Experimental Game Design


Game design document used in EGD:


Game Design Document


Game design structure template

Pre class prep:

* Bring in one sample of best work (this does not have to necessarily be “art”, but the best work you have done to date.) Not for critique, but to know each other’s talents


Week 1:

Personal Game Archaeology
& Look at best works
(not a critique)

* overview of course
* creative practice in cross disciplinary collaborations
* review of studio practice & endeavor: working in class on class work only
* Technical info for studio lab

* drop box info

* What is a game? * definitions.html

Jesper Juul The Game, the Player, the World: Looking for a Heart of Gameness

* G. Frasca - Simulation vs. Narrative: Introduction to Ludology http://www.ludology.org/articles/ludology.htm


* why do people play games?


* questionnaire

* Rensselaer GSAS Library Historical Game Research Resources


Experimental Games:

What do we mean by experimental?

the promise of wonder

1.         (of a new invention or product) Based on untested ideas or techniques and not yet established or finalized.
2.         (of a work of art or an artistic technique) Involving a radically new and innovative style.
Synonyms: tentative - empirical - empiric - pilot

The way to take the course:
* Daniel Pinchbeck of Thechineseroom calls "development-led research",

* producing experimental games to investigate the critical and technological questions looming on the horizon edge of culture

* pitch video: conceptual approaches describing the scope and goals of the project, including concept art, and playable prototypes.
* GDD: framework for your work and ideas like a journal of creation, it lives and grows as you do and your project does. It is iterative!!!
* think beyond yourself and your existing world, be creative, get wild, surprise yourself
* do your readings
* attend events: you can get new ideas
* listen and participate in class
* do your assignments as indicated
* come to class, always, you will learn new things and make new friends, besides your team needs you fully, and please do not get sick

The virtual world is a tool for man to create alternate realities as thought experiments and to model their current realities to better understand them. 

Innovation challenge, new interfaces, new paradigms, digital and real world interaction.

We will embark upon a new experimental study using the world as a site for a new kind of interactive experience that goes beyond the ordinary fps type game.

We will work with interdisciplinary teams of students from Experimental Game Design class to design and then play-test the concept of using a space as theme or location or inspiration for this short study project.

Extraordinary Ideas and Innovation: examples

Most interesting innovative game/controller/interface for you???

Emerging Genres
the game becomes ubiquitous: gamification of everything

Ways of approaching:
Using a space as theme or location or inspiration

Play, Fashion, Rebellion

Interaction & Interface: beyond urgency in interaction
Physically Based Games: Kinect, Kinect Mods, weird and wild interfaces
How to view/hear/taste /smell/sit/fly/run/move?

Engagement & Social Formation:

Game concepts/characters/story/player created content/breaking through the 4th wall

Social action games

Augmented Reality

Immersive Reality:
Pervasive Play & Blended Reality:


Going indy

Life, Art, Game as one:
the Situationist International

The Oxymoron of Virtual Violence….gun violence??

Media violence

Education and Games





Emotion and Poetics

- Presenting/game jams/conferences and awards
- working for someone else
- creating your own company


* Temporary Teams formulate



Mobile Games:

Short Narrative in Mobil Games: http://toucharcade.com/2013/08/21/check-out-this-20-minute-talk-on-bite-sized-narratives-in-mobile-games/

Locative Media Art and Games XML, APIs and Apps for Walking Artists

Kinect mod a possible trail simulation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9ID9fCAPtw


This project is somewhat like a combination of the artists/researchers:

Janet Cardiff’s camera walk pieces

Blast Theory’s “Can You see me now” project (which is played on-line and in the physical world) http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_cysmn.html  

modified PK Parkour ("the physical aspect of getting over obstacles in your path as you would in an emergency. You want to move in such a way, with any movement, as to help you gain the most ground on someone or something, whether escaping from it or chasing toward it."),

Parkour like Mirror’s Edge http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ox6HebkC44


Mirror’s Edge Parkour http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-OUNPqRzII


Pervasive convergence (or blended reality) genres of games such as in the research of Annika Waern http://www.pervasive-gaming.org/index.php , and  Jane McGonigal http://avantgame.com/McGonigal_THIS_MIGHT_BE_A_GAME_sm.pdf


Collective problem solving in Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) as part of distributed campaigns. Possible collective games based on puzzles no individual could solve alone, often use mobile technologies and are solved by teams working together online. Each ARG develops an online community dedicated to solving the puzzles put forth by the game. Storytelling, implementing an analytic system to analyze and simulate the process by which distributed individuals contribute to and shape a collective story.


