11 December 2010

Social Gaming, A medium looked down upon...

I have also been thinking about social gaming a lot. It's a fledgling medium for gaming, but it's one that we can't ignore. I believe it's poor taste to look down upon people who participate in social games, it's a natural evolution of how games (in their current sense) are becoming more a part the norm in our society. As a person who could be described as a "gamer" and an "adventurer" within the forested realm of Game Design, I am happy that more people can be exposed to something that I have loved since I was a child.

However it's also hard for me to ignore that many of the criticisms against social gaming are true. Games in the social media lack the polish and forethought of their PC and console brethren. There aren't enough games that would attract gamers and so-called "non-gamers" (a silly description, because they're obviously playing games) alike. There needs to be more "play" in these games and less busy work, and perhaps making it slightly less about the money would be nice, I find that it's been corrupting the mechanics of many Facebook games, making them less likely to be played by people.

I'd also like to note that we, as Game Designers, will go nowhere by looking down upon any of the gaming populace, any person could be one of our customers, one of those who will experience something we've made. Just think about how valuable it is that someone would take as much time out of their busy lives to play something you've designed, there are not only other games that they could be playing, but other important things they could be doing.

05 December 2010

Social Games: Card Games

I just realized that the Social Gaming stage is a wonderful ground for Trading Card Games. Trading Card Games are turn-based by nature, and the social aspect of trading card games is built in. I believe that if a good trading card system was made for a social networking site like Facebook, I think it would definitely do well. I'll definitely have to think more on the specific system I want to implement. I believe it would be best to have a system that allowed for easy drop and pick up card games.

For a Social Game, I believe one of two systems should be used. First it could be a game that is easily interrupted and a turn can be filled with actions, allowing enough complexity to make singular turns without an actively playing opponent to still be engaging and fun. Or a Second concept would be that games are short enough to be played easily and simply together, with your friends or a matchmaking system, much more like an arcade game.

20 November 2010

Perhaps a bit too critical of how I post...

This blog was designed to allow me to post about my thoughts and ideas behind my adventures through the realm of game design. I realized that unspoken restrictions upon the content of my posts were preventing me from updating here. I do have a lot of drafts and unfinished posts though. But I was encouraging myself to post fully fledged ideas, when they should have a chance to iterate and grow here instead! I'm going to clean them up and post them under the original times I was going to post the posts (there are a lot of ideas that were unfinished New Idea forms).

As a designer I need to get ideas out, to better articulate them, and as time goes on my ideas and how I communicate them will definitely become more natural.

But for now, I'll just post them as they come. It's likely that I'm doing fine and am being too cautious anyways. I've added a new tag, stated Eureka. It's where I'll post random thoughts and ideas that become salient to me. They don't need to be too cohesive or even good, but as I go, I can always look back on them and use them as a source of inspiration. If I choose to develop them further, I'll tag them "Idea Pitch" and iterate the idea through "Idea Iteration."

04 November 2010


Idea Title:

High Concept:
A Battle Takes Place high above, a battle for control of the weather!
  • An action game similar to a space shooter. The player is fighting for control of the weather, using his powers he takes on clouds, distorts air pressure, and messes with temperature to create devastating conditions for his enemies above and below the ground. 
  • The player also can try to create idealistic conditions for the lands that he owns, such as bringing rains to farms in drought. 
Expanding the Concept:
I have two main flavors in mind for the game. War of the mad scientists and their weather control machines, or war of the sky spirits, personally I like the mad scientist flavor myself.

The game involves the player controlling the factors of weather from the Stratosphere. By messing with temperatures in areas, and controlling air pressure the player can create tornadoes (temperature fluxes are likely made as trails to the ship the player controls. Dropping Ice Bombs and using Heat Waves, if I mulled on this further it could definitely be more fun!

17 October 2010


I'd like to use the posts that are tagged under "Idea Iteration" to represent updates in a current game idea I'm working on. This presents a nice history of an idea to me! I can see where I was in a few months, or even years to come!

Posts that are tagged with "New Idea" represent the first mention of an idea that I'm usually throwing out.This post kinda merges "New Idea" and "Idea Iteration"

The idea I present first is my GAM300 Project, my team is Haniwa5-0 and the current game name is HaniWars. Honestly I don't really like the name of the game that much, so I'll probably change it later.

