Archive for March, 2012

1. Construction Worker

2. Jim the Construction Worker was hired to construct buildings for a construction company called Cantebury Construction Ltd. Unknown to Jim, the company cuts costs by using deficient and cheap materials in the construction process. Jim was given a free house as a bonus to work for the company, but while he was at work the house collapsed from the poor materials and killed his family.

The company took no responsibility for the death of his family or the building’s collapse denying all claims that the building used deficient materials in its construction. Jim digs further into how Cantebury Construction really operates and realizes thousands of innocent people are in potential danger of the shady work from the company.

Jim takes it upon himself to steal and modify one of the bulldozers from work and sets out to demolish all buildings owned and constructed by Cantebury Construction; evacuating people from the building first of course.

3. The dynamic of the game is a collection based dynamic. In a way it also incorporates a race to the end dynamic that goes with the collection aspect. The mechanics of the game involve landing on tiles with buildings and “destroying” them to collect points, which is essentially the collection of points. The game board will be a large square path of tiles similar to Monopoly. The race to the end will be to get from the start tile, go around the board and back to the start tile. Along the way there will be event tiles, action tiles, and building tiles. The board will look very similar to Monopoly. Players at the end will compare how many buildings they have managed to destroy and the value of those buildings. Every player piece will be a different colored bulldozer piece.

In the game, players will roll dice to move around the board. The main goal is to land on a tile with a building and roll the needed numbers to destroy the building. Along the way, there are also tiles which allow players to draw action cards or event cards which will contain either beneficial mechanics or disadvantageous mechanics to the game.

I feel that this game feels right using tiles versus cards. A tile based game provides an entire game board and gives players more of a sense of what they are doing. In return from this visualization, it gives players better stimuli for the game along with making the game more interactive.

Non-digital games that have been rethemed are the several editions of Monopoly, Battleship and Risk. They are the same game with a different aesthetic and skin on the games. 

Description of Jim the Construction Worker:

Jim is a fairly average looking fellow. He went through life, not really standing out at anything. Graduated high school near the bottom of his class and went into construction work right after high school. He is a well built man from working construction his whole life. Dark hair, weathered facial features and a coarse body, Jim is a healthy looking middle aged man; although he doesn’t look the brightest. Jim started a family a few years back and has become a very involved family man. He loves his family dearly and is constantly trying to find a better paying construction position to provide for his family. After years of working hard, he had worked his way up the ranks of a company called Cantebury Construction.

Jim was awarded a new contract and salary and Cantebury, and as a bonus was given a house recently built by Cantebury. Unknown to Jim, in recent years Cantebury has been cutting costs by using cheap and deficient building materials for its buildings. One day as Jim is working away from home, the house collapses on his family. Jim arrives home to a pile of rubble with his family buried below.

After this traumatizing moment and the loss of all the important things in his life, he sets out on a mission to get revenge upon the company that killed his family. He seeks out to destroy all properties and buildings owned and made by Cantebury. He goes to work to get a bulldozer which he modifies to be a destroying machine and gets to work immediately.

Jim leaves a path of destruction and rubble as he heads for Cantebury headquarters to seek his family’s vengeance. 

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Gameboard Plans. White boards will be properties that can be “destroyed” for collected points. 

If you haven’t heard yet, since it’s pretty much all over the internet with technology websites doing a variety of tests, Nvidia is releasing their next series of GPUs.

The series before the new ones coming out were Nvidia’s GTX 5 series, which were all based on a refreshed Fermi architecture. Nvidia has now moved on from the Fermi architecture and have moved onto a new one; Kepler.

What is so wonderful about the new series of GPUs from Nvidia? Well a lot of people are claiming the release of Nvidia’s GTX 680 card will make them the king of graphics. Is this assumption true? Based on a lot of benchmark results, yes, it is true.

ATI has a competitor for the 680, which is the XFX Radeon HD 7970. Here is a side by side comparison of the two:

Even though the ATI card has more cores and some specs better than Nvidia’s, the following benchmark comparison will show Nvidia still reigns supreme.

