ETech07: The Core of Fun

 Posted by (Visited 27588 times)  Game talk
Mar 292007

I have uploaded the slides for my keynote at Etech 2007. You can get them in two ways:

While I was at it, I put up links to “Influences” and “Where Game Meets the Web” on the Presentations page. Any others I have missed?

  37 Responses to “ETech07: The Core of Fun”

  1. Technologies in Everyday Life” – summarises 4 life stages and how these affect peoples’ desires and priorities. We need to think about how technology affects people and also look at the unintended or unexpected uses that people find for technologies? Raph Koster on “The Core Of Fun” – this was my favourite overall. He started off with the fractal structure of games and music (as I’ve previously written about here) and even put up a slide showing the changes to Miles Davis’ Solar – never seen that at a conference before! Then

  2. Raph’s Website » ETech07: The Core of Fun [If you haven’t subscribed to Raph Koster’s web site, do so now.]

  3. is high information in short time bursts, so I’ve taken staccato notes on this one. He usually puts his slides online after a talk, so check over at his site for such nuggets of gold. [UPDATE: He’s posted up his full slides here.] Things that work have underlying structures. Art, social media, physics. Sometimes they get crazy elaborate: Solar by Miles Davis. But it follows a blues grammar. We can identify this by the ear.

  4. [IMG Visit ETech07: The Core of Fun presentation] ETech07: The Core of Fun presentation View Details

  5. It’s obvious that I’m not the only one trying to not get trapped into MMO-think or game-think. Danc is studying product development methodologies that aren’t even from software development, let alone games. Raph spends almost as much time talking about recent web developments and broader media topics as he does MMOs. I suspect that one reason these two express their thoughts so cogently is this drive toward diversification. It allows them to see the same issues everyone else sees, but from a

  6. Raph Koster, President of Areae, Inc. gave an interesting presentation at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference. The basic idea is that the elements that make adult games so engaging are quite simple and can be applied to all different interactions, including commercial web sites. Some of the basic elements are:

  7. afraid to upset the people using them and having the flexibility to continuously tweak. Now, some game developers such as Raph Koster are pointing out what game companies can learn from rising Web 2.0 companies as well as vice versa. (link to Raph’s Etech07 and Web2.0 sessions) What are areas of growth in corporations in the use of online communities, from an investment, feature, or member growth perspective? This round of renewed focus on using online communities is paying more attention on the

  8. norms and the degree to which we can assert the rights required to hack our bodies. Hard fun So far, this is interesting, but what really got me intrigued was the connection between magic and fun, triggered by a great presentation by Raph Koster on”The Core of Fun”. Raph was the lead designer of Ultima Online, one of the early massively multiplayer online role playing games, and a deeply thoughtful analyst of game design as revealed in his book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design

  9. […] He’s posted up his full slides here.]Things that work have underlying […]

  10. Thanks for taking the time to post your slides 🙂

    Although I am curious, is there a reason you don’t use sites like SlideShare?

  11. I didn’t even know about SlideShare.

    But I have been posting slides on this site since 1998… there’s a largish archive of material here that predates sites like SlideShare or even WordPress. 🙂 It’s the links on the site banner.

  12. seems like me all devs should read this. good stuff!

  13. SWG PRE_CU was supper fun if only a balance pass and a more content was added. I thought the game was a big Hit! Your ideas where real good ones for that game.

    I still play today on and off but the servers are very empty, 100 on at prime time is good now.

    Looking forward to PotBS, Gods & Hero’s, and Conan for something new.

    Good Luck on your new company Raph!

  14. Its funny, I agree with you in ways that most designers disagree with you, and I disagree with you in ways that most designers agree with you.

  15. Raph, these slides aren’t really comprehensible as argument (not your fault — they were just visual aids for your talk). Furthermore, I don’t find the summaries on other sites clear either.

    Would be great if you’d post a paragraph long summary of your argument. I think I disagree with some of these claims but it’s hard for me to tell.

  16. The summary is pretty simple.

    The list of magic ingredients is old — it’s in fact a couple of years old at this point. The point was even made in the book… basically, that games which do not leverage all of these elements are less fun.

    The extension of the argument was actually what the talk was about: that applying these elements to social media or application design might help them get to be more fun to use.

  17. But why should they be more fun to use? This is an honest and non-snarky question. I’m imagining the answer has to do with increasing user commitment to the website/application and thus increasing its value to the operator?

  18. Basically, because fun is sticky.

    So, examples that I talked about the guy from Amazon afterwards:

    – Where: you could apply territory by having Amazon notice whether you bought a book from search results or by a direct link. If it was via search results, you could surface different sorts of information when purchasing, such as “this is the highest rated book within this tag.”

    – Why: You could encourage people to tag more by making it more of a game: incentive structures for tagging books that lack tags, for example.

