[ Shihiko° × Game。]

About Games. by Shihiko°

February 7th, 2011

Not sure if this would work or how such a system would start up… but imagine if the game industry was made up of a community where the companies that make games post up their concepts to the consumers and have people bid on the ideas. Some times as a consumer I feel that it is hard to make a difference or see potentially good ideas for games go to waste because the newest first person shooting clone game came out the other day because they are low risk and sell well to the market.

So the idea is that we have a system where ideas for games are posted in simple concepts and detailed game design documents for consumers to read, and they then put money into the production of the game… Example: Level 5 posts up that they will be making a new type of RPG game and will be looking to get Ghibli to create the art and design for the game world and characters. Consumers then look at it and can consider putting money into the idea because many people enjoyed the quality of their previous collaboration… This then gives the company an idea of how many people want this game to be made and also gives them an extra amount of funds to help start the project. It can be quite flexible with small bids of a dollar and larger bids of even a hundred dollars or more…

What is even possible is that companies can out bid a game that they want part in creating. This may seem a little strange when you think about it… but it can also be a good thing. There are many cases where a great idea ends up in the wrong hands and results in a poor quality game that tarnishes a franchise. Example: Sonic… yeah poor hedgehog gets reborn as everything these days but recently there have been some exceptional fan base remakes or concept works that seem more fitting to the franchise than what the big companies are pushing out. In this case, these fan made projects can also receive bids and support from consumers to have these ideas pushed to completion. Though this case maybe a little tricky as there are intellectual property and licensing issues that maybe involved, then again with the money and interest generated… a company such as Sega might see that if they were to license the game created by these fans it would actually be doing their franchise good and they don’t really have to do squat? Hence they could bid/donate support by granting the license for free…

Episodic game development becomes possible with this system… features to games can be bid on to help improve future iterations or versions of the game. Some game ideas sound great and all, but they might not work out when they are completed, rather than release a game and risking it all for a experimental concept the games can be developed in sections with consumers bidding on the next features before the wrong decisions are made. Developers can then take these risks without it being a huge blow on their budget as it is the consumers who are bidding are putting cash on the line for experimental features that could break the game. I think recently I read about a game which might be doing this business model… another plus to this model is that the developers receive instant feedback before the game is completed, so any experimental routes can be salvaged in the worst scenarios. This system potentially works well for making MMO games, as they require a lot of resources to develop now days especially with Blizzard still holding that genre at their disposal.

Now wait a second, you might wonder what the bidders get from the game or company for bidding on the game proposals…? Well the system is also similar to looking for investors. These people who contributed whether it is a little or more will be rewarded by the developers with either a free copy of the game, beta testing opportunities or extra content for when they purchase the final release. So those who only contributed a little still receive something, while those who contributed more may receive a collectors edition of the final product.

Let’s try to put this concept to work…

  1. A game proposal is posted up for consumers to read, discuss and bid. The proposal asks for 20,000 dollars to begin prototype development.
  2. Everyone can see the title of the game, genre and basic information of the idea. Non-Disclosure Agreements are placed on detailed game design documents.
  3. Consumers who approve of the idea and would like to see it become reality can bid and invest on the game proposals.
  4. The initial development budget is acquired and the game goes into development. If the original developers back out, the money returns to the consumers and the project stops here.
  5. Prototype is completed, the consumers or investors are invited to review the concept and play the prototype…
  6. A video is made of the prototype to drive more interest and the game goes into the bidding cycle again
  7. With enough interest and investors the development reaches the end of the project… The game is published and released to the market.

Ideally this is what would happen if the game was successful, but there will be cases where the game doesn’t get past the prototype stage and the investors will feel like their time was wasted. I guess there is ways around this problem, but then again if the developers were to have some penalty for experimenting or taking a risk with an idea that people actually bid and voted for then there would be less interesting proposals and more first person shooting clones and we will be back to square one.

August 5th, 2010

Aww… Google Wave was a very useful collaboration tool to have. It was also very good for brain storming ideas or putting down quick game designs that still need refining. It is a very good idea just no one knew or not enough people knew how to use it efficiently or productively to make it a part of their daily lives.

Even though it was really nice to have and use it was an annoying standalone Google product. I mean one of the things that kind of made it annoying was that you had to login separately sometimes just to use it. I think Google could have probably done a better job with it if it had been integrated as part of Google Mail or Google Accounts. Google Mail seemed a more obvious choice since they have a large user base for that and quite a lot of people use Gmail as a work or professional email account. Makes sense if it was all for work and productivity.

I think another thing they should be putting more focus on is their Google Talk application, the Gmail integrated version seems to have more features than the standalone software… Not many people enjoy turning on and keeping a web browser window open just to receive messages and notifications in regards to their Google account. The software could probably be like a Google Apps thing that works with their Cloud Services. Also wouldn’t that reduce the load of stuff required to load up for the end user? I mean these web applications seem to perform badly on a poor connection so why not release native applications to support them? Is it because they want you to log on to see the advertising?

Source: Update on Google Wave

July 25th, 2010

Answer: Yes.

Well technically yes, everyone has their way of solving a problem. Unless you are solving a logical problem, there probably is no correct way to how you deal with or solve it. Since this isn’t a psychology site there won’t be any dwelling on that matter.

