feedback mechanism

When you have an idea and can’t stop

I made a Fan ‘Subscribe and Punch’ fighter! I hope you like it @cheapcookiez   (*´ω`*)

Click or tap the image for the not blurry version (gdi Tumblr). The design is based off of myself.

I created a character profile and mechanics for their abilities. I would appreciate if anyone who does game mechanic design would take a look and give me some feedback. (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧ ALL CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK IS WELCOME!!

I absolutely love creating mechanics but I can’t make games myself, just the art. And I can write a butt-tonne about it. (ㆁωㆁ*)

Character Profile (below the read more)

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“Remember that your thoughts are the primary cause of everything. So when you think a sustained thought it is immediately sent out into the Universe. That thought magnetically attaches itself to the like fequency, and then within seconds sends the reading of that frequency back to you through your feelings. Put another way, your feelings are commincation back to you from the Univers, telling you what frequency you are currently on. Your feelings are your frequency feedback mechanism!”
~ Jack Canfield 

~ George RedHawk photo motion effects

Getting and Keeping Players: Designing for Engagement

Summary

The number of ways video games can be produced, distributed and consumed by players makes it a diverse and flexible form of entertainment that reaches millions of people. Some games are made to educate or enlighten players while some are made to help them pass the time. Whatever the purpose of the game, players may not be expected to complete the entire thing in one session (unless the game is comfortably short). Most games have campaigns or a story/questlines to finish. Other games have levels. Designing games for engagement is not standardized, yet there is one subset of the game industry that has a few recognizable design patterns that can be considered the standard for its respective platform – and possibly integrated in other genres/platforms.

Why Mobile Games?

It is hard to deny the success of the mobile game industry in terms of revenue and market draw. It is likely that most of the people you know own a smartphone and play at least one. For years now, developing games for mobile devices has been coined “developing for casual players” simply because games were now accessible to an audience outside of the traditional player market – a very large audience! The low-barrier to entry meant that more developers were putting product on the platform, and competition for downloads on user’s devices became fierce.

Success for developers that do not have an existing following (player-base, social media presence) consists of developing a game that provides the player with an enjoyable experience  - the nature of the free to play mobile game landscape is one where the developer must be able to craft an enjoyable experience immediately.

If players are not hooked from the get go, the game gets uninstalled – a killer for free to play apps. Therefore, there is a focus on getting the initial experience and long-term experience fine-tuned. The similarity in the tactics used by popular mobile titles such as Clash Royale or Hearthstone lends to the formation of what could be considered design patterns.

You have probably  heard of the buzz words: Engagement, Replayability and Retention. These terms all have similar meanings but they represent the end goal of development. We want the player to spend time in our games and come back when they have closed the game.

In terms of mobile development, strategies for engagement can be grouped into three (3) aspects:

  1. Trying the Game: Player Initial Experience
  2. Social Play: Involving Friends
  3. Come Back: Feeding the Cat

Engagement may not measure the “quality” of the time the player spends in the game (unless under playtesting conditions) or how good the game is getting players into flow, but they can help determine goals and rewards that may encourage replay.

1. Trying the Game

Enticing the player to try your game is difficult unless your studio is known or uses promotion strategies. Games – especially mobile games – are judged from the moment the potential player sees your icon on the screen. Developers should focus on the “Give and Get”. Give players a good initial experience that lets them know what they can expect in terms of rewards and progression and they will in turn reward you with not dropping your game after 2 hours.

Who is your target player?

The target market is not just a business term that makes the design process corporate. There are many different kinds of fun and while a game can attempt to hit fun for all the types, it is more sensible to create a fun experience that a segment of the population would like.

Mobile game designers especially have to be keenly aware of the target player, and not just the who. It is worth thinking about where you expect the players to play (on the bus, during breakfast). Will they have access to the internet? What is the target market interested in – what motivates them?  

The Initial Experience

First impressions matter. Judging a book (game) by its cover (app store icon) is a real occurrence.

Most game design articles or books would tell you to focus on the tutorial – the initial experience - of your game.

They are right.

