13 Jun Creative use of game(app) mechanics
This post is also available in Swedish: Kreativt användande av spel-/appmekanik
The gaming industry has been at the forefront of technology when it comes to development for a long time. Game manufacturers like Blizzard Entertainment, Square Enix, Sony Entertainment and even Microsoft have all been pioneers in their fields delivering AAA titles for over 20 years. Most famous of them probably being World of Warcraft by Blizzard.
– But hey Fredrik, why are you talking about gaming companies, you build tools and services for the construction industry?
During the decade I’ve been developing Geometra much of my inspiration and technical solutions have come from observing and deducing how the gaming industry solves some of their problems. As an example, the second generation of Geometra was based around the idea that we could build a server that works like the MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) servers out there, remember this was back in 2008. This basically means that Geometra is able to cope with enormous amounts of concurrent users while using very limited hardware. In fact, the entire European server cluster currently running our third generation uses less hardware power than what’s available in an iPhone X.
– Ok, that’s cool and stuff – but what does this really have to do with me? You telling me I should start gaming or what’s your angle here?
Gaming is a great way of increasing your creativity so in fact yes, I would encourage you to try out gaming for a bit. Maybe you have friends and family that do some gaming, have a sit down and look at what’s going on. Some sources suggest that over 1 billion, that’s a ~6th of the world’s population are classified as gamers today. Seeing a 5-year-old build a castle in Minecraft is mind blowing!
Jane McGonigal has a wonderful TED-talk about how: Gaming can make a better world
– Well I’m not into gaming, so why should I care?
Gaming itself isn’t the heart of this post, but creativity! Gaming is just one of many ways that allows us to release our creativity, especially in free-form games like Minecraft (Microsoft).
The idea of free-form creation is something that’s at the core of the Geometra user experience and the way we approach estimation work. We try to limit ourselves in adding specific functions and features that serve single or very niche purposes and instead of focus on adding those concepts to already present tool sets. With this we want to encourage you to open up your creative process and use Geometra as a problem-solving tool and not a static model for estimation work, freely solving your estimation work as the project needs arise and not being shoehorned into a specific way of thinking.
Creative use of app(game) mechanics
The line “creative use of game mechanics” is something highly debated in the gaming community as it’s often a discussion on whether the player has cheated and exploited the game or in fact made creative use of game mechanics.
While we do provide some basic structures around that process, these are used to create a cohesive framework for participants:
- Annotation Tree => The relative physical project location of an object
- Annotation Rows => All parts, materials, amounts, prices etc.
- Annotation Properties => Global properties like placement, color, height, name, tag
The rest is really up to you, use the different Annotation Tools to create objects for you to work on, use them as you like, they can represent anything! The Annotation Rows are there to let you capture all relevant information needed to complete your takeoff and estimate to achieve your result. Now getting creative isn’t all that easy sometimes, especially if you’re a very detail-oriented person you might have a harder time getting those creative juices flowing but don’t worry! We’re here to help and discuss ways of solving problems and ideas with Geometra.
In the end it’s the result that matters, if you’re unable to achieve your result then we have a flaw in our design and we’ll have to fix it. The way we achieve results is ever evolving and the more creative we get the more ways we’ll find. My real question here to you is this:
If you can get the result you need, does it really matter that much in what way that result is achieved? Do you dare to explore and try something new?
Knowledge Base – in the works!
This might also be a good time to announce that we’re working on a knowledge base for our support site where we’ll gather and write up all the creative ways you can use Geometra to solve various problems that arise during your estimation work. More information about this as we come along in the development process.
A personal reflection on gaming
On a more personal note; I’ve been an avid World of Warcraft gamer for the past 15 years. Ranging from hard-core gaming ranked 4th in Europe back in 08-09 to the very casual weekend-gamer that I am today. Gaming has been part of my life since I received my first Nintendo 8-bit and is something that inspires my creativity on a daily basis. Gamification is a subject that strikes close to home and the importance of having fun while working. Some of the skills I’ve acquired and gaming:
- English language (I hold a Cambridge Advanced Business English degree, highest grade)
- Pattern recognition and logical processing
- Puzzle solving and unorthodox problem-solving techniques
- Technical and user experience design concepts and solutions
- Rapid strategic and consequential analysis and readaption
Here’s a couple of fun links to check out if this interests you:
Psychology Today has an interesting blog post about gaming and its benefits:
Modern Hotel House Tour:
Gamers building massive cities, buildings and fantasy inspired locations:
Tomelilla municipality invited kids and youngster to join them in planning the layout for Tomelillas development in Minecraft (Microsoft):
(In Swedish) https://www.tomelilla.se/oversiktsplan-tomelilla-2025/bygg-tomelilla-i-minecraft/