Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lecture 10: 13May2010 The Mousegrip and Pushing Pixels

Hi all,
Thanks for joining tonight.
Today you have seen how to make an Exertion Game for <$15. You have also experienced an Exertion Game that allows asynchronous interaction. Supporting asynchronous interaction is one big reason why computers can offer different experiences beyond what we already know from sports.

Again, thanks for filling out the survey form, it is truly appreciated. And thanks Seph for taking care of them. 

Homework for next week:
* Blog: a) Comment on the lecture OR b) repeat the most important point you have learned for those who could not attend OR c) describe the difference between Wii and Natal for designers AGAIN, IN A NEW AND SEPARATE BLOG ENTRY
* Report progress on your team website/blog
* Promote demo night on facebook, twitter, etc. Invite friends, companies you want to work for, the press (remember, everyone gets dots)
* Start working on your video, promotional picture and website for your game


  1. Hey all! I was in the Dance Games and Exegames presentation. Hope you all liked it =] And a special thanks to Matty for being a life saver and providing us with his laptop. Cheers!

    I have to admit, the idea of using the magic circle as a core form of interest, for example, in games such as PacManhattan and the Why So Serious Campaign, or even in other games we have discussed previously such as Killer, is pretty awesome because the magic circle is rather blurred and a key factor in the source of fun itself. It definitely goes outside the spectrum of the typical hardcore games I’ve played (and I’m sure many others are used to too), and makes me wonder whether the modern world is truly pushing the boundaries of the definition of ‘game’. Traditionally, the thought of a game would make one recall a simple tic tac toe, or jacks in the days of our mothers. And then when technology came along okay, yes, we had video games. However today we are still not satisfied. Now, we find fun in dressing up as virtual yellow circles and ghosts and running around New York City. To reflect what Jane McGonigal said “this might be a game”. It makes me wonder, “what is a game, really?” At first thought, I would not have picked up the Dark Knight campaign as a “game”, purely because it did not fit into my standards of classifying a game. However now that I look at it more closely, a game is essentially a means of achieving a goal utilising strategies, and as we have already discussed, this does not necessarily have to be fun (or rather, hardcore gamers may seek fun where others might find too much of a challenge boring). The campaign therefore, with its clues and its interaction between the virtual world of Batman and the real world of the very blurred magic circle of the players (in this case the international public), did essentially have a goal and therefore can very well be classified as a game.

  2. Another enlightening lecture as always.
    Loved the mouse grip idea very simplistic i always suffer from over thinking ideas and things like that make me rethink the task ahead. Pushing pixels is clever as well I'm always unsure if I'm doing the exercises the correct way, it has great potential to be used in tones of ways.

  3. Great class today, and very well done to the groups who presented, and I particularly love how Viral Marketing works. At the top of my head I can name a couple of pretty large V.M campaigns, like for Cloverfield and the upcoming Super 8 (Also by JJ Abrams) is already suspected to have a viral marketing scheme running. Another big one is the Year Zero campaign for Nine Inch Nails' album Year Zero which speaks of the United States of America set in an alternate reality where the Church and State have combined with pretty frightening results (The government literally putting a drug in the water to pacify the citizens and to have a better control over their people, saying the water has drugs in it to protect them from biological attacks from chemicals, etc).

    Also interestingly, all of these Alternate Reality Games were actually made by 42 Entertainment, a company which specializes in making and creating ARGs.

  4. Also, thanks for reminding me about The Secret World, Estelle. I'm pretty excited about the game now. The test says I'm a Templar :P

  5. OH ALSO thanks Tristan for reminding me! For those who were interested in ‘The Secret World’ I had mentioned in the lecture, I’ll properly revise what it actually is.... If you’re not interested, skip my rant.....

    Like we saw with the Why So Serious Campaign used to promote the Dark Knight film in the Batman series, Funcom released a promotional campaign first entitled ‘Dark Days Are Coming’ used to generate hype over its upcoming game ‘The Secret World’. And I was right in the lecture, the campaign has been going for 3 years; it started in May 2007, but anyone can join the community whenever they want, and it is still running now.

