Gamification + Narrative

Dylan Yamada-Rice

I led a short workshop on gamification for the Royal College of Art’s Information Experience Design ‘More is Different’ Elective run by Libby Heaney & Angus Main.

The aim of the workshop was to provide an outline of gamification processes that students on the elective could use for one of their briefs based on the game Quantum Moves developed by Science at Home :


Play Quantum Moves

Brief Outline

Does the human mind grasp the bizarre rules of the quantum world more easily than previously thought?

Building from a starting point of playing the game Quantum Moves the aim of the brief is to look at developing human intuition for the seemingly counter-intuitive through gaming and play. The Quantum Moves game follows the laws of quantum mechanics, but it is non-physicist players who excel at it. Similarly, the elective focuses on the ability for non-experts to jointly solve problems that physicists and computers cannot through game play.

Working in groups students have been asked to produce a game that enables players to gain intuition for a counter-intuitive aspect of Quantum Moves. The game can be either physical or digital but should not centre on a screen. The following theories were given as a starting point for the gamification procese:

  • wave-particle duality
  • quantum tunneling
  • energy-time uncertainty relations
  • optical tweezers

Later in the year one of the games will be exhibited at Non-Space Gallery in Aarhus (August 2017) as part of the European Capital of Culture events.

Processes of Gamification Workshop

I started out by describing the different stakeholders who are often involved in the design of a new game:


It is usual that designers might have some of the following too:

  • A broad theme for the game design
  • User details
  • Some thoughts on mechanics (how the game will work)

As an example I gave an outline of my involvement in an early design prototype for a digital-physical game for the Tales of Us of project:

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 21.12.05.png

Image: Tales of us

As a starting point students wrote down a broad theme on which their game would be based.

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 21.19.58.pngBroad theme for gamification of ‘Tales of Us’

One model that can be used for gamification is the HPI Design Thinking Model:


The Design Thinking Model starts with the notion that it is best to “begin by building on the ideas of others”. In this way you seek ways of understanding the game topic and observe the theme across multiple scenarios. You might look to see what exists in terms of other physical/ digital games using a similar theme or the proposed mechanics. From this it is possible to ideate and create a “paper” prototype.

In the workshop students were supplied with old board games to use as a starting point:


CydFemGXAAA55va.jpgRCA IED students working on ideating through making paper prototypes

Other ideas for ideating were shared such as Game Seed Cards which have been created for this purpose:


Image: Game Seed Cards

Following on from the paper prototype stage we discussed the importance of understanding the intended game’s user and creating a user profile. Prototypes can then be refined in relation to this profile. Refining the game should also be done by considering every step of play in relation to how it will fit into users’ lives and emotions during game play.

Every point of the experience matters

“The product is merely one piece of the experience puzzle. Where are the users when they interact with it? What were they doing before? How did they discover it? What will they do after? These are all part of the broader product experience. Every product, whether it may seem like it or not, is a service of some kind, and needs to be considered
holistically within the user’s journey.”

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 22.00.03.png
(https ://

Finally we used the Design Thinking Framework to test each other’s prototypes:screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-22-07-34

  • += Things that work
  • Triangle = Things that need to change
  • ?= Questions
  • Light Bulb = Ideas for improving the game


Gamifying Schrödinger’s Cat Theory

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