Monthly Archives: April 2010

Ditching Idea #1, Trying Idea #2

Out of the game ideas I got, I tried prototyping one (tactical battle / army building game) but somehow the idea doesn’t feel so good on computer screen. When you are having some physical cards in your hand, and making choices – it’s a different feeling doing it on screen and the computer version has the problem of evolving into a fast clicking experience.

I decided to ditch the first idea and see what the I could bake from the co-op stealth idea. Interestingly, yesterday’s blog post about the C64 Bruce Lee game animation somehow made me think that I could use similar art in my game. In fact, that would solve the budget issue quite easily (me thinks that sort of art is much cheaper to do than – well – many other type of art).

Also, I keep thinking how I want that co-op experience – it’s what I like in games. Therefore I’m going to do some prototyping for 2 player (online multiplayer) stealth game. It’s my aim to make stuff work so that you really need to cooperate with the other to solve the levels.

I started thinking if I should use some existing multiplayer engine but I decided to ditch that idea for now. I’ll just pick something I know and will do some simple prototyping with BlitzMax.

Also, going to try either drawing some art on my own.

We’ll see what comes out of this.

Social Games Without Social Responsibility?

Saw this article on twitter and indiegamer about social responsibility – Cultivated Play: Farmville.

A section from that article:

The secret to Farmville’s popularity is neither gameplay nor aesthetics. Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations. When users log into Facebook, they are reminded that their neighbors have sent them gifts, posted bonuses on their walls, and helped with each others’ farms. In turn, they are obligated to return the courtesies. As the French sociologist Marcel Mauss tells us, gifts are never free: they bind the giver and receiver in a loop of reciprocity. It is rude to refuse a gift, and ruder still to not return the kindness.[11] We play Farmville, then, because we are trying to be good to one another. We play Farmville because we are polite, cultivated people.

What’s your take on this?

Can You Concentrate? (I Mean Really, Really Concentrate So Well That’s It Annoying)

I can.

I’m sort of the Master of the Universe when it comes to concentration. It’s like sinking into a vampire daytime sleep type of trance.

Here’s some examples:

  • I can sleep on sofa while radio or tv or other apparatuses are on.
  • I can read Donald Duck comic books while eating and totally sink into trance where nobody can wake me up. After series of questions I just say “Huh? Did you ask something?”
  • I can stare computer screen – and code 110% well – without realizing that somebody just cleaned the room*.

Only a cold, wet dog rhinarium touching my calf can wake me up.

This might be annoying to others (who might have something to ask from me)… but at least there’s some benefits on the “getting stuff done” side.

How’s your concentration?

* I can concentrate pretty well as long as they keep the vacuum cleaner far, far away.

I’m a Hoarder

When I wanted to learn about the Unity game engine, I hoarded everything possible about it, as fast as I could get (out of pure curiosity and for fun). I read tons of tutorials, forums stuff, tested some Unity games, even read one book about development, tried some things on my own. I think all this happened in a very short time period (talking about weeks) while doing some other stuff.

This is the same when I get interested about some computer (or board) game. I read tons of reviews online, print some to read them offline. Check videos… all in a very short time period.

I’m like that: when I want to learn new things, I want to get tons of information and absorb everything possible as soon as possible.

The good side of course is that, when I’m really motivated to learn something new I can get the basics pretty quick. The bad side on the other hand…

Well, hmm. I think there’s no bad sides. Not when hoarding stays in a sensible level.

It’s good to be a hoarder.

Are you like this?

Damn You Wrist

My mouse hand wrist is feeling slightly ill. Jinxed. Bad.

I remember when I was like 15 or so (and had been coding a tool that would predict ice hockey results) I got this sore wrist. I think I had to support the wrist with other hand (heh) in order to being able to code.

Over a decade later, I’m giving in.

I’ll simply stop using the mouse for the evening. Tomorrow it’ll be better. Less jinxed. Good.

What Are Social Games? #socialgames

I asked: Aki Järvinen (Finnish game researcher) about social games:

@aquito what’s the difference between “online multiplayer game” and a “social game”?

His reply was:

@gameproducer No definitive difference but leveraging a pre-existing network of friends on a social platform for play differentiates ‘SGs’

For more definitions, see yesterday’s blog post defining social games. Don’t forget to check the comments too.

Defining #SocialGames = Crap That You Use to Spam Your “Friends”?

I really, truly, madly, deeply would like to know what a “social game” is. One definition I saw was something like:

social games = crap that you use to spam your “friends”

I’ve also heard this:

social game = boooooooring

Or:

social game = facebook + “grow the snowball” gameplay

And then something like these:

social games = games that promote player cooperation and has viral aspects to help players to network with other players and their friends.

But, these aren’t really good definitions. For example, by the last definition, NHL ’10 could be considered a social game: it has clubs, team searches, friends lists, and definitely cooperation and collaboration (in case you want to win games). It has tons of the elements of a social game (maybe it is a social game then).

What about World of Warcraft?

It’s been here for 7 million years already and it was considered as a “massively multiplayer online” game. Nobody said in 2004 how WoW is a “social game”. WoW like has every single element of a social game me thinks.

I don’t know how these “social games” differ from “online multiplayer games”, and would very much like to hear somebody to explain this in very simple terms.

What are these “social games”?

P.S. I Aki Järvinen about this, maybe we’ll get a reply from him.

Picking Some Thing

Recently, I wrote about engine stuff and was pondering which engine to use. Whether I should do multiplayer and also added something about mmo, in addition for thinking of finding an artist and so on.

Meanwhile, I was doing some brainstorming for game ideas and preparing the design in my head.

I got to a point where I wanted to code something (after some basic “I try play part of the game using sheet of paper and a pen”) and decided to simply pick BlitzMax for the prototype and go forward. At this point I don’t know what platform I will use, but I’m familiar with Bmax so it was a pretty good thing to pick for some prototyping.

This might seem like a pretty obvious (“for prototypes, pick some tool you are familiar with”) but sometimes obvious things go unnoticed… because they are so obvious.

For me this somewhat works and I’ve encountered certain game design challenges, which has taken me back to poo walks and some pen & paper sketching (it’s so much faster to write & try some ideas on paper compared to coding them).

And the best part is that I feel no pressures from anywhere: I’m enjoying this whole thing, having fun, and have a feeling that I’m onto something good here.