We will experiment with the idea of restructuring the everyday in ways to creatively see and perceive new perceptual opportunities and awareness in everyday surroundings, not so much created by the game experience, but rather revealed by it.   

Augmented Reality Board Games:



Augmented Reality Girl
who dances, walks and talks with you using Artificial Intelligence (AIML). Made using Flex/AIR and Java with FLARToolkit.


Augmented Environment Lab:

PIT Strategy is an Augmented Reality Game that uses a game board, cards to determine your pit strategy, a webcam to look at the board and a screen to show the 3D objects.

Augmented Reality Tower Defense for Nokia N95


More information on the AR SDK:

How adding fun can change the world:

Aram Bartholl http://www.datenform.de/

Ripsaw model by WoW papercraft blog: http://datenform.de/1heng.html
Jump and Run Shanghai
workshop and public intervention http://datenform.de/jumpnrun.html


Augmented Reality' on Smartphones Brings Teaching Down to Earth

IPhone Games:

Ipad game dev

Fast Company Design: iPad App Lets You Sculpt Virtual Clay, Then Print Out Your Art


Doodle jump http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doodle_Jump


Blended Reality & Some Emerging Genres

Collective problem solving in Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)
as part of distributed campaigns. Possible collective games based on puzzles no individual could solve alone, often use mobile technologies and are solved by teams working together online. Each ARG develops an online community dedicated to solving the puzzles put forth by the game. Storytelling, implementing an analytic system to analyze and simulate the process by which distributed individuals contribute to and shape a collective story.


Immersive Reality:
Play the News
Documentary Games

Papers on Pervasive Games:

Pervasive Play & Blended Reality:

Inhabiting a virtual space: gamers maximize their play experience by performing belief, rather than actually believing, in the permeability of the game-reality boundary. http://www.avantgame.com/writings.htm)
* McGonigal—A Real Little Game: The Performance of Belief in Pervasive Play (download pdf, top paper listed at: http://www.avantgame.com/writings.htm)

Augmented Reality

Live action role-playing games
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_action_role-playing_game

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk2vR8w2sjc

Location Based Mobile Games

Bot Fighters


Location based Games

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching
* http://www.geocaching.com/about/default.aspx

Can You See Me Now? by Blast Theory

Activating Play


Life, Art, Game as one:

The Situationist International: Formed in 1957, the SI was active in Europe through the 1960s and aspired to major social and political transformations. They were a small group of international political and artistic agitators with roots in Marxism, and the early 20th century European artistic and political avant-garde (people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Situationists

"A moment of life concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a game of events."


They supported the dialectical unification of art and life. The name came from their aim of liberating everyday life through the creation of open-ended, participatory “situations” (as opposed to fixed works of art) — an aim which naturally ran up against the whole range of material and mental obstacles produced by the present social order.


Over the next decade the situationists developed an increasingly incisive critique of the global “spectacle-commodity system” and of its bureaucratic leftist pseudo-opposition, and their new methods of agitation helped trigger the May 1968 revolt in France.


Since then — although the SI itself was dissolved in 1972 — situationist theories and tactics have continued to inspire currents in dozens of countries all over the world.

The situation as a practical manifestation slipped, ultimately, into a series of proposals.


The SI stemmed from the radical tradition of Dadaism , a European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that scorned conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity. They did this as a reaction to the carnage of the First World War, replete with mustard gas (a chemical-warfare gas, blistering the skin and damaging the lungs, often causing blindness and death: introduced by the Germans in World War I), which was a war between the allies (Russia, France, British Empire, Italy, United States, Japan, Rumania, Serbia, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Montenegro) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria) from 1914 to 1918.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadaism

John Heartfield


Hannah Hoch




Marcel Duchamp




Some problems with reality: http://videogames.suite101.com/article.cfm/video_game_realism

Sony patent towards real life MATRIX




Issues in interdisciplinary endeavor

Beyond Productivity: Information Technology, Innovation and Creativity
http://books.nap.edu/html/beyond_productivity/ch2.html  (near footnote 43)

Trans disciplinary team building /dynamics of collaboration

Tips for successful collaboration:

some from my research



Scenario Planning                                

Scenario planning is a method for learning about the future by understanding the nature and impact of the most uncertain and important driving forces affecting our future. It is a group process which encourages knowledge exchange and development of mutual deeper understanding of central issues important to the future. The goal is to craft a number of diverging stories by extrapolating uncertain and heavily influencing driving forces. The stories together with the work getting there has the dual purpose of increasing the knowledge of the business environment and widen both the receiver's and participant's perception of possible future events.


