Friday, December 31, 2010

random.post(revival)

Yes, I did abandon the blog for some time. Things will be happening here. Hold still while I get the defibulator and don't mind Igor, he stares at everyone like that. Really, don't mess with that restraint.

Here's some interesting links to check out:
- Downsides to Iteration by Adam Saltsman
- Enriching Lives with Extra Credits
- Cow Clicker and My Life Purpose by Leanne C Taylor (I think this article is more interesting than say this.)
- World building, fictional world theory and Echo Bazaar via Failbetter Games

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tree Hugging

Edit: We've moved the blog to Wordpress so the link's been updated.

I'm currently working on a new project about climate change. Stuff about it will be on the Tree Huggers blog. It's a very exciting project that I may be the producer of (we'll see) and I get to work with a really awesome group of people. Chop chop.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bubble burst...

The sandbox idea's on hold at the moment, we're looking at turning it into a Facebook game so production will recommence after the current uni semester. It will be exciting to see how far we can get with it. We'll be expanding the cauldron idea to having a "witch's cottage and garden", where the player will produce their own magical items and ingredients.

The best part, you will get rewarded for sabotaging the environments of your friends. They can do the same but there's nothing like industrial espionage to strengthen a bond, is there? There might be more to come from this project later.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bubble bubble..

We'd looked at our last concept for a while but it was starting to become very difficult to work with. Utopia is a very wide concept, some of our ideas dealt with situations where utopia was impossible.

Some hunting through Jay is Games proved that our delivery might also drag the project down. Take Interaction Artist For 219 days in a row, Chris DeLeon designed a game. A lot of them are not great but it is a demonstration of giving an audience a (huge) variety of scenarios to play with. Since we're afraid of producing crap, we decided to keep looking for some inspiration.

Doodle God offers a sandboxy experience, by combining elements together to make newer ones.Vectorpark offers a variety of interactive toys and games, we got inspired to work on an interactive environment like tiny grow.

Interactive environments can be fun, especially if you don't know what's coming up. I like it when you've created something and it produces/spawns extra objects that are also interactive.

A quick look at a random word generator nets us:
- Toad
- Dinosaur
- Shipwreck
- Library
- Kangaroo
- Owl
- Volcano
- Spacecraft

Toad lead to Cauldron which leads to us working on a game about item creation. Trust me, it can be a lot of fun. For example:
- alcohol + air freshener = Captain Planet
- hourglass + cat = cat clock
- ?? + ?? + acid = refreshing drink
The possibilites are endless.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Idea Seeding #2

Yesterday's brainstorm session didn't end with much, we did have a few tentative ideas but felt that they wouldn't go very far. We did agree that letting the player devolve and disassemble a world or structure would be a hook. Something in the human condition makes destruction very attractive and rewarding.

Today we decided to go with a slightly different approach; come up with a game concept and adapt it to suit the sandbox theme.

Brainstorming
Using a random word generator we picked out:
- Garden of Eden
- Overpopulation
- Happiness
- Puddle Poet

It was very tempting to conceptualise a Garden of Eden game. The risk with these games are how bored with the player get with nurturing or destroying the environment. Not to mention the political and religious connotations that come with it.

The trouble with sandbox games are the limits, every world has limits and play is bound by them. Endless possibilities are not truly endless but given the scope of the game, the player can achieve a lot. Our budget (non existent) doesn't allow us to produce a "true" sandbox game.

Planting the Idea
Following the train of thought that a sandbox has limits, I asked if we'd be happier making an interactive toy or a game. An interactive toy is the easier option and you can argue that it could be a game. It's a broad subject and has plenty of room for debate. (There's space to rant down below or at your screen if you please.)

If you can play with an object, it will not be a game unless you make it so. Developing rules, scores and goals lead to this, additional players and explosions are optional extras.

It's yet to be discussed if our current concept will just be an interactive toy, but it could become a game. Maybe.

The Concept
The initial concept was to give the player some famous artworks and let them deface or deform them. It's moved into presenting a series(no definite number) of interactive "blocks". (They need a better name but this will suffice until production)






"Blocks" are interactive images (not sure if this will include games). Each "block" has its own rules, what the player does is dependant on the block's design. The mighty mouse will be how you interact with objects, environments and what other junk is put into the "block".

Thematic Brainstorming
We also discussed the content of the "blocks", it was linking theme vs character. A character is a quick way of getting the player to emotionally project themselves onto and into the game. It doesn't fit the concept where the player (not their avatar) is interacting with the world.

Themes provide an abstract base to build lots of variations and interpretations. The difficulty lies in which one to pick.

Themes that we brewed were:
- Love (That one's for Truna)
- Grief/Loss
- Revenge
- Utopia (Dystopia's included too)
- Terror/Fear
- Trust

The winner was: Utopia

Important Details

Audience: The Jay is Games crowd
Scope: Scaleable
Platform: Flash
Team Size: 2 (for now)
Time: 7 weeks
Risks:
- proportion (too much?)
- time
- repetative action can be boring

We'll see were this leads to next time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Idea Seeding #1

Trying to come up with a good idea can be difficult, getting this idea to work as a game is harder. Brainstorming can be rewarding but it can also turn into some strange beasts.

Taking a cue from the 8th CGDC, Jasmine and I are going to be tackling the theme of "Sandbox".

Definition
Sandbox can mean:
- a pit full of sand
- a virtual container in which untrusted programs can be safely run
- an online environment in which code or content changes can be tested without affecting the original system
- a game with non linear and open ended play

Examples
Sandbox is an undefined "genre" of games where anything is possible. Here's some games that fit loosely in this kind.
- Sandbox of God (Has to be downloaded)
- Grow
- Good Things Should Never End
- Sleep is Death
- Any life simulation eg. The Sims, virtual pets, trainer etc
- Little Big Planet, GTA etc.
- Balloon in a Wasteland, Shopping Cart Hero, Level Up

Word Association
This can be a helpful tool in finding a concept to work on or at least finding out what your team is like. Use with caution, hilarity and disaster can occur.

- Interactive (Very obvious but remember it. You want this instead of immersion)
- Rube Goldberg Machine (See one in action here with OK Go - Thanks Arash!)
- God
- World Creation
- (Pure) Play
- Sand (It's out of my system now)
- Simulation
- Hypotheticals
- Experimentation
- Different Outcomes
- Children
- Exploration
- Creation
- No (small?) Consequences
- Lego (Mechano if you're cool)
- Customisation
- Play-Doh/Clay
- Frankenstein's Monster
- Level Editors
- Duality
- Time Sinks
Where will this lead us? Stay tuned for more later.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spacecase

When you get that new rush of enthusism that makes you want to go at super speeds, ride rainbows and take on the world? I get plenty of moments like that, sadly I run out of steam when I need it the most.

Here's some images from while I was learning the ins and outs of Actionscript. I'm still a long way from coding anything decent but I'm still naiive enough to believe that I'll be able to make a complete game.

During some irratic brainstorm of confusing cortex functions, I came up with the idea of a literal space opera game. Going with impulse ideas is sometimes a bad thing, you'll thank me when you've avoided crashing the space time continuim while trying to find a cure for the common cold by constructing a cat powered time machine.

