Tuesday Night is Game Night
I'm Going to Make a Game
January 7, 2014
Whilst making New Year's Resolutions this year, I decided I would make
Tuesday Night a Game Night -- as in I would try to create a game on
Tuesday Nights. Um, I didn't get very far tonight. I guess
the one thing I did decide was that I would create a sort of journal --
at least for now. Other observations include:
say that's much to show for my time tonight. But I intend to make
for this project in my life -- allow the muse to find me if it will.
rather than writing any more, perhaps I shall go for a walk -- or take
out the garbage (I need to do that, and living in a condo, it's a long way to the recycle bin).
- I don't
want to make a big game, several smaller games (or activities) being
preferable as I'm thinking it's a mistake to set my sights too high (at least, at the start).
- I took a break to watch TV (Community, first episode of
the current season). I have no insight into how to go about making watching
TV a game. (I'm not interested in Drinking Games.)
I'm playing High School Story on my iPhone. Of course, rather
than a game, it's a lot more like a time management training program.
Still, I like it. And thinking on it for a while (the
mechanics and so forth), I am considering adding a game storyline
element to my writing. Currently, I'm editing/posting Cliff
Hanger's My Hawaii, which is
what I'll call a broken story (that is to say, it will never sell as a novel -- at least, as written).
However, there's plenty of characters, locales, and
side quests to work with (i.e. in Cliff's notes), so maybe I'll do some Storyline Branch Work (make some
Decision Trees) and see how that goes.
- I don't want to turn
this into a massive programming project. I don't mind if it turns
into a computer/website game. But I don't want coding to be the
major thrust -- at least, not to start. Rather, I want game
design to be at the heart of the activity.
do I want
this to turn into another writing project. A log as a byproduct
(as with a computer program as a byproduct) is fine. But I don't
want that to be the major output. I want a game
design/theory/project (whatever that means -- a working game, I
suppose) to be the
end result (the deliverable). And with that in mind, I'm thinking
game is intrinsically:
- With Nothing to Show for It (the deliverable being the experience of the game and nothing more)
January 14, 2014 So, I took a walk and as I did, I decided to play a game:
This last turned into a sort of theme for the week:
Bingo -- find the man in a pink shirt and take a picture (but that felt
too intrusive -- I often feel uncomfortable taking pictures of
strangers without their permission)
- Bird Watching -- not that I did this; but in the end, this activity might be a lot like Photo Bingo (collect them all)
Counting Game -- take pictures of things representing 1, then 2, then
3, etc. How far can you go? I found hK24lr graffiti the
other day, so if I was on 24, I'd now be on 25.
- Aliens Among Us
-- like all the rest of the 'games' on this list only the object for this one is to find evidence of UFO's
& Aliens. I found a bum who was sick in this Martian Air --
clearly a transplant down on his luck.
How can I turn this moment into something for either?
then, my mind turned to bigger and better things. I may
have mentioned that I've been playing High School Story on
the iPhone as of late.
And so, I started thinking about my Grand Project, you know, the
project I didn't want to get bogged down in. And that project
would be called Slaughter Quest -- the ultimate online RPG. Of
course, like I said, it's exactly the sort of project I did not want to
get bogged down in doing at this time, so I started to think how I
could cut that idea down and make it more manageable. Well,
all fantasy adventures seem to include a tavern scene, so why not
make Tavern the Game? And so, I started to list off all the things
adventures could do in a tavern:
this last turned into an idea I'll call Steal the Grog in which
different groups of adventurers try to steal from each other -- or maybe just a
bunch of different adventuring types with different agendas:
- Drink Beer
- Sing Songs
- And Thieves Pick Pockets
I almost started to draw a map.
- Thief - Steal X amount (less penalties for getting caught)
- Fighter - Win so many fights
- Bard - Sing a song all the way to completion without being heckled or interrupted
- Holy Man - Convert someone
- Magic Dude - Read that Books (will you shut up, Bard Dude)
- And so on and so forth.
I, also, thought about doing the Dungeon Crawlers Trivia Game.
at some point, I realized I was getting ahead of myself -- too much,
too soon. So, figured I would limit the competition to two
groups: Dwarves & Elves (or Dwarves & Dwarves). And
they're playing that game where the one side tries to roll a keg of
beer into the other team's town, because once that happens, the party
begins, and whichever town the keg is in is going to get trashed.
so, that's my game: The Barrel Roll Game. Already started
coding it using YUI's Charts Widget. Going good. Hope to
have the finish product posted next week -- along with a series of
pages showing pictorially (HTML improvement by HTML improvement) how I
went about designing it.
Anyway, basic concept, get the wavy
line on a graph to reach the top (or bottom for the other player).
If the Keg rolls to the bottom, then the Dwarves party in Elf Central. And if the Elves
push that keg of beer to the top, then the Mountain Top will be the setting for
the world's highest champagne fountain and the Dwarves will become the laughing stock of the Kingdom.
Seriously, all you had to do was push that keg down the hill and a bunch of sissy Elves still beat you? Pathetic.
Anyway, here are some links:
THESE GAMES ARE COMPUTATIONALLY HEAVY. AND ARE EXACTLY THE TYPE
OF WEB PAGES THAT WILL MAKE CERTAIN BROWSERS -- i.e. cell phones --
CRASH/CLOSE. SUCH IS THE NATURE OF ABUSING A GRAPHING PROGRAM
BY TURNING IT INTO AN ANIMATION DELIVERY SYSTEM.)))