However, I would go further and say make the vertical slice of your game fun, and make the process of going through it juicy. This vertical slice may be the tutorial, but since a direct tutorial may not be applicable to all situations, it may be a simple level for the base mechanic. Whatever the form, it should give the player a taste of not only what the core gameplay is like, but more importantly, how they would be rewarded or progress if they kept playing. The best tutorial is one that gets the player playing immediately.

For these three games, the tutorial do not feel like a chore you need to slog through. In the case of Candy Crush when a new mechanic is introduced, the subsequent level is what is an easy version of that mechanic in use.

Polish - Feedback

Video games are a predominantly visual medium where most responses to actions and information are conveyed through dedicated UI elements or cues within the game world. The visuals in games are meant to evoke a mental response and convey imagery that makes the player implicitly understand the mood/setting/theme of what it is they are looking at. Appropriate use of colour and cues can determine how immersed a player will be in a game. The trick to designing a visual world is the design visual cues in such a way that the player is more or less unaware of the prompts.

However, sound is just as important. Sound is used to create immersion and engagement within games. It is usually considered a feedback mechanism that lets the player know that something is happening or has happened.

A user is more likely to get played if it feels like a finished product - juicy feedback at the right times is part of this.

2. Social Play: Involving Friends

The trend of many popular mobile games is sort of social aspect whether it’s something as simple as sharing a funny status using a connected social media account or the fact that the entire game is competition based.

The obvious idea here is to get more people to play the game, but most do prefer to engage in activities in which they can involve their friends.

In addition to multiplayer, PvP, the Clash Royale uses the idea of clans where groups of up to 50 players can give and receive cards, chat and do friendly battles. Players are able to join clans with their friends. The aspects of gifting and communication is novel in a mobile game and works well in keeping players interested as they can easily join clans with their friends and share resources. There are also leaderboards and a match replay feature that focuses on the higher ranking players, encouraging players to work in order to get their name in the rankings.

Hearthstone and Clash Royale include an emote system to facilitate communication between players while in game

Screens like this are the only reason I play candy crush. My mother – a person who I think is part of the main demographic – demands that I send her lives. I now have the game on my phone and play it during long commutes. I have my Facebook account connected to it and it was interesting to see my friends icon-ified on the level screen. So, I know who’s playing and how far they are and my mother can get upset over her friends being further than her.

3. Feeding the Cat: Come Back

From your well-crafted initial experience, the player should be able to expect what they will be getting out of the game if they keep playing it. Mobile games typically have short play sessions where the end of a session is implied by a timer, waiting to unlock, the completion of a task, etc. However, the overall game can go on for much longer. How do we compel the user to come back when they have ended a session? Here is where rewards and progression systems come in.

Reinforcement schedule

No one does anything for nothing. Rewards are another important motivator for players. The kinds of rewards given to players are varied and are usually categorized as either intrinsic or extrinsic. Rewards are further categorized in terms of the value they give to the player; however, it might be when the rewards are given that makes the most impact on retention.

Clash Royale’s chest system is a clear example of a schedule. The game encourages players to return to the game to unlock chests after the correct amount of time has passed. Also, the differences in unlock time encourages players to plan unlocks around their personal schedules (e.g. unlock 12 hour chests overnight). This is almost like feeding a pet where a habit is formed.

Resources (cards) for levelling (player and minions) are scarce and cannot be acquired without chests unless the player makes purchases with real currency. Gold can be acquired through battle wins and makes gives the player a reason to play even if chest slots are full.

The player can win or lose “trophies” during battles and the number of trophies determines the arena the player will battle in. Also, minions (cards) need to be levelled in order to remain competitive.

Progression - Not just Levels and Levelling

Players need to accomplish things. They need to progress. Also, they need to feel it. Many games start with the player’s character at the peak of their abilities and then strip those abilities a short time later. Players are shown what they would be working toward, making the player more motivated.

Pathways from the new player stage to master player must be developed to keep players of all skill levels engaged.

