Ellis on playful living: "this is my personal library of what I've learnt so far while I'm still mischievously exploring..."

Ellis, game alchemist

Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment

26/06/2016 12:10

People who know me, know; I love to talk about flow, and how to manage to stay in flow, or how to apply this in design to help someone else manage his experience. I often used the term “Dynamic Difficulty Levelling” but only now I found out the real term for this via this article on flow by Jenova Chen:

Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment, also known as DDA, is a fairly straightforward and ideal concept in the game design field. The difficulty of a game should change dynamically based on its player’s skill and performance. However, designing and implementing a DDA system is not trivial. Every so often, DDA systems take control away from the game designers, which potentially causes more problems than a linear game. Few commercial developers have implemented DDA systems for their games, and even fewer have shipped them. [Arey & Wells 2001] Over all DDA is just part of the core elements of Flow, it cannot stand-alone and reach Flow by itself. Rather than focusing on designing a DDA system for games, designing a general Flow system based on all core elements will be more direct and useful for the game designers”

Read the article: Flow in Games a Jenova Chen MFA Thesis

When still questions on flow, mail or call me ; P

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about play, design thinking, favorite, pdf, psychology, R&D, userfriendly

Recruiting in or with games…

17/06/2016 22:03

This is a very interesting article to read: “Serious Recruiting Games: 6 Tips For Using Games And Simulations For Recruiting Success

It gives a nice summary of using games as a tool in a “light” way towards the more “heavy” versions or application of play.

Some remarks I would like to note extra as tips: Read more


about play, article, behaviorchange, educational, english, game

Talking at QS in Groningen

15/06/2016 10:24

Am invited to talk (june 14th ’16) at this QS-event in Groningen about my Face A Day QS experiment. Then Gary Wolf will be talking about: ‘Against Behaviour Change’

Read and see more about my experiment on drawing faces every day here >>



about play, english, event, habits, psychology, QS

Ellis was in W*india*land

16/05/2016 15:34

A group of 11 Dutch game-entrepeneurs, game-researchers, game-developers and designers were invited by Dutch Culture (centre for international cooperation) to go Roadtrip India. To meet the Indian Industry, government and organisations to learn from each others challenges, opportunities and see how there are possibilities for future cooperations on the topic of games, applied games and play.

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about play, Alice, english, event, favorite, play

Empathy game design: Shape Quest

24/04/2016 13:29

Three students at the University of Amsterdam developed within a few month a game for youth on the topic of problematic social behaviour, how to deal with anxiety, how to respond to cooperation or how to cope with missing cooperation when to be expected. I have been so lucky to coach this team in their last few weeks of development. And the overcome obstacles in their process. Team hurdles to overcome, stress management, the alleged lack of certain talents, they showed amazing stamina and resilience while continuing the great work, and managed to create a working game with several interesting levels to be played.

I will never forget to see all three of them crying of joy while watching and listening to their own humoristic trailer for the first time finished.

They won the first prize of the Games4health Awards Utah 2016 in the category “Empathy Challenge”.

So well deserved since they covered the wide range of game design, it’s complexity, it’s multi- ánd disciplinary character, and they made a create trailer on top of that: see the Shape Quest trailer here >> 


Alice, educational, favorite, game, play

“Learning rewires the brain”

09/04/2016 23:05

“Doing something over and over again doesn’t just make it easier. It actually changes the brain. That may not come as a surprise. But exactly how that process happens has long been a mystery.”

Great scientific article on how our brain works and learns: “Learning rewires the brain

And for me ofcourse plenty of evidence to be read why playing games is relevant to rewire our brains ; )


article, english, game, R&D

Oh, How I love threes & trees

28/03/2016 21:54

I am very fond of threes, how they stand and how divers they are, and what they most have seen while growing for so many years, being there on the same spot. That, and many more reasons made me decide to build my logo with threes, since I believe many stories and adventures can be told with the image and analogies of threes.

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Alice, english, favorite

Make play! Gamedesign workshop

28/02/2016 14:19

Students from the University of Applied Science Amsterdam in the Minor Design Thinking & Doing are being exposed to many creative tools available. One afternoon in the Kick-off weef a “Make Play! workshop” was planned. I thought them about the value of play, and how play-elements can be used as ingredients in designing product for motivational and engaging purposes. Then with the uses of the canvasses and game elements cards, they designed game in team with the following challenge: “Design a game for teenagers to become aware about STD (sexual transmittable diseases). A playful afternoon, with amazing game concepts have been presented. And off-course, great conversations on the topic crossed the tables…. Read more


Alice, design thinking, educational, favorite, game, R&D, workshop

Prototyping workshop at University of Amsterdam Gamestudies

20/02/2016 10:20

Five teams studying at the department of Gamestudies were working on applied games for stakeholders for 6 months. A workshop prototyping was done in one afternoon and great concepts were proven to be promising or challenging after playing together their playable prototypes, great learnings were done by the students and me, and of course a lot of laughter as well. This video was a test for a tower defence concept to create awareness on cybersecurity.


about play, english, event, favorite, play, workshop

Old photo still relevant today

15/02/2016 22:35

This picture is taken at Laika on the Westergasfabriek, the company I co-founded in 2000, and left in 2010. Then we made a tagcloud as decoration on our window… still enjoying these words we chose then.

“serious, fun, simple, play, games, strategic, tactic, usability, cooperate…” Read more