Final Pitch

Last Thursday, I completed my final presentation for my game at MOTAT. The game can be played online here. Continue reading

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Design

Filter game

This was my original game idea. After playing around with it, I found that it was beyond my skill level in terms of coding, and also lacked appeal – I struggled to find a pleasing visual aesthetic, or a way to make it more fun without adding to the complexity and making it even harder for me to code. With this in mind, I decided to change my game to the Water Fighter game.

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Week 9 – Game Jam

Well, I have been working on my game jam, although it’s been hard with my equipment dying on me…

I have been working on a game about time loops being used in a positive sense. In my opinion, one of my best ideas so far has been a game where the player is a farmer with fields that have different temporal properties – for example, reversed time, time looping, slowed time and fast time.

This is a screenshot of the gameplay I’ve been working on, using Inklewriter, a tool for people writing interactive stories.

TMFG 01.png

This is the link to my game: Time Farming

What I did in the holidays…

Over the term break I have mainly focused on doing research regarding games and time mechanics and concepts in particular.

Videos that I have watched:

 

Games that I have found that use time, time travel or time loop concepts and mechanics:

  • Twelve Minutes
  • Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  • Time Frame
  • Save the date
  • The Sexy Brutale
  • Braid
  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Sonic CD

One thing I’ve found is that a lot of games seem to use time loops as a tool to fix something that’s gone wrong story wise, and the end goal is almost always to end the time loop, either because it’s not needed anymore, or because breaking the loop was the goal. It is generally a sign or symptom of something being wrong or broken. In some ways I want to look at ways that time loops can be shown or used in a more positive light.

Week 7

Three playful activities I did this week…

I have found that the freemium game style has dominated my experience with mobile gaming, and while I don’t hate it enough to not play them if they interest me, I definitely don’t enjoy the general experience. This week I played two games, one of which was freemium and another that was paid, which was a very new experience for me.

Playing Monument Valley

This game was new to me in many ways and I found it refreshing, as a game that had a definite start and end, didn’t require any sort of in-game currency and had a story that wasn’t purely created with the dialogue in cutscenes. The gameplay was interesting and engaging – I very much enjoy puzzles that require me to think carefully and try things out, and this delivered.

Playing Kingdom Hearts Union X[Cross]

This is a game I have played for a while now, and I have enjoyed it a lot despite it’s freemium status. Some of the things I think help mitigate that are the frequent 0 AP events (which allow you to play without having to wait for any cooldowns), and the similarly frequent gifts of enough premium currency to purchase new medals in the shop without having to spend real money on it. One thing I really don’t like is having to spend so much time messing around with the medal fusion and evolution. The fact that inventory space is so limited (and requires premium currency to expend) is incredibly frustrating as having a full inventory prevents you from playing the actual game. Part of my frustration is probably due to the fact that I have never been super into the ‘collecting and raising things’ types of games – my love of Pokemon/Digimon/YuGiOh/etc stemmed from the animes I watched as a child before I ever got my hands on any of the games. I prefer games with constant action and story over fiddling around with weapons or pets.

TWEWY designs

While I still haven’t finished The World Ends With You, I have found it to be extremely inspiring with the unique style in the art, gameplay, music and story. I spent some time doing a lot of sketches inspired by the clothing found in the game, and made a sort of minigame for myself with it, based on some of the ‘lore’. Each of the 12 main fashion brands in the game is representative of one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac – I challenged myself to make up outfits for characters entirely from the items in a brand that matches their zodiac year. For example, being born in a Year of the Ox, my brand is D+B (Dangerous Buffalo), so my self-portraits in this exercise mainly consisted of miniskirts/shorts, tall boots and cute tops.

Week 6 Readings

Indie Prototyping – Jon Blow

  • I really agree with the idea that even if it didn’t make a successful game, if you learn something, it was a successful prototype
  • A lot of the things mentioned – like scrapping things because they don’t change the game enough or they don’t feel good or fun – reminds me about my own process with some of my past prototypes. Especially the repeated comments about “if I don’t get it, how can I expect other people to?”. I had the same problem with one game idea, where I was constantly asking myself “If I don’t think it’s fun, how can I expect others to play it?”
  • The issues with art and gameplay development are interesting to me. I’ve tried making a game with just ‘programmer art’ for the prototype stage, but looking back I think it was more a lack of inspiration than trying to save time.
  • I found the comment about ‘Japanese spin off games just add “Tactics” to the title’ funny.

Play Without Pixels

  • Paper prototyping is a lot easier for me, since I come from a traditional art background, so I find both digital art and programming are harder and more time consuming than making something with paper.

Creativity – John Clease

  • The penicillin example kind of sounds a bit dodgy to me – a scientist is supposed to question everything, to look at an unsuccessful experiment and ask ‘why’? So what, in a different state of mind he would have disregarded the scientific method?
  • I can recognise some of the behaviours and mental states he mentioned in myself, and I have to agree with some of them, but also disagree. If you’re doing something that’s simultaneously work and creative – like for example iterating on a game design – are you supposed to be open or closed? If you’re open, and supposedly can’t work well, then how do you get the idea made? But if you’re closed and not creative, how do you look at what you made and come up with a new idea for it? If you need to rapidly switch between the two – like in a game jam – then how do you get the apparently necessary space and time to do so?
  • Actually, a lot of the talk sort of makes the whole game jam process sound really bad in terms of creativity – limited time and limited space for the open mode to come out, having to keep going to make the deadline instead of taking breaks every one and a half hours. In some ways it depends on the jammer, but overall it sounds bad.
  • “It’s easier to do trivial things that are important than it is to do big things that are not urgent” This is so very true.

