Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Final rules (or so I hope)

Players receive one fireman
Players roll the dice to know who goes first. Then turns are taken clockwise.
At the beginning of each turn players use the spinner and move the number of token indicated per groups of people on the appropriate allocated place on the board.
Player then attempt to move the sticks without moving the other sticks.

o For each block moved, player obtains a resource (firemen=red, engineer=green, doctor=blue or ???movers 9 =yellow…)
o Each block removed also allows the player to obtain a block that he will use to build his tower
 2 blocks build a house
 3 blocks build a hospital
 4 blocks build a shelter
o The sick people are to be moved to hospital only (when taken care by doctors they can be moved to a shelter or a house)
o The healthy people can be moved to a house or a shelter
 A house can shelter 2 people (per player thus 8)
 A hospital can shelter (up to 3 people per player thus 12) per turn and can be used only during two consecutive turns but only if no building has been built.
 A shelter can accommodate 4 people per player (total 16)
o Blocks need to be of same color to be able to allow construction.
o A player can build multiple building during his turn (same or different)

Once used resources can’t be used again. They have a short life span.
o Role of the resources
 Firemen allow stick to be removed. The maximum of stick that can be removed with 1 firemen is 3 (thus after three blocks that has been removed a player that does not have a second firemen can’t continue playing even if other sticks haven’t move)
 The doctors allow sick people to be healthy (one doctor can take care of up to 4 patients. Sick people that are treated by a doctor move to the healthy space. However sick people that have not been treated can be moved to the hospital but MOVERS are needed then to move then to a shelter. Even though they can stay at the hospital. Reason to move them is to replace them by other sick people (this can be done at the end of a turn)
 Engineers allow for construction. 2 are needed for a house, 3 for a shelter and 4 for a hospital.

PLAYERS CAN GIVE construction blocks and resources to other players

o If the needle lands on earthquakes all players have to move 1 sick and 2 healthy people to the dead area.

o If the tower collapse game is over (and victory cannot be claimed)
o If one player has no more sticks game can continue until either the tower collapses or the optimal winning condition is obtained

WIN conditions
o The OPTIMAL WINNING condition. There is no more blocks to build the tower!

Special slot on the spinner (no sick or healthy people obtained)
If the needle lands on lose turn the player loses his turn
If the needle lands on spin again the player has to spin again
If the needle lands on Move all your sick…, the players follow the directions
If the needle lands on Play twice, when the player loses because a stick has moved , he can continue to play until he loses again

ALWAYS shelter sick and healthy people in parasismic building as if an earthquake strike it cannot make any damage. Remember that layers are adding up to the tower thus make the foundations really stable.

Now I am focusing on the final design!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

online presence for my game

Daisy Chain will be found online here. I only have one post and will be filling in a lot of information throughout the weekend. So, please check it out when you have time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Somewhat Functional...

The past week has been very hectic for me and the game has been quite buggy. I am going to have to re-code a lot of my engine because I have too many loops running each frame, and the game cannot keep up with all the events. I have recently found some really good game programming resources and am in the process of the overhaul. The traditional 'for' loop of programming is not usually a good design decision in ActionScript, so I will need to code my project according to the frame-loop convention, and hopefully this will resolve my performance issues(hits not registering, slowdown). I have managed to salvage a somewhat working SWF, so here is a little update(before the serious glitches apppeared).

Most Recent developments.

Here are pics of the 1st game board at 93% completion. The transmitter circuit, batteries and LEDs will be housed in the blue/pink bird house character titled "Kingfisher".

Here is the overview shot:

Right Detail:

Left Detail:


Favorite moment:

- The TX/RX i will have finished after i try setting up a 555 timer with the transmitter on seperate breadboard at 3v (see last post for earlier update on the transmitter/reciever progress).
-Locator: will contain RX, MCU, lcd readout, auditory signaling, analog magnifying glass and compass. Design still in progress.

Game update

An update for everyone. Next class I will be bringing the latest prototype of the game. I have simplified the rules down, and colored the board (which I will be printing out before class, so I may be a few minutes late). I am also working on the instruction manual to explain the rules better.

As a note, I am using pieces of cardboard for the game tokens. These will not be used in the final version of the game. My plan is to scavenge other games to use their pieces. However, a majority of the games that I own are located in tampa so I could not retrieve them this week. So while the game pieces tomorrow may look bad, the final pieces will be easier to distinguish and play with.

Monday, March 22, 2010

this is probably asking for trouble but....

Okay, I am still plodding along with my game but in Visualization class I have been using the Processing language to create drawing tools. It's been really rewarding to learn something so foreign and start to be able to understand how things work.  I was wondering if any of the simple ideas I made could be turned into a game eventually? What do you think? Something to pursue later? Below is the flower painter which I thought was a good example because it's sorta related to my soft circuit game. Click anywhere in the blue field to start making flowers. Click and drag to paint with them.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Game as evaluation in health education

The first project I was thinking about for this class was a digital production for malaria education. This project isn't totally dead as I am helping one of the health departments at UF by creating a poster to educate people in Haiti about Malaria and to obtain their consent with IRB signing.

