Day 103 - The Lens of Motivation
Every game is a complex ecosystem of motivations. To examine them more closely, ask yourself these questions:
What motivations do players have to play my game?
Many motivations apply to any game such as:
to have fun
to socialize with friends
to fulfill social obligation to friends who want to play
to achieve mastery over something difficult
to achieve mastery over their friends
to understand the story of the game
to maintain gaming literacy
Some are specific to my game (or a game)
because they like THIS game
because they like me and feel social obligation
because the realistic post apocalyptic setting speaks to them
because the idea of real time board games is interesting
because the have played and like the real time aspect
because the prisoners dilemma social aspect is interesting to them
Which motivations are the most internal:
Having fun and liking this game are pretty internal. The drive for mastery is sometimes internal but more easily motivated by external forces. Most of the motivations though are some complex interaction of internal and external elements. I may enjoy the social challenges in the game both because I want to interact in fun ways with my friends and because it lets me outwit them and I perceive that as granting me social status.
Which are the most external?
See above. The more I think about the source of the above motivations the more I think a binary internal external designation is mostly meaningless.
Which are pleasure seeking?
Having fun, pursuing the story of the game/game world.
Which are pain-avoiding?
Avoiding losing. Avoiding being betrayed.
Which motivations support each other?
It's possible that there is such a density of motivations in the game due to the many aspects of the social and tactical play that they are just a mess. Or it's possible that reaching a certain motivational density allows the players to construct a set of motivations for themselves (or selectively perceive their motivations) in a way that makes the game feel deeply and naturally meaningful.
Which motivations are in conflict?
Having fun and not losing are probably in some conflict. Which is to say if you fail at not losing then you are probably also not having fun. Social obligation and fun are probably in conflict. Other things are just not related much at all like being interested in a real time game and liking the setting.