The method is most widely used as a strategic management tool, but this and similar methods have been used for enabling other types of group discussion about a common future.


Scenarios are narratives of alternative environments in which today’s decisions may be played out. They are not predictions. Nor are they strategies. Instead they are more like hypotheses of different futures specifically designed to highlight the risks and opportunities involved in specific strategic issues.



Some Extraordinary Ideas:


Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists

Jane McGonnigal Let the Games Begin!

Kissing As A Gaming Controller


Neuro Controllers:


MIND Controllers:
Mindflex Games http://mindflexgames.com/
What other games of today could become the realities of tomorrow?



Yehuda Duenyas



The Emotiv EPOC uses a set of sensors to tune into electric signals produced by the brain to detect player thoughts, feelings and expressions and connects wirelessly to most PCs. http://www.emotiv.com/


hacking Neurosky http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/05/collins-lab-brainwave-beats.html



Hipster Interface Danielle Wilde http://www.daniellewilde.com/dw/hipdisk.html

Bodybio interface:


Games and Education:

STEAM Ahead: Merging Arts and Science Education


“Number Mission” (Maria Montenegro) is an interactive math learning game targeted for 7 to 12 year olds specially made to foment learning in underdeveloped countries and economically challenged areas. It uses the physical body interface of the Kinect and has a green theme that encourages recycling and awareness of environmental issues.

Bionic Eye

Fun musical / terrain builder


More Extraordinary Ideas:

The Graveyard


Paper Moon:

Indie Games Blog: http://www.indiegames.com/blog/


Most interesting innovative game/controller/interface for you???

Oculus Rift Dev. Kit M inite http://www.oculusvr.com/


Experimental gameplay project - How to Prototype a Game in Under 7 Days


Games with Drones:

What a Difference a Drone Makes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-hOWjJ0LzM&list=UUF84F_NVDIVGkwfPLOWIp7w&index=7

Cheap drone parts: http://www.cheapdrones.com/in-the-air.html

Games about Drones http://www.molleindustria.org/



toxiclibs is an independent, open source library collection for computational design tasks with Java & Processing

1.0:Promo http://www.vimeo.com/6417194

Blender Dome:

Whiffle Hurling? Bag Tag? Hey, It's Art
and artists in New York City are inventing high-
concept sports that are meant to be both games and art.

Video Library Player:  Arcade Games As Art
Ryzik reports from the opening of Deluxx Fluxx, an interactive art arcade created by the street artists Faile and Bast, on the Lower East Side.


Eva and Franco Mattes: http://www.0100101110101101.org/


Micha Cardenas is a 31-year-old man taking hormones to become a woman. So, it's not surprising perhaps that Cardenas views the boundaries of gender as being somewhat fluid and has questions about what it means to be male and/or female.  





Wardrip-Fruin, Noah   and Pat Harrigan, Editors. First Person: New Media as Story, Performance and Game http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=9908



Art in Odd Places is taking over 14th Street: That means gold trash, mutilated stuffed animals and weirdo performance artists everywhere. We asked nine of them to explain their WTF creations.

By Jennifer L. Nelson

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Road Kill Stuffed Animals
What it is: Fake roadkill on 14th Street between Broadway and University Place, between Third and Sixth Avenues, and between Ninth and Tenth Avenues

What it means: “Stuffed animals are nostalgic childhood objects,” says artist L Mylott Manning. “Destroying them is an expression of the frustration, anxiety and pain of life.”



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Ultra-Violet Beauties
What it is: A photo shoot—starring you!—with a special UV filter that reveals what’s going on underneath your skin
What it means: “It’s about people directly confronting their flaws,” says former makeup artist and photog Cara Phillips. “I spent years helping women buy products to hide themselves, and I wanted to expose the flaws that can’t be seen with the human eye.”




