sábado, 6 de novembro de 2021

Indie game of the month: STILSTAND

I’m always searching for strange indie games and, yesterday, I found this small treasure: STILSTAND. Well, in fact it’s not a game per se; it’s a kind of a dark, whimsical, and absurd interactive comic created by artist Ida Hartmann, exploring the despair and loneliness of a young woman living alone through a long summer in Copenhagen. You can check the trailer below:



The plot is simple, but the narrative is immersive and full of current issues from contemporary society. Amid the desire for isolation, there’s still a hope that one day, things will change for the main character. To reach this, she will receive some help from a bizarre shadow monster that lives in her apartment.

STILSTAND is a personal and hand-drawn tale about the high expectations and the fragile limbo of feeling stuck in life. It is a whimsical and absurd portrayal of anxiety, loneliness, and despair, and brings the player along on an adventure into the emotional landscape of a lost soul.

Stilstand

As I mentioned, it’s more a visual novel with a comic book layout structure. Most of the time you only click on the screen to move forward the dialogues/situations. Sometimes, there are few small puzzles very easy to decipher – but this is not the core of the game. STILSTAND is one experience to enjoy slowly and think about the crazy times we are living in.

Thirty-seven years ago, when I got my first video game (Atari), games were only about monsters, shootings, car racings, puzzles etc. Little Vince, at that time, never thought that, one day, he would play games with themes like depression, suicide, dementia etc. As I always say: games are media and part of contemporary culture. Games are mediums of expression and powerful platforms to send serious messages, too.

Thanks to the indie gaming industry for bringing us an exotic experience like this one. Not only an experience of entertainment, but a product that brings us to reflect about some common problems around us.



Platforms: iOS, PlayStation 4, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, Macintosh operating systems 

 #GoGamers

segunda-feira, 4 de outubro de 2021

Game design process by Riot Games

An awesome (and didactic) content about how to strategically think game designing process. One crew from Riot Games explains in details how to start with a simple idea and how to reach an interesting ludic project. Check the video below:



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terça-feira, 7 de setembro de 2021

STENA - mobile game (teaser trailer)

In November I will launch my new mobile game: STENA! Final tests are on the run! STENA is a reimagined version of the classic PONG arcade; but, instead of horizontal paddles settled for a two-player match, STENA has a circular scenario where, in solo mode, the player must defend the core of each stage with multiple paddles rotating 360º.

Check the teaser traier below:



#GoGamers

sexta-feira, 3 de setembro de 2021

Alveole: an experimental puzzle game to relax and meditate

Created by Emil Ismaylov and Denis Petrov, ALVEOLE is a very unique gaming experience. With only a jump action - always in the same place - you must unravel the different ways to unlock the character's memories.



Alveole is a short experimental project that explores the possibilities of the player in a restricted environment, where there is only one game mechanic, elevated to the absolute.

For me, it's been an intriguing experience.

You can check the trailer below:



Highly recommended for experimental game fans!

#GoGamers

sexta-feira, 13 de agosto de 2021

A basic exercise to take the first steps in the level design field

If you are studying the gaming area, you've probably heard about “level design”. In a synthetic way, as Adams and Rollings (2009, pp.399-400) point out, level design is the process of building the experience that will be offered directly to the player, using components provided by the game designer. Level designers create the space in which the game takes place, the initial conditions of the level, the set of challenges the player will face within the level, the termination conditions of it, the interplay between the gameplay and the game’s story and the aesthetics of the level.

We can also say that level design is how we can make the game cohesive and establish a sense of progression to the audience, stage by stage.

Therefore, in this post, I’ll present a basic exercise to practice the idea of level design. It’s a very simple formula that I have used in the last five years, in my game designing classes. Let’s imagine a game where the player must conduct the character through each level to escape by a door. Let’s also imagine that the space where the action takes place is a 10x10 imaginary grid. In the image below, there’s a sketch of the game with the main idea for the initial level and conditions to the play.



The character is on the left side; it has a magic wand pointing to the right and is looking in the direction of the door (on the right side). This hint is the basic structure of the game: you must walk to reach the exit to the next level.



On the second level, we have the same situation, but now, the door is located on a platform. On this second stage, we’ll teach the player that it is possible to jump one square up to reach the exit.





On the third stage, the door is located on an unreachable platform (because the character's jump can reach only one square up). But we have a new element: a block. So, the player can try to push the block near the platform and jump two times to reach the exit.

















These are very initial ideas to discuss in this case. What I propose to my students is to create ten more levels for this game. Try to think about this challenge: find a new way to reach the door in every level. Think of adding trampolines, teleport cabins, traps, enemies, whatever you can imagine.

#GoGamers



References:

ADAMS, Ernest; ROLLINGS, Andrew. Fundamentals of Game Design. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009.

segunda-feira, 28 de junho de 2021

Newzoo's gamer segmentation: an overview of the nine unique personas

fast post just to share this inspirational study about the gaming market and the potential personas we can find inside it.

Click here to download the content.



Now more multi-dimensional and fragmented than ever, gamers aren’t just playing games; watching esports and game video content is an equally important part of the puzzle. Hardware and peripheral ownership is, in many cases, another vital component of the fun. These new dimensions of gaming demand a new segmentation that captures all its unique, passionate fans.

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terça-feira, 1 de junho de 2021

"Horror Ludens: Using Fear to Construct Meaning in Video Games" - my article for HCI International 2021

The HCI International 2021 (USA) conference will take place in July (online). I will present the article "Horror Ludens: Using Fear to Construct Meaning in Video Games". You can read the article by clicking here and you can play the game by clicking here!



Below, the article's summary:

Abstract. In this article, we discuss how fear can be a powerful element to construct meaning in some specific video games. Titles like Phantaruk, Alan Wake, Here they lie, and many others help us to find some answers in this scenario, but herein we intend to focus our attention on the game Rapid Eye Movement (PC, 2020-2021). Created by an independent Brazilian studio named Abysstrakt Games, and scheduled to be launched in late 2021, the game sets its action in a dreamlike ambient where the player has the role of a person inside a nightmare, looking for clues to set the time on different clocks, trying to wake up. As a methodological process to understand how it is possible to create meaning using fear in video games, we have employed a formal analysis of gameplay that “is based on studying a game independently of context, that is, without regarding which specific people are playing a specific instance of the game”. We have observed a group of players of Rapid Eye Movement in order to study how moments of horror and terror create an atmosphere of fear and, consequently, the meaning of the gaming experience. In this work, we present these impressions as a qualitative research, with the objective of identifying the main points inside the fearful experience of playing Rapid Eye Movement, in order to comprehend how terror, horror, anxiety and despair could be used to support the game design process.

Keywords: Horror, Video Game, Indie Game.

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