8.6. LearningΒΆ

Looking at the flow graph in the last stage, you may think the answer as a game designer is to steadily ramp up the challenge in your game. That is dead wrong.

Most skills are developed along a trajectory that looks like this:

Learning Curve

Skill learning curve (from http://www.intropsych.com/)

Initially, you are fumbling around and not making much progress. Then, as you start to figure things out, you make rapid progress in the skill you are practicing. Finally, at some point your skill starts to plateau. You continue to improve, but at a much slower rate.

A Theory of Fun posits that the joy of challenge comes from being on the steep part of that curve. If the initial ramp of the skill is too long, most players will rage quit before getting past it. Once players reach the second plateau, boredom is likely to set in - extra effort is not providing as much reward in terms of conquered challenges as it used to. However, being in the middle of the curve is exciting - you are rapidly learning to complete challenges that not long ago seemed impossible.

Materials on this page adapted from:
Game Design Concepts by Ian Schreiber (CC BY-NC 3.0)