Idea Title:
Pipes! or Chi Flow

High Concept:
A strategy-puzzle game where the player plays both sides of a tower defense game:
  • The first side is a strategy-puzzle Tower Defense, where the player utilizes chi as a resource to build and manage his towers. By mastering the flow of chi the player can maximize the strength of his towers. (Haniwa Mode)
  • The other side is a strategy game where the player sends out and manages units to capture the base. It's up to the player to manage the numbers and the types of the units he's using. (Oni Mode or Minion Mode)
 Concept in-detail:
One thing to note, the Minion Mode parallels the Haniwa Mode, they use similar mechanics to grow. Because of this, at this stage Minion Mode is a bit undefined.
  • Haniwa Mode requires the player to survive the waves of Oni. 
    • Towers are used to attack incoming Oni. 
  • Towers require chi to remain active, without it they lose animation. 
  • Towers use the attributes of Chi to strengthen themselves
    • Chi can be neutral or it can have attributes of the 5 Chinese elements
      • Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, Earth
  •  Towers can store Chi within themselves, if Chi is removed from towers, they won't stop being active immediately
    • They'll use up their stored chi and slowly become less animated as they run out
  • Chi is manipulated using "pipes"
    • Players get pipes to manipulate flows of Chi from their sources
    • Pipes can have many effects upon the Chi that flows into them
    • Players are required to manipulate Chi in order to be successful at the game
      • There may be Oni on more than one front and only one source of Chi, the player must then route the chi to the areas that need it.

13 October 2010

Talked to Ben Ellinger about my GAM idea

Today I finally got my meeting with Ben Ellinger, for those that don't know, he's the design instructor for my GAM300 class. I was really meaning to talk to him for a while, but Ben's usually quite busy. After my team's presentations, Ben was actually excited by my idea. I'm not going to lie, it felt good, but it also made me focus my resolve, I had positive feedback, it was time to make sure I would be able to deliver. I already resolved to try my best to make all of my games as amazing as they can be within constraints, but it's always nice to see your effort rewarded!

I'll probably go into more detail about the history of this game idea in a later post, but for now I'll just put up a record of what happened in that history today.

After some setbacks, I finally got my meeting with Ben, he had told me to meet up with him about my idea after I presented them. I find it an integral part of my design process to talk about it with everyone who might be interested, get their feedback, criticisms and make my own judgments, but it was really time for me to look for experienced help. During this meeting I discussed the ideas I had for my game mechanic in more detail. I discussed both my Pipe and Syphon concepts with him, and we both agreed that the Pipe concept was better (I'll make sure to mention both of them in the history post). Ben told me that this idea was solid, he told me that it was something he'd be able to see as a real game being developed by a company. He also mentioned that it was time for me to stop conceptualizing and start iterating.

Some important lessons that came out of this meeting to me:
  • I had many ideas for my game mechanic, but Ben told me to strip it to the bare essentials of the design. This was because there was no way for me to know the idea was fun until I played it, until I playtested it. There was no need to add content to the game, because content should arise from what's fun, and should support what's fun.
    • I used an analogy: when you plant the seed of your idea, you don't know what kind of plant it will grow into, why would you put debris and fertilizers that might kill your plant over the top instead of watching and seeing what it grows into.
  • It's a good thing to ask your peers, as sources of ideas and as people who will criticize your idea. As such the idea I mentioned to Ben was the result of this work.
  • Paper playtesting is your friend! Ben mentioned that flash prototyping is cool, but can be a waste of code effort, why should you work on something that will not help your game? Paper can be run by you.
    • For a real time strategy style game, the turns in the paper version can be used to represent on action during a game. One turn is used to either place units or move them.

11 October 2010

My First Post

Hey all,

Just wanted to get out a first post about what's going to go into this blog. This is a blog about all of my practices and experiences into the murky waters that is Game Design.  As a person who wants to be a better designer, I believe it's incredibly important to get my ideas out in writing, into the physical world. It's also important for me to see the process to which I do design, to understand it more. It's always a good thing to keep a record of the past, especially with thoughts, because you can always return to these writings to not only see where you've been and where you've come from, but to also draw from the power of the past and your past thoughts.

You'll also see anything else design related I might have. Like reviews, and simple thoughts and bursts of inspiration.

The title of this blog, perhaps it will change, perhaps not, I'm actually rather attached to it. An artifex is an artificer, a crafter, an inventor, a master of his art, it is from latin and it is used describe craftsmen. We designers are craftsmen, we work hard to polish and make the best experiences possible. Drawing inspiration from my psychology class, I believe that designers are the crafters of the dreams that are called games. People are taught things through games, they're taught things through any game they play. As such games are the great medium for learning and teaching, not necessarily for formal education, but for morals, lessons, and inspirations of the truths of the world.

To those that know me, I'm a wordy person, I write a lot and explain a lot using analogies I appologize if that's not your cup of tea, but I'm grateful that you've at least gotten this far into my world.

To the craft of dreams,