Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gamification: You're Doing It Wrong--The Slides

Here are the slides from last night's class on Gamification that I gave at General Assembly.

The class went very well (IMHO) with an engaged audience of about 30 people. There were lots of people working on active projects, and some just curious about game design theory.

If you were unable to attend, hopefully you can get some value from the slides.


Monday, August 06, 2012

Gamification: You're Doing It Wrong

I’m teaching a class on how to incorporate game methodologies into web and mobile applications for the general market. The class is called "Gamification: You're Doing It Wrong" and covers the basics of game design and structure while applying those principles to modern digital design for the web and mobile.

It’s a good class if you are thinking about game design as a career or if your team is trying to incorporate game principles into a current application.

The class is Tuesday, August 21st from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at NYC-based General Assembly, a global network of campuses for individuals seeking opportunity and education in technology, business, and design.

More info and how to sign-up for the class at Eventbrite.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Rethinking Game Categories for App Stores

This is a post I wrote for the Playnome Blog. Playnome is an in-game rating, review and recommendation engine for developers across all popular environments -including iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac and Flash. If your a mobile developer, you should check it out...

When we interviewed game developers and asked them how we could make reviews better for both the developer and the gamer, one of the common themes was the narrow view that app stores took when classifying games. Developers have access to maybe 20 categories, and usually get to pick a primary and secondary category.

This has two consequences. First, you may be competing for category dominance with tens of thousands of games that loosely fit a genre like action or puzzle. Secondly, these overly broad categories make it difficult for gamers to find niches that they may enjoy. For example, I'm a fan of retro games and I also like sports games. A game like Techmo Bowl Throwback might be perfect for me, but alas it competes with all the sports game in the App Store and isn't even in the top 100 for searches on football.

We knew there was a better way, so we've chosen to implement categories as a combination of a "Descriptor" and a "Genre" giving us over a thousand categories to narrow into what are the best games of any particular niche.

How does it work, you ask? Terms like Retro, Arcade and Action are no longer categories, but descriptive terms that get applied to a specific genre like Puzzle, Platform or Shooter. The graphic below just scratches the surface of how Playnome games will be categorized.

Click image for a larger view...

So get ready to see categories like "Horror Maze" and "Retro FPS" that deliver on games that match those specific qualities. Also our Descriptor/Genre database will be a work in progress--adding new keys all the time. Each new Descriptor or Genre will unlock many new "best of" lists and give your game the spotlight it deserves.

The full list of descriptors and genres are available when you sign up as a Playnome developer and register your app.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Make LinkedIn Recommendations Fun to Get them Done

There's nothing more excruciating than writing a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague. I've worked with plenty of talented people, but when it comes down to writing a recommendation, they all pretty much sound the same and convey very little additional information beyond what's included in the profile.

Don't get me wrong. LinkedIn recommendations are an important step that helps to confirm that a person had the job he or she said they did. But outside of that, I have yet to read review that makes me go, "Hey, I should contact that person, pronto!"

In fact, the recommendations sound so simmilar the folks at built pseudo-random recommendation generator to make the process somewhat painless. I love solutions that are "one click and you're done," but this pushes the boundaries of being impersonal.

So, I took a cue from product reviews and have decided from this day forth to use the narrative mode to both entertain and convey the required information in my recommendations.

My first victim is a project manager I worked with in both digital and film.

The choice to hire Kelly was simple--the other candidate, let’s call him “Steve,” was pretty much full on zombie. Don’t get me wrong, both Kelly and Steve had a certain attention to detail that was immediately obvious in their past work, but Kelly had that little extra something our company looks for in its employees--a fully functional brain.

Kelly brought with her years of diverse business experience. Steve brought with him a half eaten possum that was undeniably still twitching. Kelly showed us how she had championed simple processes and aided in effective resource management. Steve showed us part of his skull that was being ineffectively covered by his scalp.

Three interviews later, Steve withdrew his candidacy for personal reasons, and Kelly went on to become a valuable member of our operations staff.

A simple choice indeed.

Kelly and I happened to work on a short Zombie film together, so it's a bit of an inside joke and gets three of her strongest qualities out there while implying that she's creative--which she is.

More so, I enjoyed the 5 minutes I spend writing this, and I have a feeling it will be much more likely to be shared--which is good for Kelly.

You can find me on LinkedIn here, but be forewarned that I already have a pretty full inbox of recommendation requests. :)