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Subject: Feedback Loops in Game Design [Infographic] rss

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Daniel Solis
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Howdy folks! I've been studying feedback loops in game design. They're kind of an abstract concept and I'm very much a visual learner. So I made an infographic! It's CC-BY licensed, so feel free to share. Image and full text are below.



FULL TEXT:

FEEDBACK LOOPS IN GAME DESIGN
as observed by Jesse Catron, Jay Barnson, Kyoryu

Design: Daniel Solis (danielsolis.com)

In a feedback loop, the output affects the input.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK AMPLIFIES the output and tends to destabilize the system. For example, the runaway leader. One player takes an early insurmountable lead.

In Settlers of Catan, the player with the most productive settlements will generate the most resources, which enables him to build more settlements and gain even more resources.

NEGATIVE FEEDBACK DIMINISHES the output and tends to stabilize the system. For example, a “take-that” mechanic that gives trailing player’s more opportunities to constrain the leading player’s efforts.

In Settlers of Catan, players are less likely to accept trades with the leading player. The leading player is more likely to be targeted by the Robber.

Balancing feedback loops is an important skill for all game designers.

DECK BUILDING

[ + ] You can use low value “copper” cards to buy higher value “silver” and “gold” cards, thus leading to greater and greater amounts of buying power later in the game.

[ - ] Victory is determined by collecting Victory Point cards, which have no short-term tactical value and simply take up space in your deck.

RACING / KING OF THE HILL

[ + ] Once a driver takes an early lead, they can shift to high gear to increase speed. While the trailing drivers jockey for more optimal position, the leader has few obstacles.

[ - ] Curves and hazards can make speeding dangerous, allowing trailing drivers to catch up. If cars have weapons, this makes the leader a likely target.

KNIZIA SET

[ + ] Players collect several different types of resources. Each resource has unique properties. Some of which may buy upgrades that make acquiring resources easier.

[ - ] Victory is determined by collecting the most full sets of all resources. Focus is spread across a broad spectrum of tactical decisions.

SOURCES
http://hyperbolegames.com/2012/05/11/game-design-gone-loopy/
http://rampantgames.com/blog/2009/08/game-design-positive-an...
http://www.design.wrong.net/?p=14

“Refresh” symbol by Joris Hoogendoorn, from The Noun Project
“Flag” symbol by Brad Hollander, from The Noun Project

Released under a Creative Commons - Attribution license
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Lacombe
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Currently working on a blog post / essay of my own on this topic! Thanks for the material to steal from [i.e. cite].
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Chris Ferejohn
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Once again I'm reminded that I need to find a tool with which I can design infographics. This is very cool.

Interestingly, I was thinking of a different kind of feedback vis a vis game design when I read the title - the kind of feedback that is designed to get people to keep playing (this is how 'feedback' is used when one talks about gameifying user interfaces).
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Jean Gagnier
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cferejohn wrote:
Once again I'm reminded that I need to find a tool with which I can design infographics. This is very cool.


Here is a list of several tools one can use. R seems to be a very popular one. However, I'd wager the OP was done in Illustrator or a similar vector-editing program. I made this infographic using no software other than Illustrator. Inkscape is a similar open-source tool, which is what I'd recommend. Of course, it's just a tool!

However, some would argue that the OP isn't much of an infographic, but rather graphically laid out textual content. But that's another point altogether.
 
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Mike Landers
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I feel sad for whoever wasted hours creating this "infographic" when the contents are obvious to anyone who has been into this hobby for a while and played a lot of different games.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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mjl9320 wrote:
I feel sad for whoever wasted hours creating this "infographic" when the contents are obvious to anyone who has been into this hobby for a while and played a lot of different games.


There are many failed game designs that argue otherwise.
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Josh Powell
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This is so great... Any plans to make more?

Some ideas:

Player Archetypes (Play to conquer and win, play to experiment and have fun, play to create and tell a story)

Metaphor vs Mechanics (referring specifically to Matt Forbeck's article in Kobolds Guide to Board Game Design)

Number Sequences (Linear vs Logarithmic vs Triangular etc)
 
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Stew Woods
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I teach a game design class - VERY useful - thank you.
 
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Daniel Solis
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Happy to help!

I'll put together another infographic some time, but no promises on a timeline. When I find an interesting concept that could be expressed a little more visually, I'll give it a shot. Mechanics and metaphor is definitely interesting.
 
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A L D A R O N
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Tufte must weep when he sees this sort of thing.
 
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Sen-Foong Lim
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Tears of joy or tears of sorrow?
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