I thought I'd give you one of my very best game designs ever! And it's not even a computer game, it's REAL LIFE!
First though, I have to thank everyone who was accidental parts of helping create this game, especially Mathias Wahlin, as it's based on a true story.
For this game to work you need:
- a cake
- a cake slice (or other tool for cutting the cake)
- a game host
- a bunch of people wanting cake!
The premiss for this game is that everyone wants cake NOW and as big a piece as possible!
What you, as the game host do is to have everyone gather around the cake, while you create one cut in the cake, defining the starting line.
Once this is made, what you do is that you align the cake slicer with the cut and then slowly start rotating the slicer along with the cake, creating a "piece" between the original cut and the current position of the slicer.
This is where the players come in, wanting as big a piece as possible. As long as no player says anything, the host slowly keeps making the piece bigger and bigger untill a player suddently says "Stop!". When a player stops the game, the player gets that piece!
Now, that player isn't part of the game anymore. He or she already got a piece. It's not up for the remaining players to get their share.
What happens is that people wants a really big piece, but at the same time if all they do is wait for a huge piece, someone else will always say stop before him! So you have to really consider the risk vs. reward-scenario and find that delicate balance.
It might sound stupid, but I was the host and played this with 10 cake-hungry people at my work and it was hilarious! Poor Cozy-Dave, he had to wait a long time for his piece...
So there you have it, a super duper game design for friends and families!
What'd you think?
Is the iPhone the new indie game developing platform? It could very well be.
Indie game development has for a long time been pretty restricted to PC by self distribution via communities and other channels on the Internet. Indies haven't been able to get their games on the consoles by Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony.
This is finally changing with Microsoft's Community games and Apple's AppStore for the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
This is how the 40 million iPhones and iPod touches, a figure given by Apple at the WWDC Keynote, stack up against actual consoles.
- Gizmodo (11/6/09)
Sure, the DS has sold way more units but the only way for you to get your game on there as an indie is to create a "homebrew" and hope for people with Flash-cards to download and try it out. And I can tell you that there aren't 100 million of users with Flash-cards. And amongst those who've actually have one, the chances are slim for them to try out your product.
The big thing with the AppStore is that you can distribute your games in a pretty unrestricted manner. You just have to pass Apple's check, basically meaning it shouldn't crash or contain pr0n. When it's out there, it's on the same terms as with all the big companies.
Of course, it's harder for you pump $100'000 into advertisment but it's still there. Try making your game famous on the PC; it aint all that easy either.
In about 5 months I've downloaded and tried 107 apps to the iPhone. 51 of those were games. That's way more than I've done with the Xbox. Why? Because it's simpler, easier access and it's fast.
This isn't the case for most people, but for people like me it's also nice to know that 60% of what I pay for the game goes directly to the developers.
If you want me or other people to try out your game by accident, I think there's a greater chance of that happening on the AppStore than on the PC.
Now, you do as you wish but I want to make games for the iPhone.
A question I often find very hard to find a pin point answer for is: What defines this very game?
Is it the kind of gameplay? Is it the art style? Is it the story? The setting? The core mechanic?
I think the answer for any game depends on who you're asking. Different people get different experiences from the game. But at the same time, there's probably something, the X-factor that makes a special game feel the way it feels.
Super Mario 64, a pinnacle in platform gaming: What is it that makes that game what it is? The controls? The graphics? The fact that it has Mario in it and is in 3D? It's probably a mix.
Screenshots from Max Payne 3 are released. Max Payne you say, I don't see it.
Sure, they're just screens so they don't tell all that much. But when I look at them, I don't feel the Max Payne-vibe. I don't recognize it. I don't think "That's a Max Payne-game!".
I don't see the setting, the character, the dark story or the gameplay.
But I'm not saying they're doing it wrong. I have confidence in Rockstar. I think they're gonna make a great Max Payne-game and I think they're gonna treat the IP with great care.
However, I get curious as to what they think "This is Max Payne". When I play the game once it's released, who knows, I might instantly feel "Yup, this is Max Payne!". Maybe they've nailed it. Nailed every important aspect. I bet they've thought long and hard about what makes the game what it is.
That's a really hard thing to do; getting a game and having to figure out what actually makes the game what it is. It sounds easy at first, but it's really not.
I think it's an important thing to figure out when making a game yourself. What is this game? It doesn't have to be unique, it doesn't have to bring anything new to the table, but you have to at least know what it is.
Ian Schreiber, a professional Game Designer and co-author of the book Challenges for Game Designers (ISBN-10: 158450580X) is doing something really, really cool.
He's holding a course on Game Design this summer by posting on a blog. Anyone can partake and it's free of charge.
This blog is a course in game design (specifically, non-digital systems design).
- Tuition: none. This class is open to all.