    Basically it all started when a picture was ‘leaked’ onto the internet; it was a poem, containing the following riddle:

    A grim, odd arcane sky
    Any god, I mark sacred
    A masked cry adoring
    A dreamy sick dragon.

    Some randoms on the internet came across it and decided to decipher it, removing all punctuation and putting it into a browser like so:

    They discovered that all four links led them to one website, which had a countdown timer that they realised uses the Hindu-Arabic numerals instead of Western numbers, and counts down to the Mayan end of the world. The timer will presumably reach zero on 12:00 AM on December 21, 2012.

  6. Also on the poem was the Knights Templar Seal and several sentences in Spanish, Norwegian, French, German and Hebrew. The smartasses translated these lines to find more clues:

    De que manera estan involucrados los Illuminati? [Spanish/tr.: In what manner are the Illuminati involved?]
    Amundsen fant det under isen [Norwegian/tr.: Amundsen found it under the ice]
    4 lines 4 symbols The Fourth Age Are we approaching
    בני האלהים [Hebrew/tr.:"Sons of God"] – used in the Genesis to describe the Nephilim
    2012 (circled and underlined)
    (infinity simbol)Qu'est ce que ça veut dire? Qui sont les Huits? [French/tr.: What does it mean? Who are the Eights?]
    Etwas über einen 'Krieg der Finsternis' [German/tr.: Something about a "War of Darkness"]

    It was actually discovered that Roald Amundsen was a real explorer who disappeared while on an expedition to the North Pole in 1912. The campaign tried to use this historical event and created a twist involving abduction by monsters. From there it went explosive. Clue after clue after clue like a wild goose chase, leading more and more curious people on a twisted path of messed up riddles (and I tell you, these people were either geniuses or bored cause they were bloody hard!). It got to the stage where a whole forum was constructed dedicated to people trying to decipher the thousands of clues (I joined up, and yes, I helped decipher some historical dates and coordinates which led us onto another clue), and then essentially, the email details on this forum were used by Funcom to make things more interesting. People started getting EMAILS from the actual CHARACTERS in the game. FREQUENTLY. And they would send us more clues! Then we got double crossed by some characters, were in contact with the supposed monsters, the ‘government’ tried to convince us that there was no conspiracy and kept deleting our threads if we got close to discovering something new, and some supposed ‘friends’ also turned out to be the enemy in disguise. It got really trippy :| And now it has expanded to Twitter for clues.

    In the end, they divided the forum community into three groups via an INITIATION TEST: Templars, Illuminati and Dragon. I'm in Dragon =] If any of you get initiated into another group, then according to the game I must kill you =]

    Ok so if you want to learn more, there's a whole wikipedia dedicated to it. Go there and it'll fill you in on every clue, every character, every event and conspiracy:

    If you want a timeline list of all the events in the campaign go here. It contains both fictional game events, as well as real historical events which have been used:

    For the Official Secret World website, with the doomsday countdown go here. This page contains traliers of the upcoming game, as well as the INITIATION TEST, which will classify you on your group in the game when it is released:

    For the Official Forums, used to keep track of clues and progress between the community, go here:

    If anyone has questions you can ask me =]

  7. Excellent class today, loved how everyone had lots of videos to mingle in with their presentations which kept it interesting and entertaining. Keep up the good work

  8. Hey Floyd!
    Another entertaining lecture by the two groups who presented. As far as the survey form is concerned referencing yourself and the lecture, I’m fairly sure you have nothing to worry about.
    The implementation of the arcade game DDR at schools was raised for Physical Education. I personally think this would be a great idea. Not only Dance Dance Revolution but any form of arcade exertion game. If it is of popular demand it would bring a new variety of PE games into schools and encourage a new audience that don’t enjoy playing standard school sports such as Basketball/Soccer.. I would also like to point out referencing the comparison between real life dance styles compared to DDR, that break dancing should probably be categorised under Hip Hop dancing as well as Shuffling not being a real style of dance categorised under Video-dancing being a phase only incorporated in Melbourne. I also found quite fascinating what was said about how Viral Marketing works today.
    Oh! And in relation to natal in comparison to the wii, Natal won’t require BATTERIES! This is cool... My rechargeable wii mote batteries ran out before when I was about to exert myself to a game of Wii Sports with my brother =P . Ruined a perfect opportunity to play and socialise!

