Tag Archives: gameaweek

NASAGA 2015!!!

Last week I was at North American Simulations and Gaming Association (NASAGA) 2015, in Seattle this year.

NASAGA2015 logo

After loving it last year (see this write-up), I volunteered as soon as I got back to Seattle from LA over the summer and basically got put in charge of the conference website by the conference co-chairs, John Chen (no relation) and Jeannette Davidson from Geoteaming.

Volunteering ballooned into a bigger job than I thought it would, but that’s fine. I still had a ton of fun and met so many awesome people. In addition to the website, I also designed a geolocation game that we played Thursday evening using GPS devices and featuring a puzzle inspired by the light rail that everyone had to take to get downtown. Wee!

Most of the work was done in partnership with Melissa Peterson, who I got to know a lot better this year than last year. She and I were two of the people in the group I was with that was trying the #gameaweek challenge last year, but this past week I really enjoyed working with her… She’s awesome.

As it happens, I also was invited (first by Melissa… so maybe she was buttering me up) and accepted nomination and then a vote into the board! So now I’m a board member for NASAGA! Other board members include Samantha Knight, Melissa Peterson, Christy Cavanaugh, Jeannette Davidson, Jen McCann, Linda Slack, Dani Abrams, Chuck Needlman, and Chris Saeger. I can’t be excited more to be working with them. ūüôā

One thing I’d like to work on is stronger ties with other associations (ABSEL, ISAGA, JASAG, SAGSAG, etc. Basically everything associated with the journal Simulation & Gaming). I also wouldn’t mind if NASAGA did a bit more to bridge the gap between research and practice… and so I’m volunteering to help out with NASAGA 16¬†in Bloomington, Indiana Oct 26-29 with Christy Cavanaugh chairing. At one point she invited me to co-chair but hadn’t realized I was also being invited to the board… I have been advised that serving on both is really, really ill-advised. Tho she’s doing it, so who knows?

On the last day, I did a rapid-fire game jam after a quick intro to 12 free game-making tools from the big list I did in August. Here’s the slides from that:

Jam w Free Digital Game Making Apps!

Jam with Free Digital Game Making Apps!

#GameAWeek NASAGA edition: Curate! or Stuff Matters! or some other title here…

This past week I was at the North American Simulations and Games Association (NASAGA) conference for the first time.

The stories are true; it’s unlike any other conference. There’s a purity and sincerity to it that’s pretty refreshing. Other academic conferences can get pretty cynical and snarky. I like snarky, probably more than the next guy, but there’s no place for that at NASAGA. Everyone is just so enthusiastic and optimistic and really fucking cares about other people, it’s crazy awesome and really hard not to feed off that energy.

All the sessions I went to were semi-structured, hands-on play and debrief of mostly tabletop simulation games that address serious issues and are meant to be used in varying contexts (schools, NGOs, indigenous, healthcare, etc.). ¬†Some of the people attending have been doing this work since the late 60s! They lived the new games movement. Wow…

When I first heard of the conference, in my naivete, I assumed “simulations” were all about the 3D virtual world stuff for the military, since that’s how I’ve come to associate the word in the last 10 years. But NASAGA’s “simulations” are about learning games that simulate complex systems for players to grok and critique. The best games are¬†pretty damn great, remind me of great¬†euro games… ¬†and I’m sorry this conference has been under my radar for so long.

Anyway, the last day had a 3-hour gamejam for local museums and historical societies. Specifically, Eli Pousson from Baltimore Heritage and Abram Fox from the Laurel Historical Society ¬†were there as our gamejam clients.¬†I made this card game with the help of new friend and comrade-in-arms Bret Staudt Willet.¬†I’m using this to fulfill my #gameaweek challenge. :p

Continue reading #GameAWeek NASAGA edition: Curate! or Stuff Matters! or some other title here…

#GameAWeek Challenge: DiGRA Edition! Six Degrees of Tweetsperation

During this year’s Digital Games Research Association meeting at Salt Lake City in early August, Dennis Ramirez and I got together to collaborate on a Twitter game for the conference!

It’s a play on Six Degrees of Separation/Kevin Bacon and my personal intent is to add noise to the conference hive mind twitter cabal. I think Dennis was more interested in making a good game. ūüôā

Read the rules here:

Six Degrees of Tweetsperation

#GameAWeek Challenge: Sploder Trifecta – sHMUP bLUFF, Friends Ignore You, and Using Friends

Sploder is nominally a web-based game-making tool, but, actually, it’s more a collection of tools that make different yet somehow all sort of same-ish platform games. I think either different developers made different tools and then one person bundled them together or one developer kept starting and stopping projects and decided to release all of them instead of making one really good tool. They all sort of are meh with inconsistent creation metaphors, inconsistent levels of in-tool help, etc. It’s all sot of haphazard, and it’s hard to recommend Sploder over something like Construct 2 or GameMaker Studio. I basically wrote this in a review for Graphite (not yet published), too.

