A post on Gamasutra: In-between Spaces And Their Design

I wrote a longish post on Gamasutra which they were so kind to feature on focusing attention on designing in-between spaces in games. See it here.

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A game for learning about cancer therapy: help us crowdfund it!

 

I have been recently working in defining a new applied game with the association Noi Per Voi, called Feel Better: the game will support kids and young adults in cancer therapy at the kids hospital Meyer in Florence.

It will be a tool used by the kids to learn more about their context and how to deal with it; it will be co-designed by medical therapy specialists and also by the kids themselves.

There is an open crowdfunding campaign for this tool here:

https://www.eppela.com/en/projects/10856-feel-better

The campaign goal is 20.000 Euro, but it will reach its basic goal at 10.000 Euro funding (we are not far) as then the pledges will be doubled by a local foundation (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze). Going beyond the basic goal will allow us building an application that could be used in a wider spectrum of situations.

Any help in pledging and / or sharing the news about our initiative would be great.

Thank you,

Pietro Polsinelli

Italian version

Recentemente ho lavorato al design di un nuovo gioco applicato con l’associazione Noi Per Voi: il gioco si chiama Feel Better ed è per bambini e giovani adulti malati di cancro in terapia presso l’ospedale Meyer di Firenze.

Sarà uno strumento utilizzato dai bambini per apprendere sul loro contesto e come gestirlo; sarà disegnato collaborativamente da medici, psicologi e dai bambini stessi.E’ ora attiva una campagna di crowdfunding per questo strumento:

https://www.eppela.com/it/projects/10856-feel-better

L’obiettivo della campagna è di 20.000 Euro, ma l’obiettivo sarà raggiunto a 10.000 Euro dato che l’importo sarà raddoppiato dalla Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze.

Andare oltre l’obiettivo base ci permetterà di costruire una applicazione che possa essere usata in uno spettro più ampio di situazioni.

Dateci un aiuto economico e / o nel condividere la campagna! Grazie.

Pietro Polsinelli

 

 

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Towards my book “Explaining With games”

I am working on a book on applied games: “Explaining With Games”.
It will be a handbook, focused on the analysis of the applied games I have worked on in the last five years.

For information about the projects I worked on, here is a page dedicated to my projects and my profile.

Some images from the games I will examine:

This is how my draft of a book begins at the moment:

Games can be designed to teach and facilitate learning processes. In this book I present several real world cases where games have been applied as teaching tools, and through those cases I introduce concepts of game design used in applied games.

This book on applied games is a bit unique because it is mostly focused on teaching you on how to contribute creating such games.

The focus of this book is on how to create interactive experiences that facilitate learning. How can people with different skills contribute? How can the field experts and the game developers somehow work together?

It is easy to get lost in the field of game design and development: here I try to keep the focus on the projects I worked on as real world examples that should help in keeping things manageable.

Some of the questions that I try to (partially) answer along the way are:

How to use games to approach complexity and learning?

How can games be used for learning and teaching?

And why should one use games for that?

Any examples? What is the state of the art?

What is required for creating a game? Which expertise, tools?

How is the process managed? How are results measured?

How can I learn more beyond this book?

The book will be progressively released on LeanPub, which is a wonderful platform for collecting early feedback on the writing process.

 

 

 

 

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Games Need Depth: My Research on Football

I’ve just published a post on Gamasutra with some reflections and sources on creating depth in games via narrative research, and how I am trying to do that on Football Voodoom.

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Varieties of Game Applications

Can you use the pervasive media “videogame”  and this field’s design techniques for communicating effectively with people? Can games be used for what you have in mind? How can a field specialist work effectively with a game development team to communicate know how more effectively? [Read more…]

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Post gameplay feelings: “This feels like a complete waste of time”

Why playing some videogames leaves you with a sour taste, with the feeling of having wasted time and even that you have somehow debased yourself?

A short reflection on post gameplay feelings, published on Medium here and then featured on Gamasutra.

 

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Storytelling flow in videogames – DAG pod 23

In this podcast Daniele Giardini and Pietro Polsinelli (myself) discuss story flow in games – and how game endings are told. We roam from The Witcher to Sunless Sea, crossing game genres. Hear us here:

At the end of the podcast we read and discuss a quote from If Games Were Like Game Stories…

My favourite moment from Papers, Please was when someone gave me a banner for a sports team named the Arstotzka Arskickers. I had a choice of whether to put it up on my wall, or not.

Compared to all the other decisions… taking bribes, separating families, conspiring to take down the Arstotzkan government… this was a small and silly decision. I put it up on my wall, of course.

But the reason this is so memorable to me, is because the game actively acknowledged this small act! A few people commented on the banner, some remarking it’s tacky, some cheering “Go Arskickers!” And then, of course, this decision bites me in the ass when the inspector comes by and tells me the decoration is against protocol, and fines me.

Games and books quoted:

The Witcher 2 Witcher 2 cover.jpg
The Witcher 3 Witcher 3 cover art.jpg
Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman Thinking, Fast and Slow.jpg
Bioshock Infinite Official cover art for Bioshock Infinite.jpg
Bioshock (one) BioShock cover.jpg
Lord of the Rings Movies Ringstrilogyposter.jpg
Dark Souls Dark Souls Cover Art.jpg
80 Days http://a3.mzstatic.com/us/r30/Purple3/v4/dc/f6/80/dcf6809a-a0bf-a620-4f03-4d36907a29a3/screen1136x1136.jpeg
Shadowrun Shadowrun4A.jpg
Kardashian Hollywood
Sunless Sea http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/304650/header.jpg?t=1424434198
Flick Kick Football Legends http://pikpok.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/en_ss_497x280_02.jpg
Alessandro Baricco https://www.penguin.com.au/jpg-large/9781921145483.jpg
Papers, Please http://screenshots.en.sftcdn.net/en/scrn/69660000/69660821/papers-please-08-535x535.png
Football Drama Football Drama

 

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

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A podcast & sources for (romantic) game polish and feel – DAG pod 22

In this podcast Daniele Giardini and Pietro Polsinelli (myself) discuss the notions of game polish and feel.

Here is the podcast:

There is also a video of the podcast here:

References

Game Feel: the book.

The game Goscurry.

football drama prototype

The Football Drama site.

DOTween

DOTween tweening component site. Easings http://easings.net/en.

Finally, Vlambeer talk on game feel.

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

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Making a sport game in Unity: model & prototype

I just published a video where I describe how to start modelling and developing a sport game, specifically football (soccer) in my case:

In the following notes some motivation for the work and references from the video.

What am I trying to do?

I am creating a game on football (not American Football), called Football Drama: this game is supposedly the story of the coach in the context of a Football Manager like game. The latest version of Football Manager for smartphones has a cool game play:

FM 15 on smartphone

One of the first thing I did in Unity is search for a plugin that would handle the match play part. Given the number of plugins available in the Asset Store and the popularity of football, I was pretty sure that my only problem would be picking the best plugin. Wrong.

I didn’t want to do thisimage

The only decent looking component I found is Soccer Project by “Astute Games”, which is ok but actually does nothing useful in my perspective, as it provides passive 3D models of players and little more.

The are simply no plugins covering modelling, movement and AI for football games in the Asset Store.

Maybe because “The barrier of entry on making a decent team sports game is really high.”, as they say in one of the few discussion of the theme indie & sports available online.

The Simple Soccer examplehttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jAoX1id6L.jpg

In chapter 4 of the book Programming Game AI by Example the author provides a nice implementation of a simple soccer game.

I’ve downloaded the Java sources and made the sample run in my IDE.

simpleSoccer

Here are some of the Java classes of this example:

image

Movements are regulated by physics:

image

Complete Java source code is here.

Not what I want for a sport game

This material is useful but what it is modelling is not football. seems more snooker to me Sorriso. I want a simple grid with squares as players and a state handling framework, where the (hierarchical) state machine can easily be extended. Movement is not determined by physics – the right metaphor is not snooker.

If you actually watch a football game, its a highly fractioned game of control and tactics, my reference for this development has been Cameroon vs. England (World Cup 1990):

Physics plays a role on long shots, but I will model that using tweening (the wonderful DOTween library by Daniele Giardini). I will call the model I need Football Grid.

Football Grid: The model

imageThe example is also using heavily inheritance to model all aspects of play. I instead will be happily mixing inheritance and composition, reducing inheritance to a minimum and modelling state with classes only when strictly necessary. A great book to learn about basic game programming patterns, if you are new to the topic is Game Programming Patterns.

The three states of game play: paused, preparing play, in play: this is simply an enum.

I used object hierarchy and modelling of states with class instances only when it is strictly useful, so e.g. in the case of a player state.

Here are the classes of my model:

image

2015-04-05 16_11_46-UnityVS.footballDrama - Microsoft Visual Studio

2015-04-05 16_20_15-UnityVS.footballDrama - Microsoft Visual Studio

Curve ball effects

2015-04-05 16_29_08-PowerPoint Slide Show - [MasterSlides.ppt [Compatibility Mode]]

To get these effects you can simply tween (I use DOTween) the ball differently along the X and Y axis:

DOTween curse transform

More?

Follow me on Twitter – I study game design, development (2D), applied games, and I post about progress on Football Drama.

Football Drama game design

Unity components used

DOTween tweening component

Game Logic Grids http://gamelogic.co.za/grids/

DOTween http://dotween.demigiant.com/

Thank you!

Image references

“Association football 4-4-2 formation” by MaxDZ8, based on work from Mario Ortegon – self-made, original file from Mario Ortegon. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Association_football_4-4-2_formation.svg#/media/File:Association_football_4-4-2_formation.svg

“Association football 4-3-3 formation” by Threner. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Association_football_4-3-3_formation.svg#/media/File:Association_football_4-3-3_formation.svg

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Beyond mechanics: games with depth – DAG pod 20

InMinimax this dreamy podcast Daniele Giardini and Pietro Polsinelli (myself) discuss the notion of depth in games. We don’t reach any definitive conclusion, but we have fun Sorriso [Read more…]

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