Fail Faster: The first week I have learned a phrase that I keep repeating in my mind so that I commit it to my game making soul: Fail Faster. The purpose of this phrase is to remind me that there is no perfect idea and that systems and mechanics I create Will Fail. I need them to fail and want them to fail quickly so I can repair them and get them to work correctly within the scope of my game. I need to sabotage and break my games in order to find their bugs. There are 8 core aesthetics to games; (1) Sense=Uses Sight/Sound, (2)Fantasy=Fantasy, (3)Narrative=Driven by written or spoken story, (4)Challenge=It’s difficult, (5)Fellowship=Working together, (6)Competition=Playing against, (7)Discovery=Exploration, (8)Expression=Like Magic Gathering game, (9)Abnegation=Purpose is to zone out.
I need to build a paper prototype for an original game.
The first game we played called Smallworld took us about 45 minutes to learn the rules and set up. But even after we understood the rules I played through with an unsatisfied feeling. Although there where a lot of different random character and ability blendings. In the end, the game play left me unsatisfied and happy I had issued genocide on my own people.
I really loved the concept of this H.P Lovecraft inspired card game. Instead of trying to protect your characters which is your family, your goal is to torment and eventually kill them. On the other hand, you need to revive and help your opponents family from certain doom. I enjoyed the creative story telling that we engaged in to explain our characters situation in the story. I also caught myself having to think in an unintuitive manner, so often I caught myself thinking that I need to kill off my opponents characters.
Poorly written rules can destroy a game before it even starts. Another round of games and another game with rules our group cant digest and just doesn’t understand. Adventure Time card wars was one of these games. We spent 30 minutes with this game before giving up on it. Even after thinking we understood some of the games mechanics we all lost interest in whatever fun the game was intended to provide. One of our team mates was determined to figure the game out even after we moved on to another game. He was probably best suited for the game and had played Pokemon, which this games mechanics seemed to resemble. But even after him spending 2 hours with the game, it did’t look like he had much luck with it and didn’t look like he was having fun. Our next game Sentineles of the Universe was more fun to play because the person we started to play with had played the game many times before and was able to lead the game play. It was another card based game that allows you to battle the budgie cards. It was ok to play but I wouldn’t have chosen it for myself and did not find it to be much fun. Our last game was Exploding Kittens, a game that had a basic concept and easy to follow instructions. It seemed like a game that was designing to be played while drunk. It was pretty mindless and did’t have any real challenge to offer. The only real entertainment I got from the game was when the box was opened it played a cat meow sound. When looking for a picture of Exploding Kittens for this blog I found that this game has made millions. It’s amazing how an edgy name, greeting card sound chip and a drug induced idea can make a fortune.
What makes a game great and the Best Game of all time. If I had a chance to build a game that was just for me, things that I liked. No need to sell the game or worry about making a profit. What would it look like? What would I do to make it special. First off, I don’t think I would ever truly enjoy playing a game that I worked on. It would be a bit like creating a movie and then expecting to enjoy it the same way someone else would. There would be no mystery, surprise or even the same emotional impact. You would remember the camera men and giant staff surrounding the actors. And if it’s in front of a green screen, then that magic is all gone. I guess if I could be the product owner and not be a part of production, then I could enjoy my vision. But I digress. I would like a game that allowed many different types of game play. It would be a first person shooter, but the fact that you have a weapon is not without cause. It would have driving and flying mechanics. Elements of drama like a move. It would be deeply challenging, both intellectually and your dexterity. At times you would be on the offense and other times the defense. But above all else t would make you feel like no other person would have played it the way you did. The game didn’t make you feel like you where lead or that your options where limited. It would have allowed you to feel like you where truly in control of everything and that the world responded realistically to your interactions and involvement. The game felt less like programming and more like the unpredictable and limitless possibilities of real life.
The Best Game of All Time
Picking the best game of all time was a more difficult task than I expected. The first question we asked is, what make a game great? This is an assignment with no right or wrong answer. It’s designed to push us to defend our position and I’m sure we will be challenged. Not because we are wrong or right but because we need to demonstrate why we have committed to this game. What makes Amnesia the best game of all time? We chose Amnesia from a list of dramatically different games. But in the end Amnesia has done some things that few games can claim.
I love a great scary movie and I love a great scary video game with a story worth spending my time with. After playing Amnesia for a few hours I really understand more about what it does so well. It’s anxiety provoking darkness and your characters constant struggle with going insane really starts to get into your head after playing for a couple of hours. I can understand better now how this game has revitalized the video game horror genre. There are so many new horror games that will be coming out that will continue to push the genre even further. Allison Road, Silent Hills (Maybe) and a ton of new zombie games. I can see this genre of games taking on an entirely new level of importance. Interactive fear and psychological manipulation can be so powerful when your an active participant. And as graphics continue to push the photorealism envelope, horror games will continue to evolve into new fear inducing ways to entertain ourselves. Forget RPG, MMO,FPS… I think the next big thing is FPF, First Person Fear.
