Music to Gamify Productivity

This is a sample from a daily blog I write for premium Octalysis Prime members, sharing practical and immediately applicable information related to gamification and behavior design. In other words, a daily blog for OP inspired by James Altucher and Seth Godin and others with a daily writing practice. 

You’ve probably noticed background music and music to learn, like this Akira the Don album (YouTube) on Joseph Campbell‘s Hero of a Thousand Faces, which uses spaced repetition combined with original music production.

From Akira the Don

(I wager that Akira the Don’s retention is off the charts given he creatively composed this album, requiring him to select the most important aspects of Campbell’s work.)

I’ve read various authors and then followed up with musical compositions like this, which to my mind serve a similar purpose to a bookshelf, where, after reading a book, I can simply notice it on the shelf and remember its contents. It’s almost like magic!

Maybe it has to do with flow (Fadi and Yu-kai recently discussed on Linkedin).

Speaking of music, one of our very own Octalysis Prime members, Frank Parker, is familiar with gamified learning and community building through music. I happen to know his son Ashlin Parker has used the Octalysis framework to ideate and improve the Trumpet Mafia experience. (If you haven’t read about it, head over to the OP Store and purchase the Getting Started Guide, only 500 Chou Coins!)

I will keep an eye (and ear) out for member projects I like to expand on in this blog… For example, I’m curious to know more about Bo joining the Yang Gang (former US presidential candidate) even though he cannot vote in the election–Bo lives and teaches in Denmark.

In other news, I recently transcribed Yu-kai’s video on Endgame Loot Design (which is a downloadable resource received after completing the video).

One idea in the video is that in WoW and Diablo, Blizzard game designers implemented mystery box designs… but Yu-kai noticed a problem.

As a reminder, this is only the 2nd day of my new Daily OP quest, where I share a few notes every day with each of you here in the community. Since a lot of you are annual members, I thought ‘What better way than to have a daily conversation?’

For completing this blog reading, here’s your loot! (a random video from OP) … only for Primers.

Erik van Mechelen
Your Octalysis Prime Community Manager

PS Send any requests for downloadable resources, like ‘How to Get Started on My Octalysis Level I Certificate’ or ‘The Octalysis Guide to Parenting’

Linked content from this email:
Akira the Don – Joseph Campbell, full album – “what is this mystery…?” (CD1/7)
Joseph Campbell (wikipedia)
Endgame Loot Design video on OP Island

Prime On! (parting thoughts)

Congrats to member Sergio Ligato for his recent guest post on a top Italian gamification site!

Martín Villegas Wins the Octalysis Prime & Food Heroes II Design Challenge

In a tough field for a difficult challenge, Martín emerged the Winner of the latest Octalysis Prime Design Challenge and will eventually be headed to Shanghai to work with the Food Heroes team.

To see the Design Challenge details for Food Heroes II, read this article.

After the initial submissions in the OP Island Challenge area, Each of the participants was asked by Food Heroes for additional conversations, and from what I heard from Food Heroes, those conversations were helpful to them and also to the participants.

Additionally, @Sergio and @Iñaki were named Finalists, congratulations! Watch out for their submissions in the coming weeks.

This was, as usual, a very tough decision.

What we liked about Martín’s Submission

As you can see when reviewing Martín’s submission, he is a worthy winner showing 1) a solid understanding of the Octalysis gamification framework, 2) how to apply Octalysis knowledge to improve a product and service in Food Heroes, and 3) attention to detail in all aspects of his presentation.

From my personal perspective, it was amazing to see the quality of submissions improve from our last Food Heroes Challenge to this one. That is a testament to the dedication each of you has committed to improving your design skills. Well done and Prime On!

As always, if you are looking to improve your Octalysis Gamification design skill and expertise, Octalysis Prime is a great place to start or gain experience above and beyond your innate attributes.

How to Design a Game Experience: 5 Tips to Get Started

My name is Sergio. I am one of the Octalysis Prime members who took part in Food Heroes Challenge 2. This challenge made the Octalysis Prime community want to contribute to making the Food Heroes user experience more and more engaging for many kids who, together with their parents and teachers, discover and develop better eating habits and at the same time make the world a better place.

Gamification or Game Design?

One of the goals of this challenge was to plan a game experience that could have been replayed in different contexts (dining table, canteens, classroom) and able to guarantee long term engagement. The aspect that I found to be more stimulating was surely the necessity to plan the experiences according to both the logic of gamification and the rules of game design.

Regarding the first of these two points, “5-Step Design Process” by Yu-Kai Chou has been the most useful and complete guideline to approach the process with a “human-focused design”. For the latter, I found it useful to refer to inspirations very close to me: the Octalysis framework, the elemental tetrad by Jesse Schell and my own gaming experience.