While looking for references to support my work I came across an article that was reporting on health education assessment through games. What was impressive were that children (in elementary schools) were able to create a game on dengue (game mechanics and rules) in about 30 minutes.

Please consult the article on this report by the WHO : (pp220-227)
It takes sometimes to download but it was worth waiting.

Video Games Claim High Prices

check this out!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Success (or so I thought)

So I spent the majority of my day today attempting to get my radio RF transmitter and receiver for my game's location system working. After several failed attempts I thought I finally had it but now that I have reexamined what I had done I realized it is still not returning correct values. However I have learned from my mistakes and I now know how to solve it, I just need one part from Sparkfun. So until that gets here, for your learning pleasure I will document the mistakes I went through. A lot of this may sound like novice mistakes but that's because I am!
First I began by following some simple tutorials online, they wanted you to have two MCU's one for TX and one for RX but I am pretty sure i can combine it into one. I tried combining the code into one sketch. It compiled but seemed to enter an infinite loop when being uploaded. SO i decided to just focus on either TX or RX. I copied code for just TX that what increment a counter it looked like this:
* Simple Transmitter Code
* This code simply counts up to 255
* over and over
* (TX out of Arduino is Digital Pin 1)
byte counter;
void setup(){
//2400 baud for the 434 model
counter = 0;
void loop(){
//send out to transmitter

I checked my wiring, compiled , and uploaded, sure that this time it would work. Alas I had even bigger problems. Now my computer would completely FREEZE every time I uploaded to the MCU. Needless to say this was extremely frustrating I tried several different things but always my laptop would freeze. After scouring forums and tutorials I found the answer in the first place I should have looked in the troubleshooting page on the arduino homepage: http://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/Troubleshooting#toc1
Silly me you can't have anything connected to the TX or RX pins, digital 0 and 1, on the Arduino board when you upload. You have to connect the TX and RX after the sketch has been uploaded.

Ok so now I was able to upload my sketch that was suppose to TX an incrementing value, RX the value and print it to the serial port. It was working but whenever I opened the serial monitor I was getting abnormal values and junk symbols. Back to the drawing board.

I added a .1 micro Farad capacitor between the ground and the Vcc of the transmitter and the receiver to prevent what they call "decoupling" in electronics, hoping that this would now make the circuit return correct values in the serial monitor. Compiled, uploaded, and still junk values.

I decided to try another tutorial from Tom Igoes book "Making Things Talk" . In this tutorial you connect a potentiometer to analogIN 0 on the arduino and the transmitter to digital pin 1 TX. You than connect the receiver to RX on a USB to serial adapter and plug it into your computer. Not having a USB to serial breakout board I thought I could get away with building it all on one prototyping breadboard. That is the setup you see in the original picture.

I uploaded the code from Tom Igoes tutorial and for awhile I thought I had finally got it working. When i would turn the potentiometer the serial monitor would report appropriate values. I was very excited and was ready to post all about my success until i stopped to think....Was the device actually transmitting, receiving, and printing the potentiometer value or was it merely reading and printing the potentiometer straight off analogIN 0?? Warily I unplugged the TX pin, to my dismay the serial monitor still returned values consistent with the potentiometer, It wasn't transmitting :(. So now i know that i need to the arduino working independently of the computer off of a 9V battery with the TX on it and and USB to serial breakout-board hooked into the comp with the receiver. Anyways I learned a lot and am a lot closer to final execution.

Reconfigurable house

Arturo and I were talking about "smart homes". Most smart homes exhibit total control of the user by obscuring the computing elements. These smart homes though attractive in concept may not meet all the needs of the user. Here is an example of a "smart house" that is reconfigurable. They say that "In contrast to such smart homes, which are not able to adapt structurally over time, the many sensors and actuators of Reconfigurable House can be reconnected endlessly as people change their minds so that the House can take on completely new behaviours."
Check it out http://house.propositions.org.uk/

Go Blow an iPhone!

I recently saw few iPhone Apps on the futurelabs site and thought they were worth sharing. The first is a playable "Leaf Trombone", where the user actually blows into the iPhone's microphone to simulate the playing of the real musical instrument. I wonder what the sound quality is like?
Another App that caught my eye is a quit-smoking app. At first, I envisioned someone smoking an iPhone! Actually, the microphone would be used in a similar interactive fashion, but as a way to work for breath therapy(has a history of helping people quit smoking).