- Barrell Roll Game - F2 -
Second Iteration of the Finished Product (and presumably final), object
at this point is more free form in design: keep the black line between
the two red lines.
Of course, when I loaded this on my iPhone, I had no problem. But
to be honest, I typed out the warning. And at this point, I don't
feel like taking the trouble of deleting it.
January 21, 2014 Abusing a graphing program to make a Barrel Roll Game morphed into making Quazy: The Face of the Prophet
-- a web page I've worked on over the weekend, but haven't touched
since. Think oscilloscope turned into a mouth and you'll have a
pretty good idea as to the prototype I'm trying to bring to life.
Here are the other game ideas I've got going (none of which I'm
planning on pursuing at this point, so dropping them here seems like
just the ticket):
Of the lot, Pool View Bingo seems the most promising. For game squares (and just off the top of my head), I can come up with (see, spot):
- My Hawaii -- 144 Plot Points -- Basically a choose your own adventure utilizing Cliff Hanger's My Hawaii as the locale.
- The Waiting Room Game
-- a ten by ten grid that you try to alternately fill up and clear (the
inner logistics of which I haven't a clue at this point, so no need to
wonder why it's in the dead file.
- Pool Side -- another one of
those 'games', the logistics of which I am unclear. But that
little stumbling block aside, let's just say that from my penthouse
apartment in the sky, I have a clear view of the community pool.
So, the thought came to mind: How to make a game out of the folks
down there swimming. Maybe Poolside Bingo? Or, maybe I could put something together for guests (and there's an idea) Window View Bingo. Maybe I'll start a list.
- And finally, some sort of cooking game. But what?
And there, you go. A few more, and I'll have enough to lay out a game board.
- Security Guard
- Firetruck, Ambulance, Police Car in the Lobby
- Airport Beacon Light
- Bird on Ledge
- Egret on Lawn
- Kids Playing Frisbee or Ball
- Dog taking a Walk
- Five or more in the pool
In the meantime, I think I'll try to focus on Quazy: The Face of the Prophet and see if I can get anywhere with that.
January 28, 2014Window View Bingo might turn into Tower Tic Tac Toe.
The main difference between the two being how many squares in a
row a person needs to get in order to score (5 vs 3). And
although these could be played competitively, I'm more inclined to play
them as a group project on a comunal board with better sightings replacing old
(while keeping in mind that a bird on the ledge today if worth a flock on the field of yesterday's morn')
One of the reasons to switch to Tower Tic Tac Toe was to reduce the number of categories. For Window View Bingo,
I was making a long list of detailed sightings to place on the squares,
but that gets repetitive and/or highly specific after a while.
For example: the palm tree
trimmers came today and that should be worth something in the
game, but as the palm tree trimmers likely won't come again for
another six months, it doesn't
seem reasonable to devote a game square to that happy occurance.
So, my thinking
was to make general categories (Lawn Work, Pool Activities, Birds,
etc.) and then to give the square to whoever had the current best
sighting, however the group decides a thing like that (by vote,
intimidation, whatever). I'll let you work out the
details on that, for now at least -- along with whatever modifications
might be required to the basic idea for team, competitive, or solitary
play. Though, I like the idea that the first person to see
item, gets to decide what square that item it linked to for the rest of
the game. Meaning should someone one-up their sighting, they get
the square, but it's the same square as before (just a new
Anyhow, that's probably a whole lot of words for and idea that I hope is relatively self-explanatory.
And these are the starter categories I came up with for Tower Tic Tac Toe (all judged subjectively based on size, relative rarity, and pleasure to observe):
someday I may make a board for the game and/or formalize the rules. Or
more than likely, I will say that's enough close to game ... for now at
- Lawn Work - raking, lawn mower, tree trimmers, palm tree trimmers
- Lawn Play - joggers, yoga, stretchers, Frisbee, catch, tag, and the rest
- Day Tripping - sunrise, sunset
- March of the Seasons - rain storms, fog on the Pali, rainbows
- The Man - ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks (from sounds in the distance to conglomerations in the parking lot)
- Man's Best Friend - dogs and their walkers (cats, birds, & pet chimpanzees, as well)
- Flight of Fancy - birds in the air, field, and ledge by rarity, proximity, and number
- House Call - sounds in the hallway, neighbors, and knocks at the door
- Pool Play - sunbathers, families, swimmers, and other poolside activities (like everything else, by noteworthiness)
- Sight Seeing - being neighbors on their balcony, watching movies second hand through the window, and so on
- Call of the Wild - noises worthy of notice from the surrounding city (sirens, calls, fights, monthly air raid siren, etc.)
- Look in the Sky -- it's a helicopter, airplane, and/or military convoy (those C-10's tend to fly in packs of three)
I continue to play High School Story on the iPhone.
And as such, I continue to think about making this style of game
(creating my own version, etc.). So, here's my thought
progression on that:
of Means won out (being the last on the list and where my thoughts led)
and ignoring the darker aspects for the moment (as in the Made Man
expansion pack), I came up with the list of category items:
- High School Story - just use my own locale (say Kevin Stillwater's HomeTown and call it a day)
- Frat Boy Story - a more mature, party oriented version, which led to
- Jet Setting Voyagers - the full on party version for adults
- Beautiful People - same idea (live the good life viscerally) but with a different name
- A Man of Means - reducing the previous to the man-centric version (think Darcy or James Bond)
from there, I started to work on different character types (Old Money,
Internet Billionaire, Pop Star, and so on) and even wondered if I
should spin this off into some sort of fantasy or science fiction
world. But then, I decided the real world was fantasy enough for
me, so no need to take it any further afield.
- Investments - where the money comes from
- Clothes and Accessories - got to have that watch
- Boy Toys - being cars, yachts, planes and so on
- Activities - social, party, travel fun (the quests of the game)
Of course, the original idea was a
computer game. But as I think will be a trend to these musings,
after dreaming big, I realized I'd never find the time to get around to
coding it, so I thought about how I could make the project more manageable and
perhaps explains the appeal of pInterest, but seems like a lot of work
for something I'll never own the copyright to (or even be able to post
on my own website -- I do believe a magazine photo collage is walking
the line, in fact, stepping over). So for now, it's a work in
progress. How to play the millionaire game from the safety and
comfort of my own living room chair?
- Imaginary Shopping
- Photo Safari.
February 4, 2014This is going to be a real short week. Not many new ideas.
Man of Means became What Would Antonio Perez do?
was a good bit of motivation. For an hour or two, but hardly what
I would call a game. Though to be fair, it might fall under the
heading of play.
- Cook a Nice Breakfast -- Antonio Perez understands that breakfast is the most important meal of the day... right after lunch and dinner.
- Go for a Walk -- Antonio Perez is not afraid of a little rain... I on the other hand, am.
- Even washed the dishes -- Antonio Perez makes a mess, Antonio Perez cleans a mess.
Perhaps next week I will have better insight. After all, Antonio Perez knows when to keep his mouth shut. And that's usually right after a person says, goodnight.
February 11, 2014I
think I'm ready to kill this idea from my list of potentials.
It's why this column (blog, whatever) is called Game Tyrants.
And the idea was a board game, Risk like, in which one of the
twists would be that each player had a leader, but instead of granting
a skill or an ability like they usually do in these sort of games, the
leaders in Game Tyrants would force a disadvantage:
Anyhow, this is the end of the line for that. I'm not planning on developing it any further at this point.
- Always go first (or last)
- -1 from all rolls
- Skip every 2d6 turns
- And that sort of thing
work from last week with Antonio Perez sort of morphed into a writing
project starring Radcliffe Emerson Pierce, which perhaps sounds a bit
too much like Charles Emerson Winchester III, whom I will confess
provided inspiration for the name. But I like the Radcliffe part,
so that's staying no matter what. The work is tentatively
entitled Today Is the Best Day of the Rest of Your Life and Rad (as he
likes to be called) is a bit of a milliionaire playboy
Anyhow, for my game (or writing exercise), I decided to read a magazine (Luxury Hawaii) and try to view it from his (Radcliff Nathaniel Stewart's) point of view.
And with that, enough with the words. I shall say goodnight.
is in search of that great find, a material item to carry forward and
gift to his grandchildren, just like his grandfather did with that
Picasso or his grandmother did with that Faberge Egg.
- He buys other material items to express is style, culture, distinction, and taste.
the rich (or at least the Greek Gods) are forever in search of something
to relieve their boredom. But personally, I believe boredom comes
from not having a hobby. Trust me on this, if you let it, writing
will expand to fill all your time (so will computer programming).
- What is boring, however, is that
which one is required to do -- like say go to the opera or other social
functions. Jeeves (of Wooster and Jeeves
fame) has been known to say that "He does what a gentleman should, so a
gentleman can do what he would." Suffice to say, Radcliffe
doesn't see much opera.
- Food is one of the purest pursuits of narcissistic pleasure.
can almost hear old Rad (as Radcliffe likes to be called) exclaiming,
"Who needs a watch, when they've got an iPhone." And now, with
the latest OS release, they're even waterproof -- or so goes the joke.
Radcliffe views the social scene (pop stars and the like), his thought
go along the lines of Who does He want to Meet Next. When I ask this question of
myself, the answer is a coding mentor. Want to learn how to
write? I'll trade writing instruction for coding guidance.
is leaving he Caribbean in the opening scenes of the book. So,
"We can get rid of these tourist brochures, now. Have the ones
for New York flown in, if you would," Jeeves, Hodgson, whoever.
'Good Life' is understood. Much like that refrain about money,
'If you have to ask, it's too much'. If you have to say, 'It's
the Good Life', it isn't.
- Another popular saying is 'You have arrived'. Well, when they arrive, Radcliffe leaves.
as for words, those are for the peons... as are the small print classified
items in back. If it's not front and center full page, it's not a
February 18, 2014If playing games are for amusement, perhaps I should branch out more in my pursuit of pleasure and the good life.
So, I did a Conceptual Sketch this week for a Digital Art Project that I am thinking about pursuing -- am I pursuing, in fact; but whether I shall continue to do so, remains unknown...
And that is all he wrote (for this week, at least).
February 25, 2014After
much hemming and hawing, I decided to (once again) link to any
images rather than insert anything in-line... not only because
that will keep the code on the page simpler, but also because even
at only a 100k a week, after a year, that'll be a bit much to download one one page all at once.
