Archive for January, 2007

blog your decisions & hunches


We all make decisions, have hunches and believe that we knew how things would turn out. In most cases we don’t make any record of decisions or thoughts, and don’t use any process to validate if we were right or effective. We tend to look back, on an ad hoc basis with a great heap of hindsight bias.

Try using a blog to enter key decisions, thoughts or forecasts as they happen. You can then simply review your notes, add comments to entries as new information becomes available or you see the result of decision. You will be better able to tell if your hunch was right, when it is written down with a time stamp…If you spot a pattern or learn a lesson for the future, you can tag it and create a rolling list of useful learnings as a reference.
If you want to cover personnel matters, or write freely about people or a team, you can keep the blog private. If you want to share within a group and allow others to contribute or comment – open it up to that group and encourage contributions.

To make posting easy, use a service like to allow you to post using email.


Leave a Comment

sleep on it


Sow the seeds for a brainstorm or creative session the night before running it, that way everyone will unconsciously consider the subject and will be primed to start.

Also, when making tough decisions on complex issues – sleep on it before making a call.
The conscious mind is only able able to focus on limited amounts of information – as a subject gets more complex (especially in a distracting environment; most workplaces) considering the problem before deciding has a marked positive improvement on the outcome.
“Once you have the information, you have to decide, and this is best done with conscious thought for simple decisions, but left to unconscious thought – to ‘sleep on it’ – when the decision is complex.”
(see also rule of 5 & 50)

Evidence supporting cognitive benefits & improvement to learning and memory are growing. Your unconscious mind works through connections in data that was received/collected during the day.

vs rapid cognition (Blink)

Watching most TV programs is less mentally stimulating than sleeping
Neurobics (Keep Your Brain Alive)
Actively use all of your senses in variation to create multisensory connections, to help drive brain activity, and stimulate growth.

Leave a Comment

design language : user investment


The more a user or player invests in their part in a game, the more they are likely to keep playing, come back to and arguably, enjoy the game as a whole.

A MMO/Second Life requires a high user investment, this is a barrier to entry for many people, although once you have started the investment in your avatar, character or world it is far more compelling an experience.

From a design paper on creating virtual pets …. the trick is to create a positive feedback loop on the user investment in taking care of the pet. The more the user has spent time interacting with the pet the more it is crucial for him that the pet does not die or run away and matures properly. The initial investment may simply rely on the money spent to buy the pet. Then, the relationship merges from this self-reinforcing dynamic.
The also argue to include uselessness in to the design of pets, to encourage a dependence on the player.
(Sony CSL)

Rewarding user investment, psychologically, the more someone is invests in a game the more valuable the benefits and rewards that come from it are.

Clan games & RPG’s expand on user investment in characters to include guilds, clans & any number of social groupings.

Leave a Comment

movement as part of communication

By understanding how movement patterns communicate connotative information, we are able to combine characteristics to movement patterns that suit our needs….Movement is extremely powerful in gaining our attention and communicating to us various information

As the director is working with the actors on stage, it is very important to choreograph the movement. The audience often will have their attention guided to the main characters in various scenes by the hierarchy and use of movement. Depending on the context, the movement of the non-central characters should bow down to, not overtake, the central characters in a scene.

In psychology, movement has also been associated with communication, as with the theory of affordances….When we look at the world around us, the way an animal or person moves communicates to us a great deal of information. A butterfly’s movement may afford chasing, where a spider’s may afford avoidance. We are able to recognize the creature by just the movement alone and from pattern of movement we are able to interpret the “meaning” of the creature.

We are very self-centered and see ourselves in almost anything. “We assign identities and emotions where none exist. And we make the world over in our image.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a Comment

gesture and body language

Un momento!

The believability and quality of a game character is hugely influenced by the fidelity of movement and the multiple layers of body language.
Sir Francis Bacon put the relationship of gesture and language in the form of a simple analogy: “As the tongue speaketh to the ear, so the gesture speaketh to the eye” (Bacon, 1891).

We respond to changes reflexively; small gestures, body orientations, the time of silence, the spatial difference and the utterance are all examples of the factors that can bring us a hint of this instinctive awareness.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (6)

angst reaction


According to Wikipedia, “Angst is a Dutch, German, and Scandinavian word for fear or anxiety. It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of emotional strife

Angst is caused when a person makes a decision that has unpleasant consequences and leaves that person feeling guilty and remorseful

Angst can be a more emotional reaction to a difficult and meaningful choice. Creating angst in players, is a sign that you have achieved a good emotional range, immersion and that you are offering meaningful choices.
Too much angst might lead to frustration,  may not be what you player’s want from the game.

Leave a Comment

simulation with a score

As a definition of a game
The game will be a simulation of something; often straight forward, other times an abstracted fantasy, but a simulated model of something.
With a score; (implicitly) providing goal, reward and progression.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »