Game mechanics


Every now and then, friends will hop onto a gamedev project and ask me to send them “that link you showed me before with the list of things”. Well, in case I lose all my bookmarks (this hard drive is clicking, I can hear it) and forget how to use my ever-changing, ever-bloating, here is the link with the things:

It’s a TechCrunch article from 2010 talking about the various mechanics used in game design. I like to look at it every so often because it reminds me of games that use those mechanics, arming me to daydream about games I loved, hated and would like to make one day.

Super useful. I can’t remember who sent it to me originally, probably @shadowmint.


Can you make good design for people if you’re a lousy person yourself?

Interesting article on “being human” as a UX designer.

I’ve encountered UX people who didn’t strike me as particularly good humans, consequently lowering my trust as a client in their ability to engineer experiences that would appeal to humans. If you’re not a nice person, can you really design what is essentially an avatar of what your audience should see as a nice person?

Orson Welles and Harlan Ellison were/are known for being huge a-holes to work with, but on the ‘customer facing’ side, they’ve produced some astounding works of art. Maybe there’s a base level of good UX that everyone is capable of – stock common sense principles you get in any textbook – and it only gets better from there depending on how well you think critically and apply those principles to the problem at hand.

Personally, I want to believe that being a decent human being translates to putting out decent work. Even if we can’t be so magnanimous and noble, maybe the effort that goes in can’t help but lend itself to empathic, thoughtful solutions. But that’s just my little dream.

Maybe you don’t need to be a cool guy to make cool stuff – but I’m sure it’s more fun to work with someone who can do both. 😉

You’re not a jerk, you just haven’t had your coffee yet

The fundamental attribution error describes the tendency to explain someone’s behaviour based on their disposition or personality, while not considering the situation affecting them.

For example:

Observation Explain by disposition Explain by situation
Mark jiggles his double chin. Mark is letting himself go. Mark looks fat because he’s pregnant.
David trips over. David is clumsy. Warren was sleeping behind David’s chair.
Josh has big hair today. Josh is a crazy man. Josh’s hairdryer is a jet engine.
Nick is rude to someone. Nick is a jerk. Nick is jaded, has been here 12 years and is trying to give up coffee.

Naturally, this challenges some of our assumptions about web users and the way we as website-makers appeal to them. Are users actually stupid and/or lazy – or do poor design, copy and workflow put them in a position to respond this way?

By the way, the Curse of Knowledge phenomenon makes this entirely plausible.

So – what other observations could we reconsider, in light of the attribution error, during our design process?