Score distribution of eteRNA players

I was just plotting this to see if it was clear at what point in the eteRNA experience players dropped off. It would seem that players lose interest when they finish the tutorial and not when they hit the lab, leading me to think that most players finish the tutorial to get an idea of the game and then quit, or that the tutorial does not prepare them for the challenges and they get frustrated and leave.
Before, my theory was that people would reach the lab and then realize there are no other milestones to complete so they lose interest. But the lab milestone doesn’t show a significant drop-off.

As suggested by Ding, this is a focus on the point at 10,000 points, which gives lab access. There is a bump, but it is very slight.

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thanks for sharing your insights. It’s very interesting that a lot of people give up after finishing tutorials - perhaps we should more carefully design puzzles that get recommended after tutorials

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I mentioned it in chat as well … the drop off after the tutorials might be because of the large number of school kids that come through there that have to do the tutorials only for homework. Very few of them stick around and continue playing.

Just a thought.

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First this is super awesome aaronrmm, thanks for putting this together!

@Chaen That’s also in interesting theory with students playing. I wonder if it explains the full 10,000 drop.

I do agree with Jee that creating a more structured experience might do the trick. It could also be potentially a goal problem. The tutorials are such a clear end goal. However once you finish them the next goal is the lab which is epicly far away.

Thanks again for putting together for this chart. It definitely shines a light on what’s going on inside eteRNA.

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Hehe - thanks, but aaronrmm put the original together, so all credit to him :slight_smile:

haha, fixed that

The tutorials are such a clear end goal. However once you finish them the next goal is the lab which is epicly far away.

It’s also completely hidden from you until you get to 10,000. Maybe it would help to make the lab visible to new players, even if they can’t vote or submit, so they can see what they’re playing for. It would also give them a chance to learn more about the lab before they start participating in it.

Getting points from puzzles also might not be the best way to qualify people for lab participation, but that’s another discussion.

I pushed from ~800 points to past 10,000 in a day, but I had the additional motive of needing to access the lab to write a paper on the game. I was very selective in picking the easiest puzzles for the most points, which were often player made puzzles. In the more difficult ones I used the algorithm of filling all the bonds with C-G and then reducing and adding U-G bonds one by one, undoing whenever the shape broke. When I got to the lab, I had no understanding of how neighboring bases affect bond strengths or why all C-G bonds was a bad call.

I would definately recommend a longer tutorial where more subtle strategies are explicitly stated and honed. If what people are teaching each other in the forums were stated in-game, I think the casual gaming demographic that doesnt have the time or focus to read a forum post about science or game strategy, but does enough time to complete a brief tutorial puzzle with one small new concept, will then be able to little-by-little gain the concepts needed to be an asset to the lab.

Just out of curiosity, what was the subject of your paper? Human interaction, computer science or chemistry?