handcircus

Games and Interaction design

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Philosophical Roots of Game Design

A Great Read, the minutes from a lecture where Ernest Adams discusses the problems involved with the lack of a bridge between the classic and romantic schools of thought during the game design process. Read it here

Article on ludonauts

About the problems that arise from ignoring "holism" in game design and by creating individual pieces that are not necessarily sewn well together ie a lack of harmony. Check it out here.

Day of culture....

Had a good day of culture yesterday. Recovering from Duncan's birthday party, went to see 2 Buster Keaton short movies at the Barbican, accompanied by a silent movie pianist. They were shown to promote the launch of This book. They really were phenomenal. Buster Keaton has a sense of comedic timing and physical comedy that outdoes almost anything you see on film or tv today. I guess the creative constraints of not being able to use sound means that the acting has to carry all the meaning, and in this case it does sensationally.

The second half was going to a talk at Resfest down at the NFT called "Film-Making And Gaming, Gaming And Film-Making". It featured the script-writer and sound director from The Getaway : Black Monday and part of the red vs blue team. Both talks were interesting but I was a bit disappointed that the getaway folks didnt speak a bit more about the process involved in creating interactive narrative as opposed to regular cinematic narrative. The main thrust seemed to be "we applied techniques from cinema to gaming" rather than attempting to create new methodologies. They briefly touched on the conflict between game designers and script writers (a conflict right at the heart of the challenges of interactive narrative) but sadly didnt go into much detail. Red vs blue were highly entertaining.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Sly 2 - Band of Thieves

Managed to finish off Sly 2 (on import, out in UK soon) over the weekend.I enjoyed the first one, but this really is an amazing achievement. The quality of the writing, the animation, the variety and the worlds that have been created is truly impressive. It feels a lot more like Mario Sunshine now, with a lot of re-exporation of a central hub, with a number of missions that re-use the same space for a variety of minigames. The characters have been really developed now, and have much more depth and a genuine closeness between them. All the characters are fully playable now, allowing for some really nice touches, such as the two stronger characters being captured, forcing Bentley, the little tortoise to overcome his fears and lack of confidence to rescue them, and sections showing other characters insecurities (such as Murray being a bit self-conscious of his weight problem!)

The humour is really well-woven into the storyline, and the minigames are really well developed. This is as close to an interactive cartoon as you're likely to find.

Topobo

Tom sent round a link to topobo yesterday. It looks sweet, a construction kit with kinetic memory that lets you build toys and animate them to move about. Reminds me a bit of the excellent moovl.