Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lecture 2: 11Mar2010 The Essence of Games and Quick'n'Dirty Implementation

Today you have learned about that you can design hardware for a game very cheap, very easily, very fast, as long as you are creative. This should not be a problem, as you are artists!

Secondly, you learned that in order to create better games it helps if you get to the essence of things. How do you get there? An easy way for you is to ask the 'sports' person in your team to take you along to his team/club/class and interview people what they feel when they are participating. You can then go back and design for this 'feeling'.

Example: You interview surfers, and they might tell you they get a high when they have only seconds to decide what to do, after minutes of calmness waiting for the next wave. Then you can design for this high, as you know you need the calmness to get there, and you'll add a timer so that the time pressure is also there. And then you use this as a guide for every decision you make: "Do we need X in our design?""Well, does it help to support the high? Does it support the calmness?"Does it support the time pressure?".
Because during your design (and real life), you will have to make compromises, and its important to have a guide to make the right decisions. So think about your essence of your game first before you think about implementation.

Thanks again for the first 2 presentations! You have seen how quickly time runs, so, next week's teams, focus on only a few (1-2) points in the paper (skip what you do not think is important), it's okay if different presenters get the same message across in different ways. And bring your key message on a big piece of paper!

Homework for next week:


  1. Great lecture Floyd very inspiring, that boat swimming idea really got me thinking about different ways you could track players position in a game compared to another player, and the presentations were great fun cause you could associate with what they were talking about :P. Your simple take on that exercise sitting game made me reconsider how i look at things, just because technology is there doesn’t mean that it has to be used all the time, I completely blew it out of proportion. Thinking about the basics first could be a great way to succeed in making a successful exertion game.

  2. I noticed that when the two groups were being asked about their emotions about snowboarding/the snowboarding game, the issues, or bad emotions, with their experiences stemmed not from the idea of virtual snowboarding itself but rather from the way it was implemented. It appeared that they were self-conscious about how they were playing the game. Having walked past these snowboarding simulators in arcades I admit that I would probably be self-conscious too. I have played Guitar Hero at parties, but have never felt self-conscious holding and tapping at a tiny plastic guitar. Perhaps someone's self-consciousness depends on the popularity and the widespread acceptance of the game in question. Guitar Hero is quite popular, while snowboarding simulators are less so.

    Floyd's lecture about the simplicity of exertion game designs was important. It was humbling to consider how complicated my idea for the technical implementation of our exertion game was becoming, and then to see Floyd's point about the technical side being unimportant as long as the game is fun.

    "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." — Antoine de Saint Exupery

  3. Christian Dirk:

    Hey posting now before i get wrecked tonight. The lecture today was interesting at times and made more of an impact to me in personally in comparison to last weeks lecture. The biggest impact it had on me was after being put on the spot to determine the feelings i have whilst snowboarding and after chillin in my chair for a few hours i decided its the atmosphere which is the biggest difference between actual boarding and a video game. The feeling is hard to describe in mere words because its a combination of many things such as the crisp weather and the stunning visuals of looking around and seeing mountains all around you and i believe this is a strong limitation that video games have by not being able to recreate, and whilst these things dont play a major role in the activity of snowboarding its all these things combined that make the experience special and no matter how accurate a game can recreate the snowboarding experience it will still never be able to achieve some of these things and therefore never be on par with the real thing.

    Christian Dirk.

  4. Like Aaron and Nicholas I found the whole 'invisible chair' game demonstration somewhat inspiring. Where there is a will there is a way, no need to solder circuits and wires when you can just use a mouse.

    I play a lot of guitar hero, and if anything I would have categorised it as an emotional game. Mostly because most people feel certain connections to memories through specific songs and who doesn't feel great after they nail a solo, plastic guitar or real.

    Oh and I wasn't sure where to put this so here is the link to my Teams Blog, Team F -

  5. At the end of the second presentation, when Floyd was asking how conflicts stemming from within the Magic Circle can affect interactions outside of it, and the different frames within gameplay, I started thinking about how etiquette in gaming has evolved to deal with this. For instance in a rp server on WoW, it's considered bad form to discuss an OOC issue on the rp channel. This ideally keeps the lines between the circles somewhat more distinct.
    A more extreme version is in LARP (*is a LARPer*) which was briefly brought up where for the specified amount of time (sometimes the whole weekend...try waking up in character!) there is no OOC channel to vent in, no TTP (taking the piss), and your setting and sometimes combat is realistic. When your village is attacked at night, or the vampires sneak into your chamber, you are forced to participate in character. The only time you break character is in a Time Out Zone, which is usually geographically separate from the playing area (it's also the only area that can't be attacked. Guess where I hide?). After a day, you stop thinking about anything outside the Circle.
    These rules exist because the more separate the Magic Circle is, the more immersive and therefore enjoyable the game is. Or at least that's what they tell us when they hand us the rule book...

  6. Great lecture tonight, and the presentation as well..
    i enjoyed the presentation that group 1 gave.. but for group 2, its difficult for me to get in the track (sorry >_<)..

    when u show us whats the different emotions between the real snowboarding and the simulator, yeah its great different.. the real one of course have risks, but with the simulator, the game producer wont make a simulator that dangerous for the gamers right?

    For the sitting exercise that you show us.. i really shocked,because when u sit on the pillow suddenly there is loud sound..
    At first i thought you do something with the pillow. You ask how to do it, after get answer, you keep asking. it make us to do fast thinking.. @_@ and i already think about complicated things, but it just a mouse under the pillow.. its simple but amazing..

    about the swimming games and the boat, it was so amazing idea.. it can be competitive online swimming games..however, is that little difficult to make it reality.. i don't have any idea how to make that idea become reality..
    anyway.. ideas come first.. :)

    sorry for my lame english.. :)

  7. Christian,

    Awesome comment:
    If you read what you wrote, you might notice that it is actually not that heard what you are trying to achieve: don't try to 'copy' snowboarding, think of one(!) essence you might want to start off with: I like the 'crisp' atmosphere, you mentioned. Thinking about 'crisp', what comes to mind? .... Why don't you create a game that is played every time you open the fridge? (there is already a switch that determines when the light comes on, so sensor part is done :-)!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (and thanks for participating in the little experiment today!)

