University XP
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Score Points

This article will address how versatile points are in their applications. They can be used as a rewards system to help players continue to engage.  Points can also change the player perception of the game through how they gain feedback.  This article will also cover the different design philosophies when incorporating points into games as well as different methods for scoring. Lastly, the article will cover actionable takeaways for building scoring mechanics into your games, serious games, simulations or any other applications of games-based learning.

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The User Experience

Fortnite recently became one of the most successful video games in history, which has been a mixture of surprise, fascination, and wonder for someone like me. Someone who was never been that big on the battle royal train from the beginning.

Celia Hodent’s is the former director of User Experience at Epic Games where she worked on Fortnite from 2013 to 2017. In her original post here: Gamasutra: Celia Hodent's Blog - Understanding the Success of Fortnite: A UX & Psychology Perspective she talks about the combination of her different disciplines in psychology, user experience, and how both informed the development of Fortnite.

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Gaming with Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is one of the most powerful motivating factors for people. Intrinsic motivation is what keeps players playing. They play for the love of the game instead of for a particular reward. But what is intrinsic motivation? What is motivation in general? This article will address intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation and how you can use both in games-based learning.

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Weaknesses of Games Based Learning

Games-based learning is a serious way for us to meet the needs of our students in way that is both engaging and impactful. However, there are still some limitations to games-based learning that need to be considered before educators can use it in practice. Limitations of games-based learning include the outcomes of our students; the costs of investment; as well as the shift and priorities. This article will address these weaknesses of games-based learning as well as some best practices when creating new games-based learning systems.

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Make More Mistakes

Games are one of the best places where we can use and apply what we’ve learned through our mistakes in order to inform our experience. Games-based learning is an application where we can use games as formative learning experiences to develop ourselves and our students. Games-based learning is based on experiential learning: learning through experience. But there is one thing for certain that needs to happen more in experiential learning: We need to make more mistakes.

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Game Dynamics

Dynamics and loops are some of the most important elements of your game design. When thinking about your game dynamics it’s important to consider the following two questions: 1) What actions can players take? 2) How do those actions help them achieve the game objectives? This article will dive deeper into what game dynamics are as well as how you can use them engage the player in the “core loop” of your game.

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Flow State

Engaging in a state of “flow” is one of the most mesmerizing things that your players can do. They are engaged with your game. They are performing at the top of their ability. They are so engrossed that they begin to lose track of time. A flow state is something that all designers should aim to achieve in their game design. But what is flow? What is a flow state? How can you achieve it in your own designs?

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Game Theme

Game themes are often one of the most memorable moments for players. They don’t remember so much the individual actions they took but rather the castle they helped raid; the city they built; or the ship they sailed. The same thing can be said for classes. Students may not remember every lecture, every question, or ever topic ever discussed. But they will remember their outcomes and how they were able to apply what they learned. When done correctly: theme becomes an invisible and inseparable framework for how we define the player experience. When combined with games-based learning; theme and content can help define and shape a memorable and applicable user experience.

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Player Interaction

Player interaction is an important characteristic to consider when designing games. The designer has to answer the questions “How is the player going to interact with the game? How will the player interact with other players? what kind of decisions can the player make?” All of these questions should be answered when designing for player interaction. What specific role does player interaction play in game design?

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The Player Experience

The player experience is something that we all shoot for in game design. That’s because the player experience is what the player goes through when they play the game. That experience can be as simple as gamified mechanics in gamification; a games-based learning class; a simulation; or a serious game. The player experience dictates how our creation, our game, is received by our users.

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Game-Based Learning vs Gamification

Both gamificaiton and games-based learning have entered popular culture. That means there’s been debate and misunderstanding about what they are; what they’re used for; and what differentiates them. Some people want to use games-based learning when they mean gamificaiton. Others want to use gamificaiton when they should use games-based learning. Just what is the difference between games-based learning and gamificaiton?

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Play is Work

Games are a type of work if you think about it. We invest our time in games. We give games our attention and our mental capacities. But why do we do that?

What makes play work? The answer is that great work is also great play. Great play makes us more productive. That means that great games can also help us become better, and more productive, individuals.

Let’s examine game play as work, and why we continue to play games, despite difficulties to the contrary. Part of why we continue to play is because we enjoy the feelings of “competent engagement” that we get from games. This allows us to get more serious about our work. It also affects how we approach game play.

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Fired Up Fiero

Have you experienced that feeling of triumph before? The one you get from completing a really difficult level or beating an experienced opponent?  You know, when you throw your hands up over your head in triumph? That feeling is called fiero. Fiero is highly addictive and highly engaging. Often that feeling comes after we’ve become completely engrossed in the game. That’s called being a state of “flow.”

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Gamer Grind

One of the most characteristic things about today’s crop digital games is the grind. The grind, grindyness, or grinding aspect of some games is an aspect that most gamers have experienced at one time or another.  But what does that mean? How do players experience it? How can designers and educators of games-based learning address the grind in our designs?

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Achieve Explore Socialize Kill

Games and students have many things in common. One of the biggest commonalities are the type’s people they cater to. There will be the first year introductory courses that enroll mostly college freshmen. There are expansive games like Fortnite that appeal to competitive gamers. In between there are a plethora of different options available for many different types of students and gamers alike.

As a designer and instructor it’s best to understand our players and students. The better we understand them, the better able we are to cater to their needs and fully engage them in learning or play.

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