Compared to the last generations top tier graphics cards from Nvidia (GTX 580), The 680 completely destroys its old predecessors. Based on benchmarks, here is a comparison of the cards:

The comparison shows a clear dominance from the GTX 680’s performance. Though there is the occasional hiccup where another card trumps the 680, majority of the wins goes to Nvidia’s new card. In addition to that, it uses less energy too! (System Power at full throttle).

 Any problems?

Although there is a very promising future for the GTX 680 and how well it will crunch down on processing, there are still a few hiccups here and there.

A good example are that there have been claims the GTX 680 does not play nice when it comes to SLI, so it doesn’t scale as well compared to the ATI XFX Radeon HD 7970. Though I am sure Nvidia is developing new drivers to solve this issue. New drivers, better performance; or at least we hope.

This problem is occurring due to Nvidia’s complex Kepler architecture which involves their GPU Boost technology which is still fairly new on a new card.

So we will have to wait for Nvidia to improve the GTX 680’s SLI capabilities, even though it a very capable and superior performance card.

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So much SLI goodness…

Who Are You?: Homework 7

Posted: March 25, 2012 in INFR 2330
Tags: ,

Part 1:

1. Time period: 1236

2. What is your name? Gender? Race? Religion? Age?

“My name is Nicolleta Masury. I am a woman, human, Catholic and 26 years old.”

Where were you born? What about your parents—where are they, and are they alive? When you were growing up, did you struggle, and if so, in what way?

“I was born in northern France. My parents were once rulers of a small kingdom. They are no longer alive, and from what I remember they were murdered in a barbaric raid on the kingdom.

My parents left this world when I was young. I was smuggled out of the kingdom through the rear gates and into the forests. From there on I had to learn to raise myself. I grew up hopping on caravans kingdom to kingdom, maturing and learning about life along the way. I never learned what really had happened to my parents or their kingdom, as all I remember is a burning night sky and moving away from it.

Living on the streets gave me a strong sense of what was right and what was wrong. As I grew up, I sought out upholding what I saw as just. I am determined to extinguish all evils in the world so nobody will have to go through the rough childhood I endured.  The world needs more good than evil. I am the light that takes out the darkness.”

What year is it now?

“It is 1236.”

How would someone stereotype you at a glance?

“They would think I am a do-gooder, on a crusade, killing all the oppose the church. Most people who look at me in my armor don’t even realize I am a woman. The evil men I have crossed blades with do not even know they were slain by a woman. Oh, what the looks on their faces would have been if they had known.

People think by dawning a set of armor makes you part of the crusade. I support my own beliefs of what is just and what is not. I put down the people who do no good for this world.”

Do you have a romantic partner? If so, whom?

“No. I am not on a quest for romance, I am on a quest to make the world a better place. Using my time for personal gain and pleasure would not be a selfless thing to do.”

Who is your best friend and what is he/she/it like? How would your friend describe you?

“I lead a lonely path. I do not encounter ‘friends’ as you call it for a sufficient time. I meet the occasional person here or there who offer their aid on my quest, but none have stayed long enough, or rather stayed alive to call a best friend.

The only person close enough to this is a fellow maiden I met a few years back who aided me on a quest to slay a band of thieves and rebels who had torn apart her small village. She dawned her father’s armor, and not even knowing how to swing a sword followed me into battle.

Surprisingly she fared well in the encounter. She survived, getting a few kills under her belt. After purging what once was her home village, she decided she would stay and help rebuild it. That is when we said our farewells and travelled in separate directions.

Her name was Francessca, a brave, young, and just woman who knew what was right and what was wrong. Like me she was determined to make what was wrong, back to right. As for her describing me, she would have described me as a helpful and determined individual. Francessca would say I am a selfless person trying to help those in need and to make things better.”

What is your economic situation? What have you done for work?

“I do not really think about how I am doing financially. I have a fair bit of coin to my name, but all that was acquired on my journey for good. This gold has been taken from evil groups, and when in people are in need I will redistribute this unjust gold back into the world to help those wishing to lead a life of good. I do not use this gold for personal gains and pleasure. I use it to fund and fuel my quest for goodness.

As for the work I look for, I travel to villages and kingdoms, seeking bounties and problems that need to be solved which involve a greater evil.”

