Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mightier: real world + virtual world = fun

Cool concept that makes use of the camera and real world to solve puzzles. It's ingenius the idea of printing out and drawing something on paper, then scan it back in to alter the environment in the game. A way to integrate analog creativity into our digital age.

Mightier from Ratloop on Vimeo.

I'd love to see something that played around with this idea for iPhone. I remember those bar code battler games from a few years ago, I wonder if there is some version of a game like that, where you take photos of real world items that map to the game and change the experience for the player.

Also, as a way to get people to creatively problem solve, it would be interesting to see what potential the drawing/design mechanics could have as an educational tool.

Something like this would have been awesome back in Art class when I was a wee bairn!

Download the game demo here

Sunday, December 14, 2008

transmedia update

A panel featuring 2 of the smartest people I know when it comes to understanding the power of transmedia and how entertainment is more and more converging as we all move to deliver content through the same digital channels. Jesse Alexander brought transmedia to NBC with his work on Heroes and Bill Gannon is flying the flag over at Lucasfilm.

Here is the book that Jesse and Bill reference, Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins.

More and more, as game creators we have the potential to create properties that can be explored beyond gaming. This doesn't just have to be major big budget properties, like EA's recent Dead Space IP that launched with an animated feature & comic. There are so many low fidelity ways to create and deliver stories now, with comics, digital graphic novels and indie games. This is not cheesy brand exploitation. I'm talking about cool, authentic content that is created with care and love and can stand on its own.

Monday, December 8, 2008


World of Goo is a fantastic game, kind of Lemmings designed by structural engineers. It's one of a swathe of great indie content (Braid, Castle Crashers etc) that is really establishing a strong market . These are true indie developers, benefiting from the maturing digital distribution markets on XBLA, Wiiware etc by self-funding and self publishing their own games.

World of Goo Trailer 2, Director's Cut from 2D Boy on Vimeo.

Buy the game or download a demo here

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Make it Happen

fuel to get out there and make it happen....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Silent Protagonist

Highly recommend this excellent article by Andrew Vanden Bossche about the role of the silent protagonist in games. This is primarily as seen in 1st person games and he deconstructs Gordon Freeman in the article.

Overall I do like the silent protagonist. It's not so much that I like to make up my own stories about the character's identity, more that I don't want the character to distract me from my own immersion in the world.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

RIP Greg Bick

A very good friend of mine and one of my favorite creative partners in the industry passed away last weekend.
His name was Greg Bick and he was 44 years young.

Greg and I worked together years ago at Rockstar, on a couple of projects. One was The Warriors, the other was an original IP that we both loved, that disappointingly got shelved. We had both held out hope that we would someday be able to resurrect it.

I hadn't seen Greg as much in recent years but always hoped we would have the opportunity to work together again. Always one of the good guys, with a great family that he put before anything.
Greg, good night and best wishes......

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Game of Life

I just found out about this great game called Passage

I don't want to give too much away check it out first. It might seem simple and crude but play it through, then read the statement from the creator Jason Rohrer.

This is part of the Gamma 256 contest where people have to create games using no more than 256 pixels. It's a great piece of homebrew content that shows how games can connect with us in emotional ways beyond visceral blasting.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A democracy of content.

In my first post to this blog, I wrote about how unique video games are compared to movies/TV etc because of the active participation games seek from the player. I was feeling pretty smart about how well positioned games are to tap into the generation of people growing up that want to engage with their entertainment in a more user-driven way.

Well a day later I read this article by Mike Elgan about cell-phone novels and it got me thinking about how other 'old media' entertainment mediums are adapting to meet the demands of this audience.

Turns out games are not so unique after all.

User generated content and a democratization of the content creation landscape, is bringing about a sea change in every industry and absolutely has to be factored into your dreams of creating that brand new, hit IP.

As intoxicating as the thought of being that single auteur is, we are moving from old school autocratic storytelling towards finding ways to involve the audience in a much more participatory way. This is happening in many creative ways.

Some shoot from the hip examples that have facilitated huge cultural shifts in our global landscape -

Blogosphere - Every successful blog has a comments section that allows the reader to participate in the debate, not be a passive observer. Everyone can generate an opinion and guide the debate!
News - digg allows users to select which news story is important and should be shared with a wider audience.
Social Networking - Facebook, MySpace allow people to create their own social space and community. This is a huge time suck!
Mashups - Popular on Youtube. I'll also pimp create your own Star Wars mashup here.
Novels - cell-phone novels democratize writing. Also services like createspace allow people to self-publish books, movies, music.
Music - I want to mention hip hop here as an early example of how technology facilitated user content in a way that changed a whole industry. But I love hip hop so much I'm going to leave it for a bigger post at a later date!

UPDATE: To read something far more eloquent than my scattered thoughts on this subject, check out ninja creative and eloquent transmedia spokesperson Jesse Alexander's post on the Spiderwick Chronicles. Jesse is out in front on all this stuff.... I no doubt subconsciously picked up thought patterns on this topic from his blog dammit!

So what am I taking away from my thoughts on this? This doesn't spell doom for those of us who have stories to tell. People will always need a campfire to rally around at night, with a storyteller (or group of storytellers) to provide the core outline and capture the imagination of the audience. But those stories absolutely should go that extra step further and provide the engaged audience with tools to take our worlds and ideas, and have their own fun with it.

The results will be surprising and often times awesome!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What is Joyful about Game Development?

For many of us involved in the creation of video games, finding the joy in what we do can sometimes be elusive. We work crazy hours, with huge development teams, on projects that span many years before we see the fruits of our labor. The final product can often be compromised by actions beyond our control and sometimes we have the crushing experience of working on a project that never sees the light of day.

But this blog is not to highlight the problems and issues that plague game development. There are many places online that articulate these issues with more authority than I can.

This blog is dedicated to the pursuit of joyful, creative development of ideas, stories and worlds!

Video games provide something truly unique in the entertainment medium. We create worlds and stories and then ask our players to be full participants, to be co-creators of the reality we provide. pretty cool.

I'm dedicated to creating intellectual properties and bringing them to as wide an audience as possible. In this blog, I'll be presenting thoughts and ideas on how to do so, sharing my experiences, past and present, and articulating some of the ways that I (a humble new recruit to the powers of transmedia) believe that media convergence can help break new ground for those of us interested in creating and owning our content.

And the joy? Absolutely, every day, try and find the joy and the love in what we do, that passion is what allows the creativity to flow. That's what allows us to create and share the best of our work. To make people love our games, we absolutely have to love making games.

Love from Development