Why Space + Opera sounded like a good idea is lost to me. I've been rolling the concept in my head for so long, I've forgotten all the good bits. It's really too early to have this grandoise ideas but it's hard to stop coming up with them.

Early concept art:








The original main character was going to be a conductor whose opera gets overrun by aliens. It didn't make much sense since an opera in space would naturally involve aliens. I remember thinking of a mechanic that involved using the conductor's baton to make platforms move up based on which way you moved it.

When people (or your teacher) says they like to shoot stuff, well you might just go with the flow. Don't do it all the time, suicide conga lines aren't fun. Even if they offer pina coladas.

The next interation of the hero was based on the typical "Buck Rogers" acetype. Big chin, big hair and a dislike against opera loving aliens.





Along the way this all got converted into a basic platformer. Designing levels is interesting but can also be frustrating. Like making puzzles.

Concept for the level design:
(I can't remember why he has a jetpack)


Attempt at designing a level.


Teaming up with people can lead to some interesting results, good and bad. The final prototype ended up having our hero blasting away cooties who'd come to eat this ship. One day I might make the original version, until then I'll just keep trying to get something done.

The character line up, cooties are on the far right:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flummox !

One of the problems with game design is find out how difficult designing puzzles is until you try it out for yourself. It is definitely a case of fail early and fail many times.

Below is a 'timeline' of how I learnt to make puzzles. They get better as along the way.



[Above: Some hideous early stuff from when we were trying to work out how the game would work.]


[Above: An old puzzle concept that had blocks(prisms) that would either bend light or shadow. Red lines show player movement.]


[Above: A puzzle design that didn't quite work out. The red lines indicate player's movements.]


[Above: Flow of an entire level, there's about 8/9 puzzles packed into this little baby.]

[Above: Because it's so confusing with all the lines everywhere.]

Things that I've learnt about making puzzles:

- Read The Platformer Primer (The advice in it also applies to other games beside platformers.)

- Know what's involved in your game eg. special features or difficulty.

- Figure out what elements make up your game eg credit, goals and risks.

- Try making basic puzzles that demonstrate what these elements/objects do. (Getting a feel for the how player and items work together is really handy)

- Map out when new elements/types are going to added in the game.

- Plan out a difficulty curve for the game or areas.

- Set out goals for each puzzle. What do you want the player to in each puzzle.

- Sometimes working backwards helps.

- Reusing parts are okay but you do need to "mix" it up for the player.

- Player's don't like mazes, neither do kings.

- Trial and error is good.

- Get someone else to "play" your puzzles, they might find a problem with it.

- Don't under-estimate the stupidity of people.

- Play some games to get some reference.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Too Verbose

I've been trying to work on a succinct description of this game concept. This is proving to be difficult, it requires a fair amount of explaining if you don't have pictures. (I tried it out)

The game world is full of light and shadow, the player has the ability to walk across pathways created by cast shadows. Each level will involve the player manipulating light and shadow to get to the exit.

I need to condense this into 1-2 sentences that use descriptive adjectives and describes the aesthetic and mood. Okay, a flip through the thesaurus yields us this:

- intriguing
- captivating
- fascinating
- stimulating
- absorbing
- compelling

- curious
- inquisitive
- exploratory

- relaxing
- serene
- calm
- composed

- meditative
- reflective
- contemplative

- ambient
- moody

Is the game concept anything of these? Its aesthetics's still being decided, I know it's going to pixellated but the exact colours? How far can you use "atmospheric" to describe games with limited colour palettes? Or games that have a certain "feel" about them? Take games like Aether, Small Worlds, Redder or Colour my Heart.

Can't think of anything else to write, I'll come back to this later.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Living Shadows

Although it hasn't been confirmed what game concept Button Bash is going to be doing but I'd thought I look at games that have a) similar mechanic or b)similar themes. Prepare yourselves, it may appear that you are suffering double vision. Do not adjust your sets, this is perfectly normal. Sadly, this is not the Twilight Zone, spooky twins and bus shredding gremlins aren't on the menu tonight.

Living Shadows via TvTropes has a long list of pop culture works where shadows come to life. Or try Alternate Universes or Mirror Universes. Evil goatee anyone?

Sean Howard outlines how dual/shadow world works with simple game mechanics in this concept about negative space.

Here's a rundown if you're not going to read it:
- Monochromatic world (Black & White)
- Use of negative space (Will the light worlder go up a shadow ladder or will they just pass by?)
- Actions affect both world (If I nuke the toaster in the shadow world, your kitchen will not be the same in the light world)

I'm pretty sure everyone's had this idea, it almost a trope. The main question is can we design a concept that uses these basics and still surprise people with them?

Poto & Cabenga by Honeyslug


Dual screen action with two strange little characters. The only button you need is [SPACE], but pressing and releasing it does cause each character to react in a different way. Releasing [SPACE] makes the horse jump, while hitting it makes the orange guy jump. Quick reflexes are necessary.

Obviously my original game concept did get some influence from here but I'm not sure how an evolved version is going to pan out.

The Forest Temple by Oslo Albet

The goal of this game is guide Fireboy and Watergirl through the temple and collect what treasures you can. WASD system controls Watergirl while Fireboy's got the arrow keys. This can be confusing unless you're brainy enough to play with a friend.

Trine by Frozenbyte


A thief, wizard and a knight get involved with a magic crystal and now share the same body. You can switch between the three to get around the game world. Each character has special abilities that give the player a variety of solutions to getting around the world.

Monochro Observer by Tatsuya Koyama



Black and white world where two characters share a common goal of getting to a shiny vortex. You swap between the two as you clear or create blocks so they can reach the goal.

Yin Yang by Nitrome

Another one where you flip between the two characters and their worlds to get to a common goal. Of course, these smiling imps need to help each other to get to the flags. In this game, characters can link worlds by moving crates, which can help bridge gaps to make reaching goals possible.


Common themes and mechanics of these games:
- Characters have common goals (reach same place or points)
- Flipping/switching between characters
-Characters have to help each other (if I pull this lever, it will open a door for my partner)
- Both worlds offer similar experience (eg. same number of obstacles that may not have the same placement)
- Characters may have different abilities (not applicable for all games)

Is it design suicide to be looking at these games?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Button Bashers

Pretty excited, since the final project for Critical Games Design is about conceptualising an idea into something tangible.(Tangible in a digital environment for my particular group)

After much heated debating and a intense straw drawing contest, I give you Button Bash, the group I'm working in. (Excuse the name, it's like having two guys in the same room who are called Steve and Steven)

The Team:
Ryan as Sound and Level Designer
Anderson as Programmer
Nick as Artist and Animator
Myself as Lead Designer/Project Manager

The exact details of our project is to be confirmed but I'm hopeful that it will be an evolved version of this. (Don't press B to stop evolution, it's counter-productive)



Changes are starting up on a narrative and mechanics. I'm pretty sure what's coming up will be a different sheep all together. I'm still going to make the original version but consider this to be it's cousin who's parents can afford to feed it hamburgers.

Currently we'll be working on getting the blog started, work flow sorted and nutting out the idea. Forsooth and henceforth! (Yes, I know I've used the words incorrectly but they sound fun and roll off my tongue)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hard-Boiled: Rebirthed

Here's some mock-ups of how I'd like to re-imagine "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" as an art game. If I'm lucky I can get this to be prototyped either as the next assignment or on my own. We'll see.




Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hard-Boiled: Autopsy Report

Taking me way too long to get stuff written for this essay so here's some notes that are supposed to help me write it. Got a long way to go.

Novel Elements [I've probably missed the point on these so feel free to correct me]
- parallel stories which are interlinked
- alternate chapters
- unnamed protagonist (is the reader projected onto this character?)
- Indirect/Atypical approach to hero's journey

Core concepts of novel
- Identity
- Self (mind?)
- Use of conscious & subconscious mind

Story breakdowns:

Hard-Boiled Wonderland
Hero:
Unnamed Protagonist

Job/Special Skills:
Calcutec, human data encryption device

Setting:
Retro-futuristic Tokyo

Common item:
Unicorn skull as prop

Love interest:
Librarian as love interest

Guide/Mentor:
Guidance from old scientist and granddaughter

Enemies:
- Semiotics & Factory
- System
- INKlings
- Thugs (Junior & Big Boy)

Goal:
- Solve mystery surrounding current assignment (?)
- Not get killed (assumed goal)

Are the narratives linked: Unaware of existence of other until revealed to protagonist

The End of the World
Hero:
Unnamed Protagonist

Job/Special Skills:
Dreamreader, reads dreams from unicorn skulls

Setting:
Isolated walled town

Common Item:
- Unicorns, part of town
- Unicorn skulls part of 'dream reading'

Love Interest:
Librarian who main character forms relationship with

Guide/Mentor:
- Shadow (Provides objectives)
- Gatekeeper (Gives character job)

Enemies:
- Shadow (does provide conflict)
- Gatekeeper (enforces Town rules)
- Time (period of time to complete objectives)
- Woods & Woodfolk

Goal:
- Escape from Town(Shadow's goal)
- Find out about Town (Narrator)
- Keep grasp of mind (Narrator)

Linked to other narrative:
- Cannot remember past life (other self)
- At times memories from concious self make protagonist more aware

Game Design
This is just some notes on if I think the game is or isn't resistant to becoming a game.

Pros
- Interesting story & concepts
- Mixture of genres
- Exciting world(s)
- Subtle clues/links between stories
- Locations inspiring
- Potential for themes/concepts be explored in game
- Follows Campbell's hero's journey
- Atypical narrative
- Player/reader free to decide how story is told/read
- Can have replay value (dependant on point above)
- Games with similar themes have been made

Cons
- Story can be confusing
- Alternate stories quite different
- World(s) too unfamiliar to player
- Difficult to tie together graphically
- Links need to be made by reader/player
- Hard to explain
- Reader can't relate to characters (debatable)
- Ending up to reader's interpretation
- Ties to hero's journey not clear (atypical)
- Goals unclear
- Can't "win" game
- Replayable?
- Fun?
- Novel targets particular audience (intellectual)

Hard-Boiled - Witness Statements

It takes me ten minutes to explain the plot of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. It takes this guy about 1 minute to do it.



Via Tv Tropes,we have a list of elements that are in the novel. [Contains spoilers]

  • Big Eater: The librarian in Hard Boiled Wonderland is a thin woman who seems to always be hungry.

  • Cyberpunk: Hard-Boiled Wonderland

  • Downer Ending

  • Empty Shell: The citizens of the town at the End of the World are basically this, and it is implied that the narrator will become like this once his shadow dies and he is fully assimilated into the town.

  • Epiphanic Prison: The End of the World (To escape the prison set out by the story, the character has to have a moment of realisation(epiphany))

  • Fate Worse Than Death: What will happen to the narrator at the end after his mind self-destructs.

  • Identity Amnesia: The narrator of The End of the World can't remember anything about himself before coming to the town.

  • Living Shadow: The narrator of The End of the World has been seperated from his shadow, which seems to have a mind of its own and which desires to get inside the town so that it can reunite with him.

  • Loss Of Identity: A major theme

  • Mind Screw (You're going to be thinking Mind Fuck while they mean use of heavy symbolism)

  • Nameless Narrative: None of the characters in the book have names.

  • Neuro Vault: The protagonist of Hard-Boiled Wonderland has top secret data hidden inside his subconscious to prevent the anti-government Semiotecs from getting at it.

  • Ontological Mystery (Here they mean characters in a story who have no idea to their identity, purpose and are in a restricted environment.)

  • Those Two Bad Guys: Two thugs show up at the narrator's home in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and trash it, but their purpose is unknown.

  • Two Lines No Waiting (Two narrative threads that are interwoven)

  • Unicorn: At the End of the World, there are beasts living outside the town that are described as unicorns, although they are quite different than the traditional description. The narrator uses their skulls for "dreamreading". The narrator of Hard-Boiled Wonderland also encounters a unicorn skull at one point.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Type 311 - Fitcher's Bird

Task for this week is to pick:
a) Fairy Tale
b) Genre
c) Artist
With their powers combined, I should have a game concept with just about everything nutted out.

your concept should include:

* core value
* overall goal
* genre and player activities / encounters etc
* aesthetic / mood / emotion


Combining Fitcher's Bird, action adventure games and the art of William Blake, I bring you Type 311-Fitcher's Bird.

Background:
Fitcher's Bird classed as an AT 311 – The giant and the three sisters, if you're into the ATU system of categorising fairy tales. It is also referred to as "The heroine who save her sisters and herself".

Core Values:
AT-311's are tales of keeping promises, loyalty, trickery and breaking cycles. In these stories, the heroine saves herself and her sisters from the supernatural menace. (how's that for empowerment?)

Common Elements:
- Supernatural (powerful) antagonist
- 3 sisters/women
- Punishment for breaking promises
- Outwitting of the villain

Protagonists:
Heroine - Youngest sister who discovers the sorcerer's ghastly secret and manages to avoid getting killed herself. She uses her wit to rescue herself and others from the sorcerer's house.

Sorcerer - Routinely disguises himself and kidnaps young women.

Sisters/Victims - Other girls who were previous victims of the sorcerer. The heroine is able to bring them back to life in the course of the story.

Adaption:
Type 311 is a action adventure game that also touches on suvival horror. The player is given the role of an investigative reporter who becomes involved in the mystery behind a serial killer known as Fitcher. During the course of the investigation, the player is transported to a strange world (killer's psyche) where the killer and his victims are trapped.


Above: Concept of typical game screen

Goal:
The goal of the game is to escape from the strange world and solve the mystery behind the killer's motives. This investigation forms the main quest of the game, sub quests take the form of freeing other victims from the horror of their deaths.

Player Activities:
The player solves the mysteries by exploring and interacting with the world. By finding and using items that will help the player or other characters. The player has to run to avoid encountering dangerous monsters (extensions of the killer's mind) and try to stay sane in an every changing environment.

Solving the killer's motives and freeing the victims involves the player asking characters questions and finding clues which the player will need to string together to form useable information. [Diagram pending]

Aesthetic:
Inspired by William Blake's paintings, the aesthetic is used to convey the dangerous supernatural world that the characters(and player) find themselves in. The game world uses imagery from Blake's paintings to represent the killer, his world and how he sees his victims.


Above: The Gates of Hell

Above: The Ghost of a Flea

Mood:
Using Blake's art as a means of capturing the madness of the killer's mind, the game's asethic is used to illustrate the "demons" that the killer has transformed himself and his victims into.