  9. I really love the idea of incorporating DDR games into school PE programs. My experiences with PE were that it wasn't taken very seriously. One of the Primary Schools I went to didn't even have a proper program in place.
    In high school I found that the PE program largely excluded anyone less fit, coordinated and skilled rather than encouraging everyone to develop their fitness and skills. If you're playing soccer no one will kick the ball to you if you suck, if you play baseball no one will throw the ball to you if you suck. You end up just standing there doing nothing. Even running was this weird thing where the teacher praised those who ran faster and called the slow people lazy even when they were trying.
    At High School I found that I was forced to participate in swimming classes with everyone else, even though I barely knew how to swim. It was plain humiliating.
    DDR and other Exertion games provide an activity where the main competition can be against a machine rather than a team of more skilled people, people can go at their own pace and will feel rewarded when the start to improve(instead of feeling bad because they didn't run as fast). It also provides a group activity that doesn't encourage rivalry and competition(which can get really nasty in kids sometimes).
    Paco said High School Students would prefer more mature forms of exercise but I don't necessarily agree. It's ridiculous to condemn people to doing less fun things just because they are older. There are plenty of teenagers who would be fine with playing DDR or other exercise games in PE,especially if these activities carried over from primary school.
    I've also been really impressed by the research into using the eye toy to help rehabilitate stroke patients. One of the great strengths of technology and games is that they can be used to make so many more things fun. I think games have real potential in medicine to help people recover from physical injury. Even mental health problems can be reduced using games. It is well researched now that puzzle games can help improve memory in older people. Tetris apparently can be used to help prevent trauma:

    As usual Floyd's projects showcased what is possible with a bit of knowledge, a bit of technology and a bit of money can achieve. Thanks also to Floyd and everyone else who had a go on our trampoline and gaves us feedback. If anyone else has any ideas for our game or feedback please feel fee to comment on our blog (we're team H just follow the link).
    thanks guys

  10. Hey guys,
    Before i begin i would like to thank the second group for their presentation for i think it may have presented as with the ideas and inspiration required to turn our current game into one that is eye catching and engaging. The whole notion regarding the viral market was both enlightening and fascinating and the presentation-in general- really got us thinking of ways in which, we could change our current magic circle.
    In regards to what was mentioned about games such as DDR being implemented in highschools, i feel that- though there are several out there who prefer the current system- in all fact children are- to some extent- craving for something that is stimulating and different. I dont really wish for it to replace sport, but i see nothing wrong with having it once in a while so as to keep things fresh and get individuals motivated.
    In regards to what was mentioned by paco, i dont actually agree because at the highschool i went to we basically had a massive line of people wanting to battle with others or just have a go. I do understand that many individauls care for their repute and wish not to partake in anything that may damage it, however by involving a large group people sort of forget that fear, give in to the music and allow it to guide them through each step.
    Finally, being one of the members for the first presentation, I hope you guys enjoyed found it enlightening and had as much fun as we did presenting it to you.


  11. Hey, great lecture again, hope everyone enjoyed our dance and exergames presentation.

    I've got another alternate reality game for everyone to check out, made to promote Nine Inch Nails' album, Year Zero. I didn't actually take part in this but I was pretty interested in it back when it started. Apparently it was made by the same guys who made the "I love bees" game which was discussed in the lecture.

    The game was linked in with the album almost seamlessly with the music from the album linking with the same themes as the game, USBs with the songs hidden at concerts and spectrograms of certain noises in the songs revealing special symbols.