Would you steal? How do you feel about lying? Can you be trusted by your friends? Do you have any other  vices?

“I would never take something that belonged to someone. The gold I have acquired is not technically stealing, as there is no longer anyone that owns it. I have killed those who have taken it haha. I also put the gold back into the world, so I see this as just.

I believe I can be trusted by anyone. As long as they do not do any evil deeds, I will not turn my back on them. Any truly good soul can always count on my word and actions.

As for vices, I do not have any, just a strong sense of justice.”

What makes you happy? What makes you sad?

“Happy people make me happy. A functioning village filled with good pure souls and motives are always a mood booster. Sad things would be the death of those good souls that impure souls cause with their havoc.”

What is the one secret that no one must know about you?

“I do not fully believe and support what the Church does. If anybody were to find out, the Church would hunt me down and put a stop on my own quest for goodness in the world. I let the Church do things their way, as long as it does not conflict in what I am doing.”

Are you afraid to die?

“No, death can be a blessing for the corrupt souls in this world. Along with that, death is also a blessing for the good souls that have experience all the bad in the world. If I die, then I am not meant to succeed in making the world a better place. While I am alive I have meaning, if I am to die, then that is what my fate is. I am not doing a good enough job.”

Do you have any phobias?

“I am afraid of losing hope for mankind. The things I see and know that the people on this Earth do has disturbed me. I continue on my journey to try and prevent these horrific things from happening, but sometimes I feel like I am losing hope when I do not see a true and pure soul in some parts of the world.

Life would be nothing without hope. One should always be able to hope for something.”

Are you quick tempered or patient?

“I am patient. I believe everyone deserves a chance to be heard out and understood from their point of view. I will never jump to conclusions as that would not be fair and I would not be able to provide justice to those who do and do not deserve it.”

Biography:

Nicoletta was born into the kingdom of Fraun on a summer’s night in Northern France. She was raised and cared for in a small peaceful kingdom reigned by her parents. At the young age of 7, invaders overtook her parent’s kingdom, slaying and killing all the civilians and nobles of the kingdom. NIcoletta’s parents immediately set out to smuggle her out of the chaos and havoc through the hay carts at the back of the castle. She was sent into the night’s darkness in a hay filled cart while her parents bought her time. This was the last time she would ever see her parents or their kingdom. From then on, Nicoletta had to make her own path and start a new journey.

The crumble of her childhood and family was the first step to defining who Nicoletta becomes, a maiden of righteousness and justice; the light for every darkness.

As she grew up, she had to learn to raise herself on the streets in poverty. She grew stronger, learning to raise herself and slowly saw all the wrong things that went around her every day. The next milestone in Nicoletta’s journey to become a war maiden was in her early teens. In the streets of a small village, invaders ravaged the buildings and civilians at night. Blood was spurting into the fire lit night sky as the invaders slaughtered the innocent village folk. Nicoletta, who had established a small home in the village decided to take a stand for what was hers and what was right. She picked up a bloodied discarded sword from the earth and awaited in front of her hut for anyone that dared burn her small sanctuary down.

Unknown to Nicoletta, she had been gifted by the Gods to be a natural with any blade. Nimble like the wind and sharp like lightning, she cut down her foes that approached her hut. By daylight, the smoldering village had all but one hut burned down. Bodies were cast around all over the villages ground and around her hut. Nicoletta knew then it was her duty to stand for what she believed was right. This is what set her off on her own quest for justice. To learn who was responsible for her crumbled childhood and to help eliminate the evil on Earth.

Nicoletta is driven by her sense of justice, which can be the downfall for her as she cannot stand for unjust actions or evil souls being free in the world. Although it may not be appropriate for the situation, she will make swift justice with her blade with the offender.


Concept Sketch

Designing a game is a lot of work. Putting in the time and effort to figure out the proper mechanics and dynamics in games takes up a lot of time for developers. They need to find what works and what doesn’t work together, and after that figuring out the aesthetics of the game as well.

All in all, the design and creation of a game is a very difficult task, especially if you want a successful game that is a hit with consumers.