    – When: If the service knows that you have bought two books in a trilogy, it really should tell you more effectively about the third book that is out — or even give it to you as a freebie and as a reward for loyalty.

    – Variable feedback: giving small discounts and incentives based on loyalty, based on previous purchase patterns, etc.

    I could go on… basically, each of these is a lens. You could apply them to looking at just the Gold Box feature. It used to be more gamelike, and arguably, more fun — I used to check it daily, now I never do.

  19. I don’t know the specifics of Raph’s talk, but in general, making things more fun not only increases brand loyalty, but the flow that gaminess encourages can help users to more efficiently or thoroughly complete whatever task they’re trying to accomplish in your application.

    LinkedIn puts what’s more or less an XP bar on its profile editing page to encourage you to fill in all the blanks. Google has made an entire game around the impossible task of adding metadata to all the images in its database. Games are great at creating feedback loops and motivation schemes that drive players to put serious time into mastering them, and app/site designers do themselves good by cribbing notes from the game designers.

    Also: Why shouldn’t we want to make more of the things we use in life more fun? 🙂

  20. […] Slides from Raph’s talk – IanHolmes – 30 Mar 2007 04:08:47 […]

  21. … but in general, making things more fun not only increases brand loyalty …

    I partly disagree. Certainly, market retention is an important effect of increased brand loyalty, but retaining customers is not the purpose of increasing brand loyalty. You can invent gimmicks to keep people coming back to you for more, but are they really loyal to your brand? Let’s look at financial incentives. You can reward gamblers with cash prizes. You can pay your employees more. You can buy more gifts for your significant other. All these purchases will retain the recipients of those financial incentives, at least until someone with bigger, better incentives comes along.

    Is not fun?

    I think that if you look at shopping as a game, you’ll find that is fun to certain types of players. Some of the comments on the summaries of Raph’s session specifically call out the fact that you do have to search to find what you want on Amazon. Amazon does a pretty good job of finding a number of results among which might be your target, but should we even have to search? Shouldn’t Amazon just pull up what we want? If you have the ISBN number, Amazon will do that, but I think for business reasons and for shopping-game reasons, searching is integral to the fun of Amazon. And I do believe Amazon is fun, which I think is contrary to what was said in the talk, but I may have misread that bit.

    There are shoppers who enjoy searching because the search often reveals surprises and other useful results. Searching answers questions such as whether a purchase should be made or whether the latest edition is any better. Amazon also recommends products related to your search, so you might find something else that’s either more interesting to buy or the perfect addition to your shopping cart. If you want to avoid the search, I think as consumers—as players—you need to level up and learn how to shop more effectively. After all, shopping is a skill, too.

  22. […] already read this but Raph gave a typically elequent speech on this exact topic at Etech. See the preso here, or read Wonderland’s notes.IMHO: game theory is to economics as game design should be to […]

  23. […] Raph Koster has uploaded his presentation at ETech07 named “The Core of Fun” […]

  24. […] Koster is forging forward on the topic of fun, games, and grammar. His latest talk at ETech looks like it was very interesting.When I reviewed his book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, I […]

  25. Actually, is extraordinarily painful. I don’t even have to leave the books zone to be repeatedly reminded of the the fact that not only do I have no really good reason for buying all these books, but doing so will cause me to start panhandling with a hat in one hand and a book in the other.

    The only consolation is that I’d be doing it in front of a bookstore, and there’s a great place to eat across the street.

  26. […] Koster described many dimensions of "The Core of Fun" [slides] … in fact, too many to enumerate here (many details can be found in his book, and associate web […]

  27. […] So far, this is interesting, but what really got me intrigued was the connection between magic and fun, triggered by a great presentation by Raph Koster on "The Core of Fun". […]

  28. […] Meijer Raph Koster did a presentation called ‘the core of fun’ at the Etech 2007 (slides available). The main theme of the talk was about structure; ‘things that work’ have a certain […]

  29. […] is a virtual world in which consumers can engage other consumers via Mechanical Turk to collaborate on a goal that […]

  30. […] So far, this is interesting, but what really got me intrigued was the connection between magic and fun, triggered by a great presentation by Raph Koster on "The Core of Fun". […]

  31. […] Askville is evidence that Amazon took to heart Raph Koster’s recommendation to be more like a game. There’s a whole role-playing-game aspect to the site that puts the SDMB to […]

  32. […] (XP, levels, etc!). Enough so that one blogger already wondered aloud if they were inspired by my ETech talk (I personally doubt it, but if it’s so, I’d love to get royalties Amazon gift […]

  33. […] up on the fractal ‘motif’ in my talk. If you’re into that, be sure to check out Koster’s Etech07 presentation where he says “games are made out of games” and “games are made out of making […]

  34. […] Work and No Play? No thanks! A while back, I saw Raph Koster speak at a conference.  Raph is always interesting to see because of his uncannily accurate perspectives on human […]

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