Our Wings are Beating Fast (up to 80 times a second!)

Its been a busy couple of months for Hummingbird Interactive.

Like Us and magical pixies will shower you with good fortune* 

Our Facebook page launched in March and we have been hard at work to include region and industry-relevant content that may be of interest. Come visit and let us know what you think. Or better yet, let us know about any exciting news or rumours that you’ve heard.

(*Disclaimer: magical pixies will shower luck at their own discretion.)

What’chu talkin’ about, Natalie?

I had the pleasure of presenting a talk on gamification/motivational design at Microsoft’s Campfire event in April and infoCommUnity Convention in May. Got a spare 46 minutes? Then you can check out the video cast of my Microsoft talk below (it was a long talk!).

If you happen to be in Singapore during early July, you can also catch me at the  Serious Games Conference 2012.

Come say hi. I don’t bite. Unless you’re a sandwich.

Future Project

We Hummingbirds are also busy working on a concept for a new Australian-based client. It’s a tricky industry and we can’t say much at the moment… but we can’t wait to share more details as the project develops.

As the first half of the year draws to a close we are looking forward to the second half and hope you are too.


IGDA Singapore Chapter Christmas Party

The Singapore Chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is holding their annual Christmas Party on December 14. With free admission for members of the Singapore game development community, its a great way to meet other professionals in the industry. This year the event will be sponsored by the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

RSVP via their Facebook page here.

On the topic of Christmas, what is everyone hoping Santa puts into their game stocking this year? My fingers are itching for Skyrim :)

Recognition Pattern syndicated through e27.sg

Just a quick update to let you know that Singapore-based tech blog e27.sg are syndicating posts from Recognition Pattern! E27 is a media organisation focused on the Asian technology startup industry. Their flagship conference, echelon 2010, saw over 700 attendees from 20 countries congregate in Singapore for 2 days for investment pitches, technology showcases, knowledge sharing and networking.

And don’t forget you can also use the email sign up (that little box on left hand side) to get updates of fresh new posts delivered straight to your inbox. Enjoy their freshly baked goodness with minimal effort and zero calories!

Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation

There is a lot of discussion in gamification regarding the use of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations or rewards. However there seems to be a little confusion regarding the terminology. A common misperception is that extrinsic rewards are tangible things like money or material possessions, while intrinsic rewards are things that make you feel good on the inside like altruism or benevolence. However the real difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is where the pressure or stimulus to perform a specific behaviour is coming from.

Intrinsic motivation comes from within the individual. People engage in a task because its enjoyable or because that’s the reward in itself. For example, when a child studies science because they are curious or interested to learn more about the universe.

Extrinsic motivation comes from a source that is outside the individual and beyond their direct control. Such sources could include a supervisor at work, parents, or peers. If another child studies science because they want to get good grades or be top of their class, that’s extrinsic motivation. Even praise from a parent or teacher for studying is an example of extrinsic reward.

In the context of video games, hunting down zombies in a survival RPG because its “fun” is an intrinsic motivation. Hunting down zombies because you earn points and unlock the next level is extrinsic. Sebastian Deterding, a well-regarded user experience designer and researcher on the subject of gamification, uses Progress Wars (a parody game from designer Jakob Skjerning) to illustrate the potential pointlessness (excuse the pun) of some game mechanics such as points and progress bars. At the end of the day, we don’t really complete tasks for the pure love of earning points or achievements.

– Here, have a badge!

– But I don’t want a badge.
Uh, ok…. what do you want?

Someone read my review of a tiny Croatian restaurant. Hope they tried the Pašticada!

I’ve written a few reviews on Trip Advisor and apparently I’m only one review away from my “Senior Reviewer” Badge. But I don’t want or care about the badge (extrinsic motivation). I wrote those reviews because I enjoyed my experiences and want other people to benefit from them, perhaps leaving a little less of the travel experience to trial and error. I am much more inclined to write another review because I am contributing to a review community that helps other travelers which was my intent (intrinsic motivation). Trip Advisor recognises that this is a key motivator and allows readers to tag a review as “helpful. Although the act of tagging is a form of praise (hence extrinsic), I wrote the reviews without ever knowing if anyone would read it or tag it. This may seem a bit philosophical like “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound” but noting the difference makes a difference when incorporating game elements within the user experience.

why does it matter?

Although both can be powerful motivators, I’m confident that intrinsic motivation is more sustainable in the long-term especially when applied in gamification. Extrinsic motivation tools require constant monitoring and evaluation. They are also more likely to be exploited resulting in users “gaming the system” to obtain an unfair advantage and claim rewards. Over time their impact and effectiveness can also deteriorate causing the user to be desensitized to the rewards offered. Consequently the value or quantity of rewards must be increased. For example, what is the likelihood that a parent who offers their child 50 bucks for every A grade on their report card, will be still be paying out at that rate two years down the track? However, the most important difference is that when the external stimulus is removed there is a far greater risk that users will revert back to their previous behaviour.

Understanding users, their current behaviour and the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations behind those actions is the best starting point to designing a gamified experience. Particularly when a new feature aims to alter an existing behaviour or introduce an entirely new behaviour, the choice of motivations and rewards can have a significant impact on overall user perception and experience.

The future IS gaming

The world of gaming has moved leaps and bounds in the last decade. Technical advancements in motion capture, 3D rendering and raw computing power has produced games that are not only more entertaining but also more immersive. But a stranger occurrence has materialized. Gaming has gone mainstream!

Latitude, a research consultancy, conducted a survey of smart-phone users who identified themselves as “casual gamers.” These individuals were aged between 15 – 54, and equally split between both genders. The report stated that ‘nearly three-quarters considered themselves technologically “ahead of the curve,” and 84% use social media at least several times per week. More than two-thirds expect to be gaming even more over the next few years.’

So if more people are playing games than ever why do negative stereotypes about “gamers” still proliferate? Why do people assume if you’re an adult who plays video games you must be a young unemployed male who lives in his parent’s basement? The fact is, if you play Bejeweled, Farmville, Wii Sports for an hour or more a day – then my friend, you are part of the gaming fraternity!