    Read more about it here if you're interested:

  12. Exceptional presentation :]
    Nice to witness the case that game became socially beneficial media that people are encouraged to play with. It totally negated the fact that games are in general rejected in terms of no real benefits for living (game's useless in real life for instance). Yes, the conventional branches of video games have been completely entertainment orientated, ignoring any possibilities they would be used for different purpose other than simply having fun. Yet, DDR as the first team stated, has proven itself to be recognised by the public in different manner. It took distinguishing approach in order to content link to the real life world which consequently was discovered to substantially fortify the players' physical as well as psychological condition. DDR, therefore, was sought by majorities and even employed in series of institutions. This reminded me that finding the link between the virtual world and the real world is significant matter. So long as the matter is accomplished, the game will most likely be able to improve the reputation of games in general, widening the range of targeted audiences simultaneously.

  13. 10 weeks of lectures already that’s crazy! haha
    Congrats to the first group for their presentation on dance and exergames. Really enjoyed the comparison between dancing in reality and dancing in games, funny stuff!

    There was a discussion raised about using DDR as a form of Physical education in schools. Some people agreed with the idea and others didn’t, personally I don’t think it would be a good idea at all. One of the primary aims of PE is to provide students with the enthusiasm to maintain a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. Using DDR would only promote playing indoors and in front of a screen, it eliminates the need to socialize and lacks the competitiveness and physical risk that constitutes a REAL sport. Some people mentioned that they hated PE because they couldn’t play sports or didn’t feel they were fit enough to participate. Now the question I ask these people is… how would using DDR help this?... Obviously it wouldn’t, it would simply teach students that there is always an easier option, but as we know this is certainly not the case in reality. Students need to be pushed, they need to learn to get involved and work effectively as a team. Hiding away in a dark room, jumping up and down on a mat while lights flash on a screen could not possibly benefit anyone physically or mentally. Gaming in all its forms should be left as a means of entertainment or used only to enhance existing forms of exercise, not replace them. This relates to the “Pushing Pixels” game Floyd presented. It was a great example of the way technology has been used to enhance exercise. The user was not simply enjoying a game, but instead enjoying exercise. This is the type of lifestyle that needs to be taught in schools and is something that DDR alone will never fully achieve.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick around for the last presentation but I’m sure you guys also did a great job and I’ll be reading the comments to find out what I missed.
    Cheers guys.

  14. 'competitiveness and physical risk that constitutes a REAL sport' Why are competitiveness and physical risk important for people to learn? I don't really think these qualities are at all important for students, or anyone in society. There is nothing good about willingly endangering your physical safety for the purpose of winning a stupid game. I don't see how that constitutes 'REAL' sport. Skills in teamwork and the fitness/health/skill benefits are the only good qualities of sport and these same things can be found in non violent, less competitive sports than those you seem to be thinking of. Even DDR can boast many of these good qualities. The problem with competitive sports is that there are always losers. Often these are the same people! Pushing people into doing something they don't want to doesn't help them, at all. The idea of DDR in schools was not to shut people in a dark room with a machine but to encourage exercise in a fun and positive way that focuses on individual achievement rather than competing, leaving someone feeling like crap because they didn't win. Maybe you didn't read the article for this presentation but in schools a whole class would play as a group with only one person playing on an actual system, everyone else just had unplugged mats. There's no reason why they couldn't all play the game outside with the mats as long as the leading person knew the routine.

  15. good lecture

    im interested with your mouse grip game .it shows me how to make a good game with only 15$

    our group stuck on budget problem so many times , after this lecture now we know that we could still making a good game with little money.

  16. Good lecture. I enjoyed the mouse grip game thing because it was so simple! I think our group just needs to keep ticking away at some ideas about things to try and come up with something good. But the idea of turning menial tasks into adventure is showing promise. Anyway, good lecture - nothing much to add so cya on thursday.