- Prerequisites: none. It is my intention to make this course accessible to all levels of experience, while providing useful additional resources for those who are advanced.
- Schedule: Monday 6/29/2009 through Sunday 9/6/2009. Posts will be made twice per week. You can read them at your own pace. The course lasts ten weeks.
- Audience: anyone with an interest in game design. This includes students who are interested in game design; faculty who teach courses in game design and would like to compare course material; game developers with an interest in design or a desire to see an example of what students are being taught these days; or relatives of game designers who are curious about what these people do all day.
I'm about to sign up right now!
Sometimes I call myself a casual gamer. When I say that I mean that I don’t spend as many hours playing as I used to. However, I don’t think it’s right for me to call myself that. A casual gamer is someone who plays games within the “genre” of casual games.
I guess I’m a Hardcore Player Light.
Many people seem to make the mistake that a casual game is a game, any game but with an easy difficulty. I don’t agree with this. Now, I might be making a fool out of myself because some well respected source out there defines it just like that. But hopefully not…
A casual game is a game which is easier to play (not to be confused with difficulty level) and understand. Fewer rules, simple controls and a straight forward objective. Tetris and Bejeweled are outstanding examples of this. Some call them games for girls, I call them brilliant.
Casual gamers still wants to be challenged, but not by not understanding how to play.
For me, what really defines a superb and accomplished casual game is for a casual gamer to have just as big a chance of being great at it as a hardcore gamer. Some developers don’t get this. If I can easily win against a casual gamer in a so called casual game per default thanks to my previous gaming experience, it’s a big failure.
Ever since I got together with my girlfriend several years ago, who basically has no interest in gaming what so ever; I’ve been ramming games down her throat for her to realize what a marvelous world we gamers live in.
She still hasn’t quite got it and mostly says: I don’t like it! I don’t wanna play anymore!
What’re you gonna do, right? So she stops playing and after a few days, when she least expects it I make her try something new again. Over the years, I’ve manage to score some real jackpots with her getting so stuck with a game that she can play for more than 5 hours straight!
Zoo Keeper, Zuma, Hexic, Peggle, Dapple, Piyotama and Flight Control for example. They’re all casual games! And guess what? I, the experienced gamer, have no chance what so ever to beat her highscores!
Okay, now, this girl doesn’t own any gaming system of her own except for a PC. She never plays with her friends. She simply doesn’t like hardcore games but back when she was playing Piyotama, she was ranked 21st in the world. 21st place in the friggin’ world! Do you think I can possibly beat her in the VS-mode? No!
Right now, she’s into stealing my iPhone and playing Flight Control. And guess what, top 1% on the online highscore-table! That’s insane, coming from a none-gamer!
But that’s the thing! That’s the beauty of a great casual game! Everyone has the same chance to perform greatly!
As some of you might have figured out, I love web-apps and trying out new tools in pretty much all categories.
I recently got a mail from a friend inviting me to register an account at this place “Issuu”.
Thank you, Jesper! (http://jesperbylund.wordpress.com/ 17/6/09)
I’d never heard about it before so I looked it up on Wikipedia and guess what, it turns out that it seems great!
You can publish whatever you write there and they host it, provide statistics and let’s you embed your text anywhere. In a nutshell.
As I said, I’d never heard about it and none of my friends I’ve asked either, which is really strange since apparently it’s been around for years.
I’m gonna give a thorough test run and I’m really liking it at the moment. Right now I have it for my resumé at my CV-page and I’m thinking about publishing all my articles with it.
To show you guys what I mean, I’ve embedded my older post about Achievements. All I did was to upload my original document and the rest was automated.
The great thing about this whole concept is that you read it in the browser. If I were to link to a downloadable .pdf-file most of you probably wouldn’t bother to click it, download it and then open it up to read it. But by embedding the document here, I bet all of you will at least look at it, even if you won’t read the whole thing.
I’m one of “those guys”. I like to watch japanese anime. Giant robots, ninjas and disturbed “wtf”-humor! What’s not like?
One thing I find interesting with anime are the title of each episode. Maybe this is the case for live action series in asia as well, I don’t know but they name the episodes in such a manner for the viewer to know something that’s gonna happen.
Let me use the hugely popular anime One Piece (http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=69) as an example with episodes like:
- Luffy Drowning! Zoro vs Octopus Hatchan
- The Reindeer Has a Blue Nose! Chopper`s Secret
From the first title we can assume the character Luffy will (or at least almost) drown and Zoro will fight the Octopus Hatchan.
The second titles tells us that we’re gonna get to hear about something juice about Chopper.
I’m sure this is done with some special narrative magic in mind. Not really my area but I can see how it works on me. Knowing what will happen, I’m sitting on the edge of the couch waiting for it, looking forward to it, building suspense and anticipation! It’s just like when the viewers knows more than the hero in movies, knowing it’s an ambush set up by an evil genious.
