Friday, March 22, 2013

The Tenants of My Belief.

There is a life force that flows through all things
The universe provides
Moderation helps maintain balance
The truth of the universe is within you ~ Kumare
You can only trust someone to be himself
Each person and relationship is unique
I am me, You are you, we are us.

Show other people they can change, but do not try to force them but rather accept them.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Design comment on Warblers Nest and Looming

Another Post originally made for an a school assignment.

The Warblers Nest uses the basic mechanic of many text based adventures where you type words to control what you do in the game. Besides that I found it rather different then any text adventure I have played before.  It had a way of telling you about your goal and letting you know of things you could do buy telling you about past memories or flash backs. This served as a way of expressing story as well as telling you about the character you are playing.

I honestly had a hard time figuring out what to do or rather I kept trying things with little result. I had to check the hints and learned to use the examine command more which I felt was tedious as I kept trying to use look in place of examine when I first started. Having the hints is a good thing for this game but I worry it could be overly necessarily to have them. Which could be a sign of bad design, possibly.

One mechanic that bugged me was telling me I can't go somewhere until later. I don't like this in any game but it seamed especially frustrating in this game as I wanted to explore and was told to search for eggshells and yet could not go places when I wanted to search there. However, this mechanic serves to prevent players from wasting time in areas that they cannot accomplish anything in yet.

This game's mechanics definitely make me feel like it is a mystery. You start wondering why you are looking for egg's, what happened, what's in the cottage, what did you throw into the river. Even the hint's try to not ruin this mystery for you. Unfortunately it can leave the player not knowing what to do so it is best suited for people who like to solve puzzles or play detective.


Looming felt a very intuitive game. The controls were displayed on screen when I started and were simple enough as was the rest of the game that no explanation was needed. Small bits of information are given as you find objects exploring and this works to allow you to figure out what happened in the past. Information on your character and his past are given when you exit the area through small portals. One mechanic I liked was the simple dots on the main screen that would fill as you exit and go back into Looming.

I also found their choice in graphics interesting, with small animals or insects represented by tiny dots and the black and white theme. It allows you to use your imagination even with a graphical interface. As exploration game I think all of these mechanics work very well.

I also liked the sense of being able to go in any direction you want. I of course hit the borders of looming which were fenced in, but then the story line mentioned the fence and commented on both the previous inhabitants and the outside world. I felt like this simple choice in narrative allowed a better suspension of disbelief then in many games.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Big Debate

Two people, Will and Stan sit in a plain room around a simple table.
On the Table is a small plastic disposable cup flipped upside down.

Stan: So, we are here to debate the existence of a ball inside that cup.
Will: That's right, I saw the cup lifted earlier and there was a ball inside.
Stan: I didn't see that happen. Do you have proof?
Will: Well yes I saw the ball earlier and I believe it is still in there.
Stan: I'm sorry Will, belief is not proof.
Will: Well you cannot prove there is not a ball in there.
Stan: It's not my job to prove there is not. I will only believe you with proof besides I also cannot prove there is not a toy car under the cup, lack of proof doesn't make it there.

Another man walks into the room and gives Will a small photograph and some slips of paper.

Will: Ah, well look here a picture of the cup tilted with a ball underneath.
Stan: Did you take the picture?
Will: No.
Stan: Were you there when it was taken?
Will: No.
Stan: So there is nothing to say this picture was not taken a long time ago and then the ball removed. Also it could have been faked or taken somewhere else. We can't even be sure it who took the picture.

Will: Well the date on the back says it was this morning and it is signed by John and notarized by Eli.
Stan: OK where are those two now?
Will: I don't know
Stan: How can we be sure they are being honest or are actually the ones who took the picture?
Will: Hmmm, well this note right here says John's mom excused him from school today to go take the picture, it is dated yesterday.
Stan: Can she come tell me that herself?
Will: No.
Stan: So the only proof the picture is real is that it says it's real and a letter written by who knows who and who knows when. This is almost convincing but still not proof that there is a ball under the cup right now and it has not been tampered with.

Will looks at the papers and present's written descriptions of the ball.

Stan: These could be equally as valid as your description, except that we don't know who wrote them and also look here.... This one says the ball is green and this one blue and this one red.

Will: Well the ball is red.
Stan: Why should I relive you the ball is red and not believe Jared that the ball is green? I still don't know for sure that there is a ball.

Will: Fine I will get you witness'

Will leaves the room and comes back with three other people.

Will: This is Rose, Eugene and Edna each of them have also saw the ball
Stan: OK, do you have any proof.

Rose: Yeah, I was with Jared at the sandwich shop and we were begging for something to play with and he lifted a cup and there was a green-ball.
Eugene: I work in a warehouse and I see lots of blue balls.
Edna: I have seen a little pink ball under this cup since I was little!

Stan:... ok now your story makes even less sense. Each of have described a different story and each ball sounds different but none of this proves there is a ball under this cup right here.
Will: But I have a picture and written records and witness.
Stan: But none of it can be verified right now and we keep getting different stories and about different colors.
Will: I don't care what color the ball is. It's red to me it's pink to Edna but we have each seen the ball and so have others like John.

Stan: I'm sorry science works on tests and logic none of this proves that there is a ball. Come on will why don't you follow logic and admit there is no ball.

Will: Because I have seen it earlier and I have faith it was not messed with.
Stan: Ah, OK blind faith over proof. Why don't we just lift the cup and see if it is there.

Will reaches over the table and lifts the cup as the three witness gather around in excitement. Unfortunately they block Stan's view who doesn't really bother to look up.

A buzzer goes off and Stan stands up and walks out. Shortly after Stan leaves Jared follows behind mumbling.

Jared: I only believe in blue balls.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

In Response to why I am Attending FullSail to be a Game Designer.

     I decided to get a degree in game design because designing games is something I have done in my free time almost my entire life. If I am not working as a game designer or going to school, I would still be designing games in my free time. I still have not published one yet, but I am hoping to remedy that soon.

     I am beginning to be concerned about how these classes keep telling me it's so hard to be one. I understand they are just trying to prepare us, but seriously I am here to learn more and improve myself not to be told that designing games is not fun. I enjoying designing games and I enjoy the social aspect of working in a team. I am even starting to wonder if I might like being a producer instead of designer.

     My long term goal however is to be an independent developer or work in a small team. I keep hearing that is so hard to get a job in game design, yet no one seams to be talking about all the exciting growth in the field. There are more ways to design a game and get it out there then ever before. Also there are a lot more positions available then just lead designer.

     Am I wrong? Is the university trying to tell me there are no positions available and it's either be lead designer in a Triple A studio or nothing?

     Honestly it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. designing games is what I want to do and I don't care if I end up needing to learn programming and art and everything else as well. Even if I never use my degree I'll be happy just to have learned more about game design.

     Being a game designer is not about having a huge salary or being the top of a pyramid it is about making games. If you design games, congratulations you are a game designer. The very fact that we are in this class means we are studying game design.

     We made it, we are a part of the industry even if that part is only as students. Don't let anyone try to tell you it is too difficult, you're already here.

     As for what I need to do to get to where I want to be. I think the main thing is build up a portfolio of published games and game design documents maybe even mods. It is likely I will need to learn more programming to get this done and to be more qualified in my field. Whether I am working independently or applying for a corporate job it will help to have a strong portfolio of games available to the public.

     I also believe that by actually designing games we can learn things that aren't able to pick up in a classroom. I am excited about the team projects we will be doing in our classes but I think each of us should also be working on our own projects even if it is just fooling around with different software or writing out ideas or game design documents. Remember the first step to being a game designer is to design games.  
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