> Final project and research project.

Final project and research project.

Posted on Monday, May 4, 2009 | No Comments

My original intention with the final project was to create a video game and impose some limitations on myself to imitate what old-school developers had to deal with. I thought that was boring, so I scrapped the idea and put the whole project out of mind for awhile. When we were given the instructions for the research project, I was also in the midst of writing a document about video game development -- specifically trying to answer the question, "what makes a video game good?" I started looking at MMORPGs and why so many people play them and came across this website with a ton of information regarding them, including the addictive aspect of them. I decided that's what I would do my research on.



After deciding what I was researching, it seemed natural to combine it with my final project, which was going to be a video game. And, to put a "sideways" twist on it, the whole video game's subject matter is absolutely random and absurd. It's about a roll of toilet paper whose job it is to wipe out the evil forces of excrement. The thinking behind my game was that nobody in their right mind would ever want to play a game about a roll of toilet paper killing a bunch of crap, but if the player keeps playing, then the research I implemented in my game worked to at least some extent. Either that or they were so dumbfounded by the game's content that they just couldn't stop... but I guess maybe that proved my point too.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Dung Fu!

http://www.cs.iupui.edu/~chclarke/N485

As for my research, here are a few notes I had with me that I was going to use for my presentation, but didn't get to elaborate on due to lack of time:

"MMORPGs employ well-known behavioral conditioning principles from psychology that reinforce repetitive actions through an elaborate system of scheduled rewards. The basic idea behind the theory is that the frequency of a behavior is directly linked to whether it is rewarded or punished.

In games like World of Warcraft and Everquest, the cycle of rewards begins with instant gratification. Once you start a new character, you are able to level up quickly and get from place to place easily. Slowly but surely, these things take longer and longer to do until, eventually, you find yourself spending hours or days trying to accomplish something.

Of course, the trick is that there's always a reward just around the corner, whether it be new equipment, another level up, new skills, or a quest. But these things aren't inherently rewarding; they are made rewarding through reinforcement.

Two other attractive features found in MMOs are the social networks that can be easily developed and the immersive nature of the environments.

There is more to the picture, however. While these games have several attraction factors, the players themselves may oftentimes have motivation factors that cause them to play. For example, players with low self-esteem may be compelled to play because it makes them feel empowered and valued.

The fact of the matter is that MMO addiction is more a psychological thing than a physical thing. It's not so much that the game is addicting, but more that the player is usually using it as an outlet to ignore the real issues in his or her life."
The wonderful website I found all this information at (which is based on actual scientific studies) is located here: http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/gateway_intro.html

Thank you all for the interesting class and thank you Beth for helping me to see "sideways"!

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