Slides: GDC 2013 – Acting Like Players: Applying the 5 Domains of Play

Long, LONG overdue.

But, here are my slides from my GDC talk this year, wherein I did everything within my power to convert the work on the 5 Domains of Play into a usable system of design to help game designers better understand how their players are motivated.


The reason it took so long was that I committed myself to completing the notes sections for the slides this year. Last year, I didn’t do that, and so the deck turned out to be not so useful for people. Lesson learned. We’ll see if people prefer “complete and readable” to “on time”.


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One thought on “Slides: GDC 2013 – Acting Like Players: Applying the 5 Domains of Play”

  1. Hey Jason!

    First of all, thanks a lot for both your lectures on the 5(or more like 4 and one domain of not-so-play?) domains of play! I think they’re exciting and give a lot of interesting perspectives. I’m also a huge fan of trying to get accurate emapthy for the player.

    However, I of course want to give some resistance on your work. 0=)
    In particular the direct correlation between the games/archetypes and the scores are in general difficult for me to find myself in. For example, on OCEAN tests I always score very extreme on Conscientiousness, but I don’t like Super Meat Boy, I don’t like Dark Souls, because both frustrate me. However, I love Binding of Isaac or playing Fire Emblem on the hardest difficulty setting, because I find them challenging and interesting.

    I have 2 questions about these things!
    Do you mean, when you talk about Threat, stopping to play a game is either because of Boredom (lack of motivation) or Threat? It seems kind of obvious, but I stop playing a game either because there is a lack of motivation, or because I don’t want to play it anymore (angry, scared, makes me feel bad/uncomfortable). As in, the first 4 domains are used to make me happy, and Threat is used to prevent me from becoming upset.

    Have you considered layering the question? In the sense: We’re not looking for games that match our profiles the best, but:
    1) We are in need for a great motivator, to overcome demotivations. (for example, I REALLY love buidling and the fantasy of being evil, so I like Evil Genius dispite it’s big flaws.) Normally “Good Concept”.
    2) We are looking for small motivators to keep us going and keeping us from becoming bored (humor, aesthetics, small upgrades all keep me from becoming bored). Normally “Good design”.
    3) We can only take so much demotivation scaling with our big motivation. (Evil genius has enough bad things, but I still love it) Normally “Bad design.”

    For example, I love Warcraft 3, but I don’t like Starcraft 2. While they coincide very wel in numerous subdomains, the difference between liking and not liking is very big! Maybe it’s because my big motivation (the theme, exploration of neutrals and the progression of heroes, still have to translate those facets to ocean scores :P) in Warcraft 3 are overriding my demotivations? (losing, anxiety of seeing how much better someone else can be). Somehow that seems easier for me to wrap my head around.

    Also, I really feel that theme or concept is being left out here, while for me it can totally make or break a game. You could argue that theme or concept gets it’s very own ocean score, then the games good points, and then the games bad points!

    I love the work you’re doing and am psyched to see what kind of way your experimentations will go! Best of luck!

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