So what is problem solving skills for when part of a game development project? In most cases it is the game designer/planner, programmer and graphical or non-graphical user interface designer that needs the skill in general.

Just a quick outline of what each job probably deals with on a regular basis…

  • Game designers/planners have to identify flaws in their design before production and find the solution before it becomes a game breaker later.
  • The programmers probably face a lot of problems with balancing visuals and functionality and solve it while bringing a game to surface from the designs.
  • Graphical or non-graphical user interface designers would need to find the solution to making an easy to use interface that is capable of handling the needs of the game.

So how to establish or practice problem solving skills? Programmers have it a little easier here, as they actually practice their logical thinking and problem solving with the more programming they experience.

Exercises for game design can be a bit of work if doing it with designs/works from scratch. An alternative would be to play games often and try to break them, find flaws, bugs and problems and think of solutions that would prevent these problems occurring in future designs.

Do you hate it when you interact with a game or software and find some things are not where they should be? Looking for the close button in the top corner but it isn’t there? User interface problem solving is probably easier to solve than the others, various ways of doing it include applying your own experiences with the controls you are using to interact, then tweaking and testing until you feel others will use it the way you intended, but the ultimate problem to solve is when you hand it to someone to try…

These are all just an idea, they aren’t always how you should find your solutions as a solution can be found differently… An example is the other day I thought of an idea to program but instead of trying with my solution I had offered my friend the exercise to see if he was up for it. I had my own solution and ideas planned for it but as my friend also had his own ways of solving the problem, I didn’t fully explain my methods to him. The result of course was a different solution to the same problem. Granted I probably still feel my solution is much simpler, but there is nothing wrong with his solution either as it does the job required.

Though everyone may solve problems differently there is another skill that probably is required… Identifying Problems. That is of course because identifying problems is the first step to finding a solution and finding the solution will lead you to the Answer.

July 17th, 2010

So I was asked to write about refining ideas… Where should I start? Well with most ideas they sometimes appear from no where, other ideas can come from inspiration or influences. Ideas are always great when they are still fresh and in your head, but they can also not work out so great when you put them down on paper.

Well yesterday I did exactly that… occasionally when an idea that feels and sounds good comes along, you want to put it down on paper… It starts simple but as you start laying out the details and specifics the idea can sometimes look less attractive than you originally thought.

However this is all part of the process to refining an idea. Having the idea down on paper now becomes a design proposal and allows you to see the potential errors in the idea. At this point you should be refining your design if you wish to continue with the idea.

Since this is a game related site, I guess specifically tackling the refine process for the purpose of game play is the point. Currently my problem is the game has no purpose, most ideas I think about always takes down the route of productivity or fun. If fun is dependent on the player’s ability to enjoy what is available then the result may not be that great.

Well with that idea there is still room for improvement and things can still work out given enough time and refining before prototyping. On the other hand there is always games out there that have been published and released.

Games have sequels for a reason, apart from the money making for popular franchises a sequel is a chance for the design to be reanalyzed and modified for the better… a sequel should play the same or better than the original. Anyone ever played a series to be disappointed by the next release of the game? I know I have, in most cases this happens because there was a change in the designer or director involved producing the game.

To finish up, I will say that an idea that becomes a design proposal doesn’t have to always work out, a game idea may not work now… but it may be more suitable later and with a little refining and modifications the results might be better than the original concept.

July 11th, 2010

There is many definitions for games out there, but the one definition that has helped me designing ideas for games is that: A game is a set of rules applied to an act or task for productive or unproductive enjoyment and fun. Anything can be a game…

This can mean a lot when creating a game. For example of how many games you can derive from applying rules to a simple ball. Quickly you should have something along the lines of bouncing a ball as many times as you can, how many bounces you can do in a minute, how fast can you bounce a ball ten times etc… Simple?

What about if we wanted to play with more people? Well you can either take turns with the same rules or create some multiplayer rules out from the same rules… Bouncing a ball between another person as many times as possible, How many times the two can achieve in a minute, How fast you can rally the ball between the two ten times etc… Of course it is possible to come up with more interesting and entertaining rules but these are all just a start.

As you can see applying a few rules can create a game. However just applying rules does not make a fun game. [Parents give their children rules, but they aren't always fun right?]… If you’re creating a game, you want to make it fun [for your audience and demographic] right? So try to use rules that make the game more interesting or productive. Most people enjoy a sense of accomplishment, which can come from completing a productive task or beating someone in a game.

Case to point, when I was still studying [haha right, I studied.] I had a Japanese test on the カタカナ Alphabet… now knowing me, I hate studying or believe that I am not good at studying from books. So I made a game out of it… I would say the game would only be a game to those who are beginning to learn Japanese, so to myself at the time who was the audience or demographic that I was targeting… it was a fun game. The game took three or four hours to make and I played it for one or two hours… it was simple, the rules were that the alphabets flash at random and all the player needs to do is click the correct pronunciation. Apart from a overall performance monitor, there was no scoring or any timers to make the game more challenging in anyway… but now that I am posting about it I feel that I probably could have gave it more interesting or entertaining rules. And how did I do for the test? Well let’s just say that I would have played longer if I wasn’t confident after only one or two hours.

That was a productive use of games or game design. It was a simple idea with simple rules… the game play isn’t great but it does it’s purpose and is now used for another purpose. To be an example of Anything can be a game…