Hi, I'm Lisa

And this is:

How games make me

a better web developer and designer


I also like digital art

and Batman...

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  • Self-taught
  • Mentored
  • Involved in various "shared interest" groups
  • I like cut n paste
  • I like digital art as a form of expression and entertainment
  • I like to exercise my imagination using fiction

Web Development / Web Design

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It could be argued:

    Web Development

  • cerebral - facts
  • abstracted solutions

Web Design

  • aesthetic - feelings
  • visual solutions

It's all about problem solving

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And the web browser is the canvas

Part II - Projects

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  • Browser-based multi-player RPG
  • Is a living book - literary content written in "real time"
  • Built as a component for Joomla
  • Is being upgraded to Symfony/Drupal
  • Configurable, themeable virtual world, with sophisticated concepts of data, objects and entities

Things I value in long-term projects

  • Shared vision
  • Communication
  • Compromise
  • Collaborative coding & paired programming
  • Time management
  • Micro skills
  • Tacit knowledge
  • Breaking out of comfort zones and/or office place limitations

Coder Dojo

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  • Kids don't care about web standards
  • Thinking on my feet
  • Simple solutions
  • Vocabulary
  • New (old) perspective
  • Playing
  • Learn by teaching

One Game a Month

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Make games. Not excuses.

  • Theme
  • Time-limit
  • Our process
  • Just enough
  • Topical
  • Recontextualise

OGaM - May - Family

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OGaM - July - Forbidden

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OGaM - Oct - Divided

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“Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.”
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Fool runs in and dies quickly, sometimes before finding a path.

Fails quickly

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Angel stays at beginning, and tries to figure out best path

Hesitant (or scared) user

The Fool

Worse case scenario

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Or you're Leeroy Jenkins from World of Warcraft

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The Angel

Worse case scenario

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And then you get to try again :)

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Real worse case scenario

you miss out on the whole experience

Imagine if Jane User could approach a flight booking with the same reckless abandon as the fool?!

Part III

And now for the technical bits

Oops. Wrong slide.

User Experience and Content

In a website,

The UX facilitates the transfer of content/information

spend 10% of our time on UX, 90% on the product being sold or the information being disseminated.

In a game,

Content/information facilitates the UX

spend 90% of our time working on the UX, and 10% on whatever content would facilitate the game.

From website to website, how different is the user experience?

How will the canvas API, WebGL, and asm.js change our concept of content?

Example: Occulus Rift to navigate your Drupal site.

Gaming is UX distilled

(Rob tm)

Game UX

  • Level design
  • Player perspective
  • Console / user interaction
  • Cut scenes - further the plot and enhance players emotional investment
  • Motivation and currency - money, reputation


  • Security - don't trust the browser
  • Multi-player
  • Server load
  • Permutations/map phases

The Grid

The Map

The Player

The Destination

The Movement

The Mechanic

The Other Player


  1. Mootools vs jquery
  2. Responsive
  3. User flow
  4. Training levels / Wizards
  5. Thinking in terms of data - cookies vs database

New versus Returning


  1. Dynamic, really dynamic (NPC dialogue)
  2. Robust CMS

Part IV



Just enough to keep it interesting and engaging. But not so much that you die, or can't win, ever.

Knowing how often the different player types will return, affects daily and weekly strategies.

Augment the challenge factor

Users can increase the level of difficulty to suit.

Second Chances

Opportunity to learn from mistakes

A gamer will blame you (the designer/developer).

The user will blame themselves.

R & D is the best thing ever :)

Deep thinking - Creating worlds

Design the virtual toilet?

The "luxury" of being on version 3 or 4 - When the amount of energy for each iteration is reduced, allowing you to focus on the minutia.