1. Interpretive Play


  2. andreblyth:


    This is part 3 of my biweekly game series (first one was LD30, and second one is…somewhere). 

    Though I’m reconsidering having this as biweekly and upping the schedule to once a week. My ideas for these is that they are vignettes and as such they are brief and so far the time investment is as follows:

    • Art
    • Detail Programming (timing text appearance, small details, etc)
    • Basic Game Design

    There’s really no reason I can’t do these in a week, only my first one for Ludum Dare 30 probably went over 12 hours of investment, which was mostly due to writing.

    Postmortem Brain Dump for A Journey,

    A Journey is number three in my biweekly game series (number two is got “completed”, but I want to add sound before I post it), and the basis of this project was a focus on two specific keys on the keyboard: escape and return. In computer literacy these two keys represent very specific functions but I was interested in these words as actions: to escape and to return. 

    Escape - break free from confinement or control.

    Return - come or go back to a place or person.

    These are strict definitions from the dictionary but already they illustrate far more power than their programmatic functions. I began to look at these words as from the perspective of someone making a choice, and in that regard they are treated in an either/or context. Will I, or in final presentation - will the character, choose to escape or to return? So as I developed this dichotomy, I began asking questions as to what the greater context of the decision was; is this a grand pivotal moment or does it carry the same banality of choosing what cereal to eat for breakfast? Eventually I arrived at the decision that the pretext was of little importance and that the weight of the decision would be illustrated by the effect rather than the cause.

    From here, I developed A Journey from an aesthetic viewpoint. I recalled being (rather boring) experience of being on the train lately, watching the (admittedly gorgeous) view of the Colorado Front Range. The mental image of being on a train watching the mountains conjured up a readily available Wild West theme, and I began to imagine my character (who, it could be argued has been the same character in all three games, something to be explored later) riding a train West, watching nameless peaks in the distance. 

    Spoilers Below (the game takes 15 seconds)

    So here I have my character, who hasn’t received a name or story yet, standing on the back of a train, staring into a vast mountain range. And what are they thinking about? What, at this time, does it mean for them to escape, or to return? I’m not sure I actually have to authority (right?) to make that decision for them, so I settled on an aftermath with elements of magical realism, which some may see it as symbolic but I don’t want to say this did not happen. When, as a player, a person* tells the character to return, they simply walk back inside the train car. If the players tells the character to escape, they suddenly leap into the sky and fly away. There is no further explanation for these actions so how do we (as audience or players) interpret this? Do we apply a viel of realism to the pixels and call their flight symbolic or did they really fly away? By returning to the train, are they defeated, or is it acceptance? Though the escape ending seems better, it was not my intent to make a good ending and a bad ending. They are open to interpretation but I’m not sure one decision is better than the other.

    *So, that brings me to a discussion of the aspect of this vignette I, personally, found interesting: the identity and agency of the player. The character in A Journey might traditionally be called the player character because the player provides the input for the character’s actions. This is often, I think, a false equivalence as it implies the player and the character are either the same or at the very least, there is a strong connection. The character and the player are separate entities, but still - the player gives action to the character, so how are they related? Beginning in Greek mythology and philosophy is the idea of the daemon, a spirit existing as a link between gods and humans. In Plato’s Symposium, Diotima describes daemons as “interpreting and transporting human things to the gods and divine things to men,” as well as acknowledging the divine source may be benevolent or malevolent. Socrates, in Plato’s Apology of Socrates, has a daemon that provides him warnings, yet never provides direction. It is understood that a daemon is a metaphorical personification of the self-conscious, but the idea of a supernatural being acting as a link is a fascinating concept. So the research topic resulting from (as this series is a experiment of rapid game design as research) A Journey is to connect the daemon to the player - player as daemon. A super interesting question, for me at least, but one that brings up a complicated initial problem to solve. If a daemon is the connection between the divine and the human, and I substitute human as character and substitute player as daemon, what is the divine? 

    I’m going to leave that question open-ended and leave potential answers for another day, because well, its complicated and I don’t know how to approach answering yet.

    What I can do right now, however, is reflect on how I arrived at this question. From the creation of a game requiring less than 10 hours of development to a response quickly approaching 1000 words (which is another lesson learned - write about your work, often) trying to connect games and players to a 2000 year old philosophic device and mythological being. And I haven’t even gotten to evolution of the word daemon to demon yet, yikes. I’m aware that my experiment in rapid prototyping may not always lead to valuable thoughts such as this, but it seems common enough (though I am only at three games and really have only written one, this one, extensive postmortem) that rapid game design is hopefully a valid method of research into play and games (aka, like my whole thesis question). Design and practice as research. The other aspect of this though, is rapid game design a form of play - which I don’t have an answer to yet.

