domingo, 21 de julho de 2024

NEW LEVEL ACHIEVED: I visited the Rovio Studios in Helsinki (Finland)

July was a month full of good stuff! I started my second post-doctoral research in my new academic house, PUC (São Paulo). I’m studying the acquisition of digital goods and social belongings using the game Marvel Snap as the main subject.

For the project’s kickoff, I traveled to Europe to achieve some missions. First, I was talking with some specialists from Paneurópska Vysoká Škola (Bratislava) about my project’s theme. And, to complete this first step, I’ve already interviewed some people for the initial clues of my project.

However, the second mission achieved was an epic win: last week I visited Rovio Studios in Helsinki. Of course you know Rovio, it’s the studio behind the Angry Birds game. My Brazilian friend Cenildon Muradi (a.k.a. Thunder) works in the studio and made this visit possible.

The place is awesome and, of course, ludic. But, I want to highlight that spending one day in Rovio Studios was a master class of game design, business models, and marketing.

I’m returning to Brazil full of ideas to write in my project. I’ll post news very soon here.

Keep following!


segunda-feira, 1 de julho de 2024

Jenova Chen's nugget of wisdom on game design

Today I want to share a brief quote from Jenova Chen, from ThatGameCompany.Jenova Chen is known for creating games that focus on emotional experiences rather than traditional competition. His work has been critically acclaimed and has helped shape the video game industry's approach to storytelling and emotional engagement - and, this is one phrase from him that I use a lot in my game designing classes:

"The purpose of a game is not to win. It's to experience emotions."

Source: Interview with Kill Screen Magazine.


segunda-feira, 3 de junho de 2024

Using AI for game balancing

Since last year, AI has become a more integrated part of my daily life. It's inevitable, and we need to learn how to utilize these technologies effectively, making them our allies in the development process. While I'm not a proponent of using AI to solely generate game ideas, I believe it holds immense potential for game balancing.

Let me share an example from a card game I'm currently developing. It uses trick-taking mechanics with a food theme. The AI I'm working with is Google's Gemini (formerly Bard). Here are some prompts and commands I've found valuable in this project:

1. Gauging AI Knowledge: I began by assessing Gemini's knowledge of trick-taking mechanics. I asked, "How familiar are you with trick-taking mechanics in card games?" The response was positive, and the AI provided several examples within this category.

2. Visualizing Game Mechanics: To help the AI understand the gameplay flow, I shared a sequence of images depicting the activity loop of each round, presented in a comic book format. I phrased it like this: "I'd like to show you a sequence of my game in comic panels. Can you tell me if you understand how a round works?"

3. Asking Specific Questions: Instead of open-ended prompts, I focused on specific goals. For example, regarding card distribution, I asked: "Based on the core mechanics I've shown you, can you suggest a better way to distribute cards in my game to create a balanced experience for players?"

It's important to remember that AI isn't a magic solution. The first suggestion Gemini provided needed some refinement. However, through further prompts and iterations, I arrived at a more viable structure for my game.

Next Steps: The next step is to create a simple prototype for initial beta testing. Player feedback will be crucial for further refinement.

Overall, AI presents a powerful tool that can assist with various aspects of game development, including balancing, code, narrative, and concept ideas.


sexta-feira, 3 de maio de 2024

Some notes on my recent reading in game design

Last week, I completed reading The Game Designer's Playlist: Innovative Games Every Game Designer Needs to Play by Zack Hiwiller. This book proved to be particularly engaging due to its innovative "playlist" approach. The format functions as a comprehensive compendium, showcasing the rich variety within the field of gaming.

I have extracted two key points from the book that I intend to utilise in a future article. These points are outlined below.

The element that separates games from other art forms is its requirement of audience participation. No game exists in a bubble distinct from its consumption by players. Although more traditional media need to consider the social and cultural framework in which the media will be consumed and interpreted, game authors also have to consider how the consumers will interact with the media itself. Authors generally are not concerned with how quickly the reader reads; musicians don’t generally concern themselves with the specs of the listener’s stereo. But game designers need to consider the actual act of playing as an element of their art. It is in the act of playing itself that games are uniquely qualified to deliver meaning. P.69


As we discussed in the previous chapter, one of the features of games that positions them in a different space from its more static media brethren is that the interactive nature of games opens the doors to new rhetorical and aesthetic effects stemming from that interactivity. A game can be beautiful aesthetically, but it can also be beautiful in how its systems function. P.86

We remain steadfast in our dedication to expanding our knowledge and expertise in this field. 🎮 🎲 😀

Source: HIWILLER, Zack. The game designer’s playlist: innovative games every game designer needs to play. New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2019.


segunda-feira, 15 de abril de 2024

VVVVVV a masterclass in level design

I'm reading the book "Game Designer's Playlist, The: Innovative Games Every Game Designer Needs to Play". During the reading, I had the opportunity to rememeber a great game from the 2010: VVVVVV. VVVVVV is a platforming game with the absence of a jumping mechanic. Instead of jumping, the player can at any time flip the y-direction of gravity, causing the character to fall upward instead of downward. Check the full gameplay below. This is an epic example of how to use game mechanics in a creative way:


terça-feira, 2 de abril de 2024

From ancient games to modern mathematics: the birth of probability theory

The seeds of probability theory were sown in the fertile ground of games of chance. Archaeological evidence suggests that dice and other rudimentary games employing randomness date back to ancient civilizations, possibly even predating written records. Early references to such games can be found in historical and mythological accounts, hinting at their deep integration into various cultures.

It was the desire to quantify the uncertainty inherent in these games that spurred the development of probabilistic concepts. A pivotal moment occurred in the 17th century when a gambling dispute between French mathematicians ignited a correspondence that laid the groundwork for modern probability theory. This exchange, primarily between Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, addressed the fair division of stakes in an interrupted game, prompting them to formalize ideas of expected value and chance outcomes.

Following these initial explorations, mathematicians like Christiaan Huygens built upon this foundation, establishing frameworks for analyzing games of chance and laying the groundwork for the wider application of probability in various scientific disciplines. The journey from rudimentary games to sophisticated mathematical concepts highlights the enduring human fascination with both chance and the quest to understand it.

Source: JOHNSON, Steven. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World. New York: Riverhead Books, 2016.


sexta-feira, 1 de março de 2024

Unveiling the iterative design cycle: a cornerstone of game development

Within the domain of game design, iteration cycles represent a cyclical development process employed to refine and enhance a game concept throughout its creation. This approach stands in stark contrast to the linear "waterfall" method, where distinct stages, from ideation to implementation, are completed sequentially with limited room for feedback and adaptation.

Each iteration cycle in game design encompasses a series of well-defined stages: prototyping, playtesting, analysis, and iteration. The initial stage involves the creation of a playable prototype, a rudimentary representation of the game's core mechanics and features. This prototype then undergoes playtesting, where players interact with it and provide feedback on its strengths and weaknesses.

The gathered feedback is meticulously analyzed by the development team to identify areas for improvement. This analysis focuses on aspects like gameplay mechanics, user experience, and overall enjoyment. Based on the analysis, the team then embarks on the iteration stage, where they implement modifications and enhancements to the game based on the collected feedback. This cycle of prototyping, playtesting, analysis, and iteration continues iteratively until the desired level of quality and player satisfaction is achieved.

The iterative nature of game design allows for continuous refinement, enabling developers to adapt and improve their game based on real-world player experience. This approach fosters a dynamic development process, ultimately leading to a more polished and engaging final product.