domingo, 1 de setembro de 2019

A short analysis about Gorogoa’s puzzle experience

Definitely, the most interesting and thought-provoking game I’ve played this year was Gorogoa. I experienced the awesome puzzles in the screen of Nintendo Switch and, wow, that was mesmerizing. I followed the whole gaming creative process in social media, but the gameplay surprised me in an epic level.



It’s hard to describe the game in few words, but according to the definition from the official site, Gorogoa is “an ingenious, perfectly crafted puzzler”. The game creator, Jason Roberts, developed thousands of meticulously detailed hand-drawn illustrations, encompassing the impressive scope of Gorogoa's personal narrative.



Essentially, in the gameplay, you control four quadrants where you must execute a series of zoom in and zoom outs in the images to recombine shapes and create new physical possibilities and structure new scenarios from the most improbable objects. The video below explains the game’s main idea:



The great gameplay experience makes me want to write a personal short analysis of Gorogoa (for further consulting in classes) following a model proposed by Tracy Fullerton (2008) in her book Game design workshop.

• Players: single player game; one player against the puzzles
• Objectives: combine patterns to create and recreate scenarios/objects
• General rules: you can point and click in four different quadrants using zoom in and zoom out to connect new possibilities of images
• Resources: colorful images (hand drawn) with a fantasy theme disposed in four quadrants
• Conflicts: how good is your vision and imagination to solve the puzzles
• Limits: four quadrants with limited amount of zoom in/out possibilities
• Results: when you complete a puzzle correctly, the game shows you an animation and a new part of the scenario/narrative to point out your progress



Reference:

FULLERTON, Tracy, et al. Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2008.

#GoGamers

sábado, 3 de agosto de 2019

Article: The Strategic Use of Smartphone Features to Create a Gaming Experience of Mystery: The Mind Alone Case

As I said in the last post, in July I attended the Human Computer Interface Conference at Orlando (Florida). Today I want to share my article (click here) and invite everybody to buy the conference's book with all the articles related to the subject "games" (click here).



#GoGamers

sexta-feira, 5 de julho de 2019

HCI International 2019

At the end of next July, the HCI (Human Computer Interface) international conference will take place in Orlando, FL.

This conference aims to discuss the intersections between culture, technology, behavior and society. The “games” subject will, surely, be one of the main discussions in the event, and I’ll be in HCI presenting my paper "The Strategic Use of Smartphone Features to Create a Gaming Experience of Mystery: The Mind Alone Case".



Below, you can check the abstract of my article that will be published in a book, which will be sold at the conference:

In the present work, we discuss the creative process behind the Brazilian mobile game Mind Alone (Sioux Games, 2018). We start our discussion with a brief overview of mobile media and the Brazilian gaming market, in order to clarify why mobile games are a rich field to explore in this country, and to assess some aspects of the Brazilian gamer audience. After this introduction, we proceed to expound the main features of the game Mind Alone, aiming to finally put forward some ideas about strategic thinking in game design, game writing, and puzzle design, emphasizing the need of multidisciplinary thinking. This article recounts the whole creative process behind Mind Alone, highlighting some main phases: (1) brainstorming, including interviews with the production team at the Sioux company; (2) documentation, analyzing the “high concept template”; (3) production, elucidating the interface between art and coding (and how to merge smartphone features to create the game experience); and (4) beta-testing, comprising guidelines for a qualitative session. With this work, we intend to depict the full development of a mobile game, from brainstorming to publishing and documentation. It is important to highlight, in this context, that the author of this article was the game designer responsible for Mind Alone’s mechanics and narrative.

After the conference, in August, I intend to share the PDF file with my complete article and the presentation as well.

For this trip I had the sponsorship of ON e-stadium (a Brazilian eSports arena from São Paulo) and ESPM (the college I work at) IT course.

Wait for news, pics and good content next month.

#GoGamers

quinta-feira, 6 de junho de 2019

Recreating classic puzzle mechanics in a very new shape

One of the most classic puzzle mechanics that we can find in games (specially in mobile games) is to push certain elements to the right places; sometimes the movements are limited, so we need to carefully study the challenge, sometimes we have unlimited movements, but usually get an element stuck in a place, so we need to start over again.



Push Maze Puzzle and Rebuild Chile are excellent examples of this gaming mechanics (by the way, the last one was used in a social campaign to earn donations for earthquake victims in Chile few years ago). Below, you can check out the gaming trailers to understand how this kind of puzzle game works:





This is a very traditional puzzle mechanic and, what we regularly see in many games, is the change of elements: sometimes we need to move rocks, other times we need to move boxes, plants, zombies, elephants and (fill the blanks).

