28 November 2012

Thoughts on Pixels: Canabalt

I have recently started to play Canabalt again, mostly because I needed something to kill time while on public transport, and it still is a strikingly simple yet elegant game to play. Let's analyze a bit.

I needed something to play on my Android-phone. Something that starts up and ends quickly, as I would sometimes only play in bursts of three or four minutes. Something that works on a small resolution, because my phone is rather small. Something with simple but reliable input, preferably being among the very few Apps that actually recognize my slide-out keyboard because I highly dislike gaming with a touchscreen where my thumb obscures a third of the screen and the input precision is less than good anyways. Temple Run, while still being touch-controlled, was alright for a while but whenever the bus or subway train I was on turned, the phones sensors would interpret that as a tilt and that would lead to in-game troubles. So I came back to Canabalt, downloaded myself the HD-Paid-Version. It is as glorious as I remember.

The appropriate thing for the game to do in any situation I want to play things on my cellphone in is in the minimalistic and simple input. There are only two variables to player-input in Canabalt, one being when you press jump and the other being how long you press it. That's all. The first four seconds of the game are always the same, putting three obstacles in your way, first two random office-objects, then the drop behind that window. Only if you miss all three jumps, you will fall to your death. Then the game is, of course, on.

20 November 2012

One Page Dungeon Project 1 - a sneak peak

I have decided to participate in the next One Page Dungeon Contest, which is still a few months away but who knows how long I'll take to actually get this thing done? Might as well use that creative energy of mine now.

So here's what I intend to do: I've made this vertical dungeon (in a broad sense), a bunker situated in an abandoned missile silo from the cold war era. I made the graphics with Google SketchUp and then edited them with Gimp because I couldn't draw if my life depended on it. Now the idea is that, while my One Page Dungeon will have an urban fantasy theme with a satanic cult and vampires and all that, the graphics can be used to interpret them as pretty much any scenario that sensibly could take place in a private or governmental bunker. I mean, people can actually buy these things today...

So here I present a small glimpse at my current state of graphical representation, the dungeon-map so to speak, although the full version is, of course, much larger and more detailed:

As you can see here, there is a house topside and the missile silo itself has been fitted with floors, making it a vertical dungeon with quite a few floors to cover. I'll post more whenever this thing grows beyond the preliminary state - I'm currently writing descriptions on everything, giving the whole thing story, theme and antagonists.

12 November 2012

Character Progress in Games - some thoughts

Whilst playing Kerbal Space Program recently, I've been thinking about the different types of progress characters in games, in both video- and pen & paper RPG, make towards overcoming challenges set by the game or a game master better. Here's what I've come up with regarding character growth in games.

Three types of character growth, actually, if you completely disregard story, lore, context and all these things that get in the way of talking about pure game-mechanics. Of these three types of growth, only one is immanent in the game itself, which is the first I'll talk about here: Character growth.