It’s like when you’ve ordered something and have to wait a few days for it to arrive. Of course you hate the wait, but at the same time it’s during that time that your imagination goes wild! The night before christmas anyone?
So here’s what I’m thinking.
How can we use this in games? How can we by telling the player what’s gonna happen make it a more exciting experience?
In a way, it’s already been done in a million ways. Take Metroid for example, making us see upgrades before we can reach them. Or why not something as simple as an XP-bar in an RPG? You know that by the time that bar is full, you’re gonna learn a new skill and it’s gonna be kick ass!
If you were to take the first Resident Evil and edit it. When entering the infamous hallway a title screen appears:
- The mosters hallway…
By then, you know something’s gonna be lurking there. Would it ruin the surprise? Would it increase the tension?
I’m just thinking out loud here but I think we could use this…
A bit over a month ago, a Mr. Jeff D commented my post about different tools for documentation and recommended that I’d try out Microsoft’s Office Live Workspace.
I thought I would and then let you guys (and you Jeff, if you’re reading) know what I think.
The official website reads:
- Access Anywhere
- Online Storage and Sharing
- Works with Programs You Know
Yet, I’m afraid it’s not for me. Sorry, Jeff.
Workspace let’s me save my document on their server, making me have a backup of the file which I can access from any computer, but so does DropBox. DropBox even let’s me save any kind of file, while Workspace only supports a few.
To browse my files I need to use Workspace’s own interface via the browser (as far as I know) but with DropBox, I can view, edit and work with them as with any other file on my computer.
Having the files on a server is the major point of interest with these services and yet again, DropBox wins. When working with a document in Workspace and I choose to save, the document it saved to the server, making me wait for it to finish. But with DropBox I work with a local copy on my harddrive, so saving is just as fast as ever. Then, afterwards when the file is saved to my harddrive it syncs the new file with the server without me noticing it.
Being able to share my documents is another aspect that as far as I gather, Workspace does quite well. Unfortunately Jeff, I’m in not often in need of that function and when I am, I use Google Docs which works even better than Workspace.
Why, you ask? Because anyone with a Google Account can share documents with me on Google Docs, just as anyone with a Live Account can share files on Workspace. The difference is that Google does everything in browser, while Workspace requires Office to be installed!
That’s right. If I don’t have an Office-package installed, I’m out of luck with Workspace. That’s not a requirement with Google. At least I haven’t gotten it to work without it, hence the victory goes to Google.
But not only does Workspace requires me to have Office installed, it also doesn’t support Chrome! I’m using Chrome as my main browser and I’m not about to change because Microsoft doesn’t support it with a service I have better options for.
Sorry Jeff, no deal.
Huge metalic contraptions, controlled with levers and buttons while roaring like a wild beast.
Robots (Mechas) are often portraid like animals in games, having them use an animal-like movement pattern and sometimes even sounding like them.
Why is that? Does people like it? Does it have any effect?
I like it. A lot of people don't.
I can only guess, but I think it's because we can instantly relate to what we know about the specific specie, race or whatever reference we have. It's all about our cognitive models. To having us use our own resources of knowledge, instead of having to input them into us.
Ie. when seeing a cat-like machine instantly makes me assume it's an agile piece of machinery. Perhaps even mischievous.
A somewhat recent example from AAA-games are Metal Gear Solid 4 and its different bosses. The Metal Gear Ray for example, launches in front of you, stretching its head (cockpit) towards the sky and lets out a tremendous roar, resembling Godzilla.
Now, in reality, there probably wouldn't be much point in doing so; but while in the Metal Gear world, within the magic circle it said:
- I'm a monstrous foe! Fear me, as I am a primal carnivore!
And that's intimidating! We know to run from dangerous looking things that growls at us. What's more scary? A quiet robot that doesn't move at all, or a fierce sounding robot with a daunting "idle" movement?
I think it's a great developer technique to have the player use his own instincts and base of references. The more iconic; the better.
Of course, sometimes concept artists just think it looks cool and that's why it's in the game...
Hah, just my luck!
I'd been waiting with upgrading the blog to 2.7.1 for a long time, afraid something might go wrong and because I didn't feel I've had the time.
But yesterday I finally got down to it and upgraded. It went smooth without any hiccups.
Guess what I find out today? It seems as if a few hours after I upgraded, a new stable release was made available! I had already postponed it several months, why couldn't I have waited a few more hours?!
I immediately decide to upgrade once again and of course, this time I encounter some serious trouble. Just my luck...
Anyway, I'm sorry about the downtime if only for an hour. It's been resolved.
If you notice anything strange or broken on the site, please let me know!