quinta-feira, 21 de setembro de 2017

Six years of GAMING CONCEPTZ!

Six years of gaming content in 286 posts.

Thanks to the followers.

Long live to GAME ANALYTICZ!



Check the first post by clicking here.

#GoGamers

domingo, 10 de setembro de 2017

Roger Caillois and one possible view about the complexity of games and play forms

In his iconic book from 1958 “Man, Play and Games” (“Les jeux et les homes” as the original title, in French), the sociologist Roger Caillois discusses how a gaming culture can be an essential element of social changing.

In the first chapter of the book, Caillois presents one interesting view about possibilities of play forms and how they can combine among them. In a very synthetic way, the author says that there are four play forms:

1) Agon: play activities that depend on physical abilities like soccer, basketball, chess (mind effort), boxing etc.

2) Alea: ludic situations that depend of pure chance, like lottery, casino roulette and dice-rolling games based only on luck.

3) Mimicry: role-playing games and theatrical activity (make-believe game).

4) Ilinx: Activities where there is risk of life and vertigo. Tightrope, bungee jump and other extreme sports are some examples.

Trying to summarize these ideas, I created the following image:



It’s important to highlight that these categories can combine themselves in other situations. One “Dungeons & Dragons” RPG session, for instance, can combine elements of mimicry (in the role play) and alea (in dice-rolling situations). Poker can combine alea factors (the way the cards will appear in the table) with agon (the strategy and mental effort to create strategy).

This post is only a synthesis of an important idea from Caillois. I strongly suggest the full reading of “Man, Play and Games”. It’s a fantastic way to dwell deeply about games, game design and ludic elements in the contemporary scenario.

#GoGamers



Reference:

CAILLOIS, Roger. Man, Play and Games. USA: Illinois University, 2001.

sexta-feira, 1 de setembro de 2017

Teaser trailer: MIND ALONE

In a partnership with SIOUX Studios from São Paulo I'll launch my new mobile game soon (end of October probably)! MIND ALONE is a text-based ludic interface. It is an experimental puzzle game that uses different functions from smartphones to create an immersive suspense/terror narrative. It is a “scape the room” game, but the room is your own mind. Each memory is a puzzle. The aim is to solve the puzzles, recover your memory, reach the surface and wake up from this mysterious nightmare.

Check the teaser trailer:



Wait for news here!

#GoGamers

domingo, 20 de agosto de 2017

One game design exercise to rethink the past while looking at the present

This semester, I’d like to propose my students one interesting exercise from the book “The ultimate guide to video game writing and design”. Though I’ve made some modifications, the main idea is to recreate a modern game in an old fashioned way.

Some steps are necessary for this mission:

1) Choose one game from the last generation of consoles (Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) and mobile devices (Android and iOS). The more complex, the better.
2) Try to imagine and recreate the game for the Atari platform (keep the essence of the narrative and few elements from the mechanics).
3) Using samples and print screens from Atari’s games, build a few simple interfaces for the game. This will be a big challenge. In some way, the interface must resemble some core visual elements.
4) Create a prototype for the cartridge cover.

Below, is one example that I created for this post using the game THE LAST OF US.


I tried to maintain the shooting mechanics with stealth. Characters must use the stairs simultaneously to reach the other side of the screen. In a minimalist way, I tried to keep the essence of the "clickers" enemies. Interface is very simple with stamina and ammunition.


The new game's cover is an homage to a very similar story - the movie LOGAN.

To the check the main idea from THE LAST OF US, watch the trailer below:



Many people are creating modern-retro-art for Atari games, you can check out some interesting examples in this link.

#GoGamers



Reference:

DILLE, Flint; PLATTEN, John Zuur. The ultimate guide to video game writing and design. New York: Skip Press, 2007

terça-feira, 8 de agosto de 2017

Ernest Adams - Agency vs Story



Visit http://www.criticalpathproject.com to search through interviews with over 100 of the videogame industry’s most influential designers and visionaries.

