What to install

June 2nd, 2011

In order to save time, please install the listed programs. Also, let’s keep this as legit as possible and use freely available, non borrowed, software. I would hate for anyone to come and audit anything we’re doing here for fun; let’s not allow anyone to prevent our victory of the 24hours.

BTW the game will be 2d.

Are you ready?

Keyvan Acosta

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Where we’ll meet

June 1st, 2011

X marks the spot:

28.59626,-81.306489

Go to these coordinates by using google maps. Be there BY 12pm on Saturday.

Read the previous post.

The Playmine

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NEW JUNE GAMEJAM!!!

May 26th, 2011

Playmine: Gamejam 24hours

This is the official call to join us. Some of you already know from teacher mention, or flyers, etc. You’ve been invited because of your awesome participation in previous jams. Not everyone will get in… make sure you respond with [playmine] or [gamejam] in the subject line, if you want in that is.

Seats will go fast! Act Quickly!

Game jam details:

Date

June 4th, 5th

Time

Noon or 12pm (Sat) through 12pm Sunday

Location

FS3C Rooms 113, 114

Limited Seating

50 on campus

Testers

Up to 25 online

Style

Delta (we’ll explain)

Food

BYOF, Drinks will be provided

Tools

Bring your own PC

Experience

Any

The structure of this game jam will be different to other game jams in which I’ve participated or arranged. Everyone will design, program, develop, produce towards at least one (1) common game… it’s experimental, it will be fun, it’ll shine brightly on your resume ;)

There are 50 positions to be filled out. You must be a students enrolled in a university (Any) and must have a good, open, attitude to work with anyone on anything.

Remember: reply with [playmine] or [gamejam] in the subject if you’re able to participate!

Keyvan

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Game Jam on toast

February 2nd, 2010

Two Jams later and “I’m still alive”.

We had a game jam last December,

then the Global Game Jam was last weekend.

I’m sure you’re probably thinkin’

When will we next get together?

Stay tuned for late March or early April,

this one’ll  be open to all jam loving people

artists and programmers and producers, oh MY!

And even for those who just want to stop by.

There will be some rules to adhere to:

you must be a student of a related field

We’ll have to cap it a 30, maybe 32

you must also bring a computer, and your own food

More details to follow, more to come soon

keep up, keep loving your creations, and they will lovingly keep you.

Keyvan.acosta (skype)

[at]keyvanacosta (twitter)

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Round 2 – Emergence

October 1st, 2009

Game buzzword of the year? Most likely. With games such as Scribblenauts, Little Big Planet, etc. it’s certainly a concept that, at the moment, is probably better understood by game players than most designers, dev teams, and especially the marketing teams in most companies.

If you want a straight definition of “Emergence”, wikipedia’s will do. However, if I might suggest, the same thing was called metagameplay a couple of years ago by many designers. The difference now seems to be that [emergence] is something a designer seeks to implement, whereas [metagameplay] seems to be a “holy ghost” like aspect of any game’s communication with its player. Both allude to the same thing, yet, emergence sounds easier to define, and it’s less “gamy” word wise, which allows it to be used for aspects of a game such as interface, plot, storytelling, etc; +1 to vocabulary… helping us sound smarter, “I recon'”.

Games that rely on [emergence] are inherently flawed, but that flaw is kept almost as a core/needed aspect of its design.

Mike’s (Michael Arlington) presentation was short and to the point. I wish I had his powerpoint to show here, but I’ll summarize as best I can:

EMERGENCE

  • It allows for players to define their own play experience
    • He talked about a family night poker session in which everyone had a turn to come up with weird poker mechanics for everyone to adapt to.
    • He also mentioned some personal goals he played with:only betting when quarters were at stake, wanting to take all quarters from other players, others catching on to his quarter crave and baiting him, etc.
    • His contribution to the game was rather funny! He described how he was annoyed at a game type called “Dr. Pepper”. Unable to catch on quick enough, on his turn to define rules he said, “Ok! Prime Numbers are Wild!” the night’s audience lol’ed; his laughter seemed maniacal.
  • It’s a combination of player defined game objectives, game mechanics, performance self-awareness.
  • Emergence  basically refuses to see the game through only one lens; it both looks at the game as a series of disjointed objectives and mechanics up to the player to thread together in whatever way they choose to see, and it actually relies on the player’s awareness of the game’s context as it is within and without the players participation.
    • He mentioned Bunny Hopping as an emergent annoying thing that wasn’t stomped out of the design, nor curbed from players ability to perform… now that I think of it, I wonder if this is why Ocarina of Time doesn’t let players jump wherever AND whenever they want, because Link would look stupid doing such things…
    • Another example he brought as emergent play was speed runs. Most games weren’t designed with speed run performances in mind, yet, youtube is littered with them. He showed us this one.

