Alright so this week my little project group decided to move forward with our first tangible step and film something! Since our game is a tour around the uni for the scrubs we’ve got this little video to show for ourselves!
Obviously this is a first demo, not the final product, and ultimately a learning experience. That said, it came out pretty good. Like… very close to what I’d hoped.
So what’s the next step?
We really need to work on scripts and maps that need to happen. Since each faculty uses different buildings a different amount we’re trying to send each student to the relevant buildings.
I’m not the most organised person, I’ll freely admit that my desk has an inordinate amount of pens and mouse pads about it so maybe I shouldn’t be involved in the map layouts. Fortunately I’m a much better writer. So I’ll try to write a few… episodes I guess we’ll call them. And I’m not a good actor. For those paying attention to that video I was the sleeping person. I plan to sleep through all the filming sessions. At the very least I can help edit some of the footage. I’m not as good as our current editor but I’m looking to improve so this should be fun.
So this is the fifth week since the university session has started and we’re making some progress. We’re looking at game design and some game archaeology and even some game psychology. It’s a lot of fun but also a little weird because this used to be what I do in my spare time.
But as interesting as reading about the old arcades of yesteryear or why characters moves the way they do, the class is working together to make a couple of different games. We were told to design games, not video games or board game just games. So our group started with the idea of something akin to “The Amazing Race” but around the university.
We planned to use QR codes to link to a clue about where the next QR code is. After following enough of the breadcrumbs you would end up at the finish line. The plan was to have a weekly race with different teams competing and getting points based on how many codes they found. The first big problem I found with this is organising the different teams and the maintenance to make sure people weren’t just recycling locations.
After a bit of discussion on how to advertise and actually get people involved we talked to our lecturer/teacher/cool dude and he suggesting getting it involved in O-week (or orientation week for all the new students). This means that we won’t have to make it competitive, as people would hopefully compete within their friendship group. The best part is that we only need a few paths for the players to follow rather than the many we would have needed before.
Obviously if we want to use the university as our playground we need to actually talk to the university about that but we should have a working demo first, so a couple QR codes with videos and some hints that we’ve written up. That’s something that I’ll focus on getting done in the next class. Especially the clues… That’s like super important…
I’m actually quite excited for this. It’s not too difficult, it’s definitely possible, we just need to convince the powers that be that it’ll be worth it.
So in the last class that was undertaken for digital game cultures we all tried to come up with a simple game. A quick mechanic or focus that could become a game and a rough guide on how to present it. Personally, I’m a fan of cookie clickers (which is a sad name for a genre as I prefer progress simulator but this way people know what I’m talking about).
For those that are unware the name cookie clicker comes from a game with the same name in which you click on a cookie to accrue more cookies, which are then spent to gain a way to gain more cookies which are then spent to gain more cookies ad infinitum. It’s one of those things that, psychologically make you feel like you’re making progress when you’re not even close to doing so. There’s also a lot more going on that isn’t immediately obvious but that’s the crux of the game: click to progress.
If I only had 15 minutes to make a game, this is what I would make. I would make a game like this where you click to progress. Since I’m trapped at university for the immediate future I’d use that as a starting point and make the game a metaphor for getting through university. Maybe I’d break it into levels based around each class/exam/assignment/laborious social encounter but that’d be as fancy as it got. The best thing about these games, and this is a little depressing but also a load off my shoulders, is that there isn’t really a victory. There’s no “YOU WIN” screen. You just have to be better than everyone else. I could probably make this.
I should make this…
Videogames are a weird medium. They aren’t weird because they’re hard to understand, they aren’t weird because now your mum can play them on Facebook. They’re weird because they let you do things that board games can’t.
On a board game, if players moved their pieces at the same time it’d be both almost impossible to physically play and really confusing. The tangle of arms and fingers is just monstrous. You can get around this in video games. Strategy games on a table top have too many little pieces to move easily and quickly but a couple of clicks can send 200 zerglings to victory.
This took far too long and half of it was automized
Racing games are another one where, really, moving pieces have to take turns. This is one where I think board games have an advantage because while it is fun to zip past your friends in Forza and Mario Kart it’s much more exciting to roll the dice and hit sixes to help you stream ahead and leave your “friends” in the dust.
With this in mind we were tasked in class with redesigning a video game as a board game, and if you haven’t guessed which one my group decided to up grade you haven’t been paying attention. Kario Mart is a racing game where you and your friends can fly around our course with shortcuts and weapons everywhere.
