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Forgot dopamine! Thoughts on the game reward mechanism



Looking through the GDC 2017 report over the past few days, I found an article on Shacknews based on the opinion of Ben Lewis-Evans, a user experience researcher at Epic Games. After reading it, I think he is interested in the "Feedback and Rewards" section. The analysis is quite detailed, I want to talk about some of my own thinking.


Dopamine, dopamine, is probably one of the most promising human chemistry in various channels of communication, and is inseparable from the transmission of emotions such as happiness and excitement.

In Ben's view, dopamine is a symbolic item in the sense of meaning, which represents the habit of current game developers and commentators who use scientific terms and nouns to interpret Gameplay to players. In the game, the game that can improve the player's dopamine level may not be really interesting, but has the meaning of forcing the drive.

Of course, we must realize that neuroscience has become an important part of game design theory, but we must not forget that the human brain is far more complicated than the results obtained in the current research. In personal understanding, Ben emphasizes the need to return to the more For the pure Gameplay presentation, rather than with the purpose of drive and dogmatism, more considerations may also lose to people's consciousness.

Reward model

Rewards, rewards, an important part of the game mechanics construction, the realization process of the reward mechanism in the game is an exchange between the player and the designer, the designer speculates the player's motivation intention and mental state, the player gets the incentive from the game to enrich Experience and continue the game.

Ben proposed several types of games used in the reward mechanism model, one is Classic Conditioning, the classic model, represented by "Pavlov's Dog" and the gold coin in Mario, that is, the reward to be given in a specific Designed to the player under the design, the process of the player's game is the process of obtaining rewards, usually using the currency of the game like gold coins, gems to design, in order to play the most direct incentive effect.

The other is the Operator Conditioning, the operational model, which is also a widely adopted design. Simply put, the player needs to get rewards by reaching certain conditions, which can be tasks, achievements, or conditions.

The reward in the fixed ratio mode is to exchange a certain amount of certain items (generally the circulating currency in the game) for a certain certain reward. It is straightforward to say that it is a cheap transaction, and how much money to buy the value of the item, Another fixed time interval mode is to produce an item for players to collect at a certain time interval. Such a reward mode is actually very popular in various types of mobile games. The fixed output is a kind. A means of improving user stickiness.

Naturally, there is a floating ratio reward mode. The content and value of the rewards are changed within a certain range. Before the player acquires, it is unknown. Of course, all this is also established under the rules of planning.

Feedback loop

Feedback, feedback, and a series of feedbacks help the game advance. The theory of positive and negative feedback is also one of the most commonly used in various designs.

When it comes to the game reward mechanism, this is undoubtedly part of the feedback. In more detail, these are a cycle and balance process. Players get rewards to a certain extent affect the game state and their own situation, and then react to the game elements. on.

Game designers need to pay attention to the impact of the feedback process they add on this balance, positive or negative, enhanced or weakened, even the details of the changes may affect the feeling of the entire cycle.

The designer needs to know what the player wants, what the player needs, what can be given to the player, and when to the player. The reward system exists to satisfy the player. Controlling the birth of this satisfaction and the intervention of the cycle is a daunting and interesting task.