An arising issue for independent game developers are cloning of games. Simply put, people are blatantly ripping off games from small developers and cashing in on other people’s ideas. I know that some people say ideas are worthless, it’s about how you execute the idea that is important. But what if somebody steals your idea and your execution of your idea, now that’s a problem.

Small developers do not have access to the resources large developers have to go through the justice system of suing clones.

A recent issue is a clone of the game “One and One Story” from a flash developer, being blatantly ripped off by an Vietnamese developer who has released the game on the iTunes app store without consent of the original developers. They have simply re branded the name, despite the game being a clear clone.

One and One Story was recently a finalist in the IGF (Independent Games Festival).

http://www.igf.com/02finalists.html#one

It seems like a lot of shady developers are targeting small developers, ripping their games off and trying to earn a profit from it. Cloning and theft of these games are easy to do sadly, but solving the problem is a whole new issue.

Another example is the recent “Pokemon Yellow” app on the iTunes store, which I believe has been pulled, which claimed to be a emulated version of the famous Pokemon Yellow game. The only problem is that it was not published by Nintendo or any licensed developer. Nor did the game work! It was another stolen idea, in an attempt to make a profit. Bogus Pokémon Yellow Game Is Now Number Two on the Apple App Store

 

Do some developers no longer have any honesty or creativity? I know some people may take advantage of using other game’s new mechanics, but a blatant copy is unacceptable. There needs to be better ways for independent developers to protect their games. Or rather, a better way to prevent people from copying a developer’s game entirely.

To the copying developers, get your own material!!!

Games before PhysX:

Developers back in the day had to precompute how objects would behave in reactions during an event. This meant the same animation would be played during a certain event. PhysX on the other hand can calculate all required physics simulations in real time, giving unique animations and reactions during events in-game.

What is PhysX?

PhysX is a physics engine that is currently owned by Nvidia. Originally PhysX was a part of an expansion card on computer systems similar to a dedicated Graphics card (GPU), but instead this expansion card housed a Physics Processor Unit (PPU). PhysX was a part of a company called Ageia, which was then bought into Nvidia.

The PhysX engine is used widely throughout today’s games and consoles, from Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PS3, Xbox 360, and the Wii.

PhysX is responsible for calculating all physics simulations in games efficiently and quickly. This makes games more realistic in return, giving objects dynamics and realistic reactions to the environment (i.e Fluids).

How does PhysX work?

Before, an expansion card was needed, which was a dedicated PPU. Now with the evolving technology around us, a graphics card with CUDA enabled cores can partake in the physics calculations.

Here is a brief overview on what CUDA is from my previous post:

https://gamedevpanda.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/384/

Because Nvidia acquired Aegia who developed and owned PhysX initially, Nvidia converted over to physics processing directly on the GPU, eliminating the PPU expansion card. GPUs today are very efficient at churning out calculations in a parallel architecture, therefore crunching down numbers quickly.

If you GPU has at least 32 CUDA cores on it (from Nvidia) and 256MB of VRAM on the GPU, then it will be able to handle the PhysX calculations without an extra card. The advantages of this are having 2 or more GPUs in a system, in SLI configuration, allowing an entire GPU dedicated to PhysX calculations, and the other responsible for rendering out the images. These combo is a very efficient and fast way to chew down processing times.

Here is a brief overview of what SLI is if you do not know from a previous post:

https://gamedevpanda.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/what-is-sli-and-how-does-it-make-things-better/

According to Nvidia, “PhysX is designed specifically for hardware acceleration by powerful processors with hundreds of processing cores.” Which means better looking graphics and simulations faster.

Some examples of what PhysX is responsible for in games are the following:

  • Explosions that create dust and collateral debris
  • Characters with complex, jointed geometries, for more life-like motion and interaction
  • Spectacular new weapons with incredible effects
  • Cloth that drapes and tears naturally
  • Dense smoke & fog that billow around objects in motion

Often games will have PhysX options to be enabled or disabled.

Well things don’t have to have PhysX right?

