Life as a Game

Kitha Verdon:

You’ve heard of gamification, yes? Using the concepts that make games so compelling–scoring points, earning achievements, competing with others–to make something ordinarily not that engaging into a fun, addictive experience.

This sort of thing is right up my alley. I love games, and I love being productive and improving my habits. So I’ve started tinkering with a game design to get me accomplishing things in life! Especially those creative projects that sit on the back burner for ages. Here’s what I’m thinking so far.

I have a party of up to four characters. They have these features:

  • A name, of course. After a levelup, they’ll also have a title.
  • A level. They start at 0.
  • A sphere, one of Home, Work, Creative, or Chaos.
  • Two skill slots, one daily habit and one project.
  • XP.

It goes like this: I draw up the characters, choosing their spheres (probably one of each), and picking a sphere-appropriate habit and project to equip in their skill slots. Each day I maintain an equipped habit, that character earns an XP. Each day I spend at least one Pomodoro on an equipped project, that character earns an XP. After a character accrues enough XP (I’m still pondering how many), they level up! Level goes up one, they get a title appropriate to their level, and I treat myself to some tangible reward like a new Steam game or RPG book. When a character attains 3rd level, they retire and are replaced with a new Level 0 character.

Bonuses and other wrinkles:

  • Staying on a habit for a full week earns an additional 1 XP. A full month, +5.
  • Completing a project earns bonus XP based on the size of the project, in the +5-10 range.
  • Once per month per project, I can select a Bonus Day. On that day, a character accrues one XP per Pomodoro I spend working on the project, instead of just 1 for the whole day!
  • The Chaos sphere is special. A Chaos character’s “daily habit” is simply “accomplish a significant to-do item”–like this blog post. And the project is chosen at random on a weekly basis, from the general stack of back-burner projects I would ever seriously consider picking back up.

My starting party…
Tani Argonne. Sphere: Work. Habit: 8 solid hours on task. Project: Some work I need to get done for a 5/30 deadline. Bonus Day: 5/21.
Kali Ranya. Sphere: Home. Habit: Lights out by 11PM. Project: Clean garage (might ask the fiancée for ideas for something better, but this’ll do for now). Bonus Day: 5/26.
Adulath Caracai II. Sphere: Creative. Habit: Read fiction. Project: Exploding Kingdoms. Bonus Day: 5/18.
Dmitri Mendel. Sphere: Chaos. Habit: Accomplish a to-do item. Project: “Clan City Lockdown”, a D&D4e scenario a friend ran and that I’m considering editing and PDFifying.

I’m having fun with this idea at least, whether or not it goes anywhere!

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2 thoughts on “Life as a Game

  1. veritycomic says:

    If you need a site/system/app for this, I might be able to help

    • SabreCat says:

      Hah, thanks for the offer! That could be a very cool thing. A friend on Facebook pointed out something called “HabitRPG” which I might take a stab at, but the idea of having my very own tailored app is quite the tickling prospect…

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