Reality Check - How To Make A Great Game! (Can Psychology Help?)

Cam investigates the psychology of cognitive flow to find out if it could help us understand what makes a truly great gameplay experience.

Discussion

63 comments
Wensea10
Wensea10

Science will indefinitely be a pinnacle part of the value of a video game.

suture
suture

 This article was actually very helpfull and insightfull, i usually post to criticize crappy gamespot news.
But hey, you deserve a thumbs up for this one.


Johny_47
Johny_47

Bloody hell that Hungarian guy's name is a mouthful.


#1 Clear goals and direction? bollocks, the last time I played Elder Scrolls Skyrim I didn't have any clear goals or objectives and time just flew, I was in my own 'little' World =)


I think #3 is very important, the balance between your own skills with the game and how hard the game feels but the environment you're playing in has a big effect too. 

And music in games are as important in a game as any other solid thing like the World and gameplay, Elder Scrolls games have plenty of this in my opinion.

coldfusion25
coldfusion25

The part of 'Locus self control' was actually more interesting than the rest to me. It might even explain why I don't enjoy games like I used to anymore.

Toombs2012
Toombs2012

The name Mihály (like Michael in English) Csikszentmihályi is pronounced like this: "me hi chick sent me hi e"

XCyberForceX
XCyberForceX

Soooooooooooooo, that explains it


....... Adolescents have a high external locus of control.  "It's not my fault"  "I have a bad teacher, that's why I got an F."   LOL


As a parent I, XCyberforceX, approve this theory!

Zloth2
Zloth2

Errr, but I don't always need that immersion to have a lot of fun.  It's a WAY to have fun but not the only one.


P.S.  Ugh, automatic jump to the next video.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

It's rare I ever achieve cognative flow and it is usually in TES or Fallout. I have achieved it in other games too, but I have found a relation to it and any music I am listening too at the time. I nearly always achieved flow when playing Battlefield 3 and listening to the Tron Legacy soundtrack which, oddly, fits the action perfectly, and another time was when I was playing Halo 4 online while listening to Enya. Booze helps too.

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

sobriety does little for my cognitive flow when gaming.

GunEye
GunEye

not a bad show Cam. Although this is a discussion that is hard to get some good answers for it. The Flow in gaming - is extremely subjective. Many people enjoy games like Battlefield - when I find playing a few hours/days in it - more than enough. You threw a few pictures of AC - but the AC series - while being fun - is far too easy and un-creative to be considered something engaging.


I think that challenge is a key factor in gaming enjoyment. It keeps us active and interested, and makes victories more rewarding, and failures - funny enough - more satisfying. You learn from mistakes, and you struggle to overcome difficulties. Now that is fun.

nbf4548
nbf4548

Wow, did anyone see the spelling on that psychologist's last name, can I get a phonetic pronunciation guide for that one!  

cboye18
cboye18

Truth is, even if you do have the creativity and innovation to create fun games, publishers will always be holding you back. That wasn't such a problem 20 years ago, which is why games back then were so much diverse compared to modern games.

RoachRush
RoachRush

Fantastic episode, Cam!

Now if only you made this video before Simcity and Diablo 3 were released, their devs would take note.

M4yka
M4yka

Great episode again, Cam, really interesting stuff, now i can put a name on the phenomena that I experience when I'm astonished that it's suddenly already midnight after breakfast.


BTW, as a hungarian, I'm proud that a professor from my country has proposed this idea 40 years ago!!! Insane. Also, I laughed my a$$ off at the last 30 seconds XD, if you (or anyone) can read phonetic smybols this is the rough pronunciation: Mihály= \mɪhaɪ\ Csíkszentmihályi= \tʃiːk'sent'mɪhaɪjɪ\


Keep up the good work!

kwaleed232
kwaleed232

keep them coming 

great series 

the point and reality check are my favorites

waggs
waggs

This is pretty much all the same stuff I heard in grad-school except applied to gaming.  

There's so much more that could be said on the topic.  We all enter Flow on a regular basis because we need that as humans.  


While a gaming-girl is picking up loot in Diablo in hopes of entering a flow-state, a homeless person may already be in a flow state as he goes through your trash for recyclables.