Above: Encounter with killer(sorcerer) conceptual drawing


Above: Environment concept

Respawn: A Brainstorm

The next Game On program is the Iron Dev design challenge. More info can be had on the Brisbane IGDA's Facebook page. For those not in the know, it's a panel of 4-5 judges and 12 contestants(or groups) who have 10 minutes to explain why their game proposal is awesome. The topic, respawn. It's on May 5th so hurry if you're interested.

When you combine Dominicus, Jasmine, Natalie, myself and an astral projection of Steven Colbourne, you may get something like this:



This is what brainstorming can unleash. What will come next, we will see if I get clearance to do more posts about our iron dev journey.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hard-Boiled: Mugshots 1

Here's some rough sketches of some art based off Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Nothing concrete yet but some nicer(clearer) concept art is coming.



[That ought to be a unicorn skull but I haven't gone for accurate references yet. Sorry, at this point, if it looks like a skull, it's enough.]

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hard-Boiled - Trailing the Suspect

We're moving further into the swamp, luckily we've remembered to pack a torch. After some conferring with Truna and friends, I've decided to write about turning Haruki Murakami's novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World into a game.

Let's profile the subject.

Author: Haruki Murakami

Date: 1985, the English version was first published in 1991

Background: (Speculative fiction) Novel that mixes genres of hard-boiled detectives, cyberpunk, pop culture and the works of Kafka.

Themes:
- Identity
- Consciousness and subconsciousness
- Nature of the human mind

Presentation of Themes:
Uses two parallel stories as an allegory for discussing the themes. The stories are connected through the use of unicorn skulls as a reoccurring item. The stories are presented in alternating chapters.

Plot:
The novel is split between two stories, "Hard-Boiled Wonderland" and "The End of the World". [It's one of those books that requires 10 minutes of explanation.]

Hard-Boiled Wonderland:
A detective novel set in a technomagically realistic Tokyo. The main character is a Calcutec, a human encryption device, who works for The System which is a organisation that keeps information safe. His life becomes complicated when an assignment leads him to using advanced (and forbidden) techniques to store information using his subconscious. More problems occur when he finds out that he may have been part of a experiment involving his brain.

The End of the World:
Set in a walled village where no one leaves and unicorns come to die. The protagonist is unaware of how he came to the village but to avoid dying in the harsh approaching winter, he agrees to become a villager and have his shadow separated. He is then given the job of Dreamreader which invertantly removes memories in the village. The man's shadow tries to convince him that they must escape and the main character has to make the ultimate choice.

Style:
I would talk abou the style of the work but there's only so much you can say that isn't this or that. Words like

Connections:
What does the work make YOU think of?

-Everyday the Same Dream
-Don't Look Back
-Today I Die
-ICO
-Flower, Sun and Rain
-Hotel Dusk
-Rule of Rose
-Daymare Town series

Friday, April 9, 2010

Action Hero Explosion

Here's a blast from the past, week 2(?) of Critical Games Studies where we had to redesign Snakes and Ladders.

After much brain storming (super fast brain action), we came up with an Action Hero themed board that depicts the "typical" tropes associated with being an Action Hero. It's capitalised because it's just that cool.

Below is an incomplete list of action heroes, it's all very spur of the moment.

Based off the works of:
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Steven Seagal
- Bruce Willis
- Chuck Norris
- Jean-Claude Van Damme
- Sylvester Stallone
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Hulk Hogan
- Mel Gibson
- Will Smith
- Tom Cruise
- Keanu Reeves
- Harrisson Ford
- Steve McQueen
- Richard Dean Anderson aka MacGyver

Hilarity by: Cassandra, Natalie, Jasmine, Jeanny and I.
Board Additions by Jeanny.

Players: 2 + (it gets better with more people)
Aim: Live the life of an action hero, will you get out of unscathed?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Been there, Done that? Part V

I'm going over what I have at the moment and deciding which ideas work the best. Mockup images are coming when I find the time, until then use your imaginations.

Mythbusters
Scribblenauts style game

Narrative Type: Quest (for knowledge)
Adaption: Uses premise of the show, may use information presented on the show

Game Layout:
- Game is set out in levels that are based on complexity of myths. eg. 1 star to 6 star in difficulty.
- Each stage sets out a myth that the player must solve
- Solving myths earn player bigger budgets
- Game also has free-play mode where the player can create their own myths to solve
- Team members can be added to screen to suggest ideas or become test subjects
- Player can use money earned to buy additional objects to use in future experiments

Mechanics:
- Object engine, all generated objects have set properties but these can be changed by the player eg. object will explode when remote is pushed
- Additional onscreen menu can be used to program additional elements
- Player is given a budget for each myth(stage)
- Object library, keeps track of what player can use and what hasn't been unlocked
- Player can use money to buy additional objects


Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Sandbox game

Narrative Type: Quest and Rebirth (hard to tell, it's like an art house movie)
Adaptation: Set in world of novel, may use some plot elements in the story missions

Story:
Set in Japan, data unknown, the player starts out as a Calcutec(human encryption/data processor) but can choose to remain working for the System or the Factory. They will need to undergo training(tutorial) that will explain how the game works. The player starts at a low level Calcutec and must work their way up the ranks. At a high enough level, they can choose which jobs(missions) to take. Missions will award the player money and choices in the story they craft for their character.

Game Layout:
- Open sandbox game (3D?)
- Player has to make choices over jobs at later level
- Player also has choices over which faction to become
- Money can be earned and used to buy objects (Calcutecs need to pay rent too)

Mechanics:
- Open world (real world physics?)
- Encryption puzzles, player must solve to successfully store data into their brain
- Story Trees


Art/Sandbox Game
Narrative Type: Quest and Rebirth
Adaptation: Based off the novel, some things may have changed

Story:
Two parallel stories that ask questions about consciousness, the subconscious and identity. One set in modern day Japan and the other set in "the End of the World", an isolated walled town. Both stories have mysteries to solve but will they answer any questions?
Story 1 - Hard-Boiled Wonderland
Story 2 - the End of the World

Game Layout:
- 2D or 3D (Perhaps in the style of Kurayami)
- The player can switch between the stories by interacting with a unicorn skull
- The player explores the world to find answers to questions posed by the game

Mechanics:
- Story 1, the player can store data into their head via encryption puzzles
- Story 2, the player must work with their shadow to either escape the village or solve the mysteries behind the town
- Depending on the interactions, the questions asked by the game will be answered

Satirical Religion
Fighter

Narrative: Comedy or Overcome the Monster(that is your opponent!)
Adaption: Uses caricatures of figures associated with "religion" and philosophy
I know religion is a touchy subject but I'm posting this up as an exercise in design. I seriously doubt that this would actually become my assignment much less a game. If you're of a religion, I'm sorry but this is in the spirit of humor not maliciousness.

Game Layout:
- Game comes with story and PvP modes
- Story mode has the player's character fight to gain supremacy over the hearts of people
- PvP because you can't have a fighting game without multi player. People having fun while beating the shit out some polygons in the name of one-man-showmanship = money
- Players have two meters to fill, faith and divinity. Both meters determine amount of damage that can be done by players' super moves.
- If both meters are filled, the player can execute a "god" move(ultimate attack).

