Presenting A Board-game On Platform Cooperativism

I’ve posted on Gamasutra the full story of creating Coops & Dragons, a board game on platform cooperativism which is free and available on Github.

I also published a “how to play “video:

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A playable showcase of applied games created by Open Lab

We just created a web page which lists the main applied games we created in the last four years. These are all playable, either as direct link in the page or by requesting a link, for games unreleased or still in private beta.

We learned about game design, development and domain modelling from each project. Each game has been effective in some application, and we thank all the people we worked with that made this possible. Learning from many and always new :-) mistakes, we refined our process along the way.

We now cover all aspects of creating applied games, from creating a concept, to domain modelling with the field experts, to mechanics and multi platform release.

We worked with museums, research centres, private companies, NGOs – always with people with specific, refined knowledge and expertise, focusing the game design process on their core knowledge. This process generates original, unique game play experiences.

I hope you will work with us to create more games, using this wonderful medium for making learning complex topics a more accessible and universal experience.

Open Lab Applied Games Website

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All Mailings Done On Applied Games

Here are all mailings done on applied games, in case you missed some.

And here you can subscribe. :-)

Open Lab Games mailing

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Talk “Applied and Persuasive: Playful Learning In Museums” (video with slides)

Here is the talk I gave at the Museum Digital Transformation conference in March, 2017:



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Several useful writings on writing for games

I just posted on Gamasutra a curated list of recent and less recent posts / videos on writing for games – here :-)

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A post on videogame writing tools and user interface techniques

I just published a post on Gamasutra Videogame Dialogues: Writing Tools And Design Ideas, written with the voltairesque Daniele Giardini. We write about our current experiments with writing tools and dialogue user interface design. Hope you’ll find something useful there!

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Character Trait Model: How Unhappy Is Unhappy

Modelling character traits can be tricky: an example problem has been presented by Jon Ingold in this GDC talk. I discuss the problem below and present a sample model that solves it. I provide an implementation in a C# class.

For character trait one may think of say the character happiness, or a relationship-with-X trait.

The problem is presented from minute 36 of the talk: the first idea that comes to mind in modelling a character trait is by using a number. Greater the number, better the state of the trait. This doesn’t work very well.

How Unhappy is Unhappy

From Jon Ingold GDC talk.

Then Ingold quickly jumps to a proposed solution, which consists in tracking two numbers, positive and negative experiences:

Unhappy vector

From Jon Ingold GDC talk.

Apart from the fact that changes are modelled more appropriately using two variables, what was exactly the problem with using one number?

Here is how I understood the problem: suppose you want to model the happiness of a character in a gameplay. You say that the variable HappinessLevel determines HappinessState according to these values:

HappinessLevel >= 5 = VERY_HAPPY
0 < HappinessLevel < 5 = HAPPY
-5 < HappinessLevel <= 0 = SAD
HappinessLevel <= -5 = SUICIDAL

The character goes through many episodes in two different game-plays: in one the character has 2 positive episodes, and 8 negative ones, and so goes SUICIDAL: 80% of the episodes were negative.

In another gameplay, the character has 20 positive episodes and 25 negative ones. Character is still SUICIDAL, but actually only  55% of episodes were negative! Something clearly does not work :-(

Taking the hint from the talk above, I’ve implemented a generic class model for Character Trait that considers the whole set of the episodes. The set of states and their level can be injected; moreover you can have a “decay %” so that for each new episode, all previous ones have a decay, so older the episode less relevant it gets :-) (by default decay is 1 so its turned off).

You find the class and a test (for Unity) in this zip. It can clearly be refined ad infinitum in function of specific needs, e.g. having episodes that are both positive and negative and so on.

A couple tests:

First test no decay test 1 output
Second test with decay Log with decay

Thanks to Daniele Giardini for campaigning for LINQ removal from the code.

Follow me on Twitter where I post about game design, game development, Unity3d 2D, HTML5, applied / serious games.

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Applied And Persuasive Applications For Museums

I recently gave a workshop and talk at the Museum Digital Transformation conference.Thank you for all who came, it was great fun. [Read more…]

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A visualization of Liz England’s The Door Problem

An attempt at visualizing Liz England’s useful operational explanation of what a game designer does: The Door Problem.


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Learning With Games: Fail And Retry, Not Simulations

A short post on Gamasutra on the topic of learning with games and fail-and-retry.

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