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What it is: Busted, abandoned and otherwise ignored objects painted gold
What it means: “We miss so much of what’s around us,” says co-artist Boris Rasin. “The simple act of putting on a fresh coat of paint in a color you wouldn’t expect lets people see objects as if for the first time. We’re assigning value to things that otherwise have no value.”



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The Pedestrian Project
What it is: Artists donning custom-made costumes that look like the faceless figures you see on road signs

What it means: “The characters get us to humorously see ourselves through these generics,” says artist and costume designer Yvette Helin. “We all want to be someone and yet we’re more like those icon people than we care to admit.”



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No Deliveries Today
What it is: Brightly colored boxes continually moved from one location to another; they never make it to their destination, wherever that is

What it means: “The boxes are become a metaphor of displacement and forced social nomadism,” says artist Miryana Todorova, who collaborated on the project with Hatuey Ramos-Fermín. “It points out the changes that render neighborhoods unrecognizable.”



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What it is: The artist pulls ski masks over her head (17 masks is her current record), then slowly peels them off.
What it means: “New Yorkers will be forced to consider the many masks and layers of identity we wear and their suffocating quality, as well as the simultaneous desire to be seen and not seen,” says video and performance artist Arielle Falk. “I just hope nobody thinks I’m robbing a bank!”



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What it is: Tape frames shapes in the landscape, including bricks, sidewalks, crosswalks and windows

What it means: “How it is, isn’t how it has to be,” says artist and designer Aakash Nihalani. “We need to see the city more playfully.”



Elements of Creating the User Experience by Adams & Rollings

1. Concept
2. Elaboration: primary Game Play
Interaction model
Camera perspective
Gameplay challenges
3. Tuning



Week 2: 

* Review Indy Game research & sketches

Ralph Brill client visit 2:30 to 3:30 


The Oxymoron of Virtual Violence

Dead Rising

Grand Theft Auto

Violent Videogames as Pedagogical Devices

Game Over: http://www.vimeo.com/6426372

Most unwieldy video game weapons:




* show artists’ work:

- Kathleen Ruiz BANG\Bang multiview\Package4\bview.wrlBang, Bang (you’re not dead?) multiview
Gonzalo Frasca Sept 12

- Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Paolo Pedercini


 - Wafaa Bilal Domestic Tension
Description from an on-line exhibition publication:

Iraqi born Wafaa Bilal has become known for provocative interactive video installations. Many of Bilal's projects over the past few years have addressed the dichotomy of the virtual vs. the real. He attempts to keep in mind the relationship of the viewer to the artwork, with one of his main objectives transforming the normally passive experience of viewing art into an active participation. In Domestic Tension, viewers can log onto the internet to contact, or shoot, Bilal with paintball guns. Bilal's objective is to raise awareness of virtual war and privacy, or lack thereof, in the digital age. During the course of the exhibition, Bilal will confine himself to the gallery space. During the installation, people will have 24-hour virtual access to the space via the Internet. They will have the ability to watch Bilal and interact with him through a live web-cam and chat room. Should they choose to do so, viewers will also have the option to shoot Bilal with a paintball gun, transforming the virtual experience into a very physical one. Bilal's self imposed confinement is designed to raise awareness about the life of the Iraqi people and the home confinement they face due to the both the violent and the virtual war they face on a daily basis. This sensational approach to the war is meant to engage people who may not be willing to engage in political dialogue through conventional means. Domestic Tension will depict the suffering of war not through human displays of dramatic emotion, but through engaging people in the sort of playful interactive-video game with which they are familiar.



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Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal presented a lecture/performance at
West Hall Auditorium, RPI Campus
Mar 5 2008 Second in the series, “Art and Islam: Electronic Representations and Local Communities”. This is what happened:




* Screening of film:  Gamer Revolution

* Discussion of  

- Behavior:


- Two contrasting ideas about Play:

* Play creating culture

Homo Ludens written in 1938 by Dutch historian, Johan Huizinga

Huizinga_ Nature Significance of Play.pdf

 "play-instinct" as an instinct that emerged very early in human prehistory - in fact, he sees it as one of humanity's primary instincts, one which provides the fundament for other elements of society, such as religious ritual, war, and poetry. Huizinga sees play as a free and meaningful activity, carried out for its own sake, spatially and temporally segregated from the requirements of practical life. He has an esthetic approach to history, where art and spectacle play an important role. He was held in detention by the Nazis where he died in 1945. 



