Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crunched Bytes: July - August 2013

This is what I believe will be the last of the series for sharing on Twitter (@aniruddha_loya) seems more instant and timely.  Nevertheless, enjoy this big collection with some really good reads from Jesse Schell, F2P, Player's IPU, Pixar (breadcrumbs spread over the movies), A productivity secret from Harvard, the "Un"-Consoles / microconsoles and more...

The Shame Game: An Interview With Jesse Schell

An interview with Jesse Schell on using humiliation (-ve reinforcement) techniques used in games and how that affects the game play. Also there is some discussion on hard-core gamers frustration with F2P and how things might evolve with due course of time.

Mind Games: Offloading Cycles to the Player’s IPU (Imagination Processing Unit)

A very interesting article emphasising on using player's Imagination as an integral part of game design. And links to the related article below. Leaving certain things to be imagined, helps in creating the sense of immersion and the bond between the game and the player, which can play an important role in success or failure of the game as a whole.

The Simulation Dream

Related to the IPU article, this article also talks about the mental model of the players which is termed as "Player Model Principle" which states that the entire value of game is in the mental model.

Why do we play video games, when they cause us such pain? On Jesper Juul’s “The Art of Failure”

The author refers to Jesper Juul's book and draws attention to the paradox of failure in games, that "players dislike failing in games, but they dislike more not failing even more". 
However, what strikes out is the explanation provided why "gamification" fails in corporations, that failures are acceptable (even strived after) in games but not at the job.

Why Candy Crush Saga is so Engaging - An Audio Breakdown

If you haven't played this game, first go and play and then you'll understand why this game deserve an analysis for its Audio. I just love its background music and was interesting to read an analysis for the music elements of the game. 

Dopamine and games – Liking, learning, or wanting to play?

A very interesting article on the use and abuse of the reference to Dopamine in gaming context and some scientific insights to the facts (or what is known until now).

Designing local multiplayer games for microconsoles

A local multiplayer game has taken hold of parts of my imagination since I made one myself during the Global Game Jam in January 2013 (Check out our game Heart Racer). And the above article provides some interesting insights to this genre.

The Pixar Theory

Love Pixar Movies? Ever wondered if all these movies are inter-related or made with a common underlying theme?? 
No! Read this blog and you are going to find it interesting to the point of believing!
Yes! Still read it and enjoy!!!
The blog article a working narrative that ties all of the Pixar movies into one cohesive timeline with a main theme.

Today's game industry through the lens of human history

The Author maps the wold of video games and its inhabitants (players & developrs) with the human history and looking into human evolution, predicts how the scenario would shape in the world of video games.

Accessibility & the Folly of Exclusivism

A highly controversial topic in gaming world (as the author himself notes) but in my opinion a very valid point (suggestion). I'm in favour of an easy mode (or very easy or what author sometimes refer to as God mode) to help the beginners or casual players latch on with games. I do not understand how this affects the so-called "hard-core" gamers… on the contrary it may give rise to some new members for their community and more incentives for companies to continue working on those titles rather allocate more budget to casual games. EA recently announced their largest income source was from Apple's AppStore and in my view that doesn't bode well for the hard-core unless they have now turned into "casual hard-core" :D

Chasing the Whale: Examining the ethics of free-to-play games

An insight to lives of a few gamers, often termed as "Whales" for the amount they spend on F2P games. Lots of arguments and counter-arguments in the article as well as the following discussion.
My take: If gambling is legal and ethical, then so is the F2P model. Every one has a compulsive desire and addiction to one thing or the other and it is up to us to draw the line. If someone calls it wrong to design games to make money, then there are 2 questions: 1. How are these game companies going to survive, remember nothing comes "free" in this world. and 2. Aren't gambling machines/ games/ etc. designed the same way? What may be done is to raise awareness among people and may be some conscientious game makers putting a cap onto daily/monthly spending, just like how Steam blocked the account (though the reasons in the said example might be different).

And while we are at it, read this as well with another argument of why to hate F2P but also a potential way out to solve the shortcomings of method which is here to stay.

F2P Gaming - Removing the Stigma


Game Over: Parting thoughts from the Game Developer team

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/194856/game_over_parting_thoughts_from_.php
A brief recap and an outlook for the future of consoles, Indies, mobiles, and Game Dev in general, GameDev teams write their last and fitting finale to a great journey of 19years.

5 Things to Ask Your Interviewer

Nice little blog with advice for interviews with 5 actual Qs that you can ask unlike just the suggestion to ask question given by many blogs/articles on interview tips!

The Five Basics of Being a Game Design Problem Solver

Listen, reason, think and master -- the key essentials for problem solving… not limited to Game Design.

Fewer Options, More Meaningful Choices

Though presented in the context of gameplay design, this applies to creativity in general. I have seen my GameLab professor demonstrate it in the class and then we, students, do it. And the same was experienced in the Global Game Jam 2013. Restricting the projects on a particular theme can give rise to interesting interpretations, ideas, gameplay and mechanics.

A Harvard Economist's Surprisingly Simple Productivity Secret

I have always been avoiding internet on my mobile, though it has some problems, but more benefits. I get some time to think over without constantly checking for emails and importantly, since am not connected I'm not required to answer any of them. And as Chip Cutter found out, its a sub-optimum use of time: "All those times that I thought I was using my time well-- … -- I was using my bandwidth badly"

The Android Microconsole Reference Guide for Game Developers

A list of current and upcoming micro consoles with an evaluation of their pros & cons.