In general, mobile games tend to focus on the following to get players to come back for repeat play sessions:

  1. Content Unlocks - players get new items/skills/rewards for completing goals. The new unlocks can be in-game tools, ugrades or even vanity items such as skins for characters. Players are rewarded for participating in the game.
  2. Timed Events - players are encouraged to return at specific times (See above section on reinforcement schedules)
  3. Personal Investment - players who are able to change things within the game will feel more attached to their virtual world.

TL;DR

In this blog post, we looked at the design principles used by mobile games to stimulate player engagement and retention. A lot of points were discussed, but the general takeaways are:

•       Know your audience

•       Get them playing immediately

•       Visuals and Feedback matter

•       Develop pathways from new player stage to master player

•       Consider social aspects – if they fit!

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The Gland that has got a Secrete Secret

This article will focus on one of the more important glads of the human body; the thyroid. This article will focus on the anatomy and physiology, biochemistry and clinical aspects of the thyroid, hopefully giving our readers a better understanding of this organ.

The Thyroid

Situated on the ventral side of the neck, the thyroid gland is composed of two lobes: right and left that are situated anterolaterally to the trachea. It normally weighs 15 to 20 grams in adults (1), but despite its small size, it is responsible for producing two important bodily hormones.

Follicular cells in the thyroid gland mainly produce the prohormone thyroxine (T4), and a smaller amount of the active hormone, triiodothyronine (T3). Most T4 is converted to T3 in other tissues by thyroxine-specific deiodinase enzymes, activating it when it reaches its target site.


Figure 1. Showing the molecular structure of T3 (left) and T4 (right).

T3 and T4 from thyroid gland to target tissue

Synthesised T3 and T4 diffuse out of follicular cells and enter a blood vessel. Almost all secreted T3 and T4 circulating the bloodstream are bound to proteins; the major binding protein being thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG). A TBG-blood test(2) may be used to diagnose problems with the thyroid such as hypothyroidism, a clinical condition where insufficient production of thyroid hormone occurs.

Free T3 and T4 enter cells by active transport, an energy-dependent transport method. As discussed above, organ tissues with high blood flow (such as liver, skeletal muscles and kidney) possess enzyme deiodinase and catalyses most of the conversion of T3 and T4. Other tissues with low local T3 generation may depend on these tissues to obtain sufficient levels of T3.

At the physiological level

The most important role of thyroid hormones are to control basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR refers to the basal rate of oxygen consumption and heat production. Normally, mitochondria generate energy by oxidative phosphorylation. During this process, the energy from protons (H+) moving down a proton gradient is used to generate ATP (the energy currency of the cell). This is a similar process to the momentum of water being harnessed by water wheels in old mills.However, a special type of protein, called the uncoupling protein (UCP), is found exclusively in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Mitochondria in these cells can provide an alternative pathway for protons to travel back inside the mitochondria, down their proton gradient. This alternative pathway results in no ATP production with the energy being dissipated as heat.(4)

In the cardiovascular system, thyroid hormones increase the gene expression for β1-adrenergic receptors in cardiac muscle cells and increase the responsiveness of these cells towards β adrenergic activity. The overall effect increases the force of myocardium contraction (positive inotropy) and rate of heart muscle contraction (positive chronotropy), increasing cardiac output and blood vessel dilation in the skin, muscle and heart. The hormone increases tissue sensitivity to beta adrenergic hormones, increasing the heart rate and force of contraction.

Thyroxine hormone also affects the other systems such as the respiratory system, skeletal system, reproduction and nervous system. However, the most important functions of thyroid hormone are the regulation of BMR, maturation and development of nervous system and increase responsiveness of tissue to adrenergic activity.

Mechanism of thyroid hormone

The steps below correspond to the numbers in Figure 2.

1) T3 diffuses into the cytosol and subsequently into the nucleus (8).
2)Thyroid hormone receptor (TR) is located in the nucleus prebound to DNA. TR usually dimerises with a retinoid X receptor (RXR) and this dimer recognises and binds at a specific site on DNA known as the Thyroid Response Element (TRE). TH binds to TR leading to the dissociation of co-repressors (Figure 2).
3)At the same time, recruitment of co-activators (Figure 2) occurs.
4)The TRE mentioned in step 2 is a segment of DNA known as the refulatory sequence, a segment of DNA that increases or decreases the expression of specific genes. In this case, when the T3 binds to the TR-RXR dimer, and the TRE may activate or repress the target genes.


