with special guest James Portnow
Our guest today is James Portnow of Extra Credits. We are also joined in the studio by David Fullerton.
- James Portnow is joining us! Extra Credits has
been a thing for a few years. The idea struck back when James was
working at Activision. He wanted to open up the conversation about game
development and design to the consumer side, instead of continuing to
speak in the industry-centric bubble.
- At Stack Exchange, we’re trying to make learning fun. All of the
gamification that we do on the system is in service to the goal of
making the internet a better place for learning.
- Extra Credits did an episode about gaming addiction, which is
related to the reason for the reputation cap on Stack Exchange sites.
- Stack Exchange has sites for gamers and game developers!
The Game Development site is distinct from Stack Overflow because
developing a game is a bigger set of activities than just writing code.
- Gamification is a way to get users to “read the manual”, and get
them to the point where they don’t need the gamification aspects anymore
- Games like Simon and Dragon’s Lair don’t give you any choice or
control. Games provide positive simulation in various ways – by feeling
like you’re acquiring a skill, by keeping things neat in Tetris, or on
Stack Exchange, seeing somebody vote up something you wrote.
- One Chance is
a flash game with an interesting mechanic: it leaves a cookie that
prevents you from playing the game again. It’s an interesting concept on
the bleeding edge of game design.
- The dark side of gamification… is conditioned actions that make
players continue to play FarmVille, slot machines, some MMOs, etc.
Players become aware that they are not enjoying the experience, but they
are compelled to continue nonetheless.
- The danger in the Khan Academy is
that for the American education system, this is the way to reduce our
budget: have people record videos and have other people learn via these
gamified websites. This is James’s concernabout the Khan Academy.
- When gamifying education, everybody should start off at 1 and work up from 1 - not get
docked points down from A+ or whatever. You also have to incentivize
the class to help get each other’s points up, not just each individual’s
own points. A high sense of agency is the sense of having control over
your own existence and the world around you. When a student falls behind
a little bit and does not feel like he or she can catch back up, they
lose their sense of agency, and it becomes a monumental task to get the
student back on track. Games teach us that outcome is directly related
to our own actions, but with more instant results. (Programming is
another way to demonstrate this direct impact.)
- Joel peeled hard boiled eggs in the Israeli Army, so you can cross that off your Podcast Bingo card.
- James is the hero in his own story. Games teach you that you can
always win, and that nothing is unachievable. We will close on that
hopeful note! James can be found @JamesPortnow or @ExtraCreditz on Twitter, or over at Extra Credits.
- Oh, right, news from Stack Exchange: David, interim CTO while Jeff is on vacation, has no news. Except that we have a mascot now. (David had nothing to do with it.) Also, Jeff will be speaking at Oredev, which is November 7-11, and Punyon should probably go with him.
- Oh, yeah! We have our own URL shortener! It’s s.tk. Check out s.tk/joel and you’ll pick up the gist.
Make sure to tune in next week when our guest is Eric Ries.
This free podcast is from our Stack Exchange series.
For The Conversations Network:
- Post-production audio engineer: Alex Miller
- Website editor: Alex Miller
- Series producer: Alex Miller