For either human, the gaming-girl or the homeless man, they could choose to blame their success (or lack thereof) in entering a flow state and having fun based on interal or external factors.  There's your locus of control right there.



Kinguard73
Kinguard73

So my immense distain towards Xbox One is mainly due to the developers giving me a complete feeling of external locus of control because of what the early and still present shenanigans by the developers of the system had and does do.


Sony makes me feel like the purchase was solid mainly because they made me feel I was in control while buying an Xbox One which I have no actual issues with it felt like I was giving up my control.


That made sense.


Btw the last game that really made me lose time was Skyrim hands down. 

man-l
man-l

WOW. Which one of the Gamespot staff is using a CFW PS3? Or did you get that Dark Souls gameplay with the "Fake Save Data Owner: On" popup (@1:50 and so on) from the internet??
Other than that another great episode
 

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

do you want to know what i think? I think life was easier for humanity when we were just living in caves bashing women over the head for sex and eating raw meat. Than worrying about every little study you can do on the human species. Right down to knowing that theres fecal matter on a toothbrush, seriously. Theres some things i just dont want to know.

Armyboy5
Armyboy5

This was really interesting!

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Number 2 for me was the exact reason why Skyrim put the final nail in its own coffin for me. When you go around and complete quest lines and story arches like the Thieves Guild or the Stormcloaks. No one ever thanks you for it. No one gives a crap who you are when the task is done.

Interestingly the only one who kind of does this was the Jarl of Whiterun for telling him about the dragon in like the first proper mission in the game. After that is was almost like they stopped caring and simply stopped trying to implement such touches. Touches which make boring ass games, not boring.

When you go and pretty much single handedly kick the Imperials (or Stormcloaks) out of their respective holds the person in charge barely even acknowledges you after the fact. What is the point in doing anything in that case?

You become the LEADER of the thieves guild and Vex and the other guy just say the same crap over and over and give you tedious bottom ranking pickpocket jobs to do. The fact you are actually their boss never even registers on the game.

In Oblivion that wasn't the case at all. People recognised you when you were far into a story line, people respected your work with a simple thank you. People who hated you or were lacking trust started to respect you. Skyrim felt weak and unfinished in comparison.

JRHT
JRHT

The Civilization series is the master of generating flow :)

Dharkanon
Dharkanon

Much like the idea of internal and external control, I wonder whether the idea of 'clearly defined tasks' and 'sense of achievement' can be either projected onto a game or provided by the game.


I have 'flowed' through MineCraft and 7 Days to Die with a friend for dozens of hours and the propensity of the mind to set goals on its own and the resultant sense of achievement when self-set goals are achieved seem to be qualitatively different... maybe it does link to the sense of control, given that a sandbox game (much like its literal incarnation) shifts the control over goals and achievement to the gamers, also allowing a higher sense of control when succeeding or failing.


Great show...

SaintsRowLA
SaintsRowLA

Some minor things can interrupt the "flow" and enjoyment of the game. For example, just your attitude and your familiarity with the quirks, peculiarities, and controls of the game.  Sometimes the game manual doesn't do a good job of explaining these things.


At one time I didn't think that much of Saints Row, the NHL series,  and Crash Time but now they are my favorite.


I thought the racing and camera for the driving in Saints Row 2 spoiled the game.  But I found out that just tapping rear view button resets the camera to the rear of the car.


In Crash Time, the auto reverse is different than all other games but the manual doesn't explain it.  I thought this great game was ruined by it.  Once I figured out the auto reverse, I loved it.


I can't believe I told someone a few years ago that Saints Row 2 was a disappointment.  Now I'm the Saints Row series biggest fan and supporter.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

Since the topic is psychology in gaming I would like to add that a lot of free2play games especially in the MOBA genre prey on people with ADHD and that is kind of evil because I think they know exactly what they are doing.

There should be study done to see if some games may be detrimental to the treatment of those suffering from ADHD because maybe a public health warning is necessary. It is possible it could even cause it in children.