  8. I was thinking about how the snowboarding simulator took away the more 'unpleasant' aspects of actual snowboarding such as pain, risk of major injury and generally being out in the cold and wet outdoors.

    It may seem that though they aim to bring snowboarding to a convenient location where everyone can play in the comfort of being indoors, they take away the thrill of the game (sport)?

    To me, risk and being in the element of the game is what gets my adrenaline pumping, so I don't know if I can actually get excited over a snowboarding simulator.

    In relation, I doubt that the feeling of being a rockstar on stage, playing to thousands of fans can compare to rocking out on Guitar Hero in front of a couple dozen friends at a party.

    To sum up my point, while games and simulators allow a person to have a taste of things that they may not experience otherwise, I feel that they never truly capture the essence and feelings evoked by the real activity.

    Sorry if I'm a bit long-winded, I have trouble getting to a point across concisely but I'm working on it. :P

  9. Ah, I should read before I post. To sum up my long comment: What Christian said :/

  10. Steph, Christian:
    You are right. BUT: you want to design a great game. Simulating the whole thing is complicated (and probably not worth it either). So take 1-2 essence items of what you like about it, and create something new (and better). Or you can mix it with the essence of swimming.... Use your essence thinking for your designs!

  11. Great lecture =] it was nice to see the students present and take over for a change as well.

    One point raised tonight was the issue of the elderly people being especially involved with casual games, notably the use of the Wii system, which caused much debate. I'm sure you all read the paper and agree with me when I say that the basic principle here is the need to go back to basics; games such as golf and bowling on 'Wii Sports', or 'Wii Fit', are all extensions of already well-known games and activities enjoyed in the real world. It is much easier to introduce a game like tennis to an elderly person, because they are already familiar with the game and furthermore, the rules and the winning goal (maybe the Wii should introduce virtual bocci? Food for thought). Simply, it the notion of familiarity that makes the gameplay of the Wii titles, significantly Wii Sports, so successful with an audience like the elderly. By extension also, we can include any non-gamer or casual gamer in this argument. It is much easier for people who dislike games for whatever reason, to take a chance with a game they are already aware of.

    This includes Guitar Hero. Real guitars already exist. We know what they do, we know they are instruments that play music. We know that they are not an absurd hardcore weapon required to dominate 'capture the flag' in COD. From children to the elderly, time-limited married couples to 40-year olds still living with their parents, we all know what a guitar is, and thus a game like Guitar Hero does not require an extreme amount of learning in order to play the game (especially when it is solely based on colour co-ordination and timing).

    To put this into perspective, try placing an elderly person in front of DOTA =]

  12. @Estelle

    Regarding the Wii, I agree that familiarity plays a big part drawing a new consumer market.

    I also think that effective marketing plays a big role in this. My mom has been contemplating buying a Wii for my household after learning about it's 'health benefits' and the fact that it allows them to stay active without having to go outdoors and work up a sweat.

    Also, I think one of the Wii's main draws is it's 'people factor' in that it is, as someone mentioned earlier, a party game.

    It's not very competitive and I guess it sells because it encourages socializing and is a hellota fun when playing with friends and family.

    I can totally see adults enjoying the Wii with others and going "hey! I should get one of those for myself too!."

    In contrast, I can hardly imagine them watching someone crouching in a corner playing Need for Speed alone on a PSP and thinking "oh geez that's fun, maybe I should get a PSP."

    Just saying, that the social aspect is probably very important. Imagine playing CS with a bunch of friends at a cc and imagine playing CS with a team of expert bots at home alone.

    It just isn't the same, is it?

  13. Of all that was mentioned and illustrated in today’s session, it was the ‘mouse under the pillow’ trick that really stood out as being awe-inspiring and eye-opening. I mean, it- not only- demonstrated how one did not necessarily have to expend a huge amount, on technology etc, to create something that is unique and one of its kind. But, on top of that it was testimony/ proof, to the notion of “simplicity [being] the key to brilliance’.

  14. I really enjoyed the format of tonight's lecture with the 2 groups presenting at the beginning and the end. They did well with such complex and reasonable long topics to cover. Hopefully everyone was able to grasp the concepts ok after our lessons!. The idea of the magic circle and pervasive games was really interesting for me, in particular the way non participants could still be used by those playing as 'game objects'. It gives a whole nother dimension to a game when it is played amongst a bunch of people who don't know it is happening. It could add a very authentic, real feeling to a game because for the majority of the people around you when playing it would be real. By blurring the magic circle a heap of emotion is created without there being a need to try to simulate it with technology.
    Though this is a interesting idea to toy with in relation to designing games it also raises questions about where reality ends and games begin. Are you doing the things for real or are you in the game, protected by the magic circle? As the group mentioned the circle still works because the players are protected by it. It simply works less effectively because the other people around the players are unaware of the game and interpreting events as 'real'.
    But is there a point where the players switch from being in the magic circle to being in reality? Is there a point in pervasive games where the line dissolves completely and players become insane and deranged, believing their game is reality? It's a scary thought but seems all to possible given that we have already seen people's ability to become caught up in pure simulations such as second life. Surely the added element of reality makes a dangerous and addictive cocktail?

  15. Cool lecture bro. Especially how you ingeniously designed an 'exertion game' in what seemed like less than 4 minutes. I was just wondering, if arcade games such as DDR, Daytona and even Lazer Tag are considered as exertion games?

    What I got from the lecture in terms of game design, was that a great game takes all the 'pros' of an activity and streamlines it. Take Guitar Hero and Rockband, a game that I strongly detest. When I first picked it up, I raged at the design, I raged at how one coloured fret represents several notes, I raged bricks. It was nothing like the real thing, 'it is like the real thing!' said friend, who has been a musical virtuoso at the age young age of 19. By the end of the night, the only friend I had was Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker blue. But looking at it now, Harmonix, didn't make a game based on guitar, they made a game based on a the sensation of air guitaring to some good old Stone Roses.

    Also regarding why the elderly are loving the Wii, I think it's purely because the games that they do play such as WiiSports, WiiMusic, WiiXYZ entirely use the motion controller. It's much more easier for them to remember that 'waggle=swing bat, ball, club, racquet' than analogue+ABYX. With the advent of the wii and ds, casual games have become the bread winner instead of the niche genre that everyone used to scoff at. Just look at today's news, Sony has unveiled their new controller PlayStation Move, and it's ad campaign is strikingly similar to the Wii's ad campaign.

    Although mind you, Playstation campaign has superior music.

  16. The lecture tonight was adequately sweet, also well done to the people who presented today, the readings were so long and detailed but you still found ways to present the info in a new or different way and had me thinking about things the papers didn’t.
    I also found the snowboarding vs simulated snowboarding exercise in tonight’s lecture interesting, mainly because (fitting with what people have already commented) when I thought about the two different lists on the board, I got the impression that the list for everyday snowboarding suggested that people found the experience more rewarding overall. When someone makes it down a technically demanding run at the snow without ‘breaking their face’, it is quite relieving and satisfying. It is this ‘breaking the face’ factor which really brings out the joy in something quite basic in principle, for example, going from the top of a hill to the bottom of the hill. This also ties closely to the ‘Killer’ game mentioned by group 2 tonight, as well as the idea of playing Russian Roulette with traffic (also from the reading on pervasive games). In the case of the traffic based Russian Roulette, something very basic and completely uninteresting, crossing the road, is warped into an adrenaline rush inducing activity. While it is effectively suicide as well, it is the breaking the face element which adds the necessary spark to make the most basic things incredibly intense.
    I’m just going to go ahead and assume that this idea can’t practically or legally be brought into the familiar world of video games, but physical games are in comparison unchartered territory and we might just be able to squeeze it in there in time!! Also, LOL, but it would be cool and it’s not as silly as it first sounds because I mean, we’ve already got paintball right?
    The last thing I want to say is, back to the snowboarding activity, one of the more interesting points of it was that the group who went to the snow for the snowboarding experience didn’t agree, and were almost confused, when asked if they felt ‘watched’. Strange, because having been to the snow, I know chances are that there are way more people around on the ski fields than in your regular arcade, intencity or timezone or wherever the devil it is you kids go these days. It just seems contradictory that they felt less watched that the simulated snowboarding guys. When I think about it though, everyone knows (from their own experience) that when you go skiing for the first time, you fall over constantly, all the time, at any opportunity for no reason. Compare this to someone unexpectedly making a loud head to floor noise in an otherwise peaceful arcade, and obviously the behaviour of snowboarding just doesn’t apply the same way to any situation other than actual snowboarding.

  17. Chester,

    This comment "But looking at it now, Harmonix, didn't make a game based on guitar, they made a game based on the sensation of air guitaring" shows that you understood everything about "essence" there is! What a fantastic way to put it! Well done!!!!!!!!!

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Sorry my comment was deleted but, i made a mistake with the link.

    Here's the link to Team C:

    Interesting lecture tonight, being in one of the groups to present tonight, it was really nerve racking, also because we only had a week to prepare, but i thought we both pulled it off really well.

    I don't really have any ideas on my mind at the moment, so when i do, i'll comment again.

  20. Another great lecture and some really good presentations. I most definitely agree with Christian when he says it's hard to sum up what is really the "experience" of snow boarding in a mere few words. The actual experience of going snow boarding is built up by so many things like the beautiful surroundings, the weather, the pain, the frustration, smell and also the people around you that to try and recall what you were feeling at the time is always going to fall short of being there. The fact that all(?) video games lack the crucial smell, touch and 360 degree sight that real life has means they will never be able to achieve that same feeling of atmosphere and actually experiencing something. However, the rate at which technology is increasing could see me wrong in a few years if people are able to create a 360 degree experience that encompasses sound,smell,touch and perhaps even taste?

    However, one could argue that exertion games and others of their kind engaging the real world and even something like "Breakout" could be said to be a game BUT one that is able to give the players the visceral experience of real life. As players have to exert a large amount of physical effort they will experience all the physical senses - touch, smell, taste, sound - while still playing a computer game. This in essence means that the players are able to experience the atmosphere and most importantly:
    They are able to live the experience,
    They are able to actually feel the pain, frustration, exhaustion, adrenalin and effort they poured into the game.

    So although I agree with Christian in terms of the fact that a purely electronic game with no physical effort will never be able to simulate the atmosphere and experience of real life, I do believe that exertion games may be a serious step forward in creating computer games that can create a real, physical experience and atmosphere for players.

    Phew! Sleepy time :)

  21. Congratulations to the two groups who presented today: You both did an amazing job and took the nerve wracking first presentation day.

    @ Estelle; I agree with your assessment of the Wii and its use as a ‘gateway system’ for non-gamers and casuals to delve further into the world of gaming. I read a blog a while back which relates somewhat to this, and if anyone cares to read it (It takes a while, but it’s worth it) here it is: It discusses the Wii’s usage as a method of introductory play for those not accustomed to gaming.

    Ignore this following paragraph if you didn’t read link:
    -I take a neutral stance on the whole topic between casuals and hardcores, whilst it’s great that Nintendo introduces a wider audience to gaming, and helps dispel some preconceived notions about it. It also feels like their intensely focused “Welcome to Gaming!” ethos ignores the dedicated gamers who supported their rise from obscurity and now seek something more than a remake of a game created in 19whatever.
    @ Candy; I agree that the magic circle is a highly interesting tool in the development of games, however, I take issue with the idea that a dissolution of the circle’s boundaries would evolve into violence. A person going from playing ‘Killer’ to being a killer is a big jump, and would relate more to the individual’s morals, values and general lack of sanity.

    I enjoyed today’s lecture a lot. I loved the assessments of the emotions of play and the analysis of the magic circle. For something so relevant to gaming (The sub community of the players) I have never really thought about it in this way. I think the mentality that the circle provides the players of pervasive games is a big part in the fun of the. Using the people playing Killer in the second presentation for example: The danger of being caught in a real life environment such as at work playing a pervasive game such as Killer is a big part of the enjoyment factor. Avoiding your boss’s stern gaze whilst at the same time successfully “killing” your target gets adrenaline pumping, even more so than the experience of the game itself.

  22. Should read: I think the mentality that the circle provides the players of pervasive games is a big part in the fun of the game*

  23. Very eye opening lecture, I really like the fact that I learnt a fair bit from the students conducting the lecture today. Especially about that “Killer Game” when I was reading that on the article I didn’t really understand why or how it was really played. But thanks to that rather visual demonstration it makes a lot of sense. It reminds me a lot of games like murder in the dark and a game me and my friends invented called “Quarantine” after the much loved Zombie flick came out. In this case the magic circle is a house with no light at all, creating an artificial element of horror. Even though it’s all fake and obviously no one really is a Zombie, some how adrenaline builds up enough to scare you heaps when you are close to being found and then chased down. (Pardon my Immaturity)

    I also found the question of why we play games quite interesting; I myself believe that its all about how much the Magic Circle can offer us difference from our own lives, some kind of balance that substitutes for what we can’t experience, but still want to.
    Like when we need escape reality, getting out frustration or solving boredom.

    Yeah and as other people have mentioned I was also super impressed by the simplicity of the old mouse under the pillow trick. I was thinking what if you like substitute the mouse with a cactus? Would this make people last even longer before they gave in as apposed to a really taunting laugh.

    On the topic of sports, there’s an amazing movie that’s either about to be realised or already has been, Called “The Blind Side” A true story about an American Football player. I may not be for everyone, but its really good for understanding why some people fit certain roles in Sport’s/Games. In this case defensive tactics, which is something I’m really into from back when I used to play defence in Lacrosse.
    I just find it so intriguing how even in the simplest of sports the combination of different players roles is what ultimately leads to victory its never just he guy who kicks the goal or shoots it. Just like in a video game which involves lots of combined effort in different classes and skills to down the boss and get the PHAT EPIC LEWT!


  24. Well done to the two groups who presented today especially for only having one week and being first up.
    Thanks to group 2 who made the concept of the magic circle clear in my mind, its interesting how the line between games and reality can be blurred like how events that happen in one can affect the other and how non players can be involved in a game without knowing it. Also how actions done in a game can seem completely normal to people with knowledge of its workings but people without this knowledge it could seem completely bazaar.

    I like the idea of listing all the emotions involved in an activity, then trying to recreate these emotions but working with and manipulating them to best soot its new environment.

  25. Chester, Christian : I just realized what the designers
    of the arcade snowboarding were going after :
    they did not try to recreate snowboarding,
    but the 'feeling cool' that comes with it! You enforce
    that in the design by selecting the right music, graphics, ....
    all stuff not really about snowboarding!

  26. Very interesting lecture, first part of WHY WE PLAY GAMES? Their presentation may not very good, but I think they did very well. Everything is hard in the beginning!! They didn't have example to look. However because of this presentation, I think all of we should avoid note when you do the presentation. Why we do the presentation? Because we want to tell the other people our topic and let them understand. So, if we just stand in the stage and read your note, it will make your audience feel boring. If we try some new way to present our topic, it will be more help people to understand. Such as, music, visual impact, even the role-pay, we build a scene and every one role different expert or someone, and they can have discussion. People will understand information about our topic during dicussion,I think it's better way.

    Second part, Floyd gives very impression talking. It’s very amazing! Very smart way to let music play when you sit down. It gives inspiration of our team game design, we can only use little money and time to create a fun game, it just need we think about it. If we make this game on the opposite direction, it will be a totally different game. We can design a music game, when you success continue game, the music will not stop, otherwise you will fail.

    Lastly, I just want to ask a question. I’m very confusion about Easy fun for why we play games. They said easy fun doesn’t mean easy game, but they also point out easy fun are excitement. But I afraid I can’t agree with that, if the game wasn’t a easy game, how can it be exciting? Because it will not get challenge, no challenge, no sense of accomplishment. So, I’m confusion about this easy fun.

  27. Haha, I don't think playing on a snowboard simulator will increase their cool cred.

    However, all the 'cool' kids in my city seem to be proficient with the dance simulator DDR as opposed to proper dancing, so maybe I'm wrong.

    But I guess the point is that you feel cool, not look cool :P

  28. Another great lecture =)
    I would like to add some points regarding the essence of a game. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary,essence means the ultimate nature of something. So in order to find out what makes certain games good and others bad, we would have to first find out what natures within the game make it so.

    For example, "Breakout for Two", if I had to list down the natures of which make it a good game, I would say that :

    1. Extremely similar to actual sports
    - Unlike certain games that only imitate sports like snowboarding machines at the arcade, breakout for two actually gets ur heart pumping and sweat flowing. =)

    2. Fosters social bonding
    - By having a visual screen of the opposing player, people immediately have a sense of connectedness with the other person thus personal boundaries are broken that much faster promoting friendship.