Continue reading #GameAWeek Challenge: Sploder Trifecta – sHMUP bLUFF, Friends Ignore You, and Using Friends

#GameAWeek Challenge: Button Quest

Back in June/July, before sHMUP bLUFF, I worked on Button Quest, a game using Flowlab with Sandra Danilovic. Part of the challenge was to learn the web-based game maker well enough to review for Graphite.

Button Quest

Continue reading #GameAWeek Challenge: Button Quest

#GameAWeek (Month) Challenge: sHMUP bLUFF

I’m reviewing Sploder for Graphite.

It’s a web-based game-making tool meant for kids and classrooms. Everything is driven through the web interface and there’s no programming involved. There’s also tons of pre-built sprites with animations and pre-defined behaviors (friendly NPCs, enemy AI, etc.).

The first thing I noticed about Sploder is that when you create a game, you have the option of creating a specific kind of game: a platformer, a puzzler, a top-down shooter, etc., and each of these choices gets you to a particular interface specifically for making that type of game.

And this made me want to try to push Sploder as much as possible, to create games within particular genres that break the genre. For example, what if we (Sandra and I) made a shooter game where the enemy aren’t trying to kill you and instead actually heal you or something?

In trying this out, I discovered that all you do in Sploder is drag and drop art onto a stage. Each object has behavior associated with it that cannot be tweaked. You can’t, for example, change how often and for how much damage a particular enemy ship shoots. You can’t change its speed or anything…

So, I played around with it a bit and came up with the game sHMUP bLUFF, where you are meant NOT to do anything other than watch. But Sploder still has built-in controls, so you could take control of your ship whenever you want. So the game is an exercise in trust… trusting that your wingman is there for you and will protect you. And maybe it’ll succeed and maybe it won’t. And if you take control of your ship, do you break that trust?

And I sort of saw this as a metaphor for living with a loved one who suffers from depression. The player ship is the person who suffers from depression and sometimes just can’t bring themselves to do anything… The wingman is a friend or family member who is trying to protect. (But perhaps this is the wrong metaphor… like often there’s just nothing anyone can do, really… there’s no “fixing” or solving the problems of depression… there’s only coping, so I don’t know how good a metaphor this game is, really, but there you have it… what it can sometimes feel like.)

sHMUP bLUFF

In other news, Ana and Dennis are still making games regularly!

Most recently, Ana made a game about moving called Mover, based sort of on her previous game Paper Pusher. (Grats on the new *house Ana!)

Dennis continues his trend of making small Unity games. Check out Mental Block and Hello, Universe!

And in other other news, we got a session accepted at NASAGA on our Game A Week Challenge!

#GameAWeek Failure! “On the Difficulty of Being an ANT”

Check out unfinished failure: On the Difficulty of Being an ANT: The Interactive Version!

Last week and this week, I’ve been sort of stuck in a moment of nonproductivity with regard to the #gameaweek challenge that I’m doing with Ana, Dennis, Melissa, and Greg. Ana is super inspiring and still¬†going strong and even wrote about her experiences in the ProfHacker column for The Chronicle of Higher Ed!

My moment of stuckage can be primarily blamed on two things. First,¬†I’m making a¬†Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game with Inklewriter based on Latour’s dialog found in his book¬†Reassembling the Social. It’s an interlude between chapters in the book and features a professor having a conversation with a student, and it’s called “On the Difficulty of Being an ANT.”

Continue reading #GameAWeek Failure! “On the Difficulty of Being an ANT”

#GameAWeek RPG Quest

This week’s game is a Twine-based game called RPG Quest: Legend Age.

Spoilers and reflections for this game and last week’s Stay Awake Little Kitty after the break.

Continue reading #GameAWeek RPG Quest

Stay Awake Little Kitty! #gameaweek

The game I made this week started out as one where you try to keep a student awake in class, but I watched a bunch of cat videos on YouTube last night…

stayawakelittlekitty
Stay Awake Little Kitty!

 

Co-op Space Card Game prototype ready for download! #gameaweek

I did it! I finished a set of print-n-play files for the Co-op Space Card Game I’m making!

Co-op Space Card Game.prototype rules (PDF)

Co-op Space Card Game.print n play prototype¬†(PDF) FIXED! (There was a printer set up error… print Actual Size on 8.5×11 in. paper)

The art is NOT final.¬†Nor are the rules, really…

Co-op Space Card Game prototype cards

Continue reading Co-op Space Card Game prototype ready for download! #gameaweek