Mechanics:
- Press combination of buttons to bash
- Players also have a faith meter
- Faith meter will rise when the players pull off combos that look cool to the in game audience(belivers).
- Faith meter can also be boosted when the player taunts without being interrupted.
- Super moves/combos can be pulled off when the meters reaches full capacity.

RTS game
Narrative: Quest (for power)
Adaption: Parodies the rise and fame of satirical religions

Game Layout:
- Player chooses a faction(god) and must take over the internet(maps/scenarios)
- Fan Base and Reputation need to be maintained to win the scenario
- Number of units and buildings may also be part of win conditions
- Player can also perform "divine acts" that boost effects of buildings and units
- Enemies will attempt to take over your territory and you are required to defend against them

Game Mechanics:
- Reputation is built by how well a player maintains its status eg. maintance of buildings and units
- Units are created out of buildings
- Some units can convert enemy buildings and units
- Fan base is built up by constructing buildings(representations of computers & websites) and units(viral videos, memes)
- Buildings need to be maintained by player (aka upgrade)
- Units are maintained when buildings are upgraded but also when player performs "divine acts"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Been there, Done that? Part IV

If you haven't watched Mythbusters, you're education needs some intense fixing. It's a show about "using elements of the scientific method to test the validity of rumors, myths, movie scenes, adages, Internet videos and news stories". There are many explosions to satisfy the punter.

Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel website has a few (web)games. These are:
- Myth or Fact (True & False quizzes based on a theme)
- The Myth Game (True & False quiz but with hangman element)
- Photo puzzles
- How's your Memory (Memory match)

Sadly these are really more about how much have you watched this show and how much random trivia(or fact) have you managed to absorb. Let's take a look at what you can do with the show or perhaps these games to make them better.

Mythbusters contains:
- Science
- Explosions
- Debunking (of myths, rumors and the internet)
- Hilarity (eyebrow html tags are funny)
- Factual knowledge (depending on what level your knowledge is)
- Robert Lee (You'll know it when you hear him)
- Guns
- Explosions! (it's on there twice because once you've exploded non-dairy creamer, there's no going back. Don't try it home, you will burn places down.)



  • Party Game
    Learning can be fun, but actually proving how smart you are against other people is better. Think Buzz but with much less stupid. Answer questions fast enough will earn more points

  • Party Mini-Games
    Not keen on answering questions, well how about participating in some Mythbuster themed Mini-Games? Suitable for the Wii, you can challenge friends or the computer to see who can explode or solve things faster. Eg. Shake the Wiimote enough times to drop the crash test dummy, aim and fire to try and blow up the car

  • Puzzle Action
    Scribblenauts style Mythbuster game where you solve myths by creating objects. The catch, you have a budget. If you can't afford the car for the dangerous stunt, what can you use instead?

  • Educational game
    Get the kids(or grownups) involved with a virtual Mythbusters lab. Here Jamie and Adam will assign them myths and they need to figure out to debunk them. Inventory system required.

  • Action
    If you're keen on explosions, how about a Mythbuster Explosion game. In the vein of Miami Shark, pick characters of the Mythbuster team to explode things in the pursuit of science!



Alternatively The Action Hero's Handbook is full of knowledge that can be put into a game.

Contains information on:
- How to perform a Vulcan neck grip
- Scoring with the ladies
- Jedi Mind tricks
- Communicating with aliens
- How to take bullets

You can also combine it with The Worse-Case Scenario Survival Handbook for added life lessons.


  • Sandbox
    The main character is a hero-for-hire who needs to undergo training using the Handbook as his guide. You could also use the guide as tutorial material or perhaps as missions that your character can take.
    Bonus Commando Expansion pack - where you can put your hero in worse case scenarios and they need to get out of.

  • Minesweeper
    A heroic clone of Minesweeper in a similar style to ClueSweeper where the player needs to find objects and methods to escape the "trap/situation"(board).



Ack, I'm running low on ideas. A regroup and assess is in order. Company fallout.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Been there, Done that? Part III

The longer I draw this search out, the harder it gets. Prepare yourself for some crazy treatments of works you'd never really consider. Your regular scheduled program will return at a later date.

Parody Religions
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the parody religion, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism. It's become an internet phenomena and is part of a satirical protest against the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools.

You can read the story on the website or Wikipedia and you can substitute FSM with the Invisible Pink Unicorn or Russell's Teapot.

Suggestions for satirical religious games:

  • RTS
    Where you pick a god and try to convert as many "heathens" and dominate the world by building websites, fan groups and viral videos. (satirical gods tend to be up to date with their technology)

  • Fighter
    [Edit 25th July 2010: Clearly didn't research this enough since Molleindustria pulled this one off a few years ago.]
    Tired of arguing over who beats all? Duke it out with fellow geeks in this crazy fighting game. Includes Charles Darwin, ninjas and pirates as unlockable characters.

  • Open World
    In the style of GTA or Destroy All Humans, consider getting FSM to possess a human host and convert(inform) as many people as possible. Or the FSM can go around and frighten as many people as possible. Any publicity is good publicity right? Points awarded for scaring hardcore religious and convincing people to be well informed

  • Casual Game Puzzler
    Try some Bejewelled or Tetris clones where you've got to match up FSM(or other) symbols to clear the stage. (Pretty lame, maybe you can say the rapture is coming and your chosen god is collecting believers to save...)

  • Art Game
    A game about what's it like to be an internet phenomena

  • Educational(Serious) game
    A game more about why or why not Intelligent Design should be taught as an alternative to evolution theories.



Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management
Mrs Beeton Online
A Victorian classic, "a guide of reliable information about every aspect of running a house for the aspirant middle classes".

Consider:

  • Cooking Mama: Victorian Style
    Points given if you've managed to prevent the children from upsetting the cook and have gotten the house ready should your mother-in-law come unannounced.

  • Mrs Beeton for the Nintendo DS or as an IPhone Ap like this

  • Casual Game
    Time management and cooking come together in a Victorian version of Cake Mania

  • Sandbox Victorian House
    It's like playing with a virtual doll house except you've got to pay the bills wearing a full set of petticoats and a corset. Mrs Beeton serves as your help menu/tutorial guide

  • Puzzle
    Perhaps a Mrs Beeton version of Record Tripping?



Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Wikipedia entry
The wiki will give you a decent overview of the book but it you like surrealism, give the book a try. It features two parallel narratives that may converge at the end. Yes, it's one of those things open to interpretation.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland contains:
- "Calcutec," a human data processor/encryption system who has been trained to use their subconscious as an encryption key.
- The System, a quasi-governmental organisation who protect data
- The Factory, a rogue organisation who steal data
- "Semiotics", fallen Calcutecs who work for the Factory
- Crazy scientist who's developed an imperfect method of recording images from the subconscious
- INKlings, a group of sewer-dwellers who are dangerous and worship fish and leeches. They eat humans.
- Thugs
- Love interests

The End of the World contains:
- Isolated town that is walled off
- Unicorns
- Group of people who have had their shadows (and their minds & memories) removed
- A protagonist who reads dreams from unicorn skulls and is losing his memory of his previous life
- His shadow who is trying not to die (and lose the protagonist's mind) He plans an escape and tries to get the protagonist to help.

