Accessibility guidelines for online games

A great initiative, many of these techniques are easy to achieve and have a big effect on making games playable by more people.

Short film idea – secret question

That Thing
Some people use excuses not to reveal a secret to others, saying ‘when they are ready to know they’ll ask’.

What question should you ask? How do you know what it is and when you should ask it?
What does your wife want you to ask? What is the answer?
Do I have a terminal medical condition that will only be revealed if I ask?

With a bit of direction or mis-direction who knows what might be shared. An application ThatThing has been developed to reveal the secret.
ThatThing is very popular and three months after its release dark patterns begin to emerge. It appears that the desires, dreams and fantasies of 1.3 million women have been captured.
What happens when these secrets are merged, compared or the threat of public release seems real?
Is it blackmail. The chance to liberate. The opportunity for men to save their relationships?
How much would you pay to know the question your partner is waiting for you to ask?

ThatThing® has the answer.

The Lean Analytics Cycle: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act – Occams Razor by Avinash Kaushik

I like the clear way he describes an attitude to improving a product, using analytics as a tool not the director. The Lean Analytics Cycle: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act – Occams Razor by Avinash Kaushik.

To improve something I see my role as a detective with analytics giving me useful clues. These clues help us, they are a starting point, to add intelligence and come up with an hypothesis,  to make deductions that we can test. Analytics never give any answers in themselves.

Game Balance Concepts | A continued experiment in game design and teaching

Game Balance Concepts | A continued experiment in game design and teaching. An interesting article that covers something close to my heart; the idea of a game economy. Where the value of in-game rewards is balanced with give-aways and promotions that are used outside the game. For example if you get 1,000 coins for winning a five minute game, but then give a million coins for returning the next day the whole coin value (game economy) in the players mind is distorted.

Game bugs that became features

A few years ago I worked with a developer who called himself “Norwegian Bastard” and he refused to accept any errors he made and referred to them as bugs, they were “unwanted” or “undesired features”. After a few weeks of this I had to agree with his self-imposed nick name. But when I came across this article on Quora on bugs that became features I couldn’t help but think of him.

My favourite one being “In the original Space Invaders the level got faster as you killed more aliens. This was actually not by design but a by product of the graphics rendering being processor limited. As fewer elements were shown on screen the rendering got faster.”

End game interactive narrative

I saw this posted to the Interactive Narrative Linkedin group. The project is a nice addition to a TV series. An online adventure that uses Facebook – you see one of your friends kidnapped then you help solve the crime. The detective and characters from the show address you directly. The puzzle solving is very simple with lots of hints and help built-in. The puzzles follow the familiar assemble photo’s, look at a computer desktop, click on objects in a room. But the drawing of images from you Facebook friends, although an old trick, is nicely done and has a touch of humour. Overall this is pitched perfectly as a quick enjoyable adjunct to the TV show. It makes me wish Facebook connect had been around when we made the ARG Jamie Kane and the online drama Signs of Life for the BBC.

Endless distraction with the new

A timely thought piece… well I read the first paragraph, but had to check Facebook…

“We are in great haste,” wrote Thoreau in 1854, “to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.” And today, we are in great haste to celebrate something going viral, but seem completely unconcerned whether the thing that went viral added one iota of anything good…

From an article by Arianna Huffington in the Guardian. “Virality uber Alles: what the fetishisation of social media is costing us all”

Side scrolling game in real life

I came across this while doing some game research. These guys find an amusing way to replicate side scrolling in real life with the use of high-tech gizmos and a giant model of the bullet from Mario Kart.

Goggle Box to Google Box

When I was growing up a dismissive term for the television was the Goggle Box – “wasting your time sitting infront of the goggle box”. It struck me that future parents will moan at their kids for sitting infront of the old Google Box.