Gamification by Design

The book starts out with what has become Gabe Zichermann’s
standard take on Gamification, and with good reason, as it covers
the basic introduction to the subject, as well as some of the
conundrums, thus we pass by:

  • Broccoli
  • Where in the World is Carmen San Diego
  • Greenstamps
  • 10:1
  • SAPS
  • Project Runway vs. Deal/No Deal

We get a short introduction to Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,
operant conditioning, Skinner boxes, Bartle player types, and why
people play. These are fundamental things for people in games not
just for people interested in gamification.

I don’t quite get the linear level description:
[PDF] Page 49 “In game design, level difficulty is not linear. In
other words, level one is not half as complex as level two, which is
not half as complex as level three, and so on. Instead, difficulty
increases in a curvilinear form.”

As I read this, then the description says:
lvl1 = 1/2 lvl2
lvl2 = 1/2 lvl3
but then lvl1 = 1/4 lvl3 - this is not linear but a power function:
lvl n = 2^(n-1) lvl1

Which is quite similar to the D&D and AD&D level progression tables, and curvilinear to boot. That said, it is an ‘Early Release’ and it could be fixed.

Then we get to Leaderboards and Badges - the “ooh, I think we can do that”-slap-on and call it Gamification that a lot of people are saying is “the only way” of doing gamification for anything and everything. That is not Gabe’s way of doing it, but as the book is a sort of cookbook, it seems stupid not to touch upon the subject.

The Ruby implementation of a point scoring forum I could live without, but - again - it would seem weird to have a cookbook without examples.

There’s an introduction to Bunchball integration including some rather useful tips on what to be aware of when designing.

The big hit, I would say, is the sadly brief coverage of the virtual economy, this time using BigDoor as an existing API vendor.

All in all: Yet another “required read” by Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham

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