A Very Brief History of Gamification

Our ambition with Combat Academy has been to offer a comprehensive training and social platform that offers something of value to any combat sports practitioner; from users just starting out, to the BJJ blue belt that rolls a few times a week, to athletes that compete at the highest national levels or even professionally. The core of the Combat Academy platform is our digital and video enhanced training journal that allows users to move away from using pen and paper to track their training and progress, and also the social features that allow users to follow and engage with other athletes at their local gym or halfway around the world. We believe many users will find these social features highly motivational on their own, but to further boost the motivational aspects we have also built in several gamification features. These include the ability to earn virtual trophies, goal setting/tracking and the concept of the Combat Readiness Score (CRS). Although gamification is a relatively new term the concept has been around in the physical world for a long time, used extensively by the military and organizations such as the girl and boy scouts. Within martial arts the use of belts and sashes is another example of physical gamification. Microsoft is seen by many as the company that brought digital gamification into the public eye with the launch of the Xbox 360 Gamerscore system in 2005. Within sports and fitness Nike is recognized as one of the pioneers with its launch of the FuelBand and the Nike+ platform in 2006. For those that want to dive deeper, we link to some interesting research in this area at the end of this post. These days most sports and fitness apps include some form of gamification, and Combat Academy is no exception. The basics of the virtual trophies available on the platform are outlined below. We will cover goal setting features and the Combat Readiness Score in future blog posts.

Combat Academy Virtual Trophies

You can earn three types of virtual trophies on Combat Academy; some are related to training frequency, some to executing specific techniques and others to using the social features offered. We are not going to document all the different trophies here as we want our users to experience the joy of discovery, but the three types are: Achievements These are octagon shaped and relate to the number of activities you have logged. Awards These are hexagon shaped and relate to the number of times specific techniques are executed. Badges These are round and can be earned in a few different ways. Some by meeting aggregated goals (for example the Workhorse which is earned by logging 4 sessions a week for 4 consecutive weeks), while others can be earned by staying engaged on the platform (for example the Endorser which is related to number of Oss given). There are 11 levels for each trophy, from white to platinum. We are not giving away any details about how to progress through the levels, other than a heads up that earning a white (level 1) or yellow (level 2) trophy is quite easy but getting to the platinum level is designed to be very challenging! Check out any members trophy “cabinet” by viewing their profile screen. To view someone’s profile just tap their profile image anywhere in the app. Have YOU earned any trophies yet? If not fire up the app and give someone an Oss right now. That will earn you a white level Motivator badge! Not on the platform yet? No problem, it is completely FREE and you can sign up to the web app using the link at the top of the page. Want a mobile app instead? Just tap MOBILE in the page header. If you have any views or comments on our gamification features, or the concept of gamification in general, please let us know in the comments or by contacting us here. If you have any other feature suggestions or requests you can submit those here.

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Further reading

Do badges increase user activity? A field experiment on the effects of gamification (J. Hamari, 2015). Motivations in Sports and Fitness Gamification (R. S. Larsson, 2013).