Figure 2. Diagram shows a schematic diagram of the general biochemical action of thyroid hormones on the target DNA

Transcription is followed by RNA translation to form hundreds of new intracellular proteins. T3 changes the rate of expression for hundreds of genes and increases or decreases the production of structural and functional proteins which may be the key molecules in different metabolic processes. T4 also performs such function, but is less potent than its counterpart T3.

With such function, one can imagine just how important the level of thyroid hormone is in the regulation of different physiological processes and how this may impact upon health (9)

Regulation Of Thyroid Hormone Production And Secretion

A hormone with such varied functionality has to be regulated to ensure its adequately supplied to targeted organs. Such intricate control has to be performed by the “endocrine master”; the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin hormone (TRH), which stimulates the release of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the closely linked anterior lobe of pituitary gland. TSH is then transported in the blood where it binds to the TSH receptor on the thyroid gland. TSH speeds up the production and release of thyroid hormones, promoting the growth of the gland with the help of some other growth factors.

When thyroid hormone levels are in excess, circulating molecules act on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to decrease TRH and TSH secretion respectively. The mechanism involved is a negative-feedback control mechanism. When TRH and TSH secretion decrease, so does the production and the secretion of thyroid hormones. The hormones drop until the optimal physiological level whereby the inhibitions on TRH and TSH secretion are lifted (Figure 3).


Figure 3. Image shows the regulation of thyroid hormone by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in a negative-feedback loop.

Diseases Related To Thyroid Gland

T3 (Figure 1) contains three iodine atoms. The synthesis of thyroid hormones requires an adequate supply of dietary iodine. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iodine in an adult male is 150µg and slightly higher in pregnant women, 220µg (5). Deficiency of this precursor leads to insufficient production of T3 and T4. The consequences of this are low levels of circulating thyroid hormones which cause an increase of TSH secretion from the pituitary gland interfering with the negative feedback. Increased stimulation of TSH increases the activity of the thyroid gland in an attempt to normalize thyroid hormone level (6). Consequently the gland grows larger than the normal size, producing a condition known as a goitre(Figure 4).

A goitre refers to the enlargement of the thyroid gland (Figure 4), this could be due to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Goitres are more common in population living in mountainous regions, where access to iodine sources such as seafood are restricted. Such dietary deficiency can be prevented by adding small amounts of iodine to table salt.


Figure 4. Image showing a patient presenting a goitre.

Conclusion

Hopefully after reading this article, you’re a little more in the know about the little gland secretlysecreting hormones to help you stay healthy. Next time you’re calorie counting or checking the nutritional content of your food, make sure that you’re getting enough iodine in your diet as it can ensure that you don’t end up with a large number of problems down the line.

Google gets into textiles with Project Jacquard

Up until now most of the wearables we have seen hit the market have been gadgets we wear around our wrist. Google wants to change this and make the clothes that we wear already connected. Last week at Google I/O, Google’s ATAP group unveiled Project Jacquard, a set of connected tools which will equip fashion designers with what they need to create interactive clothing.

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Something that bears appreciating about this relative to other eras of unrest in America is how much less accessible explosives are

There was stuff like the Gunpowder Plot before, but ever since dynamite (it was dynamic!) was invented explosives have been central to terror plots

(That’s an ironic thing about Bostonians getting pissy about Rolling Stone “romanticizing” Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – from the Fenian dynamite campaign of the 1880s to the PIRA in the Troubles, the city of Boston is quite possibly the world capital of terrorist bombing romanticization)

The thing about the 60s-70s bombing campaigns is you could find professional-grade explosives all sorts of places – quarries, mines, construction and demolition contractors, munitions plants, warehouses and railyards, scattered pre-BRAC small military outposts and armories serving a draftee military… and few of them kept under very tight security or inventory tracking