    Misc takeaways, mostly technical:

    1. Remember to tile backgrounds correctly. Would’ve saved me 30 minutes of adjustments on the background.

    2. Walking animations are difficult, but at this point I can start reusing sprites, as I’ve decided (have I?) to focus on this character.

    3. I didn’t scale the sprites this time in photoshop before hand. While in the final piece it makes no difference, Unity’s sprite preview does not upscale well, which made distinguishing different sprite frames difficult.

    4. The time to make text sprites in Photoshop is worth it, because Unity’s default UI is gross, next up: make Sprite buttons, etc.

    5. Like I mentioned above, due to the actual time spent creating these I may bump production from biweekly to weekly (goodbye sleep).


  3. andreblyth:

    This is part 3 of my biweekly game series (first one was LD30, and second one is…somewhere). 

    Though I’m reconsidering having this as biweekly and upping the schedule to once a week. My ideas for these is that they are vignettes and as such they are brief and so far the time investment is as follows:

    • Art
    • Detail Programming (timing text appearance, small details, etc)
    • Basic Game Design

    There’s really no reason I can’t do these in a week, only my first one for Ludum Dare 30 probably went over 12 hours of investment, which was mostly due to writing.


  4. This is part 3 of my biweekly game series (first one was LD30, and second one is…somewhere). 



  6. Rough Draft of Thesis Statements

    1. It is possible for art-games (notgames?) to be created on a rigorous, short timetable, and this rapid development of art-games provides insight into evocative, meaningful, poetic play.

    2. This investigation reveals that rapid game prototyping is a playful act in and of itself, and is integral to the research and development of playful systems.

    3. This body of work explores the philosophy of non-player centric design in games to allow for alternative narratives that traditional player agency limits.

    4. Play, and by extension games, can be an exploratory device, ranging from subjects such a physical space to the self, through introspection.

    5. By exploring inputs beyond traditional game design, alternative controllers allow for and encourage for more playful systems within games.


  7. Research Methods Thesis Questions

    I numbered these in order of interest. My first question is not complete, but it is centered on the act of making short vignette games as a major part of my thesis, I just have to develop what that all is going to mean.

    1. Short, simple games focused on narrative, mood, …
    non-player centric design
    playful, though limited in its systems
    games as vignettes (political?)
    Vignette as Aesthetic
    Narrative experiences > poetry over prose

    There’s a question in here somewhere.

    More spew:

    is it possible to make art from a research question? what kind of art emerges from research questions? how do the questions have to be shaped?
    is it possible to make artgames in a week? good artgames? what consistitues? what kind of games emerge…?
    playful approach to rigor, rigorous approach to play?

    Is rapid game design a viable method of researching play and games? What kind of games emerge from production as research? 

    2. Rapid game design is a quick way to explore different aspects of play; can the act of rapid game design be considered playful? Rapid
    prototyping as research?

    3. How can games be used as a form of explorative play, from exploration of space (Psychogeography?) to exploration of self?

    4. Can alternative methods of control (breaking away from the keyboard, gamepad, etc) encourage players and videogames to move from
    finite games (systems to be won) to infinite games (systems to be explored).

    5. Prosthetics and physical augmentation are prevalent in many cultural rituals - how, historically, how they been used for play? Can
    rituals be considered a form of play?

  8. Real happy about Mood, which is generally my main focus for things. Next time rate more games.




  11. "I often use the metaphor of Perseus and the head of Medusa when I speak of science fiction. Instead of looking into the face of truth, you look over your shoulder into the bronze surface of a reflecting shield. Then you reach back with your sword and cut off the head of Medusa. Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us. So you have a ricochet vision, a ricochet that enables you to have fun with it, instead of being self-conscious and superintellectual."

  12. Placeholder


  13. "Politics is not inserted into games by critics, but is in fact an integral part of the design process. I think this kind tweetable summary is the point where most people would start to have doubts, so we’re going to drill down on some sample games and make stunningly obvious observations about how their political context has influenced their design. Exciting stuff, right?!"
  14. sigurros-:

    Varúð = Caution.

    Morse code in video is apparently:
    "It doesn’t matter what I say”
    “The only thing that matters is how you feel”
    “Understanding that the words are irrelevant is of great importance”
    “What feelings do you have”

    Why Caution? What danger are they trying to protect us from? The fact that morse code is used just emulates a more mysterious and foreboding atmosphere. Words fall away and there is nothing left that can help us communicate but this desperate - almost agonizing - substitute for the spoken voice. What if i wanted to cry? What flickering light can communicate to you my despair? Faces fall away. We’re just another black silhouette slumping up into view, overwhelmed by the coarse, dark features of the landscape where rocks and cliffs hold nothing but danger. When all of this fails, we surrender the light, and retreat, slouching back into the dark where at last we surrender to silence.

    (Source: verkxr.blogspot.sg)

  15. wannabe-italian:



    too good 

    (Source: natelife)