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July 12, 2011 / marvinhawkins

A Word on Interest Curves

I’ve been reading Jesse Schell’s The Art of Game Design. One of my favorite concepts is the idea of a Interest Curves. This is not  a new concept, but I really enjoyed the way that Schell broke it down. The concept of interest curves is all about ensuring that game players are constantly interested in your product. By using an interest curve, you can ensure that your game engages the player from start to finish. This requires you to make sure that your content is organized to provide both peaks-moments of excitement, and valleys. These rest periods make the action that much sweeter.  Although Schell’s use of the curve was geared toward games, the use of an interest curve can be applied to anything.  Recently, I used this concept to increase the effectiveness of a presentation that I was working on.

Interest Curve of a Game

Example of an Interest Curve from Schell's Book

Although this presentation had nothing to do with games, thinking about the desired interest curve helped make the presentation better. Interest Curves a great for video games and pretty much anything else. I’ll be sure to use this for more interactive projects in the future.

  1. Initial interest: The subject of the presentation was something that (luckily) my coworkers were interested in. Just like a game, initial interest helps determine if the player will pick up the game.
  2. Rising Interest: Just because you have you have their interest, doesn’t mean that you’ll keep it. For my presentation, this meant a lot of testing. In that way, it was like a playtesting session. I constantly tested the reaction of the audience, and watched out areas where the presentation seemed to drag. (Of Which there were many initially) I also thought that using funny videos would help keep the audience interested.
  3. Valleys: Schell’s book also recommends giving the player a chance to rest. With the presentation, I looked for areas that risked overwhelming the audience. The information was still good, but information overload was bad. Spreading those moments out, helped alleviate this.
  4. Climax: Pretty straight forward. I’m still not sure if I’ve nailed this with the presentation yet. Ending a game, or presentation with a bang is a bit tougher than it seems. Hopefully future presentations will help me hone this.


Leave a Comment
  1. Jesse Schell / Jul 12 2011 3:13 am

    Hi Marvin! Glad this helped! I find the key to ending presentations with a bang is to find some powerful statement to leave the audience with. It could be a powerful emotional statement, or perhaps some statement about the future. It takes a certain amount of courage to make emotional statements in presentations — but often if you tie back to something that everyone believes in, but no one talks about (“that’s what makes this team great”, etc.) you can hit the right note.

    • marvinhawkins / Jul 12 2011 3:44 am

      Thanks for the tip Mr. Schell. I find your book really helpful. There aren’t many books on Design are more than just basic concepts. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

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