* Play as a “safe” place to learn unsafe things:

The Ambiguity of Play

Brian Sutton Smith_ Play and Ambiguity.pdf

by Brian Sutton Smith, a New Zealand play theorist who studies the cultural significance of play in human life. He demonstrates that children are not innocent in their play and that adults are indeed guilty in theirs. In both cases play pretends to assist them in surmounting their Darwinian struggles for survival.

Play shows us the dark underbelly of the world

Catharsis and inoculation against the dangers of reality 

Symbolic side of human culture

A child gets the chance to make mistakes

Adaptation, teaching skills

Introducing us into certain communities

Fate, power, communal identity, frivolity, the imaginary, the self


Jenny Terry: Killer Entertainments: Conditions and Consequences of Remote Intimacy. The project theorizes remote intimacy by tracing the relationship between entertainment technologies and militarism in the US, during the 20th century to the present. Chapters focus on case studies of military uniform design, fashion, and wearable computing; surveillance technologies and remote tracking devices; weaponry design; psychological operations; USO shows; and computer gaming. The technologies analyzed, share capacities for entertainment and aggression and are tied to new forms of commodification and governmentality.   
The technology brings its military weight to creators.
Killer Entertainments

Problematics of Warcraft:

- Are virtual “violent” games cathartic or desensitizing?

- Screening &  Discussion: An interview with Lt Col. Grossman, author of  Stop Teaching our Children to Kill

Col. Dave Grossman believes that returning veterans are less likely to engage in violent acts than civilians, despite the psychological effects of war, because of the discipline learned while in service. However, he also cautions that "with the advent of interactive 'point-and-shoot' arcade and video games there is significant concern that society is aping military conditioning, but without the vital safeguard of discipline. There is strong evidence to indicate that the indiscriminate civilian application of combat conditioning techniques as entertainment may be a key factor in worldwide, skyrocketing violent crime rates, including a sevenfold increase in per capita aggravated assaults in America since 1956."

LoPiccolo, Phil. Editor-in-Chief, Computer Graphics World, Vol 23, Issue7, July 2000


From the FTC youth violence report http://www.ftc.gov/os/2000/09/pitoftestst.htm

Trigger Happy : Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution by Steven Poole

Videogames first came on the market thirty years ago as a marginal technological curiosity. Now they are virtually everywhere. Videogame sales have equaled movie sales. They are played by more adults than children, and game design can even be studied in college. Yet videogames are still often viewed as a minor form of entertainment, at best shallow, or at worst harmful. Now, Steven Poole argues that videogames are a nascent art on track to supersede movies as the most popular and innovative form of entertainment in the new century.

Media Violence:

Theorist -Albert Bandura

 & overview and  The Bobo Doll Experiment


US   | January 23, 2010
Simulators Prepare Soldiers for Explosions of War
The Pentagon is trying to harness the high-tech wizardry of the entertainment industry to train soldiers.

Video Gaming Prepares the Brain for Bigger Tasks - Association for Psychological Science http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/november-10/video-gaming-prepares-the-brain-for-bigger-tasks.html

Violence and video games: http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2010/mar/vvgeffects


Justices Split on Violent Video Games:



The Gun-Game Complex

Many of the video games that the N.R.A. blamed for the Newtown, Conn., shootings have marketing relationships with the makers of firearms and ammunition.




War Games the movie

Three Man Chess in the Round

Issues & ethics:

osma games nytJanuary 10.htm
www.americasarmy.com (note absence of extreme blood and gore)
- tried and true: Counterstrike (lots of blood)
- Tom Clancy based games: http://www.redstorm.com/ (minimal blood)
-Beyond Shoot your Friends by  Celia Pierce http://www.cpandfriends.com


Violent video games lead to brain activity characteristic of aggression, MSU researcher shows http://news.msu.edu/story/337/

Philosophical ideas in cultural products and the ideological and political factors at play in the formation of new conventions in intellectual enterprise.

