LP Login

Think Big. Move Fast.

Sulka Haro’s keynote speech on Habbo Hotel at the AGDC conference in September was well summarized by Gamasutra. For people building social games, it is worth reading the whole thing. His perspective is more from that of a virtual world than a game, but it is useful to hear the history of Habbo’s evolution and some of his examples of emergent play. (see previous post on what makes games fun, in particular sections on Games of Simulation and Games of New Stimulation)

His six summary points are:

1. Create something to play with. “Lego are a good example of what you should be building.”
2. Intuitive interaction. “You need to kill the UI. If the users notice there’s a UI it’s probably too complicated.”
3. Set up a mood for play. “This is maybe the hardest part to explain. In the real world, as I mentioned earlier, it’s increasingly hard to play. Just celebrate the fact that people do stuff and don’t punish for failures.”
4. Support user-created goals. “Players know the best.”
5. Shared social setting. “Even when people create the content, let people walk into the room and [use] the stuff. If you want to play, you need to figure out how to play.”
The bonus sixth point, according to Haro, is safety. “The users need to feel as comfortable as possible.” Habbo bans players for passing personal info. “If you construct the game so that people can screw up what other people do, people won’t bother… it’s too difficult to maintain.”