One of many projects due for a 2014 release, project-named Graveyard Shift during development, came about as a result of the development of my Games Design university thesis. An investigation into the role in which Behaviourism relates to games – and if there even was one – ended with the design and production of this project. To produce engagement, Graveyard Shift is designed to provide highly variable gameplay using a kind of developed whack-a-mole mechanic: as such, the appearances of different stimuli on the map have positive and negative effects upon the player’s performance. From the Behaviourist perspective, the game is designed to be highly extrinsic. It uses a very stimulating, visually and audibly feedback-intense environment to provide reinforcement: the player’s performance is also measured metrically.
Since the completion of my dissertation, work has continued on the development of the project, for general release. We’re hoping to get this out soon, and see how it performs in the wild, so to speak: learning from the experience of NYC Mafiosi, of which much of the learning was front-loaded onto the player, conceptually this game is designed to be more simple to play, with an escalating hook of challenges and features. So far, less than a month’s worth of work has gone into Graveyard Shift, yet the feedback so far from playtesting has been resoundingly positive. How much this proved in terms of Behaviourism was objectionable; but as a game, we think this has potential. The name will change for the released version from the prototype (there already is a Graveyard Shift Flash game out there!).