The fourth element is my son. He is 7 years old and he -unknowingly- helped me through the analysis of the gamers and gaming tests (bearing patiently and bravely with the sudden changes in rules and supporting my work with his encouraging “Dad, when are we going to play your game again?”).

Gamification and Game Design

In this article, I would like to share with you five tips that have been useful to me in the design and realization of FoodVentures, a card game, similar to “dungeon crawler” in which the players explore dungeons, facing challenges and hazards while looking out for seeds and keeping them. FoodVentures was planned, taking into consideration the four aspects listed by Jesse Schell as basic elements of every gaming experience: aesthetics, story, mechanics and technology. The card game FoodVentures is thought of as a component of a bigger project, including activities and player experiences not just practically but also digitally, through an app for mobile devices.

5 Useful Tips to Design Your Game Prototype

#1 – Work on The Aesthetics (as Much as You Can)

Visual design has a key role in any gaming experience and it is constituted by the visual stimulus used to evoke specific sensations in the player. Colours shapes and materials used for the components, fonts, style of the illustrations contribute to project the player in the game’s setting, being it historical, futuristic or abstract.

FoodVentures aims to put the player in the same atmosphere of the entire Food Heroes project, using illustrated cards with elements ascribable to learning goals (types of healthy foods, colour, season, food’s typical environment); the fastest way to develop a “playable” prototype was to start from a white deck of cards and a set of markers. I looked up online for graphic elements to sketch the white side of the cards, to make it “kids proof”(extremely hard task if you’re using a symbolic -and not evocative- language). A good alternative to drawing could be printing the images in good quality on adhesive paper and put the cards in protective card sleeves to shuffle them easily.

FoodVentures prototype playtesting

#2 – Write Your Story

A Game Loop is one of the fundamental elements for a good outcome of the game. A linear experience with no boosters (Game Technique #31) does not benefit the long term engagement of the player (boosters allow players to design game strategy). Through the correct use of boosters, you can stimulate the player to form his own strategy and plan ahead, pushing them to discover many different means of interaction with the various elements of the game, resulting in a different gaming experience every time. The first question I asked myself when beginning to write a storyline for FoodVentures was: “Is there in the project any legends, mysterious places, fun facts or bizarre character to inspire me?” The answers were many, but I decided to start from the fascinating and special place: Seed Vault, an existing place in Norway where the genetic heritage of original seeds is kept and preserved. This place was the baseline for the following story, framing the FoodVentures game.

FoodVentures Story part 1
FoodVentures Story part 2

The story was then helpful for choosing a suggestive name for each and every element of the game, like the virtual value, powerups, hurdles, and eventually villains, levels, experience points and so on. Obviously there are many other ways to give a sparkle to your creativity and write a good story for your new game, one of my favourites is Fabula, a card deck that allows you to always have all the elements to build your own stories or analyse someone else’s, from the easiest to the most complex.

#3 – Define the Mechanics

The first game I ever designed was a bad copy of Monopoly. As most of the games designed by somebody who has only ever played Monopoly has and will always be. Once, during an interview with a game designer, I asked him what he thought of my game. He said, “it depends”. “If it is a game for classrooms, it is fine. If you want to sell it, there’s a long way to go”.

Confronting with him was really interesting, and the biggest lesson I got out of it was “if you want to design good games you have to play, play, play”. Since then, I started discovering and experimenting with new games, and I started seeing the point he was trying to make. I tried many games, some of them just once, some of them I bought and some of them I‘ll never be able to try. Luckily for me, on YouTube, there’s a whole army of enthusiasts who show through video materials previews, and mechanics of games that would have otherwise been inaccessible to me. I discovered that watching tutorials is the best way to learn more about games and get inspired.

#4 – Choose the Technology

The technology is represented by materials used (cardboard, wood, plastic, augmented reality software, cards…) that are needed for the gaming experience. For my project I chose a practical gaming experience based on a card deck, mainly for four reasons:

  • Scalability, the development of new elements and expansions can guarantee a good level of re-playing
  • Portability, the fact that the whole game consists of two decks of cards makes it easy to use in a classroom as well as a restaurant, or at home
  • Collectability, the cards can be used for the gaming experience, both competitive or collaborative, or just be collected
  • Personalisation, the deck representing events regarding dungeons or places to explore can be set in a new way every time, allowing the player to choose a setting that will go well with the hurdles, treasures and event cards

#5 – Try it With People, Take Notes, Improve It, Repeat

Once that the first prototype is ready, you just have to try it. Friends, family and acquaintances can be amazing playtestesters. Grab pen and paper and note down any adjustments needed to improve the gaming experience altogether.

This phase is probably the hardest, but so worth it. A good gaming experience normally takes a long trial before being ready for the market.