Possible treatments:

  • Third person sandbox
    Set in the world of Hard-Boiled Wonderland, the player's role is to be either a Calcutec or Semiotic and receives missions based on their role. Confrontations with the enemy and INKlings can be avoided if one is careful. Alternativly the player could be a agent for the System or the Factory and be trying to poach members from the other organisation.

  • Art (or Puzzler) game
    Set in The End of the World, a stranger decides to stay and is given the village initiation. Experience the world by interacting with stuff or in the puzzle version, solve the myster of the town by working with your shadow.

  • Puzzle game
    Train a Calcutec by getting them to encrypt data into their head via puzzles. More indepth data requires harder missions. When you've finished the character(you) is now a fully trained Calcutec



There maybe some ideas to come, we shall see.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Been there, Done that? Part II

What can you do with a BA in Arts? (Or English for those who are being a smart arse) What can you do with common household items? Do mullets give you super powers? This questions could be answered but why would you, when there is MacGyver?

That's right, I'm going to try to thunk out a MacGyver game in this entry.

MacGyverisms:
MacGyver Online

For those not in the know (or simply too "cool" to have ever watched it), MacGyver was a TV show about a secret agent, who preaches non-violence and carries a Swiss Army knife instead of a gun. Apparently having a science degree and the ability to turn junk into inventions will save the world.

A MacGyverism is a word used to describe the "ingenious" use of items by MacGyver to solve problems. Like blow open doors or escape off mountains. A MacGyverism will have some basis in scientific principles but have been adjusted for entertainment (anti-terrorist) purposes.

In the 1st episode, MacGyver uses 12 MacGyverisms to save the day:

- Disarmed missile with a paper clip
- Matches, string & rifle made timed diversion
- Smashed flare-launcher barrel used as rocket thruster
- Lit cigarette with hidden laser
- Used Cigarette smoke to see laser
- Mirror from binoculars reflected laser to 'sting' itself
- Raised fallen I-beam with knotted fire hose filled with water
- Tested heat on door with a stick (it caught fire)
- Pulled wires out of control panel and joined together to start fans in gas chamber.
- Milk chocolate bars stopped sulfuric acid leak
- Sodium metal & cold capsule made explosive
- Signaled status by blinking light system in Morse code

Let's pretend that Mac-daddy doesn't have any copyright and licensing issues that would prevent us from making a game. What kind of games can we make out of this TV show? Why would we even make games out of something so implausible?

MacGyver's main gimmick is, a secret agent that can unleash world-saving powers but these powers work best when he's got to improvise. That's right, this show is all about implausible stuff but making it look cool and exciting. Nothing says cool than turning a casket into a jet ski.

The show can be a video game, the main question is what kind of game would you make?
[These are questions, I'm sure there are games that do all this kind of stuff with no problems but I'm going off the top of my head here]


  • Action/Adventure is a pretty easy choice, the player can control MacGyver on missions but how would you factor in the improv item creation? Can you make an inventory that works to combine items without in the way of the action?
    - 2D platformer where Mac fights enemies and collects required items along the way (Boring)
    - 3D platformer like Uncharted
    - Point&Click Adventure offers a way of inventory but you're going to have more fun dodging the enemy and karating chopping them into unconsciousness. (can't remember if Mac has karate skills)

  • Puzzlers, do MacGyver puzzles involve combining items or do you collect items? Or solving actual puzzles?
    - Would a mini-game like Bioshock's hacking system work in MacGyver-land?
    - How about collection of mini-games? Anyone up to see how fast you can solve a problem? eg. How fast can you collect helpful items or how fast can you rig up that cement mixer?
    - It's tempting to see how fast can MacGyver escape like Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore (It's a Simpsons gag)
    - Or even Mythbuster style

  • FPS... Mac's got a no-gun policy but maybe you can go FP on gadgets?
    - Maybe Mac can swap tools to get past guards and save some hostages
    - Of course you could always TPS if you prefer looking at Mac from afar
    - Maybe Mac inspired Die Hard clone or Arkham Asylum?

  • Things you shouldn't even think about:
    - A sidekick (It's a safety precaution against fans)
    - Rythm game
    - Sports.. ?

Been there, Done that? Part I

How do you make a game out of something that has never been made into a game? First you have look for some source material. One of the hardest things to do is to look for a subject, because you will keep looking and looking. This list will make you cry as will asking a well-read games lecturer. Avoid this, it is misleading and dumb.

Here's where I'm at with finding topics for the essay.

Der Ring des Nibelungen:
More info at Wikipedia

It's very tempting to do this one. It's got a lot dramatic elements and it falls neatly in the narrative structure, it's a story about heroes, gods, tragedy (bursts at the scenes) and love. It also has the added bonus of Viking Helmets, the big ladies who sing are bit of a downer, especially when you realise that interval is four hours away...

The biggest downer to this is - Odin Sphere. The more I remember the game, the more I realise that the Ring Saga has been made into a video game.

Ring Saga contains:
- Wotan (Odin)
- Valkyries
- Nibelungen (Magic Ring)
- Fighting over Magic Ring
- Dragon
- Orphaned hero in love with Valkyrie (who is also daughter of Wotan)
- Treachery
- Tragedy (Death)
- Götterdämmerung (Ragnarök - The Nordic End of the World)

Odin Sphere contains:
- Odin
- Valkyries
- Titrel (A magic ring)
- Fighting over magic ring
- Dragons (Bonus points if you find Wagner the Dragon an in-joke)
- Orphaned hero in love with Valkyrie (yes, who is the daughter of Odin)
- Treachery
- Tragedy (Death)
- Armageddon (End of the World)

How's that for derailment? I'm going to have to find me a new topic.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Story Generator v2.0

To rectify the terribly bad post, I've decided to redo the story and write it the way it should have been. (Edit: 3/4/10 - Well at least something more exciting)

The basic elements:
- Henry the Theoretical Force
- Wanted by the Cops
- Is next to a discarded lunch
- A kingdom torn by Civil War happens
- With a Happy Crack Dealer
- In a story about Liberation

Quantitative Explosions: Let's get Theoretical(20XX)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article does not cite any references or sources.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

Quantitative Explosions: Let's get Theoretical is a 20XX remake of the original 19XX film and directed by BLah. It deviates from the original by having the main character Henry continually refer to the discarded lunch next to him as an allegory to his situation. [citation needed].

Plot:

This article's plot summary may be too long or overly detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise.

The film opens in a country torn by war, a voice over informs the audience. The government is corrupt and is secretly a means of distracting the public from the machinations of the Mien Royal Family who are unable to agree on a successor to the throne.

Henry the Theoretical Force (A Glowing Ball or Tony Abbott) is chased by armed forces into hiding in an alleyway dumpster. As the leader of a resistance group and a Theoretical Force, he is able to perform super human acts by eating books on various theories. The Big Bang Theory enables him to shoot fireballs and explode atoms while Monomyth gives him the abilities to rewrite people's lives.

Unable to access any material in the dumpster, Henry waits for his meeting with a fellow resistance fighter, he talks about his views of the government and his life story with different characters that seek refuge in the dumpster. Henry tries to recruit several of these characters by telling them stories of his exploits.

