October 31, 2011

POX now available on iPad!

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:10 pm

Happy Halloween everyone! We’ve been keeping this a secret for sometime now and we’re happy to announce that POX: Save the People® is now available for the iPad!

All of us here at the Tiltfactor Lab are very excited about the release!

Based on our board game, POX: Save the People® is a 1-4 player game in which players fight the spread of a disease that threatens to take over a community. The game is based on the way a typical disease spreads, and players must work together to contain the spread of infection by either vaccinating or curing citizens.

October 26, 2011

Building Spatial Skills Through Puyo Puyo Games

from tiltfactor
by @ 5:54 pm

Puyo Puyo games are simple puzzle games that require the player to rotate falling pairs of objects to build combos of four or more of the same color.  If the objects aren’t matched, they stack up and if they reach the top, the game is over.  As the levels progress, players must rotate the pairs more quickly in order to survive, as the speed at which the pairs drop increases.

Examples of combos in Puyo Puyo games

One commercially successful example of a Puyo Puyo game that I played as a child is Sega’s Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.  The final level is depicted below, so you can get an idea of the gameplay.

October 21, 2011

Instant Gratification

from tiltfactor
by @ 1:50 pm

Games are by definition about reward. You can’t have a game that doesn’t reward you in some way for doing something. Most games have both long-term rewards (say, winning in Monopoly), and short-term rewards (say, receiving money when someone lands on your hotel). I think it’s quite clear that these rewards are what make games so appealing to us as humans. In general, we like being rewarded for performing well.

When I find myself addicted to a digital game, I often find myself dreaming of and longing for a particular mechanic of the game. Below is a list of some game mechanics that I’ve found myself addicted to in the past:

October 19, 2011

The Game of Life: Influencing Childhood Career Aspirations?

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:34 am

Hey everyone!  I’m super excited to be involved in Tiltfactor’s NSF Bias project and will be reflecting on how current games have contributed to or influenced the topic we are addressing.

This week, I will be briefly discussing how Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life could potentially impact its players’ career and/or life goals.

The Game of Life is a table-top board game designed for children 9 or older that allows players to live through a compressed version of adulthood — from college to retirement.  Along the way, players get to do “adult things” like choose jobs, get married, have children, and buy a home.  I would like to specifically address how this game creates a skewed perspective of the potential benefits of going to college.

October 17, 2011

¡POX en español!

from tiltfactor
by @ 10:51 pm

¡Algo nuevo! ¡Tenemos las instrucciones para POX: Salve la gente, en español! Descargue las aquí.

Why So Few? Hmmm?

from tiltfactor
by @ 7:58 pm

Why SO Few report

Our entire team has read the research report by the Association of American University Women (AAUW) that offers compelling evidence to help explain what is going on in the US with science, technology, math and science and women. By the way, in 1885, a group of AAUW members conducted a survey that debunked the popular theory that higher education was bad for women’s health. . . So, thanks to the organization for that one, and for more contemporary research on women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

October 10, 2011

Yum at Indiecade 2011

from tiltfactor
by @ 11:29 am

Well this year’s Indiecade, the coolest international festival of independent games, has drawn to a close. The fest attracts small independent game makers and a handful of artists to play, discuss, eat, watch, and play some more. It is a hands-on, grassroots group who comes. Some of my favorite games included the whimsical Hohokum, a line drawing vector based game; Ordnungswissenschaft, a game that integrates stacking blocks in the real world into that of the virtual. Interesting little games also included The Witch; Way, a game that features two player capacity but each as a different point of view, and Halycon, a musical toy and matching game.

October 9, 2011

The Sounds of Little C

from Post Position
by @ 12:01 pm

A group of sonic and code explorers has been discovering excellent super-short C programs that, piped to an 8-bit audio device, generate music. Here’s the first video and a second video with sounds and code.

Here’s the code for one example, “Lost in Space,” from video #2:

((t*(t>>8|t>>9)&46&t>>8))^(t&t>>13|t< <6)

If you are also a righteous Ubuntu user, you can paste that into a file (let’s call it “lost_in_space.c”) and compile it with:

% gcc lost_in_space.c -o lost_in_space

Then, pipe it (or pretend to pipe it, using padsp, since recent versions of Ubuntu don’t have /dev/dsp) to your audio device using:

October 8, 2011

Mass Effect 3 Unlocks Gayness

from Post Position
by @ 5:24 pm

In the Mass Effect series, you get all the intensity of a first-person shooter combined with a sprawling space-opera plot arc. And, the games have another aspect as well: As pan-galactic dating sims.

In the first two games, your customizable human, Commander Shepherd, who is the same paragon or renegade badass whether he’s black or white, male or female, can get it on with select characters. However, even though this is the way-far future sort of world in which there’s no problem with romance between beings from different planets, she or he can basically have only heterosexual relationships.

October 7, 2011

“Games” for Grief, Mourning, and Anger

Screenshot of "maybe make some change"
maybe make some change, my new interactive story , does not have achievements, leaderboards, or co-op play. Many definitions of “game” might exclude it. Underneath the multimedia components it’s a parser-based interactive fiction, but there’s no space to explore, no objects to take. It’s inspired by a true story about war crimes in Afghanistan. It’s not exactly what most people would call “fun.”

October 6, 2011

Unconference/Hackday on Digital Writing

from Post Position
by @ 8:32 pm

Normally I only mention events that I’m attending or organizing, but I want to announce this Boston-area event even though I’ll be in Chicago and won’t be able to attend.

It’s called Dangerous Readings, and is sponsored by Eastgate Systems. Check out the page to see how you can participate.

October 4, 2011

A Map Generation Speedrun with Answer Set Programming

There’s nothing really special about this map-looking thing, other than that you can’t get from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner in less than 42 steps (I looks to take 56 or so). What is special here is how quickly we’re going to develop a flexible, style-ready generator for it. Set the clock for 50 lines-of-code, and let’s get started.

That’s right, we’re going to write this map generator right here in the blog post. If you want to follow along at home, download Clingo (a state-of-the-art answer set solver) and fire up your favorite text editor.

October 2, 2011

IF Comp Games Are Out

from Post Position
by @ 8:52 am

The 2011 Interactive Fiction Competition games! They’re out. Go get ‘em.

October 1, 2011

Games, Stories, and a Three-Part List

from Post Position
by @ 8:43 am

I’m in Montréal at Experiencing Stories with/in Digital Games Concordia University. I’ll be offering some remarks, entitled “Deinventing the Wheel,” about language and interaction. That will be on the next panel, which focuses on Mass Effect 2.

I won’t elaborate right now, but the current panel, which includes the Tale of Tales folks, made me think about the relationship between Passage, Tao, and The Graveyard.

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