Class Discussion

  • This time was very brief, as we quickly went on to working on making a game prototype
  • One thing we did discuss that stuck with me was the idea of ‘stealing like an artist’, which I didn’t know much about and find hilarious when considering how much of an issue people make about plagiarism and how many online artists I see worried about art theft.
    • Stampin’ Up – a company that sells papercraft supplies – has a slogan for it’s representatives, who often do craft classes to showcase their wares: C. A. S. E. which stands for Copy And Share Everything. Basically, steal all the ideas, but give credit where it’s due.
  • Our game brief was to make a game about a political issue in a randomly selected area of the world. We got the Carribean and decided to focus on Cuba in particular. Our game is about the oppression of people – how the government will arbitrarily throw people in jail for any random thing, which can be as small as taking a video of something, or peacefully protesting. It is basically a roleplaying game with elements similar to Mafia (except without a specific goal, the players choose actions individually, and the game master is the ‘mafia’).
    • Rules:
      • Each player is given a role – worker, reporter, political activist, game master/government
      • Each turn, the game master gives the other players a scenario – a hurricane occurs, someone has started a protest for workers rights, there’s been a car crash.
      • Each player decides on an action fitting their role – the reporter might decide to report on the hurricane damage, for example.
      • The game master takes their actions and decides if and how they affect the next day’s scenario – the game master’s modus operandi is to be extremely heavy handed with the ‘go to jail’ results, unless the player is keeping their head down and just working like they’re supposed to.
        • We have written several suggestions for actions that may or may not get a player sent to jail, designed to illustrate how some seemingly innocent things may get you a disproportionate punishment.

Week 5 – Readings

Smash Bros. as a spectator sport

  • I can agree with the idea that watching someone play a game that you are familiar with and interested in, that you understand, is more engaging than watching one that you don’t play or understand.
  • I personally don’t usually find spectating anything to be particularly interesting, so I don’t really relate to this well.

World of Warcraft – Crashing a funeral in Winterspring/Morality, Reality and Taste

  • I have many, complicated feelings about this. I can see and understand both sides of the argument, but I don’t think I can really commit to either. Yeah it’s kind of mean to crash someone’s funeral like that, but it’s also kind of silly to hold a funeral in unsafe territory and not expect that to happen. Also, straight up asking people to not do something is definitely going to get someone to do it just to be contrary, especially on the internet.
  • I personally wouldn’t have done it, either the crashing or the not-so-well thought-out funeral planning, but then again, I don’t really play online multiplayer games (or any kind of multiplayer games) so I don’t think my thoughts are very accurate to real life.

2015: A Year in Review

  • I thought this was a good metaphor, and I found it amusing. Based on some people’s feelings about 2016 (that I have read online), it would be even more relevant for last year.

Slave of God

  • I actually found this to be completely unplayable. The visuals put me off and I hate not being able to control my character or understand where I’m going.

Cyberqueen

  • This made me feel sick and violated after reading it. I don’t enjoy either the subject matter or the bait-and-switch of giving the player completely meaningless choices that are disguised as meaningful ones.

Dr. Langeskov, the Tiger and The Terribly Cursed Emerald

  • Despite the lack of choices in this game, I didn’t feel as cheated as I did ‘playing’ Cyberqueen. I think the difference is that there was no implication that it was anything but a linear story – the game didn’t try and make you feel like you had agency only to take it away.
  • I liked the visual storytelling and the way that it had the narrator giving you one part, and the environment giving you another, somewhat-contradictory part. The ending surprised me, but I like that they gave an in-game reason for why you can’t play the ‘real’ game, however morbid it may be.

Class Discussion/Post-class thoughts

  • The game world can break into the real world through merchandise and augmented reality
  • Inter-text knowledge – the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game requires it to complete
  • A thousand blank white cards – this sounds very interesting and also reminds me of the failed Meme Wars game my group came up with last semester, except possibly more successful.
  • Braid and Save the Date are both games that deal with time travel that have been suggested to me as ones to research for my jam.
  • The difference between culture, protocol, ritual and habit – in the context of a repeated activity, to me, culture is what your family or society tends to do, protocol is a required task, ritual is a task with a purpose (for example, spiritual or religious), and habit is an activity that you do because you’re used to or conditioned to doing it. All of these things can intertwine – something that you do habitually may be because it is a cultural tradition that you have become used to.
  • Pokemon metagame – similar to Super Smash Bros. – I find it interesting how player trends can alter the metagame in multiplayer games, but not so much that I really want to try them.
  • One idea was mentioned about a walking simulator style game where you have to walk fast through a beautiful game, or the scenery will glitch – could be an interesting metaphor for the world looking pretty when glanced at but being ugly and horrible when you take a closer look – like sitting on a train, not seeing the trash and tagging on the side of the train tracks.
  • I did not initially realise that it was possible to raise the character in 2015: A Year in Review with enough dedicated button mashing. I think it is a clever way to extend the metaphor, but also kind of morbid in that no matter how high you go, you always fall back down.
  • The Christmas Truce was brought up, as a reason for why the WOW Winterspring funeral raid was bad, but I would argue that no-one actually agreed to anything regarding the request for other players to leave the funeral party alone.
  • Looking back at it, with drowning, physical and mental violation, being eaten by a tiger and drug usage, all of the games this week have had pretty dark themes – even though ‘Slave of God’ is supposedly about drugged-up happytimes, which I wouldn’t really know because I barely played it. The title still fits the dark aspect.