These stories range from when Henry began as a resistance fighter to his current situation. Henry's current plan is to bomb the royal palace by getting drug dealers to pass out a super drug filled nanobots developed by the resistance. People having ingested the drug will be possessed to congregate outside the government stronghold. At a signal, the possessed will explode.

Complications occur when the dumpster is emptied and Henry is transported to the Lunch Zone. The Lunch Zone is filled with discarded lunches of "a thousand and one mindless office workers" and a thousand and one hungry homeless cops. Underpowered by a lack of reference material, Henry is forced to retreat. Later Henry meets Happy Crack Dealer(Some Guy) who shows him how to harness the power of memory to remember theories and fight he bad guys. "Yar, you've learnt to unshackle yourself from your limitations."

I is hax0r!!!!111!!

Happy Crack Dealer also reveals to Henry that the government is a front and his real target is that of the royal family. Henry is about to launch his way out of the Lunch Zone when he encounters Royal Offspring #1138(a Robot) who has finally won the right to be the rule of the country.

An epic fight occurs and at this point the film diverges into three separate endings.

Ending A: Where #1138 reveals that he has reprogrammed all the resistance nanobots in the drugs to transform people into super solders and finally achieve his goal of ruling the country. Great catastrophe ensures for Henry and the resistance.

Ending B: Henry engages in a super move that changes the events of the entire movie and enables the resistance to overthrow the royal family but at the cost of taking the movie down to 1.5 hours (Oh shame). Thus liberating the audience from their seats.

Ending C: The film continues on its explosive and verbose manner as the epic fight causes the entire Lunch Zone to collaspe on itself. The country is then freed of a tyranical monarchy and a pesky resistance.

Story Generator : Liberation

story generation exercise - in groups - take a pack of post it notes [or tear up a piece of paper]

INSTRUCTIONS: every member of the group writes on the cards:

1. a character name and attribute [eg martha the vandal]
2. an obstacle [eg main character is blind]
3. a setting [eg inner london]
4. a *disturbance* or event [eg a stranger arrives]
5. another character [eg dark stranger]
6. a premise or idea [eg this game is about justice]

place each card type in separate piles and shuffle them - each member of the group takes a card and has to put together a plot and tell the story

post the stories your JOURNAL BLOGS - each story should be told in well under 50 words - ensure a decent unity of action - a beginning, middle and end ..




*Note: The (freedom) note is something I scribbled down after trying to figure out what Henry is.

After a rather mad scramble, I got six post-its but I don't plan on writing a story in 50 words. Given what could happen, the story of Henry the Theoretical Force sort of demands more than 50 words.

The following story contains much swearing and drug abuse. Sorry, Dave hasn't got any manners.

EPISODE #54 - It Came Out of A Sandwich
[Dramatis personæ]

NARRATOR, a Disembodied Voice

HENRY, a Theoretical Force

DAVE, the Happy Crack Dealer

COPS, a group of highly ineffective law enforcement officers

RADIO, a pair of deus ex machinas


NARRATOR:
Following his misadventures in episode #231 "Attack of the Killer Munchies", Dave the Happy Crack Dealer had evaded the police by diving into a dumpster. Disguising himself with old banana peels and Doritos wrappers, Dave quickly adopts a freegan lifestyle. We now present a tale of high action and liberation, coated in a dense layer of mediocrity, episode #54 "It Came Out Of A Sandwich".

FX:
[Police sirens, running footsteps and heavy breathing can be heard]

FX:
[Police radio cuts in, lots of static]

RADIO OFFICER:
All units to convene at City Hall, armed and ready. Repeat, armed and ready at City Hall.

FX:
[Footsteps and squad car door slams. Heavy breathing stops]

COP B:
Damn Rushkies! Ya kno' dis city ain' had no peace since dem royals stopped makin' babies.

COP A:
Yeah, yeah. Pass over 'em tasers. It's gonna be a rough nite.

FX:
[Car revs up and drives away. Sirens fade out. Dumpster lid can be heard]

DAVE:
Fuck, I thought I was screwed. [snorts] Ahh, that's some good shit.

FX:
[Crackling of chip packets, plastic bags and falling tin cans]

DAVE:
Half a sandwich! [crackle] Cheetos! Yeah, I'm going to have me some delicious. [eating noises]

HENRY:
Dave, Dave, you must help me.

DAVE:
Fuck! Henry, can't ya see a man's eating here. What you want now? I thought you weren't coming to see me anymore. [grunts]

FX:
[Thump and rustling of garbage]

HENRY:
Dave, did you just snort some cocaine?

DAVE:
I'm a crack dealer, course I snort the shit. As an all seeing force, you're a dumb fuck.

HENRY:
I'm a theoretical force, not an omnipotent force. Dave, will you listen to me? This matter is important.

DAVE:
[sighs] Yeah, whatever. It's not going to like the time we stared at those goats, is it? Those woolly bitches gave me the willies.

FX:
[Police radio crackles and the dumpster lid slams]

RADIO:
All units are reminded that the Prince is armed and dangerous. Deadly Force has been granted to all units. I repeat, shoot to kill.

FX:
[Sirens, guns and cars get fainter. Dumpster lid slams.]

NARRATOR:
After much talk about old ladies, life and the price of bananas, Dave and Henry proceed to walk around the city. Dave is unaware that Henry has convinced him to purchase a series of university texts while Dave has secret motives to liberate a large stash of drugs from the police.

FX:
[Loud crashes and explosions can be heard. Police sirens and gun shots fade in and out. Dave's laughter can be heard.]

DAVE:
Booyeah, I am the Superman!

FX:
[Loud explosions and a machine gun fires briefly.]

HENRY:
Dave, please will you get those books off that shelf. Dave!

COP A:
Police! Put down that cardboard lady...?

FX:
[Loud crashes and fade]

NARRATOR:
Problems begin when Henry is unable to open the books and Dave is beaten up by a pair of Siamese twins who steal all his money.

FX:
[Scuffling and yelling is heard. A thump follows.]

HENRY:
Curses, I forgot I don't have arms. Dave, Dave?

DAVE:
Shove it Henry. [in pain] Why don't you just shove it.

HENRY:
Dave, please.

DAVE:
Fuck it Henry. If you don't shut up I'm going to burn them damn books.

FX:
[Sirens and gun shots can be heard]

RADIO:
The war between the West and East Royal Family factions entered public scrutiny again as an explosion killed over 100 people.

COP B:
Youse, freeze. Hey I'm talkin' to youse!

FX:
[Gun shots]

NARRATOR:
Henry and Dave's relationship crumbles when after a bad day of running away from the police, Dave burns all the books that he's collected for Henry.

FX:
[Fire crackles]

DAVE:
Damn you to fucking hell. The police have been on our tail for days.

HENRY:
No... Dave please, I really need those books. Please. I never told you this but I...

DAVE:
Shut up! You little whiney bitch! Just leave.

FX:
[Popping noise]

NARRATOR:
With that single pop, Henry disappeared from Dave's life.

DAVE:
Finally. What a douche. I can get back to work.

NARRATOR:
[cough] Back to our story. Dave finds himself able to continue with his work as the Happy Drug Dealer without the strange adventures of stealing Jungian and Socratic texts. Sadly he is unaware that this has all been an extremely bizarre dream that resulted from eaten a half eaten sandwich he found in the dumpster.

