segunda-feira, 26 de dezembro de 2016

Book: Levelling Up - The Cultural Impact of Contemporary Videogames

Wow! I want to share very good news in this last post of the year: in 2015, I presented the paper “Observing Iterative Design on the Game Dominaedro”, that I wrote for the Video Game Cultures & The Future of Entertainment conference (VG7).

Yesterday, I received awesome news from the organizers: all the papers from the conference were compiled in a fantastic book named "Levelling Up: The Cultural Impact of Contemporary Videogames". Edited by Brittany Kuhn and Alexia Bhéreur-Lagounaris, and published by Inter-Disciplinary Press (Oxford) the book is a wide discussion about gaming culture in the contemporary scenario. Check the cool cover below:

CLICK HERE to buy!

Below, you can read the book's synopsis:

"Videogames have come a long way from Super Mario Bros and Pong. After thirty years of technological advancements and academic criticisms, videogames have become a fertile ground for social change and virtual identity creation. Where big game companies like Bioware, Bethesda, and Rockstar Games have begun to include more inclusive narratives, independent game companies are beginning to delve into the field of ‘serious games,’ capitalising on the popularity and prevalence of social networking to inspire and assist non-game-related fields. While all of this is happening, a new subculture has become to dominate social media: that of the fanboy and the Let’s Play YouTube video phenomenon. It is a dynamic time in videogame studies, from the perspective of player, designer and theorist. However, with the advent of virtual reality, the question remains: where will videogames, and subsequently our society, ‘level up’ to next?"


segunda-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2016

A practical checklist for your gaming project

I’m a very methodical person. I like to organize everything in my everyday life and in my work. In this post, I want to share a small checklist I’ve created for my gaming projects. It’s a synthesis of the main points to remember in a game’s creative process and production. Check the fields and plan your work!

You can use it, copy it, add elements to it and share it. Just remember to give credits to @vincevader. Enjoy it!

Essential elements in the game design/production process Yes (√) No (X)
The concept and main idea are defined
I can tell the game idea in 20 seconds
The game has a narrative
In case of a narrative, it has a well-defined beginning and ending
The game is focused in pure mechanics, there’s no need of a narrative
The mechanic(s) is (are) well defined
I already constructed a simple pre-prototype (digital or analogical)
I already tested the game with imaginary players simulating a real match
I already made one first complete prototype (analogical or digital) that can be played by beta-testers
I already coordinated at least ten beta-test sessions with different players, using the first complete prototype
I applied modifications in the game after the beta-test sessions
I already created a more complete prototype that has most parts of the game’s final version
I made contact with other professionals (artists, programmers etc.) to finalize the game
I have a strategy to launch my game and disclose it in social networks, sites and other channels
I have a partner to distribute/sell the game
I’m satisfied with the final product
The game is ready to be launched


quinta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2016

The Witness

Jonathan Blow is the game designer behind Braid, one awesome 2D platform game that uses time distortion as gameplay. In Braid, you can manipulate time to avoid death, solve puzzles, send a shadow to the future to perform an action, create “bubbles” of time lapse and many others cool mechanics. It’s one of my top 10 games. Check the trailer below:

In January of this year, Blow launched his new game: The Witness. Similar to Braid, it’s a puzzle game, but in a first person point of view. The mysterious narrative puts you in an abandoned and colorful island, full of digital screens. Each screen has a kind of an enigma that conducts you to the next one. Each puzzle solved gives you a small piece about the enigmatic history. You can check the main idea in the game’s trailer:

Points to highlight in the experience of the game:

1) Jonathan Blow recreates the classic mechanics of drawing a line through a labyrinth. Using colors, spatial restrictions, different shapes and logical reasoning, the game designer put the players’ mind to work, many times. The level of resolution of some puzzles is impressive.

2) The scenario is part of the narrative, and it works as a tool. Every single detail and object in the ambient contributes with the history. The island is full of statues and behind them there are hints for the plot. There are also some digital recorders with voices saying facts about the place. The colors of the trees, the direction of the light, the passing of time etc. everything could be an element for the story.

3) The game is full of references from movies, literature and other games. I found lots of similarities with Adolfo Bioy Casares’ “The Invention of Morel” book.

4) It’s a daring production. The Witness is a very artistic game. It explains little to the player and, most of the time, it’s essential to explore and use your mind to try to solve the puzzles.

I’m still playing the game, but the experience – till this moment – is strange, difficult and relaxing.