Chain of Interaction
A game is a system that presents the player with a challenge, gives the player a chance to respond to this challenge and finally gives the player feedback in accordance to this action.
Challenge → Action → Feedback
This chain of related concepts describes the basic interaction between player and game system, be it in chess, football, Counter-Strike, Sims, etc. We call it The Chain of Interaction
We use The Chain of Interaction at multiple levels in our daily work, both as a simple guideline for designing games, but also when we test. A chain is, as we know, no stronger than its weakest link, and if one of the links in The Chain of Interaction breaks, it could affect the gameplay negatively. The game will probably be less fun if one or more of the links are not of high quality.
In location-based games it may be a challenge to give the player immediate feedback upon the game action. For example, if the player’s action is expressed as a change of GPS coordinates (the player moves) it can sometimes take some time for the system to read. When a player runs to a point to address a challenge, the player must then receive an answer whether the action was correct. The system response must therefore come immediately after the player’s action for the gaming experience to be optimal. It is not always possible due to either poor network or poor GPS coverage. Therefore, there is a risk that one of the links in The Chain of Interaction lags slightly. But if you find out about this well in advance, a game designer can do a number of things to enhance the experience for the player.
So it’s even more important when designing location-based games to keep the basic principles of game design in mind. For us, The Chain of Interaction has proven to be a very useful tool.