Short, compelling activities are the atomic units of any good core loop.
- Minecraft has building, mining and exploring block-worlds
- Duolingo and Lumosity have mini-games that level-up in difficulty
- Clash of Clans has resource gathering, training, and deploying troops.
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram deliver an ever-changing variable-rewards stream of updates
Without something engaging to DO, all the scaffolding and rewards in the world won’t keep people coming back for the long term. To create an effective Core Loop, start by identifying repeatable activities that are quick, pleasurable and interactive.
For a more advanced look at how actions, loops and arcs work together to create a great game, check out this brilliant and inspiring article on Loops and Arcs by Dan Cook. Here’s a taste:
What happens when we, as designers and developers, invest our full energy in exploring the potential of loops? Consider the following sparely settled frontiers:
- Will Wright and Notch made millions by exploring the loops of player expression.
- Eve forges forth into new territory with every update by exploring the loops of economics and politics.
- Star Craft thrives because it taps into the mastery loops at the competitive heart of sports.
- No one is even talking about the loops inherent in religion, a system that has driven the behavior of humanity for thousands of years.
- Games of improv, bluffing or charades are loop-based activities with nearly zero traction in the markets today. These are games that can be played for life.