Ultimately, a fun game that you won’t get enough of is a game in which the aesthetic, story, mechanics, technology elements are used with balance and in the right way.

These five tips can set you off to a great start if you’re moving the first steps in the fascinating art of game design.

Are you ready to play it your way?

About the author

Sergio Ligato is a proud Octalysis Primer since January 2019. Works in a Vocational and Educational Training center in Italy since 2001, writes and speaks about edtech in live events and on the internet. Loves gamification, game design, free software, learning and teaching technology.

China Social Credity System, Part 1 of 3

In this series, Yu-kai analyzes the social credit system coming soon in China from the perspective of Octalysis design.

Today, we’re gonna talk about a fairly well known controversial global issue, which is China’s social credit system. So, for those who don’t know, China wants to have what some people call the biggest gamification experiment or implementation in history. They want to turn ‘being a good citizen’ into a game. In actuality, it’s kind of like a financial credit score system.

The Chinese government is trying to measure how good of a Chinese citizen you are. Are you patriotic? Are you paying your loans? This has been hugely controversial because the whole world sees that it’s like ‘Wow, that’s Orwellian.” 

One of the examples people like to compare this to is a Black Mirror episode where everything in life is also measured by your social score where people rate you, your rating is too low, you can get locked out of renting a car or getting a mortgage. 

And in this Black Mirror episode, the dystopian scenario crashes down upon this lady who is so obsessed with getting a high score that she kept doing things to promote it, but ended up losing out. 

China system, right, it’s very interesting because it doesn’t just measure your financial credit score it breaks your credit score in five categories. Kind of like the attribute webchart we talked about in gameful education.

Background Characteristics

The first is your background characteristics. Who you are. The school you came out of. So that’s just your identity, right, that will give you a score. 

Preferences and Tendencies

Next, you have your preferences and tendencies. So, what kind of hobbies do you like? Do you like hobbies that support the Chinese government? If you buy a lot of products from overseas, your score actually lowers. So, that’s it. 

Financial Reliability

The ability to pay back your debt, and how trustworthy and reliable you are, so it’s basically or literally how well you can pay on time.

Interpersonal Connections

And then there are your personal connections. So this is actually probably the most controversial one, because, basically, is your friends and family have a low score, then you will have a lower score too. So you really have two options. If you notice, people are doing things that are not patriotic and they’re low, and low scores, then you have two options. Number one is to disassociate yourself. You know, don’t interact with them at all because if you interact with them you’re gonna decrease. Or, you got to convince them to be a good citizen again, don’t badmouth these events. Right. And so, that becomes a very stressful time where people would perhaps trust each other less because they don’t want other people to know that internally they’re feeling, disgruntled about something but they can’t let anyone else know. 

Credit History

And then finally, the last point is your credit history. Normal financial credit history, and then all these five characteristics combined into one total score. And this score, China, they deploy the social throughout China in 2020, but I think I saw reports delay they wanted to late 2021, but they have experimented and have ongoing experiments in many different places now so this is actually real implementation. 

Implementation and Results

So far, 23 million people have been discredited or barred from traveling. I think about around 17 million couldn’t buy plane tickets anymore and 5 or 6 million people are unable to take the train. And so the idea is that hey if you are not worthy, right, you don’t have the credit. You’re in the country, then you shouldn’t be traveling go to damage control, quarantine you almost. 

And one very interesting story is that there is a Chinese actress barred from boarding an airplane. She walked to the airport computer screen with checkout and showed that she had a low score because she was guilty of defaming her boyfriend’s ex-lover. And she did not apologize. So, they didn’t let her on the plane because she had a bad citizen behavior and she couldn’t get on the plane. And then, once she apologized to her boyfriend’s ex-lover, that ban was lifted and then she could go take planes after that. 

So, again, some people think it’s crazy and ridiculous how our government would prevent you from using, transportation, based on what you say about someone else, you might think “that feels like a complete lack of freedom and China is obviously trying to monitor more people.”

So, I think as of now, there are over 200 million video cameras on the streets and alleys of China, and China’s goal for this year is actually have over 626 million cameras deployed throughout 2020. In comparison, there are only about 330 million people in the US, so they literally want twice the amount of Americans in cameras in China, and there are about 1.4 billion people in China, pretty generous and still only about one camera for every two citizens so it’s not so bad, right. They didn’t think that every Chinese citizen needs one camera, a very controversial thing that’s going on. 

What if you have a good score?

And, oh, and of course, if you do well if you have a high credit score, then you might get rewarded with discounts benefits special opportunities and whatnot. And so, that’s the part that is controversial I want to talk about that and then we’ll talk about how the Chinese people. And surprisingly actually the Chinese people really like it. And then we’ll move into the actual design itself. Is it a good or bad design?