Monday, January 30, 2006

...and you thought 3 assignments per semester was tough!

Think that's a lot of work? Try creating 50 games in one semester!

This is actually a very interesting concept, which started as the Experimental Gameplay Project, a student-initiated project at the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU. Hmm, perhaps something to try for Gaming Culture II? Now I just have to figure out how to do this without requiring everyone to know programming...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bogged down with blogs...

So sorry, I haven't managed to get through all the entries from last week... guess I only have myself to blame! I'll finish commenting on the Calvinball discussions and assignment 1 ideas over the next day or so...

Anyway, without further ado, here's the next set of blog questions:

For a game of your choice:

  1. Describe the formal elements that make up the game. Be as clear and detailed as possible.

  2. Does this description fully capture the requirements for playing the game? Are there any additional rules or assumptions that you may have left out? Do these need to be written down? Why/why not?

  3. Following Doug Church’s approach, try to extract the abstract design concepts that constitute the gameplay. Can these be transferred to a different type of game? Why/why not?

Friday, January 20, 2006

There's always one who can't make it...

Ok, despite the agony of trying to accomodate everyone's schedules with the workshop slots, I think I survived lecture 2...

So, without any further ado, here's the next blogging exercise:
  1. Based on the definitions of a game and meaningful play as presented in class, discuss whether the game of Calvinball could be considered a game. Could meaningful play emerge from this game? Why/why not?

  2. Begin developing your initial concept for assignment 1: design a traditional format game, and share your ideas on your blog. You can do this individually for now, and we'll form groups in the workshop next week.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Shouldn't you be playing a game right now?

Lots of interesting responses to the first set of questions... I've tried to comment on most people's blogs. Here's a quick extract of some interesting points - but remember, if I didn't mention your blog here, doesn't mean it wasn't interesting!

Why do we play games? It is something that we, as people choose to indulge in for that brief moment of time, to detract our minds from reality for a moment, to follow the rules set to acheive a given goal state. Often, a game is played because the player/s want/s to achieve some sort of goal, whether it's to de-stress, to socialise, to pass away the time, to be
challenged, to get rewards, to become famous, to be in control and feel good about oneself, to have fun, or to "escape" from the real world. Things which can be done in games may be impossible to achieve in the real world,thus humans tend to make use of games to let out their frustrations,
fulfill their dreams or even regain their confidence. Although all these may be virtual, at least it serves as a psychological consolation to the fragile human minds.

Do we need to be aware that we're playing a game? Does the toddler playing with some lego bricks have to understand that he's playing a game, before you can call it a game? In this case, the "goal" of the
game, in his case (he wouldn't know it anyway) is just to amuse himself - he doesn't see the building of some castle as the ultimate aim. If I went to the arcade, inserted a coin, started a game and just banged on all the buttons, would that still make it a game? Worse, if I didn't insert the coin, but still banged the buttons, does that make it any less a game either? As far as I have concerned, I have fulfilled the aim of amusing myself.

Value depends on context I would argue that the value of a game can only be argued within the context of the culture that it was created in or that it is played in. And so the
value of a game, the measure of it's goodness or badness, can be considered to be a measurement of it's cultural value.

Realism/representation One of key aspects of a “good” game is the minimal level of realism for the player to accept the game reality presented. Although photorealism is one of
the hottest trends for achieving a sense of realism in the game like popular titles Halo, The Final Fantasy series, Doom 3, etc… Then there are also games that have just very minimal realistic graphics with very creative and imaginative game environment that captures the player’s imagination. Games like World of Warcraft, Katamari Ball (I think) and most Japanese games still use cartoonish looking graphics and is yet able to greatly engross the player
into the game.

Engagement and enjoyment Games at the most basic level are any activities, either physical or mental, that provides the players with joy or excitement. Unlike passive activities
like watching a movie or reading a novel, a game provides joy to the user by engaging him or her directly in the activity.

Meaning A good game should be something that has the ability to influence and become significant in it's players' lives. Good Game? The first thing that comes to my mind is what anonymous strangers say, whether they win/lose to you in Yahoo online games- gg.
The meaning of good game is socially constructed. If many people play it and it is popular, it has done its job of being a 'gg' that unites people.

Boundaries/audience It's easier to understand that computer games immerse us in a seperate world of the game where all it matters is to win n get rid of all enemies... but
doesn't Survivor work the same way as well? players get thrown on an island n their goal is to get rid of all obstacles n competitors n finally win!

Story vs. game well-written videogame story need not be one that can be transplanted to another genre and be as effective there. That's one of the reasons why nobody has been able to make a good film adaptation of a videogame.

Unpredictability The process and the elements in the game should be something unpredictable. This is because most of the time if you can predict what is already in the game, the game would fade off very soon in the interest in the game. These elements include the way how the character can grow like how the online games base their character on. Sometimes the game plot can also be ever changing. They can be changing from this ending to another within seconds of desicion and this is the important part about gaming. You never know what is going to happen. When this happens, gaming would be enjoyable and anticipated. Rather
than "oh i knew this was going to happen!"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

And so it starts...

Another semester, another module. The endless cycle of life.

Lecture 1 has come and gone. Here's the first blogging exercise:

For your first blog entry, discuss:
  1. What is a game?

  2. What makes a “good” game?

And don't forget about the talk on Friday: