game design

Live from Nexus – fun, fun fun

On Tuesday, I talked about how the overall presentation of WildStar devoured me whole, convincing me of the powerful playground the game is. Today, in this second part of Live from Nexus, I want to talk about what makes the gameplay of WildStar so strong, and why you should give this MMORPG a go.

(more…)

Why developers don’t actually listen “vox gameri”

Syl and Murf have been at it, both writing excellent pieces on the topic of the abscence of democracy in game design and voting with your wallet. Both articles take different angles, but are essentially about the same thing: the amount of say gamers have in the development process of the games they play. Because I have the urge to add my opinion to the discussion, let me throw in my two cents when it comes to the relevance of the “vox gameri”, or the voice of the gamers (Pig Latin ftw!)

(more…)

Weekly Wrap-Up: Pacific Power Rangers

Sunday is a nice and calm day, so why not make it nicer with a little wrap-up of what has been happening in the life of the Chin, the blogosphere and geekdom in general? Below, you’ll find all of that, but first check out the awesome video above. Combining Pacific Rim and Power Rangers is just like combining peanut butter and chocolate: they were meant to be together.

News from the Chin:

  • In anticipation of Warlords of Draenor I’ve been busy getting my Troll Monk Umaru up to maximum level. He’s at 74 now, and I hope to be through Northrend before next weekend. Sounds easy, but keep in mind I don’t have that many hours a week available to game.
  • Talking about next weekend: I’ll be taking a break from it all and visit Riga, Latvia with my man-friends. Sightseeing, beer and horrenduous jokes…I’m looking forward to it.
  • There was this NaNoWriMo thing as well…have to look into that.

Around the blogosphere:

  • Started to read the excellent Alt: ernative blog by the Godmother of Faffing. Right now, she’s organizing a contest about the release date of Warlords. If you want to win a fancy shirt, give it a guess!
  • Crystal has a cool post about being cool in the gaming community over at her blog.
  • Thought I was the only one writing motivational posts? Well, you’re wrong! Kojitmal has a great piece of motivation for all you NaNo’s out there!

The week in geek:

  • I know I have quite a few amateur programmers and armchair game designers among my readers, so the following piece of news is for you. PlayIR is currently running an IndieGogo campaign for the interesting-looking product. If you would like to be able to develop little mobile games with almost no coding and/or programming skills, make sure to visit their website or back their campaign. Products like these are great entrances into the world of game design and should thus get our support!

That’s it for this week. Have a nice and easy Sunday!

Geek Jitsu – gamifying health

While out running the other day, a sudden realization hit me as hard as my sore muscles the next morning: gamers love gaming. Wow, what a burst of genius, Chin! No, seriously, give me a minute to explain this. Gamers love gaming, which is something you probably knew. But what can we learn from that? Well, if you want a gamer to do something, turn that something into a game. Thus, if you want a gamer to stay fit, turn that into a game.

That is, of course, not a new way of thinking. The gamification of almost everything has been discussed thoroughly by experts, and I even had a post about creating achievements for your health plan a few months ago. Still, it strikes me as odd how small the market for fitness games is. Sure, you got all those Wii games that pretend to keep you fit, but next to those titles, you won’t find much. There are apps like Zombies, Run and sites like Fitocracy that gamify your workouts, but they are not enough for the healthy gamer who wants some more depth.

Why haven’t we seen a full-fledged RPG powered by your workout yet? Heck, let me take the chance then and provide all you game designers with a little concept for such a game. Let us call it Sprinteria, and let it be a game about brave heroes and adventurers in a world powered by your running sessions. It works like this: users sign up for Sprinteria on the website, and download the app that comes with it to their smartphone. When they are out running, the app tracks their distance, average and maximum speed, and approximate amount of burnt calories. These values are translated into action points at the end of your session, and then send to your digital alter ego in Sprinteria. Your in-game hero can use those points to perform actions, like going out to hunt monsters, craft items or participate in player-vs-player warfare. Through these actions, your hero acquires experience and becomes more powerful. Thus, your running sessions are the only source of power for your hero, motivating you to slip into those sweatpants and fuel your adventurer in Sprinteria!

Of course, this is just a simple idea, but a game like that would really fascinate me. There’s also room for improvement, meaning it could be an ever-growing program that offers different challenges every week or month. The point is that I believe that if you create a sports game that takes gamers seriously, those gamers will take sports seriously. You just have to approach them the right way.

While we’re at it, what’s your opinion? Any fitness games that motivate you to keep moving, or do you also have your own ideas when it comes to designing one? Maybe you are a game designer yourself, and see something in my little pitch here. No matter what, leave your comments below.

Stay healthy!