Fun Theory & Gamification

Gamification is a bad word to use because it implies taking ordinary tasks and making it a pseudo-game by adding things like score counters. Like making sharpening a pencil into a game, sharpen 10 in a minute and you win. Although it’s a ‘game’, it’s void of any actual game design and mechanics. Gamification with fun theory in mind helps guide me to implement certain game-like features that add to the experience rather than act as a score counter. The interactive textbook requires a sense of progression.

Progress Bar
Taking a note from the recent game GuildWars 2 from ArenaNet, a progress bar is much more encouraging than a specific numbered requirement. A problem they found in previous games where missions had a set goal, such as collecting 5 of something, is that it was so predictable and measurable it became a chore. With a progress bar, the exact progress is obscured and less focus is put on counting your score and more on your overall progress.

To add to the sense of progression, and to record level of difficulty, each chapter in the book will count as a level. Each chapter will have it’s own progress bar that adds to the overall main progress bar. Tasks laid out that appear while reading the chapter will challenge the user, and if successful, add to the chapter’s progress.

Chapter Questions
While present on a chapter, questions will appear to challenge the user and measure progress. These questions could be from the current chapter, or from a previous completed chapter. Each subtitle in the section will have at least 1 question and will appear at the end of the section.

Time Trial Challenge
Once a chapter’s progress bar has been filled, it will unlock a time trial for that chapter. The time trials will have a fixed time limit and questions will be presented one after another. The user can set personal records of how many questions can be answered in time and the results, if desired, can be shared through their social networks. There will also be a final time trial that will unlock after scoring a minimum amount on each previous time trial and would include questions from all chapters.

Rewards & Incentives
Personal progress and bragging rights are inherent to the gamification and challenge system. As the user reaches certain milestones, achievements will be rewarded to their account. Further rewards could be the unlocking of certain features and abilities in the software.

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