Wednesday, August 12, 2009

September 2009: Gaming the Game Developers

September 2009's topic, Gaming the Game Developers, was submitted by game designer Grétar Hannesson.

Grétar writes:

As game designers we have a collection of tools with which we direct the behavior and emotion of the player. While many of these are still rough we are already capable of keeping players in a "flow" state or a peek efficiency mental state for hours on end, we are able to motivate people to put hundreds of hours into repetitive tasks and feel good about it afterward and if there is anything we are good at it is giving the player a sense of pride and achievement in their own accomplishments.

And yet in many game development studios the game developers themselves fail to be given the same sense of motivation, have the opportunity for the same state of flow and get the same sense of achievement after a job well done. We routinely fail to inspire in each other what we so easily inspire in our players and we routinely fail to communicate within our own groups in a clear and positive manner.

  • But can we use our game design tools to motivate ourselves and our coworkers and improve our internal communication?
  • What happens if we approach everyone in our development team as a player in a massively co-operative game?
  • How does using this line of thinking change how we think about communication, management and motivation?
  • Which of these tools can even non-managers use to affect a positive change in the office?

Grétar Hannesson is a game system designer and an enthusiastic student of human behavior and choice architecture. He cut his teeth on EVE-Online where he served many roles before that of a designer and is now working on an unannounced title for Ubisoft Montréal. He (sporadically) writes about game design and related workplace matters on his blog.


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