Archive for the ‘INFR 2330’ Category

Who Are You?: Homework 7

Posted: March 25, 2012 in INFR 2330
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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

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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!!!

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!!!

Today I will be discussing the visual stereotypes in video games through the design aspect. Even though how a character looks plays an important role in setting the theme and mood of a game, in many of the recent games released, women and men are visualized in an over sexualized manner. Originally, games in the beginning of the industry were created as humble and family friendly games. Though as time progressed, how women and men are visualized has changed dramatically.

In the beginning:

These were the simple days, with 2D 8-16bit characters and provided hours of fun. A good example is Mario and Peach. Mario, is a short stubby Italian plumber. There’s nothing scary or frightening about Mario. He’s simply a character everyone likes and plays with.

Peach is also a humble and modest looking character designed back in the beginning of console video games. Just like Mario, there is nothing sexual or “jump out at you” characteristics about Peach.

The characters are cartoonish and friendly.

Times start to change:

Then around the time Super Nintendo games came out, characters started to look better in games, but were also designed as muscular hulk of men along with busty 2D 16 bit characters. The design of fighting game characters such as Poison from Final Fight or the main male characters of Final Fight (the fact that Poison is transgender is irrelevant in this example, I’m just pointing out she was designed to have a large bust).

Here the characters displayed are very muscular. They make Mario look like an infant. 

The art of Poison from Final Fight that was released with the game.

Where are we now with women and men in games?

Now with all the new technology, the situation has evolved into an even worse problem. Though there are distinct games that are over the top in their representation of men and women, while others are concentrating on the aesthetics of the game rather than how muscular or how big a female character’s breasts are.

A prime example of this problem getting out of hand is Ivy from the Soul Calibur series.

Notice her overly exaggerated bust size along with provocative and revealing clothing. 

Whoa, but why is this exactly a problem? As a guy I love boobs! Or as a girl, I love ripped hunks! 

This is because many games now are basing them entirely on good looking, unrealistic and “sexy” characters. While focusing entirely on a female or males looks, they fail to concentrate on the actual content of the game itself. Yea we get it, sex sells, but so do GOOD GAMES. Stop this madness with the over sexualized characters and make games with actual good content!!! The good developers are getting the idea that, no you don’t need a woman with H-Cup boobs or a man with pectorals the size of hills and tanks for each abdominal muscle. A good example of balance is Resident Evil 5’s Sheva. Yea she has boobs, but they’re not over the top, so she can still be considered sexy, but not unrealistic.

Capcom got it right this time, focusing on the game, rather than making an overly busty character

But then there are the games that rely solely on a good looking character to get their sales. A good example would be X Blades. A lot of you probably haven’t heard of it, since it didn’t sell that well because of the mediocre review it received (6/10. The game’s main heroine is a young scantily clad woman who treasure hunts. That pretty much sums up the game. The studio making the game even promoted the video game with seductive wallpapers on their website.

The game was based entirely on how the girl looked in my opinion. Is that a thong I see?

Conclusion:

The aesthetics of games need to stop being based on how big a woman’s boobs are, or how young and flawless they look. Or on the other side of the spectrum how muscular and fit a male character is. Great games don’t need super sexual characters. They can be good looking yes, but there needs to be some boundaries, some realism. Another good example of normal looking, good looking character in a great game is Drake from the Uncharted.

Normal looking guy, covering up his body, no need to show off giant muscles. 

A bit unnecessary (Rock from Soul Calibur 4)

So overall, we don’t need all this nonsense! Or else guys will start to look like this from all those muscles:

Left 4 Dead Tank

We all like to escape and have fantasy characters in our minds every once in a while, but we really don’t need them in all of our games. In contrast we need a bit of a sense of realism too, not H-Cup boobs bouncing around on screen all the time. So stop sitting in your basement and playing busty babe games (you know who you are).

As games are being developed further and further to become more realistic than its competitors or previous versions, more professionals are adapting games as tools to help them improve their skills.

Games are not necessarily only created and designed for leisure and entertainment. Recently, more and more games are being brought out to be used as simulation to hone the skills of professionals. A good example are medical simulators for surgeons, flight simulators for pilots and so many more. Though these have been around for a long time, they have often looked crude, or lacked the full immersion and realism that simulators should have.

Nowadays though with all the new technology and hardware, very realistic simulators can be made. A simulator that takes advantage of all this, that is used today and will be discussed in my blog post is iRacing.

More and more driver’s have been using this simulator to improve and hone their driving/racing skills. Some are just casual players looking for realistic driving games to play, or some players are big name racers practicing without going to the track and facing the real dangers while trying new skills.

Simulators are becoming more and more popular with professionals as they are convenient ways to practice without experiencing as much danger, but gaining the same skills from going out. In a way this is helping professionals cut costs of using real machines versus a simulator.

What is iRacing?

It is an on-line racing simulator designed to be as realistic as possible. Using real physics of cars in its game, unlike more arcade games such as Forza or console racing games, it tries to be as accurate as possible. Though this game, which the company calls a service, requires a monthly subscription fee.

The video game uses exact replicas of cars that can be raced in the game along with replica tracks from around the world. The game also has officially sanctioned events such as real races for prizes.

How does it look?

Though the graphics aren’t the best of the best, they aim for realism with proper proportions and cockpit views for players that want to get as close to the experience as possible.

Cockpit screenshot from iRacing

The game does offer automatic updates, so you can expect the game to get more and more realistic than what it is already as it is developed further.

Track Record, who uses it and has it actually helped?

A great example for a professional using iRacing as a training tool is Tommy Milner. Racer Tommy Milner claimed that playing these simulators helped dramatically reduce the learning curve of new tracks. He applied his training through the simulator iRacing to win the 24 hours of LeMans; a huge race that is a triumph for any driver to win.

 For a couple thousand dollars (this includes the price for the giant TV!) he built a rig at his own home to practice without having to spend the resources to get into an expensive racecar and hit unfamiliar tracks.

Milner in his home racing rig running iRacing

“I spend probably 2 hours on the sim a week when im not racing and 2 hours a day a few days leading up to a race,” Milner told Jalopnik.com It helps racers refresh their minds on tracks they haven’t raced on for a significant amount of time.

This is not the only success story of using iRacing in a professional setting. More good examples are Racer Trevor Bayne using iRacing to help him win the Daytona 500, or even an average guy, named Greger Huttu, who has never driven a racecar playing and winning races on iRacing, then put on a track to see if he can actually race like he races online. Recently, even Travis Pastrana is using iRacing to train for NASCAR.

Conclusion

 With hardware advancing further along with software, simulators are being made more and more realistic everyday. These developments are helping professionals and even regular people gain the skills they would never attempt to achieve in real life (due to several complications).

We can hope that simulator technology improves to the point we can only practice on simulators and apply our skills directly to real life right after. Games are becoming useful for real world applications and being designed as training aids. Keep up the good work world!

Homework 5: Remixing Games

Posted: February 17, 2012 in INFR 2330
Tags: , ,
Part 1: Remix of War

Introduction

War is a simple children’s card game for 2 players. To play the game, players need a standard deck of 52 cards ( no Jokers) and will shuffle the deck, then deal out half to each player. Players will take their decks and put them in a face down stack. Simultaneously, players will flip over the top cards of their decks, where the highest rank of the two cards will win (Ace is high, King, Queen, Jack, 10-2). Winner till take the cards and place them in his/her own discard pile. Though in the event that the cards drawn are equal, a sequence of “war” will happen. This sequence is when players deal the top 3 cards of their decks face down, then draw a fourth new cards from the top of their decks. The higher rank of this sequence will win all cards on the table, including the face down cards. Winner will then place all cards into their discard pile.

The resolution of the game is when a player runs out of cards. Players will keep playing, and once their deck runs out, they will turn over their discard pile to become their new deck. Once a player no longer has enough cards to continue, or complete a full sequence of war, the winner is the one who has the most cards/is still able to continue.

This is a game entirely based on chance. The game is playing itself, while players are simply drawing the cards without any decisions.