Sad that in the 21st century people still dont take mental health issues seriously in the US where mental health issues are exploding from drugs and an increasingly dehumanized society from over use of technology and the corporate culture.

megagene
megagene

It's spelled "cognitive", but it's okay because you always do a killer show. :P
One thing that I find weird is that I definitely experience "flow" when playing the Souls games (Demon's, Dark, Dark II) but I feel like the series totally violates rules 1 and 2. To a newcomer there are almost no clear goals or direction (aside from trying not to die), and in terms of feedback, the series is ambiguous at best. Half the time I have no freakin' idea if I'm doing a good job or not or if anything I'm doing will result in a positive outcome later in the game. Yet strangely enough, these are things that I actually really like about the Souls series. It's kind of refreshing to just be floundering around and dying constantly in this dark oppressive world for some reason. 

SaintsRowLA
SaintsRowLA

1) It must catch you interest, desire, arousal

2) Must be fun

3) Give you a sense of accomplishment for your time invested

4) Must be fun

5) Must continue to interest you; it must be worth your time investment

6) Give you a sense of achievement

7) Must be fun, fun, fun, fun


I think personality types make a big difference in what's a fun and great game for one person and nothing special or a bomb for someone else.

krishnaV_
krishnaV_

Cam, I'm sure you'd agree that this topic can have multiple parts on this show, you barely brushed the surface of 'How to create a great game'.

There are so many other scientific aspects too. You can dig deeper into the psychological aspect that goes into the creation of a great game, the simple fundamentals of game theory, the subtle mathematics involved in AI design.. The list is pretty endless.

I love this show and find it very inspiring. Keep up the good work mate.

doopydoogle
doopydoogle

We're testing flow in Guitar Hero at my school

Wesleypipes77
Wesleypipes77

Don't know if anybody else caught when the term pops up in letters it's misspelled "Cognative Flow"

Jah_Glow
Jah_Glow

How on Earth did you ever learn to pronounce that name? Or DID you?

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

Another fantastic and interesting episode, Cam. Keep it up.

FBohler
FBohler

Great show, great show!

For me, there are 3 features required in a game to be really good: Evolve, Collect and Explore. All those features come together to a feeling of Progress, which is massively rewarding if done correctly.

bullet_dud
bullet_dud

Haha the end was great!! But overall this show's been really kicking into another gear lately. Really interesting topics and ideas, and there's actually a decent length to them - unlike the random 3 min "the point" snippets Danny has been putting out lately (they're too short if you get my drift).


And btw, it's pronounced: mee-hi (hi as in hello)  chick-sent-mee-hi ;)

Bhemont
Bhemont

What kind of xbox controller is that, the one he's using the video?


Also, came here because I alt tabbed out of Dark Souls, it broke my flow :''(

szaberto
szaberto

@nbf4548  Sure, absolutely!:D Hungarian names are sometimes hard to pronounce because we have theese so called double consonants, that actually represent one sound, not two. His name is pronounced Miha:y Tsiksentmiha:yi :) See the "SZ" in my name? That stands for the actual "S" sound.

Unraed
Unraed

@M4yka Thanks for the IPA transcription, its very helpful. 

h1221292h
h1221292h

@man-l  nope.

the game was played in a debug ps3 something, as keven mentioned in the lobby show. and i think i read this in his review of the game, somewhere at the end?

duffarama
duffarama

@Dannystaples14

I totally agree with you Danny. I still remember the enjoyment I got from people saying things such as “It’s you! The hero of Kvatch!” in Oblivion.

I also felt that Oblivion had more interesting characters and quests, and a greater sense of urgency than Skyrim. Oblivion’s spectacular setting, UI and music were highlights too.

Although Skyrim is a technically superior game, it seemed to lack the charm that Oblivion had.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@JRHT  Yeah I just wish I wasn't terrible at it. Me and strategy are like north and south.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@guardianofhonor  

Well aren't you the self-certified psychologist who had somehow linked ADHD with "free-to-play" games?

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

@Wesleypipes77

And I was os convinced of his credentials before that...

szaberto
szaberto

@nbf4548  Oh and also, in the hungarian language we write our names in reverse order. The last name is our first, and the first is the last, so the professor's name is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály:)


And this was another really good episode Cam, keep them coming!