In response to Aaron's comment on video game ads, I can definitely remember the sounds in violent games better too. The release of adrenaline during gameplay does seem like a possible cause to this statistic. I still clearly remember hearing: "Head Shot!" and "Double Kill!", or the sound of the Awp firing in Counter-Strike. Perhaps memory "holds" more information during periods of adrenaline release due to an increase in the acuity of the senses?

Advertising in violent games recalled better

While looking at the futurelab website I found this article stating that people tend to remember the in-game advertisements (from billboards, soda machines, etc) better from violent games than any other type of genre. Part of me thinks that it could be a chemical reaction caused by the overload of adrenaline during the time. Since the senses are heightened during that time period (since the player doesn't want to die), the player tends to focus on the overall picture of the game and taking in more information than he/she normally would. Hence, the person will end up remembering the small things as well, like a pepsi soda machine or a billboard for an upcoming ea game.

Well that's my take on in, what are yours?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Card set

Can you guess the main character where this villain appears? (1980's)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Casting mold

Update about making the casting mold: I succeeded at least during the first trial so I am excited. I went for something simple as in the long run the character should be made of dough. Thus I thought that they feet weren't required but the upper body. I use bottle caps in which I put some apoxie (previously mixed). Then I needed a model (remember that I am not an artist so I needed physical models). To have the models (doctor, engineer, fireman and food-giver) I used the plastic miniatures that I modified a bit and then inserted them in the apoxie. Let them harden for 3 hours then removed them from the casting mold. The results can be seen in the picture.

Will post more updates soon

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Oh, you want to be addicted? This is the coolest thing since MYST! play it, it will tweak and oil your brain ! This beautifull game was designed by Jakub Dvorský from the Czech Republic, who graduated from the Graphics Design and Visual Communication program under Professor Jirí Bárta of The Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague.

Jakub Dvorský

Together with animator Václav Blín, he established a game company "Amanita Design" and they have designed a number of successful online games such as Samorost1 and Samorost2 among others.

The Machinarium adventure game is currently being developed in collaboration with programmer David Oliva, musician Tomáš “Floex” Dvorák, sound maker Tomáš “Pif” Dvorák and painters Jakub Požár and Adolf Lachman.

Way to go, truly interactive art:-)

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I am officially a gamer! And I am addicted...I have reached level 18 in 70 hours. For those of you who plays it you might understand what I am talking about. Farmville is one of the zynga games available on Facebook. My addiction is on control though, I wanted simply to reach level 17 to have access to the blueberries. Maybe I'll push to level 20 to be able to be able to harvest tomatoes.

For months I have seen my friend posting about their achievement. Until thursday night when I decided to give it a try as the bad cold I had didn't allow me to think and I needed some simple fun.

The reason I am posting about it is that playing this type of game help me understanding the dynamics behind social gaming. You can progress on your own but helping your neighbor and organizing your neighborhood is key.

Give it a try...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

D&D on the Microsoft Surface

What we showed in class.


And you have to admit, it does look like something that will be in starbucks or the like in the next few years.

Quantifying Game Drama

The article of Polti's ratios used in numerically ranking the relative amounts of drama in video games is very interesting. The three categories: level, variety, and involvement of drama are very important in creating a convincing and intriguing storyline. Tetris is clearly an example of no-story line, and while it Tetris does have drama that varies by the speed of the blocks falling, the actual emotional value of the game is completely dependent on the player's own investment in improving their own score. I consider such strategic/competitive gameplay to create it's own system of ratios, versus the actual storyline that unfolds. In the game Final Fantasy 7 (my #3 all time fave), the player spends hours(lengthy game) leveling up a party of characters to battle and progress through the storyline. The game's heavy use of cinematic cutscenes and pre-rendered 3D areas made it extremely imersive, and one of the first 3D role playing games.
SPOILER ALERT!!! About a third into the game(10-15 hours depending on speed), one of the playable characters, Aerith, is killed by one of the other characters, Sephiroth(who you also can play in the beginning). Sephiroth ends up becoming the boss of the entire game, and as the main protaganist Cloud, you find out that Sephiroth is actually your brother from a genetic breeding project. This establishes what many gamers consider to be the most epic game and storyline ever: it's Akira meets Lord of the Rings.
The amount of time invested in developing the characters makes for a level of drama unavailable in games like Tetris, and I feel cannot be effectively evaluated with the same set of ratios. The unknown elements of a story are what really dictate the drama.
---FF7--- ---Tetris---
Death of A main character vs. Rocket launch when you get a Tetris(four lines in a row)

While that rocket sure does turn me on, the death of Aeris was the most epic emotional moment of any game I have played, and was as well executed as a blockbuster movie. The death also establishes the motive of the rest of the game, propelling the player into a higher level of emotional involvement.
Here is a clip of the scene:

Comments on Prototypes

Hey everyone I was really impressed with peoples prototypes last week and the directions of everyone's games. Irvika i was really excited about your game and couldn't stop thinking about it. I decided I had to make some drawings of possible gameboards and tried an experimental reworking of the mechanics to make a more cohesive yet simplified game. Here is an image of how i think the game could work:

Hope you like my suggestions!