    So, with these two main essences of Breakout, we can see clearly that what the game is trying to accomplish the social bonding of people around the world through physical exertion / sports.

    In conclusion, what I am trying to say is that determining the essence of a game is vital for its success and by taking examples of activities or events in real life, then breaking them down into their base nature, only then we can create a truly unique and successful game.

  29. Yuanliu,
    thanks for asking about easy fun: do you know
    bubble wrap? Do you know how much fun it is to pop bubble wrap?
    There is even an iPhone app for it!
    I would say that this is a perfect example of 'easy fun'. There
    is no challenge really, it's not emotional, nor social, but still a lot of fun.
    Why is it fun? Maybe because there is a little bit of magic to it: it just sounds funny, the sound it makes surprises us every time, as we never know when it happens really. And every computer game has a little bit of that: they surprise us, make some magic happen we enjoy. In WoW it is when we go around and open boxes, try out our new sword, easy things. In FPS we like to use the walkie talkie because it sounds funny, can you come up with other examples?

  30. Great lecture last night! Like the majority of everyone else I was impressed by the mouse under the pillow trick and it really got me thinking of all the things my team can substitute in our game... Well, when we think of one anyway! Also listing the emotions one has when playing a real sport to a video game version of it was such an excellent idea.
    Thanks to everyone who said kind words about group 2s presentation, we were really trying to condense everything in the chapter that we all had to read about Pervasive Games and the Magic Circle of Play and make it easy to understand. I hope you did pick up a few things you didn't get before and it is clearer in your mind now! As you can imagine it was quite hectitc pulling together all our individual speeches as well as really familiarising ourselves with the topic.
    Group 1, I thought you did great! You might feel bad about all the comments about "DONT READ OFF YOUR NOTES" but mannn you only had a week. I really liked how you broke everything into different catergories and how pretty much any reason for playing games could easily fit into any one of them. Seriously, good job!

  31. Junki W
    The chair that laughs, inspired me. A great game does not really need great technology.
    When I was a kid and extremely creative, I could make a wooden stick turn into a sword, a gun, a flag, a bomb, anything that let me invent new games to play with others.

    Thinking process at that time was:
    There is a stick → how can I use it? → invent a new game.

    I realized my thinking process now is:
    Think of a new game → How can I use technology in it? → somehow involve techonology.

    Maybe the process now is a way to invent a boring game.
    I feel, many boring Wii game software seems to have first thought of a game they want to make, and afterward tried to add scenes where thier players need to make use of Wii's speciality. For example, adding unnecessary mini-game.

    The right thinking process might be:
    There is technology → How can I use it? → invent a new game.

    So I feel Wii sport is a good game which wii technology comes before the idea of a new game.

    It's very subjective opinion. I hope this makes sense.

  32. I thought the Lecture was interesting, I wanted to point out something important about pervasive games. What makes so popular like Final Fantasy its because its both an Easy and a Hard game. If it is very easy to start with, but very hard to master, and the game reaches to a point there there is Hard fun instead of Easy fun, that is where the game shines. Games like Counter Stike, Mario Kart, Starcraft are like this too. They have a beggining level that is easy to get into, to explore, its easy FUN. Then it reaches to the point that other people that you play with (Social Fun) can be very competetive on Multiplayer games. So then the Hard Fun comes in orther to be the best. I will have to look at what games out there are popular and if this factors come in. Thanks heaps for the Lecture guys! Great job for week 1.
    Francisco Casares (Paco)

  33. Well, I quite understand what is Easy fun, we can't only put easy fun connect with game. Fun not only include game, also include something about game,such as music, sound, animation,etc. or sometimes it just very interesting game,but it not hard.For example, when I stll in junior school. my classmate bring a shark toy, we can open this shark mouth, and we press shark every teeth,if unfortunately you perss wrong one, the shark mouth will close. it not a hard game, because it doesn't have any special skills even the mouth close, it not painful. But it very fun when you play, it very exciting,but not hard. Is that a kind of easy fun?

  34. Great lecture, I enjoyed hearing people's interpretations of the two papers we read for homework so nice work Group 1 and 2.

    There was a bit of a disagreement on whether Final Fantasy should be considered a game that provides Easy Fun or Hard fun and it was decided that a game can provide multiple experiences at the one time (as Paco has mentioned). I definitely agree with that but I'd also like to add that a FF game is essentially a collection of smaller games bundled together. These games arent obviously seperated like they are in a game like Mario Party or Rayman Raving Rabbids but they can be differentiated from one another. For example, there is the game of exploring (the example given in favour of FF being easy fun), the game of fighting various creatures (leaning towards hard fun, especially with the Active Time Battle system in use) as well as the game of changing stats, levelling up weapons and characters and choosing abilities. I think in the case of FF, it's the varied experiences offered though constantly switching between the different types of fun which contributes to the game's success. At one point you could be lying lazily on your couch reading though the pages of character biographies in the game and then soon after, hunched over your controller mashing buttons to beat a final boss.

  35. Yuanliu, I'd say that is easy fun because the repetition of clicking one tooth after another is something which draws its players in as well as the curiosity as to which tooth will end the game. I'd also add the people factor to that because you were playing this with a group of friends who could watch and contribute to the outcome of the game :)

  36. Once again, we had another great lecture that made us think, allowed us to voice our opinions, created the chance for debate and added yet another dimension to how we see games. Probably inspired a bunch of us too, and I for one keep thinking about what’s to come next week and how it is going to change my perception on games yet again.

    In regards to the magic circle aspect of the lecture, I think it would have been helpful (although probably boring and tedious if you don’t like getting philosophical) to talk about certain phrases or words used to describe the circle.

    The main one being ‘reality’.

    If the circle is created when we make a set of rules pertaining to the game only, and we create a ‘new reality’, that makes a boundary, right?

