Sunday, February 26, 2006

Social games...

Ready or not, here are the next set of discussion questions!

In this week's workshop, we'll be playing 3 games which exhibit emergent social play: Little Max, Mafia, and Stand Up. Choose one of these games, and answer the following questions:
  1. Describe the social interactions which you observed during play. In what way did these interactions emerge from within the formal elements of the game?

  2. Using Sutton-Smith's categorization of social play roles, discuss how the players' roles changed during the course of the game.

  3. Suggest a modification to the game which will alter the social dynamics that emerge during play.
You should also share your initial ideas for assignment 2 on your blog.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Field trip!

The "field trip" to Settler's Cafe was a great success. In the end 16 of us turned up, and we stayed until 6pm. We ended up playing an epic 3-hour game of Settlers of Catan, which I almost won.

The Faculty Wars group managed to get through several fast games.

And I don't want to know what the Hey Mama! gang were up to outside... (Twister, so they claim). And at one point they had a very curious audience!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Assignment 1 playtesting, the final episode!

Delayed by a few days (sorry), here's the images from the final round of playtesting on Thursday. A very nicely polished version of Attrition! and a very exciting session of Stoned! (why do all the games have exclamation points in their names?)... and a comment from Dennis, the USP technician, that my students are "very dedicated", working on their "homework" for many hours after class... (ie. playing games in the lab).

Day of the Tentacle vs. Escape from Monkey Island

According to Chris Crawford, in the Art of Computer Game Design,
"Adventures are closer to puzzles than to games. As discussed in Chapter One, puzzles are distinguished from games by the static nature of the obstacles they present to the player. Adventures present intricate obstacles that, once cracked, no longer provide challenge to the player. It is true that some adventures push closer to being games by incorporating obstacles such as hungry dragons that in some way react to the player. Nevertheless, they remain primarily puzzles."

This relates to our discussion about games and narrative... there were two interesting, and opposing, responsed to my questions about this topic.

Kyrun looked at Day of the Tentacle, and felt that, although it has a highly linear structure, it is still engaging and allows for a certain amount of interactivity.

A highly unstable psychopath, on the other hand, felt, based on her frustration playing Escape from Monkey Island, that adventure games are "like a storybook, very linear, and the only way to flip to the next page and move the story forward is to do what is required in the game".

What do you all think? Swift, I'm sure you have an opinion about this... :P

And here's some more food for thought on adventure games, from Ernest Adams and Greg Costikyan.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You are not alone...

Just came across this blog: artpractice. Look familiar? Its the course website for a game design class taught by Jane McGonigal. I guess nothing is original in this world... but its encouraging to know that I'm not the only one making students blog for homework for a game design class!

More playtesting, round 2 sesson 2

More playtesting madness today: Hey Mama! with its innovative tile holders from IKEA; RPS which is turning out to be as intense as its Monday cousin (and would make a cool web-based multiplayer game); Cat and Mouse with a particularly hungry and aggressive cat, and the ongoing faculty wars with the curiously named super-unit...

And somehow people just can't resist playing with the Lego!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Playtesting, round 2...

We had a very interesting playtesting session today... with a strong contrast between the noisy, rowdy bunch playing Carmakazi on the floor, versus the intense, deadly serious game of scissors/paper/stone on the table... later on, we had some in-depth discussions about cheating in Face-Off, and a complicated 8-way dating game which never got resolved due to lack of time... great fun!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Games telling stories?

Here's the next discussion question:

Choose a game which you feel attempts to incorporate strong narrative elements.
  1. Discuss the tension between agency and narrative structure within the game. Do you agree that narrative and interactivity can never co-exist? Why/why not?

  2. How is time represented in the game? Is there a separation of story and discourse time? How does the game’s use of time allow for interactivity?
Remember, this is to be given lower priority than finishing assignment 1... :)

So what on earth is a FADT anyway?!?

For those of you who may have found the Doug Church article a bit cheem, have a look at this site, which points out that really FADT is basically another way of saying Patterns. Thanks, Zhonghao!

Monday, February 06, 2006

First round of playtesting for assignment 1...




Sunday, February 05, 2006

Who says there's no such thing as innovative gameplay?

The Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition winners have been announced. This, together with the Independent Games Festival, gives me hope for innovative and original game designs. Now if only we could see a Singaporean entry in there next year!

I particularly like Cloud, feels like being inside a Miyazaki movie...