Board games, board games, board games.

Thomas Vigild threw alot of Lego Dices (dices you can build at your own liking) and other cards at us this morning. Since then the task has been simple; create a board game with dices, chance and probability within one hour. That’s one hour brainstorming, developing, setting up the gameplay and game testing. Puts some strain on your team. Restricting yourself is actually the hardest part of this step – we immediately set out to make a large scaled battle where 3 players with different characters and different abilities would set out to destroy the last player playing a huge and omni-potent robot. Creating a board and giving each player three different dices, one for movement, one for power-ups and one for abilities. We used 30 mins discussing the different rules, variables and loopholes only to use 20 mins figuring out that it wouldn’t work. The last 10 mins we threw everything out the window and followed behind ourselves.

This sums up how important it is to restrain yourself and all your brilliant ideas. So we sat down starting from scratch again with only few minutes to deadline and rushed in a quick socializing game. We wrote down 6 categories like Sport, Politics, Education, Family, Travels and Hobby. 6 categories and a loaded dice with 6 sides. Allright breath now. That’s all we managed to do before the deadline was actually met. So at this stage our game wasn’t even finished brainstorming and we had reached the deadline, not good. The gameplay was simple; you’d roll your dice and pick a category, for instance sport, and you’d tell your co-players something about yourself in that category; “I play hockey regularly”. As you could imagine there’s not much game to this and anyone can sit down and talk about this without any dices.

One of the game testers when talking about drinking games mentioned Meyer (Mia in english) and we quickly stole this idea and attempted to somehow use it in our own socializing game. The idea now is to lie about yourself, you’ll have a score-system (a dice which illustrates your score), a colored truth-lie-dice (which tells you whether you have to lie or tell the truth your turn), and finally a normal dice (which indicates the category you have to tell a lie or truth in). So for example: It’s my turn, I start out rolling the truth-dice and I get black which we’ve agreed is the “lie”-color, I then roll the category-dice and I get 3 which could be Travels. I then go on about how I have been river-rafting in Canada and roadtripped through the States when I am done with my little tale it is now up to each player to decide for themselves whether I have been lying or telling the truth. Each player seeing through my lie will receive 1 point and if everyone is wrong I will get 1 point.

That’s the basic of the game so far and we are looking into creating perhaps some sort of round-system so we can rotate categories and not get stuck in some boring category. I’ll get back later when we have tested the game while boozing, which I hope will create some awesome stories. We’ll see. I’ll return with some pictures of the game as well hopefully. TTFN.


Board Games:

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

So this week we went offline so to speak – we are exploring the world of board games and slowly in the progress of creating our own piece. We’ve been working in groups of 3-4 to make the progress both easier and faster. Thomas Vigild, our Game-Maestro, gave a brief introduction to the history of board games, spanning all the way back to several hundred years B.C. with games like dices, Go, Chess, Backgammon and Kalaha – to name a few. Beyond all the classics Monsieur Vigild also gave us a small glance at other interesting games like Train which was a game that especially caught my attention.  Careful with the “Train”-link as it contains a few spoilers. Train is one of those games which most likely and hopefully gives you a proper knock-out, with a big red flashing sign at the end of the game, making you think of real-life choices and what you would do when or if you are just following orders and rules – in this case the board-games’ rules.

After this brief introduction to various ways the board games have gone, and the effect gambling had in 1900’s, we said hello to Martin Rauff Nielsen (link’s in danish) who is one of the brains behind the live roleplaying game BARDA from Danish Television and founder of the Baaring Stories Studio. He walked us through the basic of the BARDA gameplay and other roleplaying games and then went on about players’ motivations and drive in a game illuminating this through tests and theories made by both Nick Yee, Standford University, and Richard Bartle, Essex University (follow the links to take their tests). To understand the thoughts behind the tests we also looked at Nick Yee’s motivation model. The reason for showing us these motivation-models Martin Rauff went on about some of the troubles one might encounter as a developer meeting a marketing or publisher who come in with one specific type of player-base for their game. Using the same model we establish a common language and the communication between game-developers and publishers will improve. Publishers will of course be looking for money and developers will look to preserve and take care of their baby – the game. Martin Rauff stressed the point that it is, after all, possible to make a game which appeals to more than one type of players (achievers, immersion, exploration, killers etc.) and that might be something a developer will have to communicate through to their publishers in a proper and sensible way.

We also had a short visit from another dane who had invented a game called STAKiT which I won’t talk much about this time. The others have been trying out different board games like Dixit and Apples to Apples. I didn’t get the chance to test them out but from what I can tell the later of those two wasn’t a huge success.

Watch out as I return with news of our own board game which we are designing now. TTFN!

News games

Posted: March 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Like promised I want to talk abit about some of our ideas we’ve had on the whiteboards over the last couple of days. We’ve been focusing on News Games and looked at several danish examples of this, specifically from DR (Danish Radio&Television). A news game is a short-lived, often relevant to a specific audience, game which is so simple at its core that it can be designed over a couple of days. Of course being simple also means your audience will lose interrest fairly swift, but if the game manage to etablish enough hype around a particular newsflash and that event keeps rolling on television or the livingrooms you’ll have new people coming in to check out the game every day. Etablishing an awareness of the news and squezzing out every bit of it, before the public’s interrest moves on, is the name of the game.