    But when it comes to debating or explaining why the boundary becomes blurred, we keep talking about outside the circle only in regards to the similarities it has with the inside circle.
    But shouldn’t we talk first about the ordinary world, and how we define our ‘own’ or ‘original’ reality?

    In order to compare the two circles, (real world and game world) we should first define our concept of reality.

    And just say, for an example, some people define their reality by socializing and communicating with other people? That the reaction they get from interacting with other people helps reaffirm their own existence, and reality.

    That would mean we should look at how we socialize and communicate.
    Except currently society is changing how we communicate drastically.
    We’re both isolating ourselves physically, yet at the same time we are able to talk to a vastly larger pool of people. Our syntax, etiquette and social behaviors are changing. So if our ability to interact with people is how we perceive the world and reaffirm our reality, and that aspect of our life has taken a recent turn and is evolving constantly, where does that leave of ideas of our reality?

    Rather than simply say that it is the games themselves and their evolution that changes the behavior and qualities of the magic circle and it’s boundary, we should also acknowledge ourselves (with no connection to games) and our perceptions before the circle is even created.

    I dunno, I’m just ranting.

    But anyways, good lecture, group 1 did well, and I had heaps of fun working with my group.

  37. Liked the lecture, group 2 did a good job of explaining pervasive games, I was pretty confused before that :S

    Definitely agree with what everyone's been saying about the chair and boat games, I think I was concentrating on tech too much before then, or I guess a better way of putting it would be that I was thinking about crazy rigs with sensors all over the place, but if a something simple (like the wireless mouse) works, well, there's beauty in simplicity.

    I'm glad that people seemed to like our presentation, I'm sure there's a link to the blog but it's, thanks again for the comments and critique

    There seem to be a few quotes floating around here, so let me add one:

    "Those who have 'something to fall back on,' invariably fall back on it. They intended to all along. That's why they provided themselves with it. But those with no alternative see the world differently."

    -David Mamet

    Anyway it gives me a reason to choose what I think's the best idea, even if it's the most difficult. If you're going to to go out may as well do it going off something truly unique.

  38. @ Junki:
    I've been thinking along similar lines when coming up with ideas for my team's exertion game. I agree that it seems a little pointless to include a technology in a game just for the sake of technology. I like your idea of thinking

    here is technology → How can I use it? → invent a new game.

    It's also important to remember that technology can act as a enhancer for a game idea so:

    Here is a game -> here is technology -> How can I use this technology to enhance the game I started with?
    Even if you start with an existing game it's possible to create something new and exciting by using technology. Everyone remember the second year's project about the treadmill tetris? We should all keep in mind that the technology is meant to enhance the game experience. It could do this in many ways such as allowing play with people far away or by adding new elements to the game.

  39. Another winning lecture!

    In regards to the whole elderly wii players debate from the lecture, we just bought my grand-pa a wii for his bday (though my nan will use it too), and also bought lots of games like wii sports, wii party games, all that good stuff, and they love it. It's really really good because my grand-pa's mental health is getting worse and worse and he gets frustrated because he can't do things as quickly and stuff like that. But he loves the wii because now he CAN do all that stuff, and while the party games probably arn't 'exertion' games, its as much exertion as he is capable of these days so it's actually really good! (maybe the amount of 'exertion' needed to make an exertion game changes as we age). He also loves it because now he can really partipate with us in a game and get involved with everyone. Estelle in her post above had a really good point, my grandparents are only really interested in the games like tennis, bowling etc because thats what they know (although they also got into the skydiving game and i'm not sure if they are super familiar with that). We're also thinking about getting my nan a DS for her bday so she can play solitaire, tetris and all the classics.

    Also regarding all the comments about 'oh that games not hard fun, its easy fun' In the reading there was a comment saying that the best seller games offer at least 3 of the 4 fun keys, hence why they may be some crossover in games.



    First of all I would like to congratulate the groups that presented the topics “Why we play games” and “Pervasive Games”. Both groups were able to illustrate some very interesting ideas that left me thinking fairly deeply to myself on the train ride home.

    I particularly enjoyed the game of Simon Says at the start of the second presentation as it was an excellent way to introduce the concept of Pervasive Games. The actual idea that anything outside of the room was not part of the magic circle we had unknowingly created was truly fascinating. On this idea, I think everyone should go out and watch the film Role Models, not only is it a hilarious movie but its a great example of the impact Pervasive Games can have on people’s lives and the emotions they encourage between players.

    When discussing the first topic “Why we play games” I was surprised by some people’s explanations as to why they believe the elderly are getting more involved in the gaming industry. I personally agree with Estelle Tigani in that it is the notion of familiarity that makes the gameplay of the Wii titles so successful. During this particular discussion I wrote in my notes….I believe that the elderly are more likely to play the Wii because the game activities are more recognizable and very simple to pick up. There are no complex commands and an exciting game of bowling can be achieved with a simple swing of the arm, without any heavy lifting and without leaving the comfort of your own living room.

    In a lot of the comments above and throughout the lecture it has also been mentioned that more people will play games that involve being social. For example the party side to gaming on the Wii and World of Warcraft are successful because players are able to share their emotions with other players in a social environment.

    I fully agree with this, and my father is a perfect example as to why the social aspect of games will attract a greater audience. He is certainly not someone who has a lot of experience with video games and generally sees them as a waist of time, however ever since my brothers and I introduced him to the multiplayer side of Counter Strike he can better understand why we enjoy spending hours behind a screen and interacting with our friends in a way that is otherwise impossible.
    Basically in today’s world the “People Factor” plays a huge role in the gaming industry. I bet we all have friends that bought an Xbox 360 to be part of the Xbox LIVE community. (:

    Cheers guys

  41. It felt good to get my group's presentation out of the way early, even if we were all a little shy, that's expected from going first I suppose. I'd just like to usher in gratitude to whoever wrote "DOOM 3 GUY WAS FUNNY... SORTA." I wasn't necessarily trying to be humorous but if I entertained at least one person that makes it all worth while.