June 22, 2010 Grand Theft Auto Is Good for You? Not So Fast...Most evidence suggests ill effects from violent video games By Dara Greenwood   



Rendition: Guantanamo





Breakaway Games


Week 3:

Teams present mini overviews of their working game ideas in process Informal



Comics as cultural barometers





R Crumb


Roy Lichtenstein http://www.artchive.com/artchive/L/lichtenstein.html#images

Sprite Comics








Friedrich Kirschner


Paul Marino


Oblivion Tributé machinima http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=DaggeH#p/a

Interactive Machinema Video:



Sample 2

Sample 3


Machinima that Matter: A list of machinima films with a Social / Political Message:

Game Engines:

Game Engines:
List of Game Engines:

Unreal: http://www.cliffyb.com/rants/ut-ld-tips.shtml
Torque: http://www.garagegames.com/

Python: http://www.python.org/

XNA: runtime environment http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/328/index.php?cid=GCG_MARK_022007

Ogre: http://www.ogre3d.org/

Unity 3D: http://unity3d.com/



* Artists working and hacking with game engines:

Kurt Hentschlager

Workspace Unlimited



Week 4:  

* Review Indy Game #2 Team Based 



Consider Delivery Systems
Dedicated systems
Hand held
emerging, other, innovate!

Physically Based Games

Interaction Survey: Cinekid
by Kyle McDonald http://vimeo.com/16215568



Kinect mods:



Open source MS kinect driver



The plot thickens...

and an OSX port http://vimeo.com/16734124

Physically based games facing issues of Obesity, Coronary Heart Disease & Diabetes ErGoGenic Games

Robert Woods Johnson Foundation







PlayStation Move

Guitar Hero





Edo Stern

Physics and “real world” feel:

Soda Constructor  http://www.sodaplay.com/

NGame: http://www.addictinggames.com/ngame.html

Crayon Physics

Game Art in public spaces: 
The Streaming Museum: streamingmuseum.org



Education and Games:


Simulations to test driver reactions: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/technology/09distracted.html?_r=1&hp

Games & Simulation in Instruction:

Mashable - College Curriculum Requires Undergrads to Play Video Game “Portal”

of Arlington, Virginia, United States is a not-for-profit venture capital firm that invests in high-tech companies for the sole purpose of keeping the Central Intelligence Agency equipped with the latest in information technology in support of United States intelligence capability.[4] started by Gilman Louie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilman_Louie
a video game designer and then ran the CIA venture capital fund

The Idea Incubator Goes to Campus

Econopocalypse: the Marxist animated whiteboard explanation


Social Impact Games
a new generation: games that immerse people in the real world, full of real-time political crises. games’ designers aren’t just selling a voyeuristic thrill. Games, they argue, can be more than just mindless fun, they can be a medium for change.

Serious Games


Games for Change (G4C)

Social Games that Sway Behavior
With the rise of social networks, game designers are finding new paths to desired outcomes.

Teen social network combines game play with live-video chat (TechCrunch)
MyYearbook Introduces Realtime Social Gaming With Video Chat



Velvet Strike: Anne Marie Schleiner

Gonzalo Frasca Sept 12

Global conflict: Palestine

Peacemaker Game

Future Farmers

Anti War Game

War on terror

Rethinking wargames

Maurice Benayoun World Skin (1997) an infinite war zone populated by cutout images that one “photographs” which whites out its subject matter of soldiers, tanks, fighter planes, and other military machines.


Antibush game

Redistricting game

Hidden agenda

El Emigrante (direct link)


Balance of Power http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_of_Power_%28computer_game%29

Soviet Unterzögersdorf

JFK Reloaded


Stop disaster

Climate Crisis


* Social Awareness*

3rd world farmer


Food Force United Nations game

ICED an Immigration game

Breakthrough: http://breakthrough.tv/

Darfur is Dying


*Miscellaneous *

Vigilance 0.1


Civilization IV Eastwood


Persuasive Games

Impact Games

UTOPIA REVERSED - An Assault on Neurospace

Paolo Pedercini
YouTube - Molleindustria

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: http://www.arts.rpi.edu/%7Eruiz/EGDSpring11/Game%20DesignDetails_files/image018.gif


* on Storyboarding:

