Jump to content
  • Advertisement
  • entries
    14
  • comments
    10
  • views
    2028

Why I hate fun

FriendlyHobbit

1705 views

http://www.tinker-entertainment.com/sitavriend/psychology-and-games/why-i-hate-fun/

Ever since I decided to specialize in game design I struggled with the word “fun”. It might sound silly to struggle with a term that is so central to the art of making games but it makes sense once you start to research ‘fun’. First of all very limited research has been done and secondly the term ‘fun’ is ambiguous. Fun means something different for everyone.

Many other industries envy the games industry for making fun products. They mistakenly think that games are this magical medium that are automatically fun and engaging. As a result, they applied typical game elements such as XP and competition to apps as an attempt to make ‘boring’ tasks more fun. But game designers also struggle to make their games engaging and fun. Not every player enjoys playing every game or genre. I typically don’t enjoy most first person shooters because I suck at them. On the other hand it is not just games that can be fun. Many people think knitting is fun, others think watching a football match is fun or playing a musical instrument. What is considered fun often depends on someone’s expectations and their current context. A player has to be in the right state of mind before considering to play a game, they need to ‘want’ to play the game or do any other activity.

pexels-photo-346726.thumb.jpeg.f09d968268acc67ae780fa06d3a8bdbc.jpeg

This can be fun too.

A researcher who attempts to understand fun more thoroughly is Lazzaro (2009). She formed the Four Fun Key model to distinguish between four different types of fun: Hard fun, easy fun, serious fun and people fun. Hard fun is very typical for many hardcore games and is fun that arises from overcoming challenges and obstacles. A key emotion in hard fun is frustration followed by victory. Easy fun can be achieved by engagement through novelty and can be found in many exploration and puzzle games. Emotions that are key to easy fun are curiosity, wonder and surprise. Serious fun is fun people have when they feel better about themselves or being better at something that matters. People fun is concerned with the enjoyment that arises from the interaction between people. You can think about competitive or cooperative games people play because they enjoy playing together rather than the game itself.

The Cambridge dictionary defines fun as pleasure, enjoyment, entertainment, or as an activity or behaviour that isn’t serious (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fun). While we can measure pleasure and enjoyment objectively by measuring physiological changes in the body, we cannot always say we are having fun when we are enjoying ourselves. Besides that, within casual games mainly, pleasure and enjoyment are supposed to be “easy”. This means that you should be careful with challenging the player. If a player wins (often) they will have fun which is the complete opposite of many hardcore games.

Within game design we often use flow theory interchangeably with fun. According to Csikszentmihalyi (1996), flow is a mental state in which a personFlow.png.d38f812f6f2312b79ce512594c377edc.png in fully immersed in an activity. The state of flow can be achieved by matching the most optimal skill with the most optimal difficulty for a person. In the case of games, a player becomes so immersed that they forget about their surroundings and lose track of time. A learning curve is used in most games, both casual and hardcore, to account for player’s changing  skill and difficulty level. However flow theory isn’t a definition for fun but can result in a player having fun. This mainly works for hard fun as easy fun doesn’t require the player to be fully immersed.

 

References

  • Lazzaro, N. (2009). Why we play: affect and the fun of games. Human-computer interaction: Designing for diverse users and domains155.
  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Collins.


2 Comments


Recommended Comments

Interesting. The hardest concept about fun to me is fun evolution over time. While a game mechanic may be fun for the first 10 minutes, does it have enough complexity to still be fun in 10 hours of doing it? And the other way around. Mechanics that I find boring in the first 10 minutes can become fun after 10 hours because it needed a higher skill level to be enjoyed.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Very useful analysis. I think sometimes curiosity, wonder and surprise(as mentioned) are overlooked a bit in recent times. A lot of focus was spent on making the mechanics fun .. empowering yet challenging... but sometimes there's a lack of imagination in new types of different worlds which could spark wonder and contain new types of discoveries. The element of surprise also useful in story to reduce predictability and keep things interesting. I suppose the subjectivity makes it hard to pinpoint a refined universal strategy. I do notice a large number of ppl expressing interest in customizing or building up their characters in a variety of ways including social status amidst npc's based on interaction decisions. 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Blog Entries