    Group 2 did a great job explaining Pervasive games because it really is a confusing topic, and getting your head around and then teaching it to others is no small task, so kudos!

    I agree with Floyd that developers of Snowboarding simulators are trying to emulate the "feeling cool" of real snowboarding, but you would also feel a little ridiculous standing in an arcade waving your arms and leaning your body from side to side, so who knows. It's just really fascinating to examine the differences in emotion between real snowboarding and simulation.

    Looking forward to next week.

  42. I was just thinking about how Improv Anywhere was a good example of people using/abusing the magic circle. Everyone's probably already seen the Grand Central Station freeze, but some of their other stunts are pretty good as well.

  43. Good lecture. Enjoyed it. Justified arduous public transport to uni. The snowboarding thing got me thinking about how wildly different the experience of playing a snowboarding videogame is from actual snowboarding, not just in terms of physical experience but even the basic concept. Same thing applies for skateboarding. Less so for Wii games with more direct physical control, like tennis or boxing. Seems to me that one of the main strengths of overtly physical videogames such as Wii ones, DDR and those snowboarding contraptions is bringing people together by allowing them to flail around and look like twats together in a socially acceptable way.

    Someone brought up geriatrics playing Wii games. Notable because you don't see them hitting up the Xbox or PS3 titles. I would suggest that the key difference between the two control mechanisms in terms of accessibility to the elderly is muscle memory. Traditional controllers require it. Take Donkey Kong. Requires two buttons and a D-pad to play. Anyone in our course could pick it up instantly regardless of having played it before. Highly intimidating, however, to a person who has not played videogames before. Confusing. Red button does what, now? Wiimote, just pick it up and flail. If you suck, it's probably the crappy motion detection. No sweat.

    Magic circle, interesting concept. Interesting to note how touching the person next to you suddenly becomes okay when Simon says it. Enjoyed that. Simon Says was a good idea. Interactivity's good. Person who wrote "don't look at your notes" or whatever it was, however, was correct. Nerves understandable but offputting. Overall, presentations needed more lollies.

  44. I was just thinking that another reason the Wii is being played by the elderly is due to the activities involved with playing the game, where it's much more physical than clicking a mouse or mashing buttons. This promotes, well, activity, which would be good exercise for the elderly within day-care centers and elderly homes.
    Also I found the magic circle and pervasive games presentation to be highly intriguing, and enjoyed the game of Simon Says to get everyone's attention and prepare them for the tough topic ahead.

  45. @Junki
    the thinking process should b a loop~
    new game idea comes up>>>need new platform(tech) to support it >>>new platform need more games for profit, so new game ideas are wanted again~
    but at the very beginning, the idea may not b a specific game(like wii sports), and later games will b created more specific(ex. wii sports) to suit the platform(tech).

  46. Like everyone else, I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture and I thought that both groups did particularly well in presenting their topics.
    I also believe that both Dee and Adam deserve a special mention for their awesome and engaging contributions. Simon Says was a cool idea as well, Group 2, I haven't played that in years!

    Onto the discussion, I'm particularly interested in what Timothy J. and Krotana have said about classifying Final Fantasy in terms of Easy and Hard Fun and I believe that (in Final Fantasy's case) it's really dependent on how the player chooses to think and see the game.
    I know I might be completely wrong when I say this, but it seems as if it's mainly up to the player's disposition towards games/gaming to determine whether it's Easy fun or Hard fun.

    For example, one person might view exploring optional content as a chance to increase their knowledge of the plot or to see new environments (Easy fun), where as others may see it as an option that could get them that 100% and feeling of 'fiero' or personal triumph. (Hard fun)

    To be honest, I'm not entirely sure of where I'm going with this and I'm going to need some more time to think on it.

    Looking forward to next week!

  47. For starters, Props to all group members who did their presentations last week top effort.

    This weeks class has me analyzing my own game ideas in development and if it has hard fun, easy fun etc. and where they may be lacking.
    Also looking to capturing the essence of an existing sport or activity to recreate it in the form of a video or exertion game though making mountains of sense at first seemed impossible to me as i wasn't modeling my idea off anything directly. After more thought however it dawned on me that i could look at games or sports that had even small things in common to my ideas and what made them exciting and enjoyable. Overall - Success! lesson learnt.

    btw Team E's link is finally here
    we've thrown around ideas in person and on msn now its time to get it up on the blog! K go :)

  48. Hey guys, here are my few points I would like to discuss and clarify:

    The 4 Keys

    I think it is important to consider these keys as elements of a game, and not merely definitions of a particular type of game. A game may include more than one - if not all - of these 'four keys', and the emphasis on each will vary depending on the game.

    Therefore, arguing whether one particular game is, say, 'Hard Fun' or 'Easy Fun', is essentially fruitless, especially when the game may include heavy elements of both. The important thing for us to be able to do, as game designers, is to identify these properties within a game, and then quantify their value in regards to the overall gameplay experience... and leave the genre definitions to the PR people.

    Elderly Gamers

    A question was raised in regards to why aged care institutions were buying video games for their elderly patients. I was a little surprised that nobody mentioned anything in regards to the health benefits they provide, as opposed to why elderly people would want to play them in the first place. There is evidence to suggest that video gaming amongst the elderly stimulates mental activity and increases social participation. Without going into too much detail, this research suggests that video games provide the elderly with a new form of stimulus that is capable of increasing their perceptual-motor and cognitive abilities, their attention span, and their personal senses of success and achievement.