Also Aaron I thought your game was pretty cool and progressing nicely. I thought of a cool, simplified mechanic, should you choose to use the hexagonal layout, for combining travel,scavenging, and random encounters. I don't have time to get into it now since its getting late but i'd like to talk to you about it in class tomorrow.

Also Adam I liked your drawings for your monsters in your game. I'm not a great character drawer but maybe I can help contribute, also maybe I can help you with some sounds or music for your game.

And Kevin maybe we can find a way to make a prototype of your proposed flying saucer game case through using molding and casting techniques.

For everyone I didn't get to, looking forward to seeing the progress you've made in class tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mold making demo?

I have noticed that a lot of people are making physical games for this class. Coming from a sculpture background it is no secret that I love to make things!! If you guys need any help protoyping or making physical objects for your game I would love to be of assistance. Also Arturo I was wondering if it would be beneficial to the class to give a brief demo on mold-making and casting? If anyone would be interested in this please let me know.

Response to Electronic Empire: Orientalism Revisited in the Military Shooter

Excellent article, very apropos. Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Do we make video games about war with the Middle East or are we at war with the Middle East because we make video games about it?

I have many friends who are addicted to Call of Duty especially the newest release modern warfare 2 a series in the Call of Duty franchise. These games are nothing to take lightly, I was recently at a friends house when he showed me a level of modern warfare 2 in which the OBJECTIVE is to KILL CIVILIANS IN AN AIRPORT. I have not felt this disgusted in a long time, as my friend gunned down people exclaiming "oops missed one" or "head shot!". My friends and acquaintances do not necessarily play these games because they are sadistic or feel strongly about war, middle east politics, terrorism etc... they play because the games are extremely well made and offer intense and addicting online multiplayer.

The most chilling assertion of the article is not the fact that these games train soldiers or recruit people into the armed forces, but that it makes people accustomed to the idea of perpetual war with the Middle East or Neo-Orient. These games are very perpetual in and of themselves. People play for hours and hours on end continually participating in matches of good guys versus bad guys, the same maps of quasi-middle eastern terrain or Hispanic favela, over and over again, locked in a never ending battle, and of course you don't want the battle to end because no more war, no more game, no more fun. It's a war-mongering neo-conservatives wet dream.

When I asked my friend if he was disturbed by killing the civilians in Modern Warfare 2 he said "no, it's just a game; I would never do that in real life." I replied that "That's not the point, you've just experienced a first person, 60-inch high definition plasma screen, surround sound, simulation of killing innocent people; now in the future when real civilians are killed you've already mentally experienced this and been desensitized. You've now been conditioned that 'It's OK if these civilians are killed as long as the mission is accomplished'." Its really fucked up that this sort of stuff is allowed to pass as entertainment in our society.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Polti ratios

Reading that text would have been way easier if I could remember the rules of classical French literature of the 16th or 17th century. Rules were strict; for a piece to be qualified as a comedy or a tragedy the authors needed to follow all the rules.

I appreciated Hall and Baird's attempt to show that games might have narrative despite the fact that the narrative might not be obvious. The dichotomy between story and game might not be obvious however should we ask the following question: does a story make a game, or does a game has a story? But as the authors suggested it where does that leave Tetris? Or a game such as bejeweled 2 (which got me addicted).Who can assure that players need a story to guarantee the success of a game. Why do I continuously play bejeweled whereas I am not building any particular assets?

And the greatest point I will retain from that reading is the following quote: "Do people in general (with an understanding of Polti’s units) detect exactly the same units in the same story?" particularly when we know that many games offer different paths to different players.

Apoxie, Clay, Dough etc

As you know I am trying to use recycle materials for my prototype. However, while I can find the materials to be molded in Gainesville, it is impossible to find the cast. I googled the issue but couldn't come up with any store selling cast. I found animals, families and babies cast but no jobs related casting or molds. Any insight?

Drinking Games

I attended "The Sociable Pint" at Brophy's Pub last Friday. It was a really fun event overall. More importantly, I got to see some of the technologies I am interested in used in real life.

Some glasses had plastic sleeves with a base that fit over them. The bases contained sensors and LEDs. Depending on how the glasses were positioned in relation to each other, they would light up and react differently. If you clinked them, they would flash. If you took a sip the accelerometer in it would cause the lights to blink and change colors.

I think this project really capitalized on an essential part of gameplay - discovery. It was fun just to watch other people's reaction when they figured out what the glasses could do. It also got people talking to each other very easily, something you would want in a bar. I could see people one day getting a set and hooking them up to their home computer and playing with friends. I would also like to see the glasses conrolling elements in the room -- music perhaps?