#GoGamers

segunda-feira, 31 de julho de 2017

The importance of studying games, or why I travelled half of the world to attend a gaming conference

From July 12th until the17th, I was in one of the world’s most relevant gaming conferences: DIGRA 2017. It took place in Melbourne, Australia, in the fantastic Swinburne University. I attended this event in 2011 in Netherlands (by the way, it was the first time I was in an international conference) and it was a transforming moment in my professional/academic life. This year was not different: another great experience.

When I tell people about a gaming conference, they ask me how this works. First idea that comes to their minds is a place to play the newest games from big publishers, or an event full of gaming events. Well, the idea is very different from that. In a conference like DIGRA, we talk about the game industry, game design and tendencies, but the discussion goes beyond those subjects.

This year, we had excellent debates about sexuality in games, gender in games, gaming classification, historical contexts in ludic experiences, sound design, game design, interfaces, analogic vs. digital games, philosophy inside games, social contexts in games – these are just a few examples of the whole content. How is it possible? Because games – in the contemporary scenario - became a potent media and a very important platform to socialize, interact and cast messages.


DIGRA main panel (july 6th - 2017). Pic by @vincevader

In a conference like DIGRA, the specialists are discussing all these points inside a greater subject: games. One thing is a common sense among all the researchers: it is very difficult to study it, but all of us are trying to create a more serious space to debate this. As a Brazilian researcher, I understand the importance to be part of the gaming studies field, not only in my country, but also in other parts of the globe. Networking is another important keyword in this context.

So, answering the question on the title above: I travelled half of the world to “power up” my knowledge and reach a new level in my academic research. On the next months, I’ll try to write and produce more about all that I have experienced in this event.

Next year, the conference will be in Turin, Italy. Follow the DIGRA Twitter for more information. Keep your eyes open.

#GoGamers

domingo, 9 de julho de 2017

Time, entertainment and the state of flow

When we are experiencing certain activities, time passes differently. Time can go fast when we are playing an interesting game, or slowly if we are watching a boring movie. It varies from person to person, but all of us have different perceptions of the time passing. In this context it’s important to highlight that there’s one chronological time (seconds, minutes, hours etc.) and a subjective time (one that affects every single individual in an unique way).

This is a complex subject to discuss in a short post, so I want to talk about these perceptions related to the gaming field. To help me in this mission, I’ll summon the ideas of the Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. This researcher (1975) has developed the idea of flow to explain some time lapses we can experience when we are involved in some specific activity. Csikszentmihalyi (1975) explains that “flow” is a state in which a person is fully immersed in an action and highly focused to the extent that one can experience, for example, a loss in the feeling of self-consciousness and time experience. To help us visualize this concept, Csikszentmihalyi created a graph to visually explain the idea of flow:


Source: Tolstoy Therapy

In a synthetic way, we can observe that there are two axes in the graph above: one shows the degree of challenge and other shows skill and confidence levels. When we are experiencing a very stressful situation (like an emergency surgery, one very difficult test or a complex work to be done in a short period) we can enter a zone of panic and anxiety. On the other hand, if we are experiencing a very boring situation (a monotonic class, an annoying movie or a non-challenging game) we can enter a zone of complete boredom. Both extremes lead us to states of attention that - potentially - are harmful to our minds.

But there’s one zone of perfect balance between a stressful situation and a complete boredom state: the flow. When we experience a state of flow, we immerse ourselves in a state of mind that we can even feel the passing of time differently. Have you ever played videogames for three hours but inside of your head, only one hour has passed? This is one situation when a flow happens.

Games are excellent examples to illustrate this discussion. When we like the experience of playing certain games (analogic or digital), we can feel immersed in the state of flow. So, one important component of game design is how to engage players in the game experience so that they potentially access the flow state. There’s no recipe for this, but to test a lot of games with different beta testers that could show some interesting ways to do it.

I want to dedicate this post to all gamers that need to wake up early, but instead say “just ten more minutes” (and play for another hour). =)

#GoGamers



References:

CSIKSZENTMIHALYI, Mihaly. Play and intrinsic rewards. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol 15(3), 1975, 41-63. Online >> click here.