    If you are interested in the details, however, then follow this link:

    Non-Participation as an Important Aspect of Gameplay

    Finally, I would just like to comment on 'non-participation' as an important social aspect in games, and a way to generate interest in games in general. When I refer to non-participating individuals, I am not talking about the players who give up on the game and then leave the room, so much as those who may not have the inclination to play, yet are still fascinated enough by the game to keep watching. In the sporting world, these people would be considered fans, and more than one of them would be considered a crowd.

    I believe this is significant, and video games are yet to really explore this notion of 'games for an audience', and doing so may play a large part in widening their appeal. Video game detractors tend to have become that way because they don't or can't play them, and when they see others playing them, they just don't see the appeal. They don't see a Guitar Hero, they see a weirdo playing with a plastic toy. This is because the experience tends to be geared more towards the player, and not the audience, and I just wonder how much more popular video games would be if this were not the case.

    Okay, that's all. I'm out.

  49. Second week lecture was like first week quite inspiring and eye opening. After reading ‘Pervasive games’ And ‘A casual Revolution’ (Which i recommend everyone to start reading) it really makes you start thinking ‘outside the box’.
    Though in regards to the ‘killer’ theory mentioned in ‘Pervasive games’ it was for me quite hard to perceive as a plausible game concept. To me it just sounded like it was playing on a persons paranoia.
    In regards to the ‘mouse under the pillow’, like stated earlier, it was great to see how simple ideas like this can be so effective.

    Also having a little difficulty connecting our groups blog (Team K) page to the main page so here's a quick link for now -

  50. Just quickly, this is my teams blog link

  51. i find the 2nd presentation is very interesting. they got a booming start with the simple game order to interact with the whole class. nice job!
    they were very good in using the class tools to bring out my thoughts in the magic circle. they were pack with great presenters, although the connection between each presenter is weak, specially in time controlling makes the team a bit falling apart. other than that, what a strong team!

    very good use of the mouse Floyd haha. and i don't think the swimming with the boat game will work, as the wave will affect the speed of speed of it. maybe trying underwater light strip or railway camera on the side.

    thx for the exciting class, and seeya on thurs~

  52. Hey Floyd! Top lecture once again, I think Maths and Physics will defiantly result as my favourite subject of the semester :). Really impressed by the mouse under the pillow idea, got me thinking once again and helped me think of other ways to be creative. This has influenced me to think of creative concepts now relating to my groups exertion game without spending a lot of money :).
    The Snowboarding example of the lecture depicting the different emotions in the actual sport in comparison to a video game of the sport was a marvellous idea and would be a great way of recreating a sport into a game.
    The previous two presentations of group one and two did really well upon their presentations. My group (group 4) is presenting this week and will aim to make it as engaging and entertaining to our fellow students as well as possible whilst presenting the facts. We have prepared our speeches and aimed to keep the presentation in the time restraint... Anyways will be presenting Thursday :) hope you all enjoy it...

  53. Haha, I really should have done this last week. Damn not having internet at home! *Shakes fist angrily at the world*
    Anyway, little outburst aside it was a really good lecture. Both of the groups did a good job with their presentations. Even though I read the Pervasive Games Chapter 1, I still found it a tad hard to wrap my head around but the presentation helped out a fair bit.
    The different ways we experience emotion and reasons why we played games is interesting (even though for the games on the poster on the wall I would have just written Halo for every single one). I probably wouldn’t consider Guitar Hero under easy fun or anything like that as depending on how you play it, it can be harder. Like for me I find it hard to play on lower difficulties because it’s just so boring and when it’s hard it’s just a lot more fun. Also I think the people factor comes in with casual games such as guitar hero. I’ve seen people who never play video games ever come over and play Guitar Hero with the some of my mates just because we are all around and having such a good time.
    Also I noticed that not too many people may have taken the emotion snowboarding game thing in the middle of the lecture very seriously (ah, immaturity is great) which made the lecture quite funny. It was also interesting to see what kind of emotion a person would go through while experiencing a digital version vs. the real thing which in the case of this lecture was snowboarding.
    All in all it was a great lecture, yet again Floyd you certainly have a knack for keeping us interested in the subject matter; looking forward to the next one.
    - Will

  54. Wow great mouse trick, I couldnt think of any other way of breaking my mouse by sitting on it.... (joke) To be quite honest I'm jealous and envious of your ideas Floyd. Just how do you get these ideas? I have zero ideas. What am I going to do??
    I'm not at all surprised that we experience different emotions when playing games. It's linked with pyschology, in that we all have different ways of interpreting emotions.

    I congratulate group 1 for entertaining me about "why we play games". I certianly understand it much better now. I never absorb anything when I just read it to myself.

    I performed in group 2 which was a tough time for me. I always wagged my oral presentations at school. I hate (I repeat; I HATE!) talking to big crowds. But I'm somewhat glad that I actually was able to present and overcome my fears. Yay to me!

    I hope to learn something new again this week coming Floyd.


  55. floyd you have so many great ideas, im jealous. i understand that you go around asking people why they like the activities so much, but is there another source where you get all you inspiration from? our group have a lot of ideas but we arent to sure if its realistic.

    just wanted to congradulate the first 2 group in presenting first, its heaps harder being the first ones to present and considering that you had very little time to do it, i think that you did exceptionally well.

    just wanted to comment on Manolya, you spoke very well and becuase you were casual rather than formal it was interesting to listen to you.

    just wanted to give you some feedback floyd, its a pleaseure being in your class. your lecturing is awesome because you dont ahve a monoton voice and you get the class involved, your not always staying in the same spot and your always playing funny awesome videos that grab our attention. keep up the good work!!

    looking forawrd to our presentation today

    - Nick Sestan

  56. Nicholas,
    Don't worry if your ideas are not realistic (as yet), they have to be great ideas first of all! There is many people in class, 2nd year and I who can help you scale it down to the essence so that it is implementable!