So, anyway, here's the link to this week's image. (Don't know
if I'm going to make a habit of providing images, but maybe I will. Whatever.) As you
can see, I am an Origami God.
But don't feel bad if you don't want to hit the link, you're not really missing that much. Of course, if you
do (or did), you'll maybe have a clearer idea as to why I opted to link to images
rather than loading them in-line.
Just saying. Anyhow, as to the picture (mostly crumpled
- The purple (Behr PPU-16-5, Lily of the Nile -- I
used paint samples as my card stock, available for free at hardware
stores the world round) was supposed to be an F-16 fighter. Um,
yeah, maybe a bit too complicated for me. This one was the last
examples in the origami book I was following, so I switched to the first origami project in
that there book.
- The yellow one (Allen + Roth ar1805, light rail) was supposed to be a butterfly. I gave up much quicker on this one.
orange one (Allen + Roth ar1704, sunset boulevard) turned into a paper
airplane -- paint on the inside, text on the out -- it flew as well as
any from my youth (not very).
- The 'amber sunset one (Allen + Roth ar1806,
jackson square, I chose the card stock based on size and color) was
supposed to be one of those cool airplanes. Um, I've completely
forgotten how to make those cool airplanes; otherwise, you might know which ones I was referring to..
- The red one (Behr PPU2-16, Fire
Cracker) actually turned out reasonably well. And did not emit
chuckles from any of those lucky enough to be present in the peanut gallery on it's maiden flight. But
perhaps, that had more to do with 'Sunset Boulevard's' previous crash
and burn, so no one (least of all me) was expecting much.
Going to try to doing something 'fun' again next week.
- I sincerely doubt I will be pursuing origami
- I actually got rather frustrated
- And/or more than a bit peeved.
would have quit earlier if I wasn't planning on posting the result...
so there is a personal benefit to maintaining an unread blog.
another benefit of said blog is that it has been years since I folded
paper. And the only reason I got to it tonight (rather than
studying up on Racket's version of Scheme -- a computer language, but
then, you already knew that) was because I had it on my list to do
something fun tonight.
I hope it actually is.
March 4, 2014I
bought Sid Meier's Civilization on the same day that I bought my
first computer. It was the first computer game I ever played (PC,
personal). It was the best computer game that I ever played (PC,
personal). I didn't like Civ 2 or 3. Wasted many an hour on
Civ IV. And was looking forward to Civ 5's release. And
then, I heard all the complaints about the AI, so I never did get around to playing
it. Still haven't. But today's project was to spend a bit
of time on the CivFanatics Forums.
Enough with Civ 5. One of
the interesting things on the forum was a game they were playing
similiar to 21 Questions. It was the longest thread on the forum
by a long shot.
- Um, the AI for Civ 5 still sucks
- I won't be playing the game anytime soon
- I never did like the fact that the leaders tend to be haughty and abusive
don't like the fact that the diplomacy is negative based.
Meaning, it's essentially impossible to have 'good' relations
with another civ, but you can have relations with a civ that aren't as
bad as everyone else's.
They played this game over and over again.
- Here's my clue about some game play trivia.
- What am I talking about?
anyway, want to start the winning thread in a forum? Maybe you
should try some sort of guessing-game round-robin in which the winner
of the last gets to post the next riddle in the series.
Actually, the person who posted the thread had about a bazzillion rules, but the essential features can be condenced down to:
It's a computer game, five in the series (perhaps more, I suppose it
matters how and what one is willing to count) that traces the ascent of
man from the stone age to space ships, oh, and the AI in the
latest iteration of the series sucks something awful. Hope you're
- Post a clue.
- If after two guesses, no one gets it, post another clue.
- No more than one guess per participant per clue level.
after three clues no one gets it, the question is deemed too hard and
whoever is fastest on the draw gets to pick the next question.
March 11, 2014I
don't feel like playing. I feel like reading up on Bayesian
Statistics. That, in and of itself, is proof that I need to spend
a moment or two doing something less constructive.
I like Tower Defense Games. Of the free ones on the app store, my two favorite are:
Time's a wasting. I'm off to play.
- iTD - iTurretDefense
- GeoDefense Lite
March 18, 2014This
week, I'm going to watch TV. Been doing that a lot lately.
MIT has a LISP course online from the mid 80's (1880 or 1980, not
sure which) that I'm finding useful. And though I haven't gotten
to to the part of LISP I don't understand yet (he said, perhaps
optimistically), one of the things they have gone over is Closure...
briefly. I'm thinking they're going to cover it more in depth,
but at a rough idea, as they are using Closure, it means a dataset that
is fully expandable -- an array that holds arrays (or more to the point
in LISP a pair set that holds additional pair sets). Anyway,
enough of that.
For fun, I'm watching NBC, because I like their
app the best (ABC would have probably won out with Modern Family and
The Middle, but without a subscription, I can't stream, so it's NBC).
And of NBC the shows I like the best these days are:
Anyhow, that's what I'm doing this week... that and taxes.
- Parks & Recreation
- Growing Up Fischer (must admit, I'm only a few minutes into the pilot), and
- Community (the one I like the best, so saving it for last).
March 25, 2014I've been 'playing' High School Story
on the iPhone for well over two months now. And I do believe I am
nearing the end of interest in that 'game'. I use quotes.
There's not much actual playing involved. But then, it did
capture my interest for months, so it has something going for it.
Anyway, spent the weekend loading up a bunch of new titles (none
of them hit the spot) and here's some advice for would be developers
(or for me to keep in mind for my own efforts):
Ads -- For the most, ads are done wrong, they should be:
- Part of the Game
- Players Rewarded for viewing
- Ad should have an in game locale (bulletin board, place to go to view with in game logic)
- Players in control of
- Never at the start
- Never at the load screen
- Not until the hook has been set
- If the first thing I see in app is an ad, guess what, your app is an ad delivery platform and nothing more
- Same thing if the ad space is continuously visible
- If I am redirected to the app store or a website without my explicit permission,
I tend to delete the game rather than return to it. You've got
your 2c and have missed out on the $20 I've earned for HS Story over the long haul.
- Ads should not be for a competing product
- Use fake ads as a placeholder until you can get real ads
- Anything is better than advertising for the competition
- Initial game should load fast
- No updates (we all know it's just ad content, anyhow)
- Initial game should be lean
- When I'm low on memory, I check out the hogs and tend to delete the apps with higher data requirement first
- Load the updates between levels and after advancement
- Preplanned tutorials are boring
- I want to be able to make mistakes
- Too often I find myself thinking, 'I'm already bored' thirty seconds into a game
- Ready to go out of the box
- I don't want to have to name my character
- Have cool prefab names for everything that I can customize later
- To start I am just test driving your app
- I have no need to test drive a typing simulator
- Tutorial should be optional!!!
- Tutorial is likely ALL I'LL EVER SEE
- Your tutorial is your app
- If it sucks, so does your game
Time Mechanics (this is where you wait around in real time for things to be built, recruited, or completed)
- For the first hour (day, week, month, year), all things should only take a single second to complete
- Seriously, you've got to set the hook first
- Oh, waiting. I see. This game is about waiting.
- Sounds interesting, fun, and captivating...
- I don't like 'failing' after I've waiting my time
- If utilizing a time mechanic, success should be automatic once the time is up
- Most importantly, if I can't play your game, I'm going to try out another one while I'm waiting
- Time Mechanic = YOU CAN'T PLAY NOW
- If I'm bored, I delete the app.
- Geez these suck.
- Seriously, stick figure sprites with doll arms and legs
- Is that as good as it gets?
- Give me control of the speed
- If there is text, I need to be in control
- I want to be able to skip set scenes at a tap
- Why doesn't anyone have a 'Back' button?
Final Thoughts (probably the good ones)
is all. Oh, and by the way. I'm putting my money where my
mouth is. This week, I deleted all advertising across all of
my sites. Eh, it was easy. I wasn't making any money anyhow.
- Gems should have a reasonable currency rate
- Gold plus time should equal some rate of gem creation
- Remember, the only use for gems is playing your game
- And if I can't play for free, I won't play
- I want continuous load points
- This means being able to exit and resume mid-conversation, mid-battle, mid-everything
- I want more choices and less text
- I understand that it's easier to write a linear narrative
- So if nothing else, make the reward fork with player able to choose (gold, gems, experience, or whatever)
- A week later and I'm still playing High School Story
- And all I want from the quests is experience or gems
April 1, 2014 So, here's a game idea. Seven Degrees of Internet Freedom.
Start with an idea (or website); and from there, how long does it take you to
get to another idea (or specific website) being only able to:
- Click on Any Link on the Current Site
- Go to a Search Engine Site (counts as it's own move)
on a Search Engine for something relevant to the current
site/idea; and then, click any link, or search another keyword string
based upon the results of the first search
- Start on a site
- Switch to Google
- Search for keyword term found on first site
- Hit Link & Win
- Three Moves
- Start on site
- Hit Link
- Hit Another Link
- Hit Another Link and Win
- Three Moves for a Tie
Probably needs a lot of refinement if one wants to keep score, otherwise ready to go as a diversion.
- Start with an idea
- Not on a site so get to go to Google for free (it costs no moves, as you've got to start somewhere)
- Search a clever term
- Hit Link & Win
- Two Moves for the gold
April 8, 2014 I like those territory conquer games. Risk, I believe is the most famous. Though in truth, from my own youth, I remember Dune with greater fondness. Anyhow, whichever your personal favorite of the bunch (Diplomacy, Axis & Allies,
I'm drawing a blank from there, but I'm sure there are hundreds more)
the idea is simple, capture territory for the win. Of the current
incarnations (solo games available for free on the iPhone), I like Auralux the best. So, if I was going to make a game (and I just now might), I would use this game as a starting off point.
Auralux - What I Like:
(spaceships in this case) grow automatically -- about 1 per second,
like a beating heart per planet owned (2 & 3 for larger planets)
selection is easy -- touch the screen to form center of circle, slide
outward to form outside radius, everything inside is selected
are easy -- there is ONLY ONE command decision, where to send your
troops, though this might result in different outcomes, see below, they
ALL result from the same slide select mechanic, (tap, slide - makes
circle, tap sends the troops to final location). If final
playing, this might not be so self-explanatory. But from a
Player's point of view, that is all that's too it. And I find the
mechanics remarkably engaging.
- Unoccupied Planet
- Enemy Occupied Planet
- Troops Try to Destroy Defender
- And if successful, planet becomes unoccupied
- Self Occupied Planet
- Troops expend themselves to upgrade planet
Auralux - What I Don't Like
What I might do if I were to build an Auralux sequel:
- The AI sucks
- Enemies actions are way too predictable
- Enemies ONLY attack the next planet in line
- Enemies overwhelmingly attack their weakest neighbor
- Enemies don't gang together when winning separately is a lost cause
- But let's not overlook the first item:
- Enemies ONLY attack the next planet in line:
- No switching targets mid flight
- Um, yeah, and the AI sucks
that thing I mentioned about an upgraded planet being about as easy to
destroy as non-upgraded one is sort of important (or a nice power
equalizer), so let me go over the mechanics of that. It costs
approximately 100 troops to:
- Good AI's are difficult, but multiple piss-poor ones are easy, so I'd go with that
- Random play styles for the enemies
- REX = Rapid Early Expansion
- In Auralux, the planets can only be upgrade a preselected number of times (1x, 2x, or 3x)
- Make them all 100x, if you got the time, they've got the upgrade potential
should note, it's about as easy to destroy/overrun an upgraded planet
than one that is not, so that is it's own built in downfall...
- Add a tech tree of some sort
- More planets equals some bonus
- Bigger planets equals some bonus
- More troops equals some bonus
- Oh, and I'd keep it free.
not apposed to making money, just that I've had little success
monetizing things in my life, so I'm probably not letting much money
slip through my hands by saying, I'd make it free.
also, I think money tends to get in the way. Perhaps all the
things I've noted as shortcomings have been fixed in the full priced
version. Unfortunately, I'll never know...
- And I don't mind swinging for the fence posts
- Think movie deal
- Think books series
- Think t-shirts
- Think all expense paid trips to the fan boy conventions of your choice
- Well, I'm sure you've already given it a great deal of thought.
- So, free. For the first
a 3x planet has a 300 troop investment (at a minimum), but only costs
100 to neutralize, so attacking upgraded planets is the way to go.
It really brings your enemies to their knees.
- Neutralize an enemy controlled
planet (this is in addition to the cost to eliminate all the garrisoned
troops -- all combat is 1 for 1, which I like)
- Conquer a Neutralized Planet
- Upgrade a Planet from 1x to 2x
- Upgrade a Planet from 2x to 3x
And then, once last bit on top of all that and I shall call it a week.
But the AI is so terribly horrible, I doubt I shall ever pay for the full version...
- I like that the combat is 1 for 1
- I like that troops fight wherever and whenever they meet (they fall into each other like gravity at some distance)
- And I like the graphics
- single color dots, basically
- Red, Green, & Blue being the base colors of a RGB display
April 16, 2014Boom Beach
is a time delay game -- whatever that mechanic is called wherein you
can speed things up with gems, but the gems ultimately cost money... or
or so rare that they're just another way of measuring time. I
find the time delay mechanic boring. Seriously, it's wait to
play. I guess I got sick of waiting before I found the allure of Boom Beach.
Certainly, from a strategic point of view, the game seemed
lacking. The choice is where on the beach to land your troops.
From there, it's automated. Tell you what. Just play
the game for me and I'll get back to you in a few years. Wonder
if the computer can beat itself or if it, too, finds the whole process too
monotonous. Oh, I should note. Boom Beach has been paying a lot for
advertising (or at least, I've been seeing their ads lately). But
advertising is worthless if players only stick around for a few
turns. I deleted Boom Beach after about an hour.
Galcon Lite is reminiscent of Auralux. It's a planetary space conquest game:
the AI sucks. Or actually, maybe the AI doesn't suck. It
plays competently enough, but there is only one real strategy.
Wait until your opponent attacks another planet; and then, turn
around and attack the planet he launched his attack from. There
is no other viable strategy. Even the AI uses this strategy.
So, the game is sort of one dimensional. And at higher
levels, as far as I can tell, all that happens is the computer:
- 1 for 1 combat
- Bigger planets produce more troops
- The boards are randomized; and that's nice, in that there are countless play options
my impressions at the higher levels is that Galcon Lite becomes a
twitch game in which the human doesn't stand a chance against the
computer's greater speed. And at the lower levels, one can
literally win on the first move by simply attacking the computer's home
- Moves faster
- Gets more troops
- And instead of 1-1, he starts killing you at 1 for 2, 1 for 3, or better (computer's 1, your 3)
How to make it better?
Actually, one of things I wonder about when looking at Galcon Lite is why they never made a sequel (and not just Galcon Pro or
whatever the paid version is called). This is a decent space
twitch strategy game... or at least a decent starting point, so why not
build upon this and make a whole series of Galcon
games. And then, I looked in the app store (because, hey, how
would I know if they had actually made a sequel or not, I mean, I'd
never looked), and lo and behold, there are all sorts of games by this
company, including at least four Galcon titles..
- Limit how far ships can attack
- A first turn win would be impossible
- Computer would be able to build up an empire, which it is pretty good at
- And this in turn would force the player to fight through their system
- Have ships intercept each other enroute
- Ala Auralux
- Visually, the far superior game
- Three player might be nice
- As would different ships
- Tech upgrades
- Be able to deselect a planet.
- Click once, selects the planet
- Click twice, selects all planets
- Deselecting all should be the next click, but it's not
- Since play devolves to speed at later levels, a simple interface annoyance like this is a real... annoyance
Wonder how they improved it in the later versions?
But then, I doubt I'll pay to find out, so I'm guessing I'll never know.
I kept Galcon Lite on
my iPhone for a few weeks... perhaps as a reminder to write this
column. Certainly worth the price of admission. And I've
played it a few dozen times. But I can't see a serious gamer
coming back to this game after the initial thrill has worn off.
It's just not that deep.
Oh, and I just downloaded War
Hammer Quest at almost a gig in size, the odds of me keeping this on my
phone are almost non-existant... and I haven't even tried it yet.
So, just saying, I've been known to be overly critical at times.
Which is another way of saying, if you expect nothing from it, Galcon Lite is sort of compelling... until it's not.
April 24, 2014Part
of the reason for delving into Auralux and Galcon was because I've
decided to look into programing a territory conquest game. Of
course, I'm a crappy programmer, so... I took the easy way out.
For graphics, I shall use buttons. And let the python kivy
model do all the heavy lifting for me.
The basic game board can be seen here.
course, there's not much to see, just the Eclipse IDE I use for
python, loaded with a little (just a little code) and a graphic of the
screen -- a 10x10 grid of buttons. Push a button to select a
territory. Push another button to effect the outcome (move,
Perhaps between now and next week, I'll get some sort
of Aha! Or failing that, the motivation to play with it a bit
more. Anyhow, there's the board. And in truth, I'm already
thinking of chopping it down. The icon buttons on my iPhone are
lined up in a 4x5 array, so maybe a 4x4 game boards is the way to go.
Nice and big controls that way.
Oh, and this is all kivy.py standard stuff.
Setting up the game board is less than a hundred lines of code
(as I wrote it, at least) and over half of that are bebugging print
statements. So when I say this is kivy standard, I'm pretty
serious. The buttons are straight out of the box. In my
opinion, not much sense wasting any time on graphics until the strategy
and game play is ironed out... and maybe not even then. One of
the big games making the rounds right now is a a straight number button
implementation, so why stress it -- at least, to start.. Buttons
are easy. And at my level of programming, if a program is hard to
implement, maybe I'm working on the wrong program. There are just
too many easy things out there that are still left undone...
April 29, 2014The game is Lux Touch and it is a straight Risk
implementation; or at least, that's how I see it. I am of the mind
that I should be more positive; so, for a free game, it's not bad, not
horrible, actually played it a few dozen times before I figured out
it's principal weakness. Oh, and it has a big weakness. A
gigantic weakness. I suppose Risk as a game has this weakness. So, it's nothing inherent to Lux... or singular to Lux, but it's there nonetheless. And this is what it is:
you stay alive until the second round of turning in your cards,
you'll likley get enough armies from the hand-in to wipe out one
of your opponents. If that opponent has any cards, you get them,
and by the rules of the game, you can then trade them in -- mid-turn.
So, on your 7th, 8th, or 9th turn, you turn in a set of
cards, use the armies to wipe out an opponent, cash in the cards
thus gained for additional armies, and finally use the
aforementioned armies to wipe out another opponent; and so on and
so forth, until there are no opponents left. The computer doesn't
know how to take advantage of this quirk of the rules, so if you stay
alive until the 7th, 8th, or 9th turn (pretty freaking easy to do)
along with taking over one territory each turn (the requirement
for getting a card), victory
is essentially guaranteed. The only real question is whether it
will be on the 7th, 8th, or 9th turn.
The other thing that is
sort of stupid about the Lux is that each opponent plays be the
same gamebook, so certain territories (Brazil for instance) are
attacked by almost everyone almost every turn, whereas stuff in Europe
and Asia is more or less ignored (by everyone as well).
Ironically, I tend to play the same way, opting to seek control
of South America or Indonesea, while ignorning the rest of my holdings,
so I really don't notice this that much, but it's there.
if this last were corrected and the computer's strategies were more
varied, the whole dynamic is sort of overrun by that 7th, 8th, 9th game
turn run for the win dynamic.
Truthfully, I have no idea why I
never witnessed this as a child. I guess it was because we hardly
ever had more than two or three players; and this hack, dynamic, or
whatever you want to call it doesn't really shine until seven
players are involved as one doesn't attack the strongest opponent
first, but rather from weakest to strongest cashing cards in for armies on the way.
I'm making an effort to be more upbeat in my reviews. So, despite
the lack of longterm gameplay, I would like to thank the makers of Lux
(and all the other free apps out there) for making their apps free.
And I would also like to remind them that there was a movie
version of Battleship not
to long ago, not because it was a great game, but because everyone
played it. Or in other words, the upside for market share is
truly staggering in this day and age -- truly staggering. Which,
come to think of it, isn't such a great example. I
mean, Battleship sucked as a game (and likely as a movie, as well, but I don't
know as I never saw it). But I like to think the future will
belong to the good free games... but then, I suppose, it probably won't.
But either way, my life is too short to spend any more of it playing Lux. So, app deleted. Still, thanks guys. I appreciate both the game and the effort.
May 6, 2014I finally got around to playing War Hammer Quest
and deleted it after a few minutes. It's just not what I want out
of a game. It could be hard to describe what I want out of this
sort of game. But I will say I played Dice Dungeon for slightly longer. I guess what I want out of a fantasy role playing game is:
I certainly don't want to:
- Some sense of adventure
- A little sex appeal
- Combat to be sort of trivial, almost automatic, certainly not the mainstay of the game
- Truth be told, I want to win, so perhaps link treasure to skill, but with the outcome guaranteed
I admit that there's not much guidance there. Maybe I have outgrown RPGs.
- Wait through pointless combat animations
- Be conscious of how often I am tapping on the iPhone with my fingers
Although, that said, I continue to play High School Story...
perhaps because it was the first time mechanic game I'd ever loaded,
well, that, the lack of combat, and the fact that I'm not overly bored with the content. Anyhow, High School Story provides rings as a bonus for watching
ad content. And like I've said before, I believe this would be better
what I really wanted to talk about this week was the inclusion of a
four minute Burger King ad in High School Story's ad lineup. They had declared the value of a
thirty second spot at two rings, so I feel a four minute ad should be
worth five rings; and so, I'm on strike and won't watch it:
- Ad content was linked to a building, say the Clubhouse
- And there was either a timer telling a person when they could watch the next ad
- Or a list of ads that one could watch (and that would possible regrow, spawn, whatever)
- Next Culinary Club Meeting at 5pm Tuesday, or whatever
just an idea. Not that I have access to the click through rates,
but if they stopped showing the BK ad due to low retention, the lack of
reasonable payoff rates might have been key. Also, since one of
the big thirty second ads is from Jack in the Box and the
four minute ad is from Burger King, might I recommend McDonalds
get into the act and buy a banner ad that says:
- Billboard Ad -- 1 ring
- Thirty Second Ad -- 2 rings
- Four Minute Ad -- 5 rings
got a feeling it would be the sort of advertising campaign that
worked. Or if you don't like that, how about a quest. The
only use for rings (OK, the only use I put them to) is buying quests,
so why not have advertisers sponsor quests:
- McDonalds Appreciates Your Business! Here's Ten Rings On Us! Enjoy!
- MacDonald's Road Trip
- Pizza Hut Slumber Party
- Mad Men Marathon
May 20, 2014I've
been going through the free comic books available on the iPhone.
But both iMage and Comixology have changed their format/offerings
(the very app that they intend to use down the road has changed), so listing off app
names, seems sort of silly. I haven't gotten to Marvel or DC yet,
but I've probably read, well, maybe not an even thousand, but several
hundred free comics -- all over the counter and legit from the original
I wonder why comics aren't supported by advertising?
I do not know???
Not that this is a blog about what apps I've used or have recently stopped using, but then, maybe it is...
I've switched from imgur to 9gag and reddit. I don't know what
that says about me. Or for that matter, how it is possible for a
site like reddit or imgur to make money legitimately. A quick
looksey at the sight (I do believe) would reveal that much of the
content is a repost (not only from elsewhere within the site or the
greater social sharing network) but other websites. Yeah, a lot
of it is original content (OC in the slang), but how much of that OC is
actually drawing in the crowds?
Don't know. Not going to
do the research to find out. But I have a hunch that if they had
to pay for content that was owned elsewhere, the sites would dry up PDQ
(which is old world slang for pretty darn quick).
is the best bubble drop app, just in case you were wondering.
Stayed on my phone for better part of a year. But I've
stopped playing the game, and I have the desire to consolidate my desktop, so out it goes..
June 4, 2014So,
I guess I might not be making a game this year. Almost at the
halfway point; and I've got to admit, my heart's not in it. I
have been doing a lot of photomanipulation. So in the spirit of
keeping this post going, I decided to do a preliminary layout drawing of the sort of picture I'm hoping of doing soon: a main picture, with some sort of cool effect (maybe something like this).
And then, clumped around the main picture smaller images of the
same picture worked through with a different effect. Yeah, that's
probably not clear without looking at the pictures. But then,
that's what the links are for...
June 10, 2014I give you another test page, this one for the Butterfly Effect: a work in progress...
June 15, 2014I've
decided to change my focus from a game to photo effects; and thus,
future entries to this weekly post will now be made to a webpage
entitled Vision Quest.
Feb 7, 2015 - Lucky's TavernThe name Lucky's Tavern originates from (blatant self promotion ahead) Celli the Happy Go Lucky's Series of Dragon Bound Adventuring Books and the mythical book within a book (Tales from Lucky's Tavern) in which all the stories started at Lucky's Tavern. (Sense a theme?)
So, anyway, a year later and I'm still playing HS Story on the iPhone, so there's something to the game:
Whatever, not really going to deconstruct it, just copy it.
- Can't Lose
- Time Commitment
- Feeling of False Accomplishment
some sort of Tavern that the player runs and from there orchestrates
the actions (quests) of others: simple stories made up of a half dozen
chapters of the form:
Even that's not the important part, the real part, the reason anyone would care.
- This is What Led to This
- The Current Action
- What's Going to Happen Next
really, just a simple framework on which others can add and utilize
whatever resources they can skim from the web (photos, music,
additional quests, whatever).
- I don't do music, so use the users own library.
- My imaging skills are a bit lacking, so use the users own photos.
- I'll get sick of writing quests, so open source the project and let folks add their own.
Such an obvious idea, it probably
already exists, perhaps I will search for it before long... or then
again, perhaps not. After all, this is as far as I got on the
project. It's highly unlikely I'll ever take it any further.
Thus ends Game Tyrants or does it...