success & learning

After a long break from 'paper & dice' role playing gaming, I enjoyed a couple of gaming sessions with friends over this weekend. We played a game system from ~20 years ago, and was surprised how quickly I found the memories flood back.

During the game, I clealy felt my confidence in a successful outcome follow a rollercoaster pattern with a big dip & with serious doubts before our eventual success. In the game, this dip in confidence, nearly led us to quit early and to miss out on the payoff & successful outcome.

This graph shows how an initial enthusiasm or committment can fall off as a venture becomes more challenging than expected.
This is seen when learning a new skill, starting a new project and was clearly demonstrated in the microcosm of our gaming session.

I recently attended a training course in generative coaching where this graph of confidence was discussed with regard to learning a new skill or achieving a goal. The coach's role being to understand and communicate the natural flow in this graph and provide support through the dip.

One of the jobs of a game designer, is also to be aware of the player's journey along the graph. Paying attention to the high and low points, and perhaps heightening the transition from high to low and back again. The successes and the enjoyment of the player will be greater following a period of uncertainty and challenge.


1 Comment »

  1. […] January 2, 2007 at 10:07 pm · Filed under Game Design Creating tension & suspense is about managing the viewer/player’s uncertainty of the price to be paid to achieve the outcome. In games (or film) the outcome is more than likely known or at least desired, the costs and risks of achieving this success are at the heart of creating positive tension (in games the ending is less known, but enjoyables games tends to have the player’s succeed or stand a good chance). Babe the pig as an example; (A Small Thing About Suspense) Reference to coaching; (Success and Learning) […]

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