I have learned a lot this week about who plays games and why. First off I’d like to point all game developers to the attached video. I found it to be an excellent reminder that sometimes it’s not what you add, but what you subtract from a game that can matter more. I feel like the more research I do about gamer profiles, the more I realize how much the industry has changed. I of course know that the mobile market has has a significant impact of the gaming industry. But what I didn’t expect is how the mobile market has expanded the demographics to the extent it has. The Internet Advertising Bureau found that there are now more people over 44 playing games then those under 18. This is profoundly significant research for anyone that understands advertising and consumer buying power. Advertisers core marketing strategy is typically to reach A25-54. This is who most advertisers target the most often to sell their product or service. And mobile gaming is not just experiencing a slow steady growth, it is exploding. From 2013 to 2014, games being played on mobile devices have almost doubled at 42% and is expected to reach 30 Billion in sales in 2015. Anyone that is a game developer that is not trying to break into this market is absolutely missing the boat. I’ve heard from a few people at MATC in the gaming program say that to get into the mobile market is too hard and blah.. blah… blah. To them I say, your right… it probably is to hard for you. And YOU will probably never break in. Just don’t confuse your predetermined defeat with my resolve to succeed.
What do I want to do when I grow up? I’m not sure that I ever will. I know that I want to be involved in level design. And the more learn in class the more I realize that I really want to be the Project Owner and creative force behind games. I feel that my life experience, knowledge and areas of interest are some of the greatest unteachable assets that I possess. There are no schools or books that can be read that could give someone my 45 years of experience. And I’m not just someone who’s coasted along, I have always been someone that achieves. I take adversary as a challenge to overcome and an opportunity to succeed. I think that I have one of the widest spectrums of experience and interests than anyone I know my age. I think that comes directly from my mom and dad. They never gave me all of the answers and they challenged me to figure things out for myself. My mom especially always said that their wasn’t anything I couldn’t do, if I just put my mind to it. And she is a woman that truly practiced what she preached. I remember one day coming home from school when I saw her in the driveway with a grinder in hand, sparks flying everywhere, doing bodywork on her car. My mom didn’t know anything about automotive bodywork. But she talked to some mechanics, checked books out form the library (pre-internet 1980’s) and borrowed a grinder. I swear there was nothing my mom couldn’t do because she didn’t believe it. Equally from my dad, the guy is a genius mad artist/machinist. There is nothing he cant do. He loves animals and is fascinated by dinosaurs, he’s retired now and was board. So now he builds life-size dinosaurs like wooly mammoth, short face bear, sabertooth tiger and countless others. Yeah, he’s pretty great. So that has made me who I am and a little glimpse as to how I see the world.
I will not make the same mistake as I did on Monday. I was not prepared for my laptop not working, it really through me off with my presentation. I’ve tested it and everything works on the screen in room 154. In all of my years I have never had a connectivity issue. We present our choice for the best game tomorrow. I feel good knowing that everything will work. Our next task is to create a board game. We’ve already started throwing around ideas. I’m really excited about this project. It’s going to be a lot of fun. My family and I love board games and we play them often. I look forward to get some real world feedback from them and making them a part of it’s development.
I’m not happy with my programming knowledge. We had our midterms yesterday and it really hit me. I have no idea what I’m doing. I have relied to heavily on my programming partner. He would write the code and I would create the graphic flow chart. Even after doing terrible on my midterm test, I still have an A+ because my partner and I took every opportunity to turn in extra credit. And although I have an A, I care a lot more about what I’ve learned than my grade. I’ve reached out to my instructor to let him know that I’m lost. I’m going to have to really buckle down in this class to catch up. I need to rip off the training wheels.
Our final project for class is to build a board game. We had hoped to have a solid idea for our game before class this week but none of us had a sold idea that any of us wanted to run with. After talking through some ideas we finally came up with something that we all got behind. I volunteered to be the project owner which is my first true lead position since I’ve started in the program. I will talk more about the board game for week 10’s blog. It is Monday Oct 26 and I just finished participating in my first game jam this past weekend. We had to form teams with no more than 4 people. Our team included William, Alex, Noah and myself. Alex and Noah handled the art, William did all of the programming in Unity and I was the designer. It was a great experience and now that I have one under my belt I’m looking forward to the next. I really cant see myself letting an opportunity to participate in a game jam ever slip by. There where 3 teams total. Two of us created video games and one created a board game. The reason the one team created a board game is because they didn’t have a programmer. We had a lot of great ideas for our game but as the clock continued to click we had to continue to narrow our scope and minimize our design. In the end we where the only team to complete the turn in a game. Although our game isn’t perfect, it works and has an achievement system that is also functional. I’m proud of what we created. It is my first but will not be my last.