That’s been tightened since; after the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 even precursors to homemade improvised explosives are tracked pretty closely. That requires a pretty extensive and forward-leaning federal enforcement posture; if the feds destabilize or get overwhelmed I could see that being a feedback mechanism pushing to a higher-violence equilibrium

Anyway to give you a sense of how loose things were, at some point in the ‘70s or ‘80s my grandparents had to call in the bomb squad to deal with an attic trunk full of dynamite and grenades my dad and his friends had pilfered from the road crew and the armory in the ‘50s-’60s for the sake of blowing stuff up for fun in the backyard

anonymous asked:

♔? (Pairing obvious) ;P

♔: Finding the other wearing their clothes

There was something metaphorical about the emptiness of the arching corridors in the S’chn T’Gai abode. It was so still, so quiet—so different from the kind of peace Jim had grown accustomed to from being in space.

On the Enterprise, there had always been sound: low hums, chimes, and beeps, chatter and a constant presence of background noise. But it’d become so much more personal than generic mechanical feedback after a certain point. Once the promises were made and the ancient words spoken, Jim found himself rife with harmonious impressions–thoughts that both were and were not his own, conversations he would perceive with his mind instead of his ears.

It was comforting, had become part of him.

A person could easily grow accustomed to being surrounded by noise, he learned…could even discover pleasure in its company. And for one who had embraced it and reveled in subsequent contentment for years, losing the companionship of sound would feel as miserable as the sudden loss of something utterly vital.

…or someone.

It wasn’t the first time silence had threatened Jim. Even after he’d accepted promotion and damned himself to a life of being grounded on Earth, he’d done what he could to help his situation. At home and in the office, the environmental system had always been ordered to play white noise on the lowest setting so he could close his eyes, wrap himself in it, and feel whole again.

And when that beloved voice frequented Jim’s mind no more, he’d talk to himself. Each night while lying in a bed much too big for one, he sent an unspoken love letter along silver skeins and threads. His mind softly whispered words that would never be received over a bond linking him to someone who no longer wanted him. But just knowing that Spock was somewhere safe and alive—and possibly happy—was enough to lull Jim to sleep, despite how his heart ached.

Now, however, none of these old comforts could lessen the pain of his wounds and the only sound Jim heard was that of his own footsteps. They gently tapped against polished faux wooden floorboards, echoing throughout grandiose hallways filled with luxurious Vulcan decor. This wasn’t his house; he couldn’t command the computer to play background noise and disrupt the environment everyone else was used to.

That was the least of his worries, however. The bond Jim carried with him was no longer their bond, but a torn and broken road in his mind which led to a void.

It led to nowhere at all. And that’s exactly where Jim was going, himself.

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anonymous asked:

Another thing about noise and torture and stuff: the U.S.'s torture method to extract information from people is this: force them to not be able to hear anything and actually play whatever noise/words they make back to them a few seconds after they say it. This royally screws with the brain because we are so used to the "total feedback" mechanism of our highly developed communication system that hearing ourselves again after a few seconds will drive someone up a wall. If you combine that (1/2)

cont. (2/2) with not feeding the person properly, and a few other things, that will give you the info you’re trying to get because it really fucks them up. (Kanae looks so scrawny now, and with his eyes and mouth sewn shut and other physical damage…) With disjointed ticking, it could definitely drive someone nuts. 


Hhmm very interesting. While I don’t think Eto is trying so much to get information from Kanae as she is trying to bend him to her will, I do get some of what you’re trying to say. 

While it’s not  Kanae’s own noises that are repeated back to him the repetitive nature of the clock noise has got to be weighing on him.

As for the starving part? I 100% percent agree it’s a a very effective technique. especially when you’re talking ghouls (who lose it somewhat automatically when they’re hungry). While I’m not sure if Kanae looks scrawnier than usual or not (we’ve never seen him shirtless), it would make sense if he has been being made to regenerate over and over again like Kaneki (rinkakus are fast healers after all).