Taking Game Design to the Next Level

Game design requires skill, intuition, and especially a knowledge of your audience.

You have to know who your target users are so that you can present them with challenges and rewards that they will both want, and respond to.

Captain Up offers you a working, optimized setup, right out of the box. This is the experience users will get if you leave Captain Up untouched and never customize it. It works great in most cases.

But wait. Captain Up is not only super powerful – he’s super flexible too, and for him to really give you the best possible boost, you may want to fully customize your setup.

We’ve collected a few pointers on how to approach Game Design and take it to next level.

Look at everything from your user’s perspective

The key skill is to always view the game from the user’s perspective. Am I asking too much of them? Is this fun for my users? Will the gratification match the effort it took to carry out?

Remember, you are creating an experience for someone else to enjoy. If they don’t enjoy it, they just won’t bother.

You have to give them what they want, even if it’s not exactly what you need. The key is to bridge that gap, bringing together your interests with the users’ interests using incentives.

Ask yourself: “What will it take to make them want to do what I need them to do?”

Fair rewards for fair efforts

Players will be on to you in no time if you ask them to perform actions that are out of their reach, too complicated, too boring, or too tedious.

The challenge always has to make sense to them. When it does, players will be happy to do the things you require, as they feel the reward is fair – even if the rewards are purely virtual.
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Pace the experience 

The complexity of the challenges you give your users has to follow a pattern.

You can’t start with feats of Olympic prowess straight off. Start by presenting them with a relatively simple and quick task, then reward them.

Try to use texts that make them feel good, nurture their ego, and encourage them to keep going. Then slowly start increasing the level of complexity. The positive feedback can stay effective while gradually becoming less frequent.

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In order to encourage your users to tweet more, stagger their rewards.

For example, reward them when they tweet first, then wait until their 5th tweet, and then until their 15th tweet. By spreading out their rewards you are keeping them engaged for longer. Gradually increase the number of points you are rewarding them between levels to enable your users to monitor their improvement.

Remember, there is no need to overdo it. You don’t have to be too strict. It’s fine to give your advanced users an “easy buck” once in a while with a simpler task.

Be involved

Work on the sense of community, within your app or around it. Encourage participation, commend leading players, send them direct messages, and simply show you are there by announcing new missions or levels.

If you show your users you are interested in them and what they’re doing, it will go a long way to developing their sense of belonging – a key element for boosting engagement.

Be playful

Remember that although engagement is a serious thing for you and for us, your players don’t care about our secret goal. Give them fun!

Try to be smart and witty with your texts, or with an occasional quirky requirement for one of your badges. Humor is a powerful weapon, in the right hands… and you can always consult a comedian near you.

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Game design is crucial to successful Gamification.

Ongoing monitoring, game mechanics, and meaningful interactions with your users will get you a long way!

To learn more about developing good actions, badges and levels using Captain Up check out our helpful guides.

If you want to become a Gamification master then start your free, online course with #1 Gamification Guru Yu-kai Chou!