Gamdev's conscience :)

edited in General
Saw on Reddit :)

I think it would be great if we start implementing more stuff *for* the wellbeing of people who play our games :)



  • Hmmmm, this is interesting. I'm not convinced one way or the other on this topic yet, but I was wondering...why do we think games need this? Does the original article have more information on the topic?
  • Something that might fall under this could be, oh, adding comfort options for VR games being a standard unless the game in question simply won't work with them?
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    This is quite cool and does two things in my mind..

    1. Gets the player to take a break.

    2. Locking the player out, in some case's where the player is really addicted to your game, has shown to have a positive psychological effect, making them more keen to come back and play.
    If someone is over stimulated with anything they can become bored of it, so making them take a break helps with this.

    Candy Crush did something similar-ish to this.. although I believe it was more focused on using this to gain more players or getting the players to pay for hearts.

    We use a similar system in our casino games. My research showed that players preferred having control over how much they're spending, how long they've played, etc.. So giving them a prompt saying you've played to your set limit has helped greatly. :)
  • There wasn't an original article, it was just an image. And we can deduce some things from this - it's a mobile game. And if someone actually played 6 hours on a mobile game, they've held their focus on a little phone screen for 6 hours. And yeah they should take a break.
    Thanked by 1DavidKnightRedDawn
  • @Tuism, ah ok. Unfortunate that there isn't more to it. Would you mind elaborating a bit more on the topic please? I'm not sure what exactly you are advocating for here. Are you suggesting that these kinds of explicit features should be implemented, or is it more along the lines of we should be considering our player's health more consciously. I can get behind the latter, but I'm not convinced (yet) that the examples in the image above is a good way of approaching it.

    I'm thinking there may be ways to design the game in ways that allows the players to take breaks in an organic less forceful way. I haven't really considered the topic though so I might be completely off base, which is why I'm asking for clarification and other questions. :)

    @DavidKnightRedDawn, that's a pretty interesting angle. You mention that implementing those features helped greatly, does that mean players were better at managing their own play habits? Do you have stats like how many times people dismissed the prompt and continued playing vs stopping?
    Thanked by 1DavidKnightRedDawn
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    Player will just get annoyed at you and go play another game if not allowed to continue as they choose. I would be angry at just the thought that this developer thinks he can dictate to me how much time I can and can not spend in the game. Don't try playing parent to or controlling people you do not know. Create the entertainment.
  • This was just one example where a game has done something to advocate for the player and not for something else. I really only raised this cos it's an interesting point of view and I think a good line of thinking and to just chat about it.

    There are games that organically allow for breaks (pokemon go does nothing when you're at home, games with energy mechanics will make you wait unless you pay) but a lot of those can be gotten around (people stay out all day or drive to play pokemon, or pour money down the premium currency hole). I think there's something good about this dev's method. Yes people will go somewhere else, but they would have gone somewhere else anyway if they couldn't play pokemon go or any other f2p game with energy etc. This is not a case of saying "how do we get users to rest while still playing our game", because that's OBVIOUSLY a contradiction. If they want to play your game after the enforced break, cool! If not, COOL TOO!

    And no I'm not saying this is the only way to advocate for the player.

    @mattbenic I do agree that any games that can be made more accessible should be made more accessible. No doubt about that at all.
  • Perhaps you could reward the player for taking a break?
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • I do not get this. What are you (not you you, in general - I am not referring to any individual in my replies to this post) trying to achieve? So you want the person to get up and do something else than stare at the monitor by forcing him/her to quit your game? They will simply browse or play another game or whatever. What did you gain and what did the player gain?

    I've seen some eastern MMORPGs popup a little notification, when I've been playing for a few hours, to tell me how long I've played and that a little break might be good idea. But they dare not make me quit or be cheeky about my choice like in that screenshot in first post. The notification simply goes away like any other typical one in these kind of games.
  • I don't think anyone can claim that 100% of people who sees a note like this will NOT take a break. And I think the way in which this was done, humorously and not like some generic PSA, is now likely to get people to take that break. Is it perfect? No. Is it a step forward? I think so.
  • Tuism said:
    Is it a step forward? I think so.
    A step forwards towards what? I'm still not sure what the motivation is? I understand that playing for hours on end might be detrimental to the player in multiple ways, but what is the actual problem that the method/feature in the original post is trying to solve?
  • Step forward in helping hopelessly addicted players out and giving them a better chance to take breaks and not be playing beyond 6 hours straight. Having that mechanism is better than none, and we can all say "I would never quit if I saw that, I'd just play other games", I don't think anyone can say everyone who plays games will do that 100%.
  • I'm with Tuism on this. Maybe it won't work for all players but some may appreciate taking a break.

    In my experience if I've been playing a game for hours, like League of legends, and keep loosing I get more and more frustrated. By taking a break and letting my brain work through everything I experienced in that session, and then come back later, I find that I'm less frustrated and better at the game.

    Maybe if the game offered a reward for taking a break ,as kidult suggested, that could help.
    Like "Hey! You've been playing for 6 hours! Oh my gosh, we're really honored you love our game so much! Feel like taking a break? Go outside, risk the sun, smell some flowers? Come back in 2 hours or so and we'll give you X amount of coins!". As well as having an opt-out button for those players who want to keep playing.

    @Rigormortis, Sorry man, I have a bad habit of sometimes writing before thinking. I don't have any data on the feature, although it is something I keep being asked about so I should get on that.
    The response from this feature helping greatly is from our in house testers who have been playing casino games for years, who informed me that they appreciated this feature in a game because it gave them more control rather than just take take taking.
  • This is definitely something I'd want the industry as a whole to be thinking about. Extra Credits has two great videos on this called Humane Design and Exit Points.

    Now I don't believe that locking out a player like the above example is necessarily a good thing. It's a very intrusive way of just shutting them out. I'd rather argue that it was because of bad design that didn't cater for enough exit points to ensure that a player can comfortably quit and their analytics most likely flagged this behaviour and they added it as a quick fix.

    I believe their intentions were good, but the execution of it was quite poor.

    PS I'm still weary of calling it gaming addiction. I believe the WHO jumped the gun on the topic, but it still doesn't mean that we as designers should just sit back and design experiences that don't have clear exit points.
  • @Cyberwiz thanks for sharing those. The exit points video was roughly what I was thinking about when I mentioned implementing organic methods built into the game for taking breaks. I've experienced almost all the scenarios discussed in those videos across a whole range of different games, so it was interesting to hear them discussed without any specific game context.

    @DavidKnightRedDawn, no worries. It would be awesome to see data like that if it is available. I agree though that giving your player more control over their experience is great. I think that it's especially difficult to discuss gambling games in this context. The objective of a gambling game is for the participant to lose. I don't think gambling is an inherently bad thing, but I feel that the humane design and gambling can never exist in harmony.

    It might be an obvious thing that I'm missing, but how do we as designers evaluate when playing becomes too much or is detrimental to our players? In the OP example the designer thought playing for 6 hours is too much, but I've spent longer than that reading a book before without anyone trying to intervene or be concerned. So are both equally bad or does it have to do with how we measure the "value" of reading a book vs playing a game? The humane design video talks about this a little, but I don't feel like I have a good grasp on it yet.

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