It is true games can run without PhysX, but without it, games can look very lifeless, still, and no very convincing at all. Here are a few comparison videos:

Mirror’s Edge:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0xRJt8rcmY&w=560&h=315]

Overview of several games: PhysX on and off:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x9B_4qBAkk&w=560&h=315]

Also here are some several videos of more comparisons on Nvidia’s website:

http://www.geforce.com/Hardware/Technologies/physx/videos

Overall, PhysX in games is a very important role in making games look realistic and giving computer graphics the extra boost of reality as well.

In the traditional game of hopskotch, there are luck based mechanics and skill based mechanics to play the game. We have applied these two elements into our own simple game that is fun to play and easy to learn!

What is the luck part of our game?

Rolling the dice and receiving a random number between 1-6.

What is the skill part of our game?

Drawing! Draw something that people understand while following the games restrictions and rules.

Combine these two and what is the game?

It is a simple game really. The game involves players rolling a die to determine the number of penstrokes they are allowed. After they will draw a card that will have an object. Using a piece of paper or whiteboard, the player will have to draw the object using the limited number of penstrokes within 60 seconds. Other players will try to guess the object for points. First player to reach 10 points, or another predetermined amount wins!

My whiteboard… or rather pinkboard to draw on

Sample card from the deck of objects. Draw them! 

Okay so how do I play? 

  1. Players will sit in a circle or group together so everybody can see each other.
  2. A deck of cards containing several common objects will be placed face down and shuffled on the table.
  3. Players will all roll the die once to determine who goes first; highest value wins. After that it will commence in a clockwise direction.
  4. Player will roll the die to get a number between 1-6, this will be the number of penstrokes he/she will be allowed to use
  5. Player will draw a card from the top of the deck
  6. Timer for 60 seconds will start immediately after player reads card
  7. Player must draw the object on a board or piece of paper within the time limit and limited to the number of penstrokes allowed
  8. Other players must guess what the object is
  9. If guessed correctly, the player drawing receives 2 points, and the guessing player receives 1 point
  10. First person to 10 points wins!!! (Or any other amount)

Fruit Trails!

Posted: March 11, 2012 in INFR 2330
Tags: , ,

Today we will be talking about the fruits in Canada and when they are in season. This will help us learn what local fruits are being grown depending on the time of the year. It’s very important to know so you can get the freshest local fruit, rather than fruit and vegetables grown elsewhere and shipped over. Fresh fruit is better than shipped fruit!

Using this information I will be creating a boardgame to help illustrate what fruits are in season.

First let’s do a bit of research.

A lot of fruits and produce are grown here in Ontario throughout the Green Belt. Ontario has very rich soils for growing fruits and vegetables. A good guide on the available fruits and vegetables throughout the year can be found on the following websites:

But since we’ll be talking about all of Canada, different provinces will have different produce available. Here are some sites that illustrate seasonal fruits and vegetables:

That’s a lot of produce!!! But onto the educational game about the lovely produce Ontario makes! (Yes I am using Ontario since I’m from there.) The game will be based on fruits since I am more of a fan of fruits and together with vegetables the available fruits are simply too much! So here is a chart with the fruits that will be used in the game:

So what is the game?

The game will involve a long path with tiles along the way. Each tile will represent an empty supermarket. Certain parts of the board will be categorized for different months. So the board will have a start, finish, and be divided into 12 different sections. The sections will be different colored tiles for the path. This will be the gameboard.

Rough markup of the board and sections

Players will shuffled a deck of cards and deal out the entire deck. The deck will contain certain fruits on them, with information on the months they are available. Players will all start at the beginning of the board and take turn rolling a die. All players should have equal number of cards along with markers that correspond to their player color. Here is an example of what it can look like.

Strawberry card and player markers

The goal of the game is for players to travel along the board, whenever they reach a certain tile, they need to find a card that can be discarded for that supermarket depending on the season. If the player has a fruit he can fill the supermarket with, he will place his card in the discard pile and put a marker on the tile to signify the supermarket has been filled.

The goal of the game is to reach the end and to have delivered the most fruit (least number of cards).

Brief overview of rules and gameplay:

Goal: Get to the end with the least number of cards

Conditions: Players take turns rolling a dice, players can only travel forwards (time can’t go backwards!), players can only place down fruits that are in season, once a supermarket is filled (tile), no other fruits can be put into it.

Now go learn and eat some fruit!!!