We’ve been working on flash with photoshop, importing pictures of me running into flash. We’ve just been fooling around with the tools. It’s been good – I’ll try and get some pictures of it at some point. It’s hilarious watching yourself run around on the screen. TTFN.

Limbo and Space Alert

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Minor update from the last couple of days here at Vallekilde Academy. We had Rilla Khaled from ITU over and talk about serious games and the benefits, flaws and pitfalls you might encounter as a game designer. A serious game is a game which aim at solving a specific and concrete problem outside the proper game world, it aims at highlighting, advertising or otherwise teach us about the issue at hand with an agenda. Furthermore a serious game will often find itself sacrificing fun and the entertaining parts of the game to emphasize the agenda – an example could be an unbeatable game, like Gloom, which strains the point the developers are trying to get at. Gloom is a game you can’t win, the demons you are trying to kill keeps coming at a higher and higher pace to a point you can’t keep up with. Added with the tremor of a Parkison’s Disease you end up playing it only a few times – but that’s enough to get the picture of what a person, suffering from this terrible disease, struggles with in his everyday life. Once you’ve lost you get a link to an indepth article explaining the disease, to put it all in perspective. It works, unfortunately the game doesn’t ‘capture’ or keep you within the game’s world for long and that is perhaps it’s downfall – if I was sort of stuck in this state for longer I think the effect of the parkinson would sink in better than a five second rush before I lose. Well, that’s just me.

Later this week we’ve been looking at boardgames like Space Alert – see the link for Thomas Vigild’s full review of that game. It’s a fast paced, real-time based multiplayer game where you have to work together to overcome the enemies which the game throws at you. It stands out from other boardgames because its focus is solely on the teamwork of the players and the fact you have to listen to a CD which spouts out all the enemy movements. Great fun and I hope we get the time and chance to dwell further into it – it has some potential I think.

Next up is Limbo from PlayDead Studios. Check out the link and the video – get a feel of that vibe! This game is a jewel and even though it’s not in colors it’s candy for your eyes. It has this poetic touch that make every step you take crucial and possibly fatal. Makes one think about cause and effect and freewill. I didn’t get a chance to see the game through nor try it myself but I was there watching the other guys play and even as a spectator this game drags you into its dark and gloomy universe. Made me think of Dante’s Divine Comedy;

1 “MIDWAY upon the journey of our life
2 I found myself within a forest dark,
3 For the straightforward pathway had been lost”

I’ll end the post for now as I got some dinner cooking my way soon. Next up I’ll try and write some of the game-developing thoughts we’ve discussed in our groups here on the Academy. TTFN folks!

Future of Vallekilde Game Academy:

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

So, first ‘proper’ day at Vallekilde has begun – we’ve been introduced, greeted and gone through some overall gaming experience of one another. All interresting so far and from what I can tell we all come from a broad background and have different experiences. We’ve done some 1-man interviews with our academy-leaders and all agreed to each get a blog up and running. What you are seeing here is my contribution.

My expectations are fairly high and I can’t wait till we meet some heavy-weighters in this business, such as IO Interactive and Limbo developers. We’ll see which way the wind blows in this business and hopefully it’ll be easy to sort out the dead fish floating downstream and the living ones swimming upstream. Anyways that’s me out for a fag for now. TTFN!

abit about me gaming experience;

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

So I just got my first blog done and up and running. Still lots of polishing to be done but lets get down to basics first and why we are here, games of course!

My game career started back as a small kid, can’t have been much older than 6-7 years old, when my father brought home an old DOS computer on which I was rocking away with games such as Carnage (1993),Carnage

Lemmings (1991),

Prince of Persia (1990),

Syndicate (1993)

and the old Simcity (1989).

All bringing a different aspect to my first gaming experiences at a young age. Especially Carnage and Syndicate strikes me when thinking back.

Later on I got my own PC, lost time and date which says more than it leaves out, where games such as Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (1999) jumps to my mind.

Moving ahead to more contemporary games I developed a taste for games with a strong story to tell; few examples such as Mass Effect, Max Payne 1&2 – I actually enjoyed the second edition more due to such a strong story with some awesome poetic lines in the graphic novel. Another example is of course the popular Monkey Island series – I actually didn’t get my first-hands on this series untill the fourth edition, Escape from Monkey Island. Lovely game, awesome setup, theme, story and of course hilliarous sense of humour – if you haven’t tried any of these old LucasArt pearls (Telltale developing the newest ones) I’d definitely recommend you picking one of these old classics up – fairly cheap too I might add 8,99€ each and 13,99€ for both. The first and second game have both been republished in a special edition. The last game I want to mention is also the game that I have spent the most hours, days and months getting buried into – Operation Flashpoint. Not a hugely famous game developed by, back then, small-czechslovakian Bohemia Interactive Studios. The game in itself didn’t strike me as anything mindblowing – not to mention a so-and-so singleplayer campaign but the amount of fanbased modding that toke place the following years of the release was astounding. The fanbase’s modding and BIS own will of giving the fans so many different tools for modding made the game grow rapidly. The gameplay was considered fairly hardcore back then since most death the first time you jump into this game will come from 500-1000 yards away. Rough but also realistic and you quickly learn to crawl and move from cover to cover. Operation Flashpoint was released in 2001 and has later been followed up by games such as Armed Assault 1&2 and most of the fanbase followed from Operation Flashpoint to the newer Armed Assault series.

I’ll end the post here and come back with some of my thoughts, hopes and expectations of this academy.