We have decided that our game would follow some of the mechanics of Munchkin. It’s not a game I know but Will and Ian really like it. Our game is a parody on software and hardware companies with up to 6 people able to play at one time. The 6 companies are Microsoft, Sony, Steam, Nintendo, Midway and Atari. We are creating parody names for everything in the game including their names, for example. Megasoft, Pony, Gas, Nuntendo and Avitari. Our game has a board and instead of leveling up in Munchkin your moving spaces. The game board uses the inner workings of a computer and computer centric terms. Everyone has a task to create cards for the game. I also have the added task of creating a game board because I have the fewest cards to create.
Created the board but we have a problem. We need to have tested our game 5 times before next week but we are missing cards. I don’t understand the rules for Munchkin so I need Will and Ian to help get the rules written out. The board has not been tested but I think it’s a good start so we can find the holes and plug them up or make them a feature. I think that we have some fun concepts working I just find it difficult to make a quality product in a short time with very little communication and collaboration with my team. I have got to get this figured out. I get that this is meant to test our work ethic, ability to collaborate and organize. it’s just hard when I seems like our team isn’t working together the way I would like. How do you make people work? I the real world it’s easy, your jobs on the line. I just don’t feel like that level of worry or caring exists in this educational environment. But more importantly what am I going to do to figure it out?
I had created 35 cards for our game and took the time to also create cards from what Ian and Savon wrote. After taking the time putting them into cards, printing and cutting them out I made the decision to cut the cards from the game. We really needed Williams direction to mimic the game mechanics of Munchkin but since he’s gone, trying to do so has been difficult. So instead of spending time trying to incorporate the cards we are going to have a strait up board game with 3 dice. A D8 and two D10. Our game is titled the Games Game. It uses game makers, hardware, software and terms used in the gaming industry to create our game. There are roughly 145 spaces.I think that our approach will make our game play manageable and hopefully a fun experience.
GOING TO PRINT! I have finished creating the unique spaces for the board. Although I reused a few of the spaces, the vast majority are unique. I did this to make the game both unpredictable and offer a different experience for each player. Time will tell since we haven’t play tested it yet. I’ve given the file to the printer so that each of the team will have their own board to play test with. I’ve asked the rest of the team to put the basic rules together so they should be ready for play testing as well. Although I’ve enjoyed the creative part of putting the board game together, I will be happy when I’m done with this class. I understand the purpose an importance of understanding different games and their unique strategies and mechanics. I just wish that we did more of it with video games versus board games.
We play tested the game for the first time as a team this week and I have to say, it was pretty fun. We also had another team in the class play with us and they seemed to have fun playing. I think the time it takes to win is perfect. A typical game will produce a winner between 30 and 60 minutes. I spent 7 hours strait last night making changes from our play testing notes and also did some polishing. I just need my team to look over my work so that any last minute errors can be caught before I have it printed. I am excited to show our game off at demo day. I think that people will enjoy both the game concept and game play. Yes… the title of our game is The Games Game.
So I posted the final image of our game board on our community page and asked the team to look it over for any errors. This is the second time that I’ve done this and its the second time I did not receive a response from anyone. I wished that I looked at the board one more time before I went to get it printed in color and put it together because I spelled lose (loose) in at least two places on the board. I really felt disappointed in my teams lack of interest in the project. It’s hard enough to think up good ideas and implement them, but it really takes the wind out of my sail when people just don’t seem to care what the product looks like. In the end, I’m proud of the game and think that it is easy to learn and fun to play. The games faults could have easily been avoided if I had more help. I mounted the game board to a light weight metal shelf and added magnets to the game pieces. I did this to keep players pieces form loosing track of where they where because the board got bumped. This was a design decision I made when noticing this during play testing. I glad that I decided to do it because the feedback that I’m getting is universal that it was a good idea. Especially when people got frustrated from being knocked back, emotions ran high. I love it!
To continue on about the game. One thing that I love about our design is how it’s pretty well balanced. And while it can get frustrating, I was hearing people having fun, and in the end, that was all I hoped for. In all of the testing that we did and what I observed from others play testing our game, no game went beyond an hour. This was my target length. I did not have any great formula to figure this out. I just guesstimated playtime and squares needed. I’m not that good, but I do feel like I got lucky. The first time we play tested I did’t think anyone would win. It felt like you where playing shoots and ladders, (which is what I was going for). But each time, someone would win within the hour. I think that our game should defiantly win easiest game to learn and play.