A Competitor


Its night in the forest and quiet except for the trill of a single bird calling for its mate, begging to be answered, but my attention is focused elsewhere.

I have dug my staff deep into the ground and tapped into the deep vein of energy that pulses underneath Webland.  Some speak of the Web’s source as if it is alive, even going so far as to give it a name and attributing feelings to it. Here in the forest, I use the trick taught to me by my father. I use it to light-up the darkness.

The wooden seams in the staff writhe and glow giving off a soft light against the darkness of the dense trees. In its light, I am crouched over a rough diagram sketched out on a rolled out piece of paper.

Three legs north, then another one, one and a half tops diverted to the west. The marks detail the route I’ve planned to use to reach the white fortress. It draws out a plan of skills I hope to gain by fighting my way through the forest and the milestones I hope to cover between here and reaching the Gammify 2013 challenge. 

  • Leg 1: Player Types, Motivation and Ethics of gamification
  • Leg 2: Game Mechanics and Gamification at Work
  • Leg 3: Collaboration and Social Good Gamification
  • Leg 4: Flow and Gamify Life
  • Leg 5: Compete in Gammify 2013

When I clambered up one of the trees two weeks ago, I saw the white towers jutting out from the forest up ahead. It seemed so close. I could almost make out the tops of the red iron gates and straining my ears I thought I could hear the clatter and noise of the competitors gathering in front of them.

7 weeks lie ahead of me, just 49 days till I will reach my goal.

My heart races at the thought and I trace another two lines into a column. I look over the gameplan drawn with its bold ambition scrawled across the parchment . My eyes search it, trying to squeeze out another secret angle I could use to train harder, learn faster, but no matter which way I study it, it gives me no further comfort.

I sigh, sit back and rest my head against the trunk of a tree. Above me, I glimpse a few of the Web’s stars between the black canopy of leaves and branches and they shine strangely against the yellow light given off by the staff.

I close my eyes and the light seems to fill the space in my mind. In it, I see the rows of competitors I will face. I picture them spread out in front of the tall red gates of the fortress, flexing their muscles and flourishing their skills with precision and power.

Competitors for Gammify 2013 just limbering up for Round 1
Source: goodfon.org

I admit I am as excited about seeing the competitors taking up the gamification world challenge, as the competition itself. I imagine them as characters called from the far corners of Webland; game players, games designers, UX designers, organisational experts, psychology students, marketeers, social media specialists, developers, and who know’s who else.

I believe the gamification field is still in its infancy. True the hype has attracted a diverse and large range of people, but there are few who would really claim to ‘know’ what it takes to be a successful gamifier. Everyone is searching, learning and testing. The organiser’s open call has set the stage and I dream that those who come to play will bring their own unique histories and perspectives to the field.

I hope to see the competition lit up by ideas and players each with their own unique flair and special moves. To see how they play out their hand and luck on the day under the pressure of a live competition.

And then there will be me. I feel my excitement  turn to nausea at the thought. The paper filled with all my carefully laid plans lies at my feet and in that moment it looks too thin and flimsy for the weight of the hopes it carries. As if at any moment it might blow away on the wind and become little more than a half-forgotten dream.

Why do I compete? What will I bring among those other competitors?

A question for my next post.

Staff of Progress


As I thump the staff through the boar, the shadow splits open splattering small drops of black vapour. Where it touches my skin, I feel it burn, a thousand pricks of pins and needles twinging the muscles and sending shivers through my body. In the gap, between each swipe, the shadow tries to re-form, a shoulder, a leg, a mouth. So I keep on hitting. Erratic and clumsy I flail at it, knowing some of my swipes will fail to connect.

But when it does.  <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJt_CiJWxzY?hl=en"><img src="http://startmyquest.com/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" /></a>

Black droplets run down the staff pooling in the creases of my hands. I grip the staff tighter as the liquid oozes under my fingers with each swing. I pant, miss, swing, hit, swing again and the trees are covered in black smears, when finally two red eyes droop from disintegrating sockets and fall to the ground.

In my hands the staff feels heavier and as I lean on it to catch my breath, the air around me shakes. The forest colours blur out of vision for a moment and where the staff touches the ground, the surrounding droplets rush in one great wave towards me. It glows with a yellow light turning the nobbled wood into a translucent rough shell.

When I look down, I see the droplets swirl into wild patterns along the grooves of the staff. Thin waves and lines make their way up and down until they settle at the end of the staff in a solid yellow band around its tip.