DAVE:
The pastrami was good or was that rat?

HENRY:
I disliked my ending, can I change it?

FX:
[Sirens]

COP B:
Gotcha, I'm a goin' enjoy beatin' your ass.

FX:
[Theme song]

NARRATOR:
Next Week, Will Dave the Happy Crack Dealer be able to survive 30 minutes of Bingo the Birthday Clown? Tune in for episode #148 "Star Crunch is a Serial". Don't forget to tune in for the special presentation of episode #0-75-A "The Return of Henry". How will Dave be able to combat Henry the Theoretical Force, now powered by a Joseph Campbell Narrative engine?

Sorry that was utter shit.. Maybe I will rewrite it at some point.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Flights of Fantasy

While we're still stumbling around and trying to find something to write about, here's some more ideas for the 2nd essay. For the fantasy inclined fan, here's some works that you could turn into video games.

Phantasmagorical and Strange Happenings

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hurtling through the Galaxy

Like the last post, this one is going to about looking for ideas for the essay topic: Why this work has not been converted into a videogame before and discuss.

[4:50 pm I've just realised some of these ideas are not actual "works", they are more concepts so you'll either need to find a source material(text/video) based around these concepts. I'll be changing some of these so they are based off actual texts or films.]

TV, Science Fiction and Oddballs:

  • MacGuyver:
    I can't see why a game that uses MacGyverisms to solve problems, escape cells and kills bad guys hasn't been made. It could just be the mullet.

  • The A-Team:
    Explosions, guns, escapes and Mr T.

  • Mythbusters:
    Teaching kids or grownups, the hows and whys of the universe. You could make it into a learning game, give your player a problem, give them free run of some labs and see if they can busts some myths. Alternatively you could turn in into a trivia game to see how much stuff you know.

  • The Action Hero's Handbook

  • Phillip K Dick

  • Snow Crash:
    Hacker/Sword Fighter/Secret Agent turned pizza delivery guy who's broke has discovers plot to destroy humanity. The story world features the Metaverse, a fictional virtual reality that was spawned from the Internet. It's been described as an MMO.

  • Comic book heroes:
    Flash Gordon, Tom Strong or find a hero like Hungry Beast did.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey:
    If you were trapped in space with HAL, what would you do?
    Alternatively you could look at Moon. (Beware, die hard fans may stop you from killing the movies)

  • Brainship series

  • Culture Jamming:
    - Steal This Book
    - Flash Mobs (Improv Everywhere)
    - Anonymous
    - The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
    - Scientology(insert appropriate level of sarcasm here).

  • Alternate Sports *Concepts:
    - Roller Derby(Whip It)
    - Unicycle Hockey or Boxer Hockey
    - BASEketball
    - Dodgeball (links to international rule book in pdf form) or the movie
    - Speed Dating (I jest)

  • Advergame *Concepts:
    If you don't mind capitalising on a current product or you like seeing where extreme commercialisation is headed, why not try making a game to help advertise a product or company?
    - Kids MMO where weapons use brand name candy as ammo. Sour Warhead anyone?
    - This, obviously copyright and the corporation may scare you off buy you know it would awesome if it where made.

  • Internet Social Phenomena *Concepts:
    Why not see what you can come up with based around stuff like: Twitter, Facebook or even YouTube. Maybe you could use these sites as part of the plot or game mechanic.
    - A Private Investigator searching for missing people via Facebook
    - The FBI trailing drug consignments via coded Twitter messages
    - A wannabe trying to become popular via YouTube

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fragging the Classics

The goal for assignment 2: "this work has not been converted into a videogame before: discuss".

That is a big rabbit hole to go down into, there are a lot of works that you can choose from and a lot of works you should not look at. Stuck for an idea, join the queue, but here's some places you can check out:

Project Gutenberg: One of the best places to get public domain(no copyright) works by authors who've long been in the grave.

Wikipedia: An entertaining place where you can check if a work has been made into a film or video game. Alternatively you could use it to find something that hasn't been done before, like Canning or Mensa.

'Classic' works to turn into games:
I've stuck in some example works that may have used the original as an inspiration or are something in a similar vein. I'm not going to go into what classic is, this is just something to generate ideas.

  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer:
    Stories within a story of a group of pilgrims (it's the 14th century) travelling from Southwark to Canterbury Cathedral. They tell each other stories to pass the time and provides a framework for Chaucer to use all sorts of literary devices like self insertion, parables and a set of characters who represent a cross section of society. It's really tempting to do a American McGee's Grimm on it..

  • Genji Monogatari by Murasaki Shikibu:
    Early 11th century Japan's 'Casanova', The Tale of Genji tracks the (romantic) life and times of the illegitimate prince Genji. There are a few ways to go about it, but try to avoid making a erotic visual novel/game, that's the easy way out.)

  • The works of Alexandre Dumas, père:
    Best known for works of high adventure such as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, have a lot elements that could make them into video games. Revenge, politics and swords are awesome. Gankutsuou is Monte Cristo in space. [I've been told a lot of Dumas' books have been made into games so you may have to tread carefully.]

  • The Bard, William Shakespeare:
    Zounds, these works have gallons of inspiration in them. Hamlet and The Tempest have already been video games but you could try King Lear (lots of dying) or A Midsummer Night's Dream (happy endings). (I know some of these link to wiki but as if you're going to read the whole play at this stage)

  • Jane Austen:
    No.. I hear you cry? Well how about mixing it up some? How about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters? Guts, gore and killing strange monsters in Regency England, why hasn't this been made before?

  • Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
    Why not, young man finds an enchanted lady who's cursed and decides to free her. There's an evil magician and some drama, sure it's a ballet but you could rewrite it to fit in a video game. LucasArts did with Loom.

  • Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelun) by Wilhelm Richard Wagner:
    You're probably more familiar with What's Opera, Doc? (Kill the Wabbit) The Ring saga could be made into a game, who doesn't love Norse gods and viking helmets? Odin Sphere is almost like the opera but without the big ladies breaking glasses or ears.

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy:
    Set during the Reign of Terror (start of the French Revolution), the series follows the exploits of Sir Percy Blakeney, a man with a secret identity. When he's not being a fop(the 17th C 'man of fashion'), he's off saving innocent French nobles from getting the chop. How easy would it be to convert it into a action/adventure with swashbuckling rescue missions?

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes:
    Maybe you can actually create a video game out of the story of an old man obsessed with chivalry who decides that he will become a knight. Don Quixote is beset by problems, he's clearly delusional, people make fun of him and his family are trying to stop him from acting so crazy. What's a man to do when giants (windmills) are all over La Mancha? See if you have better luck than Terry Gilliam in adapting this work.

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain:
    A smart talking man with a knowledge of firearms and machinery is transported to the year 528 after being hit on the head. He eventually realises that his 19th C knowledge makes him the smartest man on Earth(Middle Aged version). Hijinks ensure. You could turn this into a several different games, think action/adventure, puzzle or click and point.

  • The Ramayana:
    An ancient Sanskrit epic about the prince Rama(an avatar of Vishnu) and his wife Sita who is kidnapped by Ravana the demon King. Don't go "God of War" or "Dante's Inferno" on this despite the similarities. A comic book adaptation is being made into a MMO.



Still stuck?