  17. The definition of a game often made our team struggle.
    We thought a game always needs a winner and a loser, and score to make players compete.
    But Packmanhatten and Why So Serious didn't have any winner or loser. Instead there were people who were involved and those who were not.
    I wonder if:
    "having fun dressing up and taking photos"
    can be a game, or
    "dressing up and those who had the highest quality of dress wins"
    will be a game.

    or if:
    "holding a teddy bear"
    can be a game because it's comfortable and fun, or
    "throwing a teddy bear into a basket"
    is really the game because it can be competitive.

    Maybe we have been trying too hard to make a "game," and not something fun.
    If we had started by looking for what is fun, instead of what is a game, we could have ended up making something that is fun and, also it will automatically become a game.

  18. Great lecture as always. But I disagree about incorperating DDR as part of PE. At our school we didn't just have PE we also had Sport. PE was literally physical education and Sport was for playing actual games of sport (ie. House sport and Intercolastic sport). I'm not such a sporty person but I believe I learnt a lot of useful skills and techniques in PE. Instead, think that DDR would be better suited to Sport. So while one is learning the skills they need in PE they're also getting engaging exercise time during Sport.

    Also you might have seen advertised on abc an 'alternate reality drama/(sometimes game)' called Bluebird AR. Its just started and I don't really know much about it. Its got some clips on the website and its basically about a wealthy individual who's funded private research into dubious man-made solutions to climate change, and you can follow the characters in it on twitter and stuff... the acting is pretty bad but I think the concept of it is interesting.

  19. Well this lecture was awesome, (not just because our group presented :P) but because the second presentation was awesome!! Found it was so useful to see what other people had done to get their ideas out there, which is what takes good ideas to completion in a way.
    On the topic of the viral advertising campaigns I have, admittedly, never heard of anything about them or the examples people mentioned. As an outsider to this topic I couldn't quite put my finger on why anyone would choose to set up these hugely detailed and complex campaigns, especially when a more standard approach tends to reach more people. I'm not arguing anything presented on them (because it's such an awesome idea with such left-field thinking) but as great and innovative as they are, it seems difficult to justify using viral campaigns for things like the film 'The Dark Knight'. It was such a large-scale, mass appeal type of film (as it should be) that the viral advertising technique becomes a bit redundant. It's cool, but I'm sure people who get really into these campaigns would still go and see the film if it was just advertised like any other film. It seems like the whole involvement in the product wouldn't appeal to someone who didn't already love that product, so it doesn't seem like it would really expand the audience (the purpose of advertising?).
    What I think is interesting though, is that in comparison it seems like it would fit perfectly for games. The reason I think it would work so differently between these two forms of media is that with games they generally have a smaller audience, but that audience is immersed in that game for hour on hour (whereas a movie only runs for a few hours) so, expecting that sort of audience to partake in long, game-like activities isn't such a stretch. It makes sense that an advertising campaign for it should reflect that type of mentality. Still, Kudos to the marketing team responsible for 'Why so serious?' for sure, but hopefully we might see it becoming more of a trend for games like people have mentioned already (eg, The Secret World).

  20. Interesting presentations this week, wish my school had let us play DDR instead of sports.

    On one hand I think it's an interesting alternative, however I wouldn't be sure it would be appropriate for a common replacement. A rainy-day activity in PE definately, but when it comes to team play or skill development DDR can only offer so far in an educational setting..

    The hand-grip mouse got my mind working though, especially coupled with the whole 'physics/weight' motion from the previous week.
    I've been trying to think of alternative and similar ideas.
    If anyone's seen those 'bowling' games in arcades, where you have to roll the ball embedded into the machine to put force and direction into your ball?
    Or a stress ball.
    Either of those would make for a cool sort of mouse replacement, I reckon.
    Rolling it on the table to pick a direction and squeezing to click etc.

  21. Junki,

    Salen and Zimmerman in "Rules of play" would argue that "dressing up" can be a form of play, but as soon as rules and a goal get introduced, it turns into a game. This often involves a winner, but can also be collaborative.