Conjured enthusiasm

December 30, 2010 | Filed under: game design

I’m a bit of a fan of Neuro Linguistic Programming. One of the ideas within NLP is you can effectively ‘reverse’ the way behavior and emotions work. Generally, you think that if you are sad, you look sad, you slouch, you look down, you speak low and slowly, your face has certain expressions, etc.

NLP suggests you can reverse that process. You can effectively ‘act’ happy / enthusiastic / confident and so on, and by adopting the posture / voice, actions of someone who feels that way, you actually *do* feel like that, genuinely as a result. I am 100% convinced this can work. I’ve used in hundreds of times, probably thousands. I can assert to the world that I am motivated and energized, and magically it works. If you get the hang of it, it’s an amazing technique.

It’s also something you really need when you start work on a new game, which is what I’ve been doing lately. It’s very easy to look at a few blobs on a screen, with missing text, missing functionality and tell yourself that this game will suck, and you should abandon it. It really doesn’t help if your last game looked nice and shiny, and I think mine did :D.

Apart from weird freaky new-age NLP nonsense, I also find that explaining the game to someone else works wonders. I strongly recommend drawing a diagram on a big chalkboard in your office, and waving your arms about a lot whilst pointing at squiggles and saying how awesome it will be.

The plan is to keep that sort of thing going until you have enough of a game to *really* know if it is going to work or not. My usual strike rate is one in three, meaning there is a 66% chance o me dumping this idea for another one before it goes into full production with artwork etc. I do have an especially good feeling about this one though.

3 Responses to “Conjured enthusiasm”

  1. Ian Trudel says:

    The scientific community agrees with this. Dr. Paul Ekman wrote that moving the facial muscles to portray an emotion is enough to change the emotional state of a person. I believe it was in Emotions Revealed. Dr. Paul Ekman is a pioneer in the study of emotions and facial expressions. The popular TV show “Lie To Me” is loosely based on his work.

    Ian.

  2. Have you read some books written by Anthony Robbins? He teaches interesting Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques along with different patterns. He scientifically demonstrates the parallel with physiology and mind-body connection. I’ve read two books from him, my favorite was The Giant Within.

    I applied many of his techniques and the outcome proved to be very positive in my life.

  3. […] Cliffski’s Blog — Conjured enthusiasm “I’m a bit of a fan of Neuro Linguistic Programming. One of the ideas within NLP is you can effectively ‘reverse’ the way behavior and emotions work. Generally, you think that if you are sad, you look sad, you slouch, you look down, you speak low and slowly, your face has certain expressions, etc. NLP suggests you can reverse that process.” […]