Archive for February, 2010

plot generates suspense


“Plot generates its cousin, suspense. It is suspense that keeps you reading and wanting to know what is going to happen.

What creates suspense is a threat. There must be a prospect of something really bad happening unless… unless the crime is solved, unless something intervenes between the villain and his or her intention. This is what gives your sleuth a solid motive for pursuing the matter, and you need that motivation.”

Ruth Cavin, in Writing Mysteries on the mystery novel from an editor’s point of view

She also says;

”If the characters are believable, the background and atmosphere real and interesting, and the writing smooth and accurate, I’m not going to worry too much about plot problems unless the basic premise is irretrievably flawed… it can be fixed.”


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we want an experience

“We don’t want to read a book. We want to live an experience”

Carolyn Wheat, in Writing Mysteries on developing your personal style of writing. Don’t try just to be technically clever, or clear or… write so that the reader is immersed in the story and lives the experience.

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a mismatch between what you desire & what you deserve = stress

“We all desire much more than what we deserve. We try to fill the gap by crime, violence, hatred, politics, and sometimes with efforts and enormous hardship. Saints say, less the desire you have, more relaxed you will be in this journey called life. If you desire what you don’t deserve, you will deserve what you don’t desire.”

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give players moments of joy

Some good advice, especially around creating moments of joy for players with surprising, wonderful graphical experiences.

  • Don’t turn people off – pick themes and concepts people can relate to
  • Build social value – every time you play build up a relationship
  • Visual appeal – moments of joy
  • Routine updates and events – marketing is required

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what made you stop?

Understanding what made a player stop playing is critical in extending play times, or maximizing retention (and retention = cash in microtransaction or virtual currency models)

Why does someone stop playing each game session?

What is it that makes them put your game away for good?

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7 fascination triggers

  • MYSTIQUE – Why we’re intrigued by unanswered questions
  • LUST – Why we’re seduced by the anticipation of pleasure
  • ALARM – Why we take action at the threat of negative consequences
  • POWER – Why we focus on people and things that control us
  • VICE – Why we’re tempted by novelty and “forbidden fruit”
  • PRESTIGE – Why we fixate on rank and respect
  • TRUST – Why we’re loyal to reliable options

“Nothing is, in itself, fascinating. But triggers are. Triggers turn otherwise  ordinary objects into fascinations. When one of your triggers is activated, you are compelled to focus, whether you want to or not. Triggers can take something that’s relatively meaningless (e.g. a swoosh symbol) and give it meaning (e.g. the Nike logo).”

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design language: filling the bar

People love filling bars. They will complete more tasks if they have a progress bar showing them the steps left to do and the steps completed. There is an inherent reward in marking off progress along a bar or ladder.

By using stepping stones, and marking off progress people are more likely to complete the steps in the sequence.

It helps reduce friction.


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