  • Similar Content

    • By jb-dev
      This is how loading screens will look like. I still have no idea whenever or not I could show things like tips or anything alike...
    • By Programmer One
      I'm currently writing a 2D game engine from scratch for Android. The first iteration of the engine is just going to use the Android Canvas view for drawing. At some point, I want to support OpenGL ES - but not until I finish this first project (which is a very simply game based on this engine). Right now, I'm dealing with Sprites and I've encountered a design challenge that I'm not entirely sure which direction I should go.
      For the sprite bitmaps, I've decided to go down the sprite atlas route (as opposed to individual image files). I'm using Texture Packer and I've written a custom JSON exporter. I didn't really want to limit myself too much, so I decided I'd support sprite rotation and trimming in order to save as much space I can in the atlas. I backed off from supporting polygon trimming for now. If you're unfamiliar with Texture Packer, it's essentially a tool that will allow you to import individual sprite frames, organize them into folders and then have the application generate a sprite map and corresponding coordinate data file. This application supports trimming any blank (alpha) space around the sprite images in order to pack them closer together. It also supports rotation if it makes the image fit better.
      What I'm trying to figure out now is how to deal with loading the sprite image data. Currently, I'm at the point where I can deserialize the JSON map data into "Sprite Frame" objects. These objects contain information about each frame. My format allows grouping of sprite frames in order to organize frames that correspond to the same animation. In essence, the sprite frame object has:
      The original (untrimmed) size of the sprite image. The original position of the sprite image within it's bounding box. The rect of where the image is in the sprite atlas. A flag indicating if it had been trimmed. A flag indicating if it has been rotated (CW). This will give me all the information I need to draw the image onto the Canvas. If I didn't support all the other fancy features I want (packed rotation, trimming) and pre-transformation (i.e. mirroring a sprite so I can reuse it for things like changing the walking animation without having to pack in more sprites), then drawing the image from the sprite atlas onto the canvas would be as simple as a simple Canvas.drawBitmap([Source Bitmap], [Destination Rect], [Source Rect]).
      But, since the image I'd be drawing MIGHT have been rotated, trimmed or otherwise transformed, I can't just simply blit it onto the Canvas. I'd first would need to apply some transformations in order to "undo" changes that were done during packing. This means I would need to either:
      Slice out the child image from the sprite atlas into a new bitmap, and apply the "unpacking" transformations (i.e. rotate back, realign, etc). Apply a transformation to the Canvas itself. (I don't think I want to go down this road since I've read that transforming the Canvas tends to be rather slow). So, I'm probably left with having to create smaller bitmaps from the sprite atlas and then keep those in memory for as long as I would need them. So, for a single sprite character, I'd be looking at around 36 sprite frames (9 different animations, each with 4 frames). What I'm concerned about is memory consumption. So now I'm thinking:
      I should read in all the sprite bitmaps from the sprite atlas and shove them into an LRU cache. This means all the sprite image data is now in memory, all ready to go for whatever animation sequence and frame I want. Once I'm done with the atlas, I dispose of it and just work with what I have in memory. I can perform this caching when I load levels and then clear items from the cache that I no longer need. I should just keep the sprite atlas, blit directly from that onto the canvas, and get rid of the fancy packing features so that I don't have to process any transformations. The only problem with this approach is that I will also have to shelve shearing and rotation on the sprite object itself. TL;DR: Am I being overly memory conscientious or having a couple frames of sprite data in memory not a super big deal?
       
    • By JoAndRoPo
      Hi!
      Is there by any chance you can give me an idea/concept that's different but related to the game Tower of London? (Is it called Tower of London?)
      Can you show me some reference images, games or videos related to the same?
      I've attached a reference image.
      Thanks!

    • By jb-dev
      Another version of the main menu. This one has a more complete skybox. I'm not sure if it'll be a good idea to use the same shade on the actual Levels skyboxes...
    • By JeremyAlessi
      Jean Simonet is an indie developer who moved away from the AAA space in 2013 after delivering Skyrim and realizing that Fallout 4 just had him doing more of the same. Jean challenged himself and succeeded. 
      In this talk, Jean runs a counterstrike on every piece of indie gaming advice you've ever been told.
       

      View full story
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!