Adventurers Track

Starting out on a quest in Webland is a little daunting. There are many signs littering every hyper-linked crossroad on where you could go, what you could learn and who you could meet. Often it doesn’t feel like an  evening wondering around Webland on your chosen subject has really amounted to much. In those moments, its easy to think progress is slow or non-existent.

For the digital adventurer on a quest a surer footing for the journey ahead is needed.

I searched in the internet for a way to track my progress over the next 11 weeks until the competition. It needed to track the history of multiple actions, as well as provide ways to light up next steps, track the completion of those actions and allocating a score as I’d previously outlined for my game.

I was considering having to break-out the spreadsheet building skills, when I came across this instead.


HabitRPG.com is a platform which allows you to fully customize your own set of habits and goals, track these on a daily basis and treat the whole thing like a Role Playing Game.

Whilst the system for earning experience points (XP) is not fully customisable, I’ve tested it out and liked it so far. I aligned the top 5 actions I selected previously for this quest against Easy, Medium, Hard values under the tasks’ advanced options and used tags to categorise them easily. Although there are some bugs around still, it does remove the need for me to build a whole new system to track and score my progress, all parceled up in a clean simple interface with a numbered leveling system also already in place.

I know this isn’t quite the fully designed system I envisaged and wished to test, but I hope some new features planned will  allow more data and graphs to become available so I can further adapt it for my adventuring in Webland.

In the meantime

The staff has returned to its plain wooden colour, but the yellow band at one end remains as a reminder and promise of what’s still to come. When I step forward I see two rubies lying on the ground, a memento left by the boar.

I scoop them up,  dropping them into my pocket and I feel their comforting warmth pressing against my hip, as I set off through the forest.

Sound Credit: SoundEffectsFactory YouTube (here)

Applying Gamification in Webland: Is self-learning a boar?


Two red eyes stare at me unblinking as I walk towards them. They wait and watch from the forest. The grass and leaves crunch under my step and the staff feels light in my hand. I know I am armed with less than that. I have theories, words, voices from the gurus and students in Webland, but my own thoughts remain untested. They could evaporate at the first touch of a real challenge, the hours and days spent trying to absorb their truths and secrets, all too easily melted away.

Learning anything in the internet feels like that. Webland  can drown you in the mountains of information and never show you a path to something more.

As I step between the trees, I meet the red eyes set in what looks like the shadow of a boar. Its body and limbs grown out of shadows that fall on the forest floor and joined into a dark mass that slowly expands and contracts to the animal’s breath. It grunts at me, a short puff of air exhaled from nostrils, in what sounds like disdain. I see the path through the forest behind it, no, I see the path through it.

The haze of its large body blocks, but still reveals the ragged outline of a pathway between the trees.

I must strike now. I cannot picture all the moves I should make, how to throw together everything I have learned, but I feel the moment come tight in my stomach.

So I narrow my sights, focusing instead only at the pair of eyes in front of me. My hands tighten on the staff just as my chest seems to knot in fear.With a sharp intake of breath I swing high and slow bringing the staff down between two mocking red eyes.

Designing a game to Train for Gammify 2013

1) Identify top 5 actions: So in my quest, the 5 most important things I can do right now to progress to the Gammify 2013 competition. 

  • View a video, blog post or article on Gamification
  • Curate best articles and videos together
  • Share interesting content from other related fields
  • Express own opinion or understanding on a topic/theme
  • Comment (ask questions) on others content

Choose your own top 5 from this slide

Amy Jo Kim’s Social Engagement Verbs

2) Assign points to the top 5 actions

Note: This is not in order to assign a magical future number that means I’ve suddenly become the master of all things gamification. There is no such number. However, knowing the relative importance of the different actions have to my particular quest is valuable, as well as having some way of tracking how much progress I’ve made as I go along.

Since its the relative rather than absolute figures that matter I’ve decided to use Fibonacci sequence of numbers to assign points to my actions.

  • 1 POINT View
  • 2 POINTS Share
  • 3 POINTS Comment
  • 5 POINTS Curate
  • 8 POINTS Express


nautilus shell

Source: Inspirationgreen.com


Quest Log Update

Gammify 2013 Objective (Started): Apply gammification design to current quest

  • Identify 5 top actions – Complete
  • Assign points to the top 5 actions – Complete
  • Use a metaphor to design levels
  • Decide how to mark progress (passive or obvious)