Gamercamp and nerfed turkey

Gamercamp and nerfed turkey

Gamercamp just ended and now that I’m home safe (and completely exhausted) I’m happy to report that it was a fantastic experience. Jaime and Mark ran a great show. We met a bunch of really cool fellow indie developers and artists, saw some incredibly insightful presentations, and made ourselves a paper prototype game, in collaboration with Jaime Woo and a couple of other Gamercamp volunteers, called Sandblocks. So, lots to talk about! Cheating as a Game Mechanic Firstly, I’d like to thank Andy Keenan for an enthralling presentation (and everyone in the room for the ensuing discussion) regarding Cheating as a Game Mechanic. His focus on flow maintenance in games had everyone in the room reconsidering how to design game difficulty from a totally different viewpoint. His central idea is hugely important but amazing in its simplicity: Maps, cheat codes, time rewinding, FAQs, YouTube playthroughs and wiki entries all share a common thread of being a form of meta-gaming that could be thought of as cheating, and yet many of these are embraced as viable parts of play while others are shunned as being detriments to play or “impure experiences”. But shouldn’t we, as designers, be most invested in maintaining immersion, enjoyment and flow for our players? Why not embrace these as ways to improve games and maintain flow, rather than rejecting them? Considering this subject from the player’s perspective, it becomes clear why some players cheat. They’re either bored because the game is too easy or the game is too hard and they’re frustrated with it. It’s just more engaging to cheat than that to play the game...
In Development: The Danger Zone

In Development: The Danger Zone

Although we don’t have them up on the site yet, there are a few games that our team members have developed and will eventually be shared with you via Axon. Among them is a game I created as part of my Masters degree in Biomedical Communications. That game is The Danger Zone. I created The Danger Zone to be a conversation-based mystery-solving game in the tradition of Carmen Sandiego and Clue. Created to teach teens food safety, players assume the role of a rookie epidemiologist tasked with solving an outbreak among a group of well-meaning but ill-fated teens (no pun intended). By interviewing experts including a physician, librarian, epidemiologist and one of the above-mentioned teenagers, players progress through the story, slowly unlocking the cause of the outbreak so they can report it back to headquarters.   So, I’ll admit that this game is not the pinnacle of gameplay or education; not yet at least. It was my first-ever video game, first game interface, first major coding project and I only had 8 months to go from rationale to wireframe to finished product (with a full course load of other projects to do). What you can play so far is essentially the tutorial level – the game in easy mode. In the coming months we will be restructuring the code to be more modular, as well as cleaning up the interface, adding usability features and adding more sounds and voice acting. We’ll also be adding two more levels which will round out the story and allow for more challenging cases. We’ll post in here as we change things, so you...