Monday, July 15, 2013

Sneak Peek of our new iOS and Android game :)

It's been a long time coming and we are getting close to finalising all the testing and fixes to our first game.

Sorry it's taken longer than we first anticipated (isn't that always the way), but thank you to everyone who have helped out or have been interested and keen in the development of the game.

The good news is that our testing with various primary school with kids between Year 1 to Year 6 have been extremely positive.  The bad news (well not really bad news) is that kids are fantastic with testing and have identified bugs that no one else in the world would have ever picked up.  They also have had so many fantastic new ideas that we have to list out and juggle to determine whether to try to rush it into the first release or hold off for a second release/update.

Here's the sneak peek image of the Tiny Shops universe and some hint as to the world in which Tiny Shops resides.

Looking forward to the full release onto the Apple iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store.  More information to come really really soon....


Monday, July 1, 2013

Gamification - Childish, immature but effective

A lot of people think that gamification is simply using reward system and points for motivating and altering user behaviours.  And obviously they are right.  But this is also a very simplistic view of what gamification is or should be.

Reward systems and achievements is simply one element of gamification but it's definitely not the only element nor the most important part.  The core and hardest component to get right with gamification relates to the motivation triggers of the user(s) and finding a fun and engaging activity that will alter their behaviour.

At hawt, we see gamification as a mantra and is a part of the toolkit available to us to inspire and motivate.  Finding, locating and targeting the motivation factor of each user is the key to user engagement.

Personally, gamification is a way of life, literally.  I may have only learnt about gamification in the past few years, but I've been using and applying gamification concepts from way back.  On reflection, gamification is the clear method by which  I manage my own motivations starting from a very young age.

One of the earliest example I can think of the application of Gamification was the game that most kids play when dragged around with their parents shopping or going somewhere.  The game's goal was simply to avoid the cracks or only walk on the cracks.  I'm sure a lot of you all may have done this.  Why and how is this gamification?  Obviously I was bored having to go from place to place with my parents and by playing this simple game it certainly make the travel between the destination a little more fun.

At school, I remembered being punished and had to write lines and lines of the same sentence (about 200 times).  Rather than doing the lines one sentence at a time, I started to do every few words per line and worked out where the 100th line is and then the 200th line.  Next, I decided to do every 25th line.  What did this do, it turned the boring task of doing lines a little bit more enjoyable.  It broke up the monotony and made it fun (well, as much fun as being punished to write lines could possible be).  The break at every 25th line, sets little milestones, which is like an achievement knowing how much I have completed and how many more to go.

My childish behaviour continued into my first job in the real world.  As a graduate in an accounting firm, there were lots of boring meetings where I have no idea what's going on.  What I (and a few other graduates) liked to do was to play "Buzzword Bingo".  Prior to the meeting we would come up with a list of 10 buzzword each and who ever can cross them off first wins.  Were we rude in doing this, possibly slightly, did it keep us awake in the meeting and at least actually catching and understanding some of it, you bet.

Another game I love to play in the work place when I am dealing with people whom I may not have the greatest respect for (there are a few that I've come across in my time) is "Word Bluff".  This is a game where I would come up with a few words (even better if you have a partner in crime, which I often did, who would come up with the words for you) which you have to try to use and say in the meeting with these individuals.  A point system is in place to score higher for words or phases that are harder to be used in the meeting.  Points are doubled if you get the other person using the word and triple points if the word/phase or acronym is fake and completely made up just prior to the meeting.  And the point of this?  Well it makes an unbearable meeting and liaison with certain people a little less painful.

I have lots more little games that kept me going at school, motivating myself to complete work tasks, and ways to help my dealings with difficult people.

This may just be me and many people may think I'm a nutter to play such childish games, but that's just the point, the childish games are there to motivate me to complete something or to do/achieve a task which I either find mundane/boring or downright repulsive.  Different people have different ways of dealing with things, and for me this is how I find it is best to managed.

Obviously, different people may use different ways/games to manage their situation.  Let us know a few of the ways you may have inadvertently applied gamification in your life without even knowing it.  Comment here or post on our Facebook Page or Tweet us.