Basic version. Black = Start line; Blue = Weapon; Red = Thwop; Yellow = boost
So basically you roll to move your little racer around the map, some spaces have weapon cards you can pick up and use to hinder your competition, some boost you ahead. There are also alternate paths with a risk-reward kind of emphasis. Do you take the short path and risk getting thwomped?
Wouldn’t want to run into this guy <src>
All things considered, this game looked kind of fun to me. The only problem (out side of the obvious copyright claims that Nintendo would do in a heartbeat) is that we haven’t actually play tested it. This is all theory so far. That said, there’s nothing stopping us from re-skinning it and just saying what inspired us.
Alrighty then, been a while so I did this and I might be a bit rusty but here I go…
To all the new people (yes all two of you) welcome to my blog! What started out as something slightly personal that shouldn’t have been public has now transitioned, perhaps poorly, into my ramblings and some assignments related to my uni work studying my Communications and Media degree. To start us off in this new year I’m studying two courses. One titled Cybercultures and the other Digital Game Cultures. Despite my writing practice I don’t think words alone can describe how keen I am to be studying these subjects.
I am far too keen to see the way technology is evolving and will continue to evolve in Cybercultures. Both the technology itself and the way that society adapts around it is fascinating to me as someone who was born slightly too late to fully understand the way the internet changed things. This should be a fun subject.
Digital Game Cultures is, to put it simply, my life outside of university. I play games. I try to play lots of games. If I like a game one of the first things I’ll do is go to reddit to see if other people liked it or appreciated the same aspects that I do. And this subject encourages us to make our own game and our own community. I imagine it’ll be a hectic ride but one that is important to my personal growth as well as my university education.
Like I said, this should be a good university session.
Gender is increasingly a sensitive topic. LGBT is becoming more commonplace, turning into FABGLITTER and eventually maybe even the whole alphabet. One that keeps coming up though, as important as queer rights are, is the old case of classical feminism. Anita Sarkeesian is the feminist face of gamer girls, who dared to look into video games and they misogynist ways. I say dared, because if you look up Anita Sarkeesian on Google images, half of them are just pictures of her, the other half are photoshopped images of her being insulted or physically abused.
She wanted to fund her own research into video games (the results of which are here). Gamers the world over, though mostly the trolls from 4chan, decided that they wouldn’t stand for this. Why would this warrant such an outrage? It could be the fact that games are making people like this, it could be that she picked the wrong platform to announce her views, it could even be that sometimes people generalise and they don’t like being generalised.
Women who speak out on all sorts of topics, from politics to entertainment, face the threat of cyber mob harassment as recently experienced by Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler, British columnist Laurie Penny, gamer icon Felicia Day and Shakesville blogger Melissa McEwan, just to name a few. In the last couple of days alone, there have been alarming online threats made against videoblogger Laci Green and Toronto-based organizer Stephanie Guthrie (who was attacked for exposing the creator of the domestic violence “game” targeting me) –Anita Sarkeesian July 10, 2012
As much as Anita is trying to make things righ by studying the stereotypes, I don’t think making stereotypes of people is the right way to go. The masses proved her right but that’s not the point. If the aims are to make the world a better place and remove stereotypes then maybe the preacher shouldn’t be weaponising them to make her documentary. Regardless of all this controversy, there is some much needed ground to cover on both fronts.
For uni this week we’re looking at “moral panics.” That is, the idea that once something terribad happens, there has to be something to blame. As we’ve seen repeatedly the media has its bandwagons that it likes to jump onto, most recently being video games. Now, bare with me, this following video is old, but it still applies to the idea of moral panics.
That video (which I’m sure most of you reading won’t watch so I’ll sum it up here) is by John “Totalbiscuit” Bain. He talks about the media’s reaction to the Sandy Hook event that we all remember far too well. The media regularly over reports things and blows things out of proportion because it generates ratings and controversy and, perhaps most importantly, gives the public a target. If something goes wrong there needs to be a someone or something to blame. So they blast his name and his motives to high heaven reinforcing that x is evil and y caused them to commit such an atrocity.
Now, one’s orientation to the media form that may or may not have driven people to be so twisted severely impacts their opinion on it’s nature to manipulate and how they think such a story should be presented. Those closely related to the travesty will want justice and want the villains name known for some good old fashioned vigilante justice. Those more distant and interested in games (such as myself) don’t want my favourite pastime slandered by the media and the story poorly told.
As it is, things aren’t going to change too soon but the whole story should have to be understood before it can be told. What drives someone to go on a rampage cannot be singled out to one individual trigger. Regardless of one’s proximity to this kind of media and event that much knowledge should be universal.