Spectating game devlogs

  • Design
  • Mar 15, 2024

I wouldn't call myself a gamer. But I would say I'm a spectator. Some of my favorite memories are me sitting on the couch watching one of my friends play a video game. I was spectating video games before Twitch was a thing.

And now that I've started designing my own app, I've been hooked on spectating game devlogs—video journals of a game dev and the game their making.

While my app isn't a game per say it will have gamification like Duolingo.

The simplest form of gamification has made its way into many apps today. My first memory of this designed approach (gamification) was with Foursquare and the OG Gowalla. This was back in a time where it was cool to check-in to physical places to earn badges in the digital world. And there was a leaderboard. The more places you checked-in and how often you did everyday like a streak the more points you'd have. It was brilliant. People would use the app to keep their streak alive, collect more badges, and/or be at the top of the leaderboard.

The problem? The fun fizzled out.

Both a game and an app with gamification need the content to be fun, useful, engaging, and interesting otherwise no streak and leaderboard will help. With each new piece of content comes new levels, add-ons, achievements, and more. When a player (or user) maxes out the game is done. When a player or user feels like the game is too easy or too hard the game is done.

Content is still king. And watching said content get made has been inspiring in my app design journey.

It's through these game devlogs on YouTube like DevDeck and ThinMatrix that allow me to see creative process and design decisions that effect overall player enjoyment, engagement, and progression.

A player is also a user and I'm the spectator and creator at the moment.