Motivational Design

Lenses and Patterns for Motivational Game Design

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Lens of the Calming Game

Check tools section to see the specifics of what you can do to achieve this LINK!!!

A game designer may want to convey a sense of serenity, and bring their player into a calm emotional state. When doing so, they may ask themselves these questions:

  • Could I use neutral, natural, or subtle colors in this scene?
  • Does the composition give the player a comfortable place to rest their eye?
  • Is there music with bells, natural sounds, or a slow pace?
  • Is there a way to give the player only positive feedback?
  • Does the player feel that something bad will happen if they lose?
  • Are there any places in the game where the player is likely to get stuck?
    • Is there a built in safety net that allows the player to avoid frustrations when they get stuck?

Example: Tiny Bang Story

Tiny Bang Story is a Hidden Object Adventure game.


Visual: By looking at screenshots from the game, it is very clear that the designers were making intentional compositional choices to promote a calm experience. The scenery is painted with soft brush strokes, filtered lighting, a very natural and muted color pallet, interesting objects that often associate with calm situation (tea pots, soft knitted rugs, plants, comfy chairs, etc) and beautiful textures. It is all visually interesting yet not draining. The characters themselves even look relaxed, and are pictured lounging in their surroundings.

Music: The music also adds to the calming effect. Slow paced, repetitive tune, natural sounds and bells. It can be downloaded for free on their website if you want to get a better idea of what I am talking about:

Game Play

components of game play, low arousal yet still compelling. Finding things. (Plays on exploration !!!!link here) Some of the puzzles get progressively more difficult and require a bit more brain power.

This game has a built in safety net that does not allow the player to get too frustrated. If there is a puzzle that is too difficult to solve, the player can always click on the blue flies that are always flying around the screen to fill up their hint meter. Once filled the player can ask for hints for certain rooms and a fly will fly out and circle around an area that they player should pay attention to, giving them a push in the right direction. This safety net is important because it does not allow the player to get too frustrated banging their head against the same puzzle.

lenses/lens_of_calming.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/15 19:47 by arunabraham