The game designs that have implemented emergence lately are honestly phenomenal. Games that rely on [emergence] are inherently flawed, but that flaw is kept almost as a core/needed aspect of its design. I want to align what I’m saying to a better mastermind: Brian Moriarty’s “Constellation“, Emergence allows the broad strokes to be defined by the design, with the interpretation details defined and chosen by players. If that isn’t a core aspect of defining games as a medium, what is?

For now, Emergence remains in the playing audiences’ domain, not so much on a companies bottom line goals; it would be too tough to market. Just as Scribblenauts had a bit of an “Internet spanking” for not catching the inclusion of the word “Sambo”, it also highlighted the power of a design that is as rich as the emergence it provides. I certainly agree with Ian Bogost’s post on it; I would summarize or add that I feel that its design is so important that it should be given pardon a priori. Actually, I’m kinda happy it happened. First, I’m actually a STRONG opponent of censorship. Second, I’m a strong defender of people’s ownership of their reactions; the only punishment the game should have is for people to pause and think about wether or not purchase the game because of the word. It’s as if I were to avoid buying a dictionary because it has a word I disagree with. A word cannot be castrated, it can only be devolved… a language can’t be sold, it has to be given away. Unless people can prove that the intention of “5th Cell” (developers) was to offend with that word, I think we’ll be able to see it as an honest oversight of one word out of 22,000 <— yes, twenty two THOUSAND, mother flippin’ usable words.

My 2 main observations, each a penny’s worth:

  • Emergence works mostly when the rules are left loosely, almost at the point of them being broken, braking to the game’s objectives, or even seen as bugs. The game I brought in was specifically designed to use icons that were left up to the player to attach to some symbol or impart it with significance, yet they’re still functionally connected to the game.
    • Order of action/activity is a good place to allow emergence to be exploited. In a storytelling sense, it allows the story of the session to be crafted to the players choice. Flip a switch 1000 times just to do it… Obey traffic in GTA during Taxi missions is my favorite example of metaga.., er, I mean Emergence
  • Achievements are the Next Generation addition of the current batch of consoles. They actually track emergent behaviors, cluing the players to the design’s awareness of “silly” things. Some of these achievements assist players with exploring the permutations of all possibilities of any game.

I brought a game to the presentation, so did Ricky the “Overachiever”. As soon as I’m done with mine, I’ll post it here, and there. I’ll probably release it Public domain or GPL’d, it’s more app than game, and it REAAAALLY needs an explanation :-(… but I think there’s some room left for a lot of play. Hmm… I wonder if that’s why prototypes are so crucial to me? Is it because in that stage of development, everything is emergent around the core aspect of the prototyped feature? {~~O0. \think, think, think, self/ .oO~~}

Ultimately, Emergence serves to extend time, play, and interpretation of games and their mechanics by letting players understand the game from a chaotic point of view. That was my main takeaway.

Thanks, Mike for such an awesome topic of discussion!

==========================================

Next month’s will be Relationship Explorations through Interactivity. Katherine Winter’s will be the main presenter, along with other demoers. I’m sure that isn’t the topic’s title she has in mind.

It’ll be interesting to see what we all come up with.

Keyvan

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Round 1

August 31st, 2009

Success!

I feel that the first roudtable discussion we had Friday was excellent! The turnout was good, the discussion was pretty deep and I feel that it’s going to grow moderately next session. If you need to know what it is go here

Round’s Takeaway:

  • First jumping character Jumpman (Mario) in Donkey Kong… many quickly followed.
  • Players expect all characters with legs to be able to jump. They dont expect every character to run or crawl, even though in reality, jumping has more serious consequences being a much more difficult movement.
  • Jumping has 3 main parts: Lift, traverse, and land. The majority of the player’s involvement occurs during lift off and landinf. The traverse portion is the one mostly affected by the assets used to explain the jump.
  • Jumping occupies a large portion of the controllers realestate. It usually takes over one entire button; in keyboards it usually uses the largest key: “space bar”.
  • Jumping has almost a zero penalty of performance, even though it is the most difficult to perform in real life. Though some developers attach jumping to stamina, they dont when it comes to mobility issues; no sprained joins, no broken step, no innertia, full momentum when colliding, no 6 degrees of physical influence to the body in translation, etc.
  • The realism of Jumping is entirely taken out of context. You cannot jump underwater without very specific mass/forces conditions.
  • Jumping is annoying to others that are seeing someone else jump. Players have a name for this “Bunnyhopping”. It is annoying when watching, but it is fun to do… that’s a problem.
  • Not having a more detailed penalty to jumping makes it somewhat of a dominant mobility strategy.

I will continue to add to these, and even post the .ppt and the demos brought in by students. Please feel free to comment between roundtables and feel free to contribute your observations to the next topic, which is:

Deliberate Emergent Moments in gameplay and how to help player’s notice AND exploit them!

Keyvan kacosta[at]fullsail[dot]com

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What is cowardice?

August 22nd, 2009

The playmine session over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of July was fantastic. The game/prototype is up, packaged in zip format, just like the other two.

Heres how it occured:

  1. I introduced the team members to one another and gave a little rason detre for the playmine. I also got them to agree to an “Air NDA” for ownership of the game, which was basically a copyleft scenario (share+modify-commercial)
  2. This time, we agreed on a constraint: Board Game. I realize that it could have been done in analogue form, and that we could have used Game maker or something like that, but the challenge is to actually program something we can have greater ownership of the challenge. Moreover, c++ is actually something everyone in the room has knowledge about, whereas other tools are sparsly known through out the game degree.
  3. The emergent game idea was about using gameplay to promote a COWARD behavior from the players. Scooby Doo & Shaggy we’re inspiring.
  4. Everyone got to code something into the game. The production got separated into 4 main teams, interface, core tech, gameplay, and support. This will have to be revisited in future events.
  5. We hit our first gameplay test at 3am on the 19th, about 12 hours after design was crafted.
    1. Soon after, we had our first “sugar” crash, which lasted until sunrise ~ 7:30ish
  6. It became very difficult to debug through the code base after that since many of the modular code features were too isolated from one another: redundancy was/is very apparent through the code base.

Well, we finished with something. It has a charm to it, showing some progression in design intent, though still having issues that prevent the game from being fully playable. We’ll get it before our 10th game I’m sure; however, the goal of this workshop isn’t to make the best game ever… it’s to collaborate. I was so inspired, I ported the game to Kodu – MS research and had a blast making it.

You can try it and see if it works. Let us know of any bugs @

May you and your game creator collaborators always keep your inspiration fluctuating within you and without you in a beneficial way to all.

Keyvan

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A Special 24Hours…

July 14th, 2009

Playmine SmallNightOn Saturday July the 18th, Full Sail’s Game Development Department is hosting another iteration of The Playmine 24-hour project, an extracurricular student game project that lasts a contiguous 24 hours. In short, we design and code for 24 hours to see which game or games are born.
We have made a couple of adjustments to assist the process and to nail down (even more) the core benefits of projects like this one. To participate, you must commit to the 24-hour schedule. We will also have the “little engine that can” engine –provided by Dave Brown – so you will practice working on foreign code tech. Yes, everyone WILL code.

We will make new friends… may this trend continue.

How to sign-up?

The sign-up list is capped at 24 entrants, with any above that number not working in an ”official” capacity – though you never know if we need more people. From today until Thursday the 16th, we’ll expect all communication related to the event (sign-up info, questions, etc.) to be sent to kacosta@fullsail.com (please include “[24hrs]” in the subject or you may miss participating). And although the “seats” are filled on a “first come, first serve” basis, you must fill in the following information before Thursday noon (12 p.m.) in order to be allowed to participate:

Name:
GPA:
Current class:
Cell phone #:
Email:

You must have a minimum GPA of 2.00, a laptop, and a smile. The list will be sorted by seniority; in other words, those closer to Final Project get first dibs. Stay alert for our communications – check your spam folders too. You will receive confirmation by Friday evening. Bring a pillow, comfortable clothing, and a jacket in case the typical Full Sail frostbite Monster shows up.

EVENT DETAILS

Date: 7/18/09
Title: “24 Hours”
Where: Game Development Department, building 130 (second floor) closest to Taco Bell & 436.
Starts: Saturday, 12pm
Ends: Sunday, 12pm
Drinks: Soda, Monster Punch and Pie…

Teacher’s letter of recommendation is considered a plus.

Please help us spread the word even if you cannot participate.

And remember: if writers write, game makers game make!
So, make games make games make games make games…

Keyvan Acosta

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