Now let’s turn this game into something that involves a bit of decision/risk taking.

I have thought of a new way to play War, to involve some decisions for players to make, so it requires them to use skills/decisions instead of relying on luck.

A deck of 52 playing cards is shuffled and split evenly by dealing out the cards to both players.

In my remixed version, it will also use a standard 52 deck card without Jokers. The deck will be shuffled and split in half to each player. Players will then draw a hand of 5 cards from the top of their own decks. Players will choose one card they wish to play in their hand and put it forward onto the table.

Unlike the original version, this will not be simultaneous. Players will take turns going first, which is where the decisions lay. To determine who goes first, a standard first draw from the top of their decks will determine who plays a hand first at the beginning of the game.

Highest card wins (Ace is high, King, Queen, Jack, 10 down to 2). Winner will take the cards and place them to his/her own discard pile if they are unequaled ranks. Players will then draw 1 card from the top of their decks to make their hands back to a total of 5 cards. In the event of cards being played with the same rank, this will engage a “war.” Players will draw 3 cards from the top of their decks and place them face down then pick a card from the top of their decks. If the player does not have enough cards from the top of their deck, they will shuffle their hand and take the remainder from there. Highest card wins and winner takes all cards and places in their discard pile. Game will continue until one player is out of cards or does not have enough cards for “war.”

Part 2: Remix of Tic Tac Toe

Introduction

If you don’t know what Tic Tac Toe is then we might have a problem. Possibly one of the easiest games to learn and earliest game you learn about. Regardless here’s a brief overview of the game. A simple 3×3 grid is drawn without borders, players will then take turn to mark down Xs and Os until one of them can make a consecutive 3 in a row, column or diagonal. This is a strategic game, though once you and your opponent learn the strategy to win, it will often end in a tie game.

Who needs skills when you’ve got chance, let’s make it random! 

To make Tic Tac Toe a chance based game, I have added a mechanic to randomize the Xs and Os placed.

Players will set up a 3×3 grid to play with, one side labelled x, the other side labelled y. Players will choose to be an X or an O. Players will either flip a coin or some other means of chance to determine who goes first. Using a regular 6 sided die, players will roll twice, the first being the coordinate for the x axis, and the second being the y axis. 1,2,3 are 1,2,3, and 4,5,6 are 1,2,3. These numbers will represent the tile they will place their marker. In the event that a space rolled is already taken, players will roll again until a space is found with no marker. If there is one space left, player can ignore die roll and place marker on last space. First player to get 3 in a row will win the round.

That’s it! No skill required.

Part 3: Remix of “Race from the Ace”

Introduction

This game was originally for Homework 2, where it was to create a “race to the end” based game. The game “Race from the Ace” was created by me and my group, Jason Porier and Sascha Maurer.  A simple overview on how the game was played are as follows:

  • Game to be played with 2 or more players
  • One player will be assigned the title of dealer per round
  • Dealer will deal one card to every player, starting on the person on his/her left and dealing to themselves last
  • First player (left of dealer) will look at card and decide to keep their card or to trade it with the person on his/her right
  • This will continue until the dealer, where the dealer can choose to split the deck or to keep his/her card since they cannot trade with anyone
  • If a player has a King, and another player is trying to trade cards with him/her, the player with the King can refuse to trade since it is the highest card, winning the round
  • Once all trades/keeps are done, all players will show their cards simultaneously
  • Player with the lowest card in the round will receive -1 spaces
  • Using a key on the board, it will determine how much players will move that round using the values
  • First one to the end wins!
  • Colors of tiles on the board have powerups, though they will not be listed since they’re not relevant to this post

Gameboard with key for value of cards

This game involves the decision of players and their thoughts on the chances of getting a better card if they choose to trade. At the very base of this game it is a skill based game.

Now let’s make it chance based.

The only real change needed to completely nullify any decisions or skills in playing the game is removing the mechanic of being able to trade/keep cards. In this version, dealers will just deal one card to every player, then everyone will flip their cards simultaneously. Players will then move along the board accordingly. No skills, no decisions.