However, recently I played one interesting game that caught my attention completely: Baba is You. The game has the simplicity of this previously discussed pushing mechanics, but you can interact with elements and words; when you interact with words, you can change the order of some phrases and affect game’s ecosystem and dynamics. Check the trailer below to understand this clever idea:



Baba is you reaches a new level of experimentation and recreation of a classic mechanic. This game is an excellent example of how we can (re)think something that, apparently, was exhausted in terms of innovation. By using words as a key to the puzzle design, Baba is you invites the player to use his mind in a creative way. On this subject, Koster (2005, p.152) reminds us that the “toughest puzzles are the ones that force the most self-experimentation. They are the ones that challenge us most deeply on many levels – mental stamina, mental agility, creativity, perseverance, physical endurance, and emotional self-abnegation”.

#GoGamers



Reference:

KOSTER, Raph. A theory of fun for game design. Arizona: Paraglyph Press, 2005.

segunda-feira, 13 de maio de 2019

The new Angry Birds game is a master class on hyper casual game design

I have already discussed this subject here and here, but, from time to time, I like to bring it up again just to remind myself of the huge potential of hyper casual games in the contemporary scenario.

The inspiration for this text was the new Angry Birds mobile game named "Dream Blast". Created by Rovio Studio, the game is an excellent example of how it is possible to create an interesting gaming experience using hyper casual game design. 



The game mechanics consist of a very simple touch-screen gesture where you must destroy two or more connected balls of the same color. If you destroy four or more balls, you will create a red bird. If you create two red birds side by side they will become a yellow bird; and, finally, if you create two yellow birds side by side you will create a big black bird. Each one of them, when touched, explodes in a different way destroying more or less of the scenario. 

The interesting part of the gaming experience comes from how the levels show interesting and varied challenges just by using a touch movement in the screen. The video below shows the intro and some of the main features of the gameplay:



Obviously, Dream Blast uses a business model based on virtual coins that the player can earn by playing or just buying them from the game store. 

Another interesting point of this subject is: how platforms like Google Stadia and Apple Arcade will change the "ecosystem" of the hyper casual games. Will they attract this kind of players to simple experiences with multiscreen possibility? But that’s a subject for another post.

#GoGamers

quinta-feira, 4 de abril de 2019

Seven game design mistakes to avoid

One awesome video from the Ask Gamedev channel. Seven important points to pay attention during your game designing process explained in a very fun (and didatic) way.



Great content for classes.

#GoGamers

segunda-feira, 11 de março de 2019

A word about the Polish gaming market

Last January, I was travelling in the European east. The main purpose of this trip was to finish my post-doctorate research about “Advergames: games as marketing tools” that I developed with Paneurópska vysoká škola at Bratislava (Slovakia). I presented the results and it was great (one more trophy achieved on the academic game).

After some days in Bratislava, I travelled to Kiev (Ukraine) and then to Krakow (Poland). In the last part of this trip, in Poland, I visited one awesome gaming studio named Moonlit. Knowing that the Polish land is a great market for games, I sent some e-mails trying to contact people from the local industry to share some ideas and discover new points of view. I talked to Mateusz Wanatowicz, PR and marketing specialist in Moonlit Games. Below, I surmised our conversation, sharing highlights of the polish gaming industry, Moonlit projects and an overview of polish gaming market.

1.Why do we need to pay attention to the Polish gaming market?

Well, it’s one very important market in the central Europe. According to the last Newzoo gaming research, the country (with a population of 34 million people) has profited around 500 million dollars with gaming products. In comparison to Brazil - a country with 210 million people and a profit of 1.3 billion dollars in the gaming market - it’s a very interesting emergent market to pay attention to.





2. About Moonlit Games studio

Moonlit is a gaming studio and a software house. In 2018, the company started to produce two authorial projects: Playerless - an arcade game where you need to fix bugs and the NPCs to run it correctly (PC); and Ignis - a battle arena game with wizards, sorcery and combats (PC and Xbox). Below, you can check some trailers and contents from both games.








3. Some aspects of the Polish gaming industry 

It is a promising industry as we saw in the first topic. According to Wanatowicz, the government of Poland sees this industry as a profitable area to invest money in and an entry door for many startups and small initiatives for new business. Wanatowicz highlighted that big events, games jams and young talents are receiving support from the government; and, another important point: careers in gaming area (coding, game designing, 3D art etc.) are also prominent in the academic area.

Another important thing to mention is the fact that the games from the series “The Witcher” were a way to present the Polish gaming industry to the whole world.

It is important to say that board games and card games have a main role in this context too. Local production of analogic games is growing year by year.

4.Polish gamers

Wanatowicz also said that Polish gamers, in a general way, support the local industry and they are proud of the national industry and gaming production.

5.A final message to the Gaming Conceptz audience

Mateusz Wanatowicz emphasizes that part of the success of a gaming industry is about how government, gamer community, studios/companies and universities can join powers to create a fertile ecosystem for different kinds of projects. Big initiatives as “The Witcher” series are fundamental, but supporting indie studios, small startups, events and clear marketing rules are also a key for a good gaming market.



Note: check Moonlit works in the official site and social media by clicking in the links!

#GoGamers