Friday, October 27, 2006

Non-games and Toyplay: Preliminary list - Part II

Ok, so we have new additions to the list. Thanks Chris and Ulrik for contributing with:

  • Seaman (Dreamcast)
  • Trip-a-Tron
  • Deus Ex Machina
  • Harvest Moon (?)
  • September 12th
  • Madrid

    But there is more! How could I forget the Petz series?

  • Catz
  • Dogz
  • Babyz
  • Oddballz

    Have a good weekend, everyone.
  • Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Soundtrack considerations

    Since we´ve discussed tutorials and missions, why not step out of design for a bit and enter the sound department? More specifically, let´s talk in-game music:

    The game I´m working one won´t have space for several tunes. In fact, we might have only one tune for the opening and another one (probably a variation) for the game itself.

    Yes, only one. A short one. That´s not much, I know. So how do we make it suitable for the game?

    My personal experience is that repetitive melodies get listeners tired pretty quickly. That´s probably more true with casual games. That´s why I am considering to use only percussive sounds in the soundtrack.

    First, it would fit the game style. Secondly, it´s very economical. Finally, I believe this kind of music can be more easy on the ears and last long, since listeners tend to create the other music elements in their head while listening.

    Am I forgetting something? Is there anything wrong with this line of thought?

    Saturday, October 21, 2006

    To task or not to task

    Having learned some tricks about tutorial modes (with a little help from my friends), I'm now undecided about including or not a "mission" feature. Would it be a invaluable feature or just harm the game's simplicity?

    The Mission feature could, it's true, add a great deal of replayability. At the same time, it might turn the game into goal-oriented too much. Plus, a new verb (and new buttons for the interface) would be needed.

    My game has, so far, two main verbs that can be combined with two nouns each. Would it be sensible to add a third verb? Let's keep in mind that the audience I have in mind is the one from casual game portals - which is another way to say it's a casual (non)game - if 'casual' means anything at all, that is.

    At the same time, something tells me that a well-balanced Missions feature would please players, who are avid for tasks.

    Maybe a "Quick Challenge" feature would be more suitable. A simple window saying something like "Can you make X?", that would set a mini-goal for the player to pursue, if he feels like it. Yes, this could be a simple and effective solution...

    What about you? What do you think about it? Is it possible to make missions transparent yet appealing?

    PS: I'm sorry I'm being so secretive about the game. One of these says I'll post its game blurb, Bateman style.

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    In-game tutorials checklist

    Love them? Hate them? Any good examples? Any advice?

    You see, because a game is not so simple as I would like to be, I have to design a tutorial stage. I will:

    • Break it down to digestive bits.
    • Make it skippable.
    • Reward the player by the end of it.
    • Teach about every needed verb.

    Am I forgetting something? That's never been my strong subject.

    More experimental gameplay

    This post could suit Casual Game Design better, but let´s go anyway...

    Kloonigames is a blog mantained by Petri Purho. He says:

    The point of this blog is I try to crank out an experimental game every month. I was inspired by Experimental Gameplay Project, so I try to follow their rules. Basicly this means that every game I create I have to make within 7-day limit, they have to made by me alone and they have to test some new form of gameplay.

    I´ve played two of his creations, so far: Jimmy´s Lost His Marbles and my favourite, Slimy Pete’s Singles Bar. I really like the visuals and mood of this one.

    If you have some free time, you might want to check it out.

    (via Ludologia)

    Unrelated note:
    Thanks Chris and Ulrik for the contributions to the list. I´ll update it as soon as I can.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Non-games and Toyplay: Preliminary list

    Ok, so I am terribly busy at the moment, but still trying to put together a list of software games and products that explore toyplay and paidia over ludus experiences - less goals, more play, well, you know my usual yadda yadda. No time for that again right now.

    So here is what I could get from previous posts. I'll welcome contributions and also arguments against specific names on my list (I'm not so sure about some of them).

    • The Sims
    • Sim City
    • Elektroplankton
    • Warioware DS's Toy Room
    • Roller Coaster Tycoon 3
    • Experimental Gameplay Project (Tower of Goo)
    • Nintendogs
    • Animal Crossing DS
    • Psychedelia
    • I, Robot
    • Colourscape
    • Second Life
    • Talkman
    • Neon
    • Brain Training
    • Fridge Magnets
    • Façade
    • Google Earth
    • Ragdoll Bush
    • Insular
    • BlockCad
    • Make-a-Flake
    • Mario Paint
    • Comic Book Dollhouse
    • Sand (Java web-game)
    • The Joy of Painting
    • Ms Flight Simulator
    • Ken Perlin experiments
    • Sim Tunes
    • SoupToys
    • Lego Digital Designer
    • The Movies

    Any thoughts?

    Thursday, October 05, 2006


    A skill-based nongame.

    It´s hard to keep the balls in the air, and although you can count the number of times you do that to set yourself a goal, I think the fun of the game is more in the state of flow one can achieve when juggling. It´s also a test of resistance and focus.

    Also a great metaphor for times you´re too busy with many things at once.

    Verbs: throw ball, catch ball
    Nouns: Balls (3 to 4 - Pros can handle even more)
    Copyright, Chico Queiroz