BrainHex - A New Player Model

You know Richard Bartle's four player types - like Achiever, Explorer, Killer, and Socializer?

Well, I just found out about a new player model being tested right now, from Chris Bateman, author of 21st Century Game Design.

It's better, because it has seven player types instead of four! :p

But seriously, I like it. I think it has the right amount of detail to be descriptive, while also being simple enough to easily grasp and use. And it's supposed to be based on neurobiology, more or less.

Thus, it is called BrainHex. Yay! :D

What's it good for? One useful benefit is, if you're making a game with a team of other people, you can more easily anticipate arguments about the design if you know the type of each team member. You can predict what biases each person will have, and what sort of design decisions they'll be more inclined to support.

Even if you're working on your own, it can help you understand what sort of games you'll be better at designing. What sort of fun do you get out of games? That's probably the kind of fun you'll know how to make.

Plus it's fun to find out what type you are, in a silly kind of astrology way. You know.

You can take this really quick survey to find out your player type.

I'm a Seeker. A Seeker-Socialiser, to be precise. :)

"You like finding strange and wonderful things or finding familiar things as well as hanging around with people you trust and helping people."

That means I'm a cat and a dolphin. :)

That there's an iconic representation of my hippocampus and hypothalamus. Apparently my favorite parts of my brain. :) Endomorphin and oxytocin for the win! :D

I always knew I was the Explorer type. But I'm also very introverted, so until I took this test, I never seriously suspected that I could also be a Socializer. But I am. I derive great pleasure from cultivating connections and collaborating with talented awesome cool people. And realizing this is an eye-opener for me. I feel liberated at last! :D

When I first posted about this on the Mochi forum, I found that a lot of developers there are either Conquerors or Masterminds, or both. I wonder why that is.

What are you?

Find out and let us know! :D

1 comment:

axcho said...

Just posted a reply to Krystian Majewski's critique of the survey, and thought it would be worth sharing here.

Excellent. I'm glad to get some serious debate going here - thank you.

I do agree the survey is pretty weak. However, I don't necessarily think that's a failing of the system itself, and I would in fact recommend reading through all of the types after the survey and picking which ones seem best for you. That's kind of how I tend to do it.

While I agree there is some self-reinforcing effect that biases the results based on experience, I have found that there are real differences in how well I enjoy different types of fun - some of which are not fun at all to my brain, but I know that there are many people who do enjoy them. And between people, my coworkers and I often have very different ideas about what is fun in a game. One realization I've had on this note, after taking the survey, is that the reason I love Daniel Cook's game ideas so much is that we have such a similar player type - I'm a Seeker-Socialiser and he's a Socialiser-Seeker. It's not because they are inherently superior in all ways, I am disappointed to discover. They just appeal to my particular tastes more than most games I've been able to find. Wouldn't you agree?

The reason that I got so excited about this test and classification system is that it explains so much of what I've been experiencing in my personal life lately. In addition to my great enjoyment of seeking and relating, I really can't stand being subject to fear and discomfort (Survivor) or frustration and punishment (Conqueror). Those are my exceptions. I don't want to go into too much detail, but this explains a lot of what has happened to me over the past few months, and years, really - not in games but in real life.

If that makes me a weakling then so be it. ;)

The animals and brain regions I took to be mostly an astrology-like hook to make it more fun and viral. I like being able to say I'm a cat and a dolphin, even if it's just an arbitrary, made-up symbol. It's part of the social game. They are social tokens, as Nicole Lazarro likes to say. Are you trying to say you don't like Socialiser play? ;)

I suspect that your conclusions may be a result of you having a particularly broad range of tastes when it comes to play styles. Not everyone is like that. I know I'm not. I can certainly appreciate gameplay that is finely crafted, whatever type of fun it invokes, but I am unlikely to actually enjoy it if it doesn't fall within one of my preferred areas.

About explanations, well, I'd like to see some too. For now I'm treating this as a beta product, so to speak - when it's ready to be announced I'm sure there will be more substantial explanation to back it up. No need to wait for that just to try it out though, right? :)