Storyboard examples: http://www.saunderscreative.com/storyboard.htm


Final Project: Experimental Game Trajectory: Prototype 1 Concepts  working with permanent teams

Please include the following: These are all ITERATIVE and will be changed, built upon, and perfected as your ideas unfold:
* concept ideas and sketches
* storyboards
* rough Game Design Document
(see templates here: Simple or Elaborate)
* Game design structure template )
list of technical information and methodologies of production: any necessary software, SDKs, and APIs, etc. needed

Please remember that your completed game project is an innovative, original, purposeful work which goes beyond conventional style gaming paradigms and shows depth of creative goals, sensitivity to social issues, and quality of interaction. The game must be functional, or at the very least demonstrate some dynamic game play with a high end trailer illustrating the core game play concepts, and it must be accompanied by a completed, (web ready, stand alone) game design document and a well designed poster.

  reaction papers due
 * Complete Freedom of Movement: Video Games as Gendered PlaySpaces by Henry Jenkins
*create a short, one page, printed reaction paper

Week 5:  




Something interesting:
Co-opting and commercialization of GTA



* Extreme Volleyball:

* Dead or Alive Extreme Volleyball (Microsoft Xbox)


* Laura Croft
* The Game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uht63rvl2g
* The Movie:
Laura Croft film excerpt

*  Genderplay: Successes and Failures in Character Designs for Video games April 16, 2003 posting by Jane


Women of GTA:
* http://www.gametrailers.com/user-movie/graphic-women-of-gta-iv/210696



* play “Hey Baby” http://www.heybabygame.com/info.php


Ridiculous Life Lessons From New Girl Games

* Genderizing HCI by Justine Cassell


* Skins, Patches, and Plug-ins
Does Lara Croft wear fake polygons? http://www.opensorcery.net/lara2.html
Woman in the New Gaming Culture http://www.genders.org/g34/g34_polsky.html


Videogame Firms Make a Play for Women


Life follows Game: STYLE   | December 24, 2009
Style:  The Year in Style | Lady Gaga
Michael Buckner/Getty Images
When Lady Gaga makes an appearance, so do her many influences.

And the all-important designer meat dress


* 50 of the top Female Game Characters


* a new generation of gaming’s female heroes: http://www.boston.com/business/innovation/blogs/inside-the-hive/2013/07/10/challenger-appears-boston-hackathon-coding-new-generation-gaming-female-heroes/mwodSMobeKOm9j8gix5ZpM/blog.html

BioWare: aware

In Mass Effect 3 deeper relationships and more interesting interplay, including same-sex relationship options for both male and female Shepards.
Rob Keyes (2011-05-11). "Mass Effect 3 Will Feature a Smaller Team, Deeper Relationships". Retrieved 2011-05-11.

 Daniel Krupa (2011-05-16). "Mass Effect 3 to Offer Same-Sex Relationships - PC News at IGN". Pc.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04.  

Let us compare the launch trailers of the male Shep and the FemShep:

Mass Effect 3: Official Launch Trailer [HD] Take Earth Back



Mass Effect 3 - "Female Shepard" Launch Trailer (2012) FULL HD Take Earth Back


And let us not forget how far games have come with:

Mass Effect 3: Lesbian romance with Liara http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R6sqiamV1I&feature=related

Mass Effect 3 Gay Love Scene with Kaidan


Mass Effect 2 Romance - Jack Part 2 - Love Scene http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybRGbFTIbEI

Mass Effect 2: Lesbian romance between Miranda and Jack


What we see is a huge step forward in the acceptance of the spectrum of genders, and in the – performance of gender,


but we are, in effect, in Mass Effect, still mainly blowing things up and always preparing for war. We seem to love to do this, but there are indications that we may be collectively getting tired of it.


See “Creative Simulation & the Gender Link: A More Comprehensive  Collective Intelligence” by Kathleen Ruiz


Female Protagonists

Samus Aran
Samus Aran is one of the earliest female protagonists in video game history and remains a popular character over a quarter-century after her first appearance. Guinness World Records 2013: Gamer's Edition recognized Samus as "the first playable human female character in a mainstream videogame" and as being "enduringly" popular, noting that sales of the Metroid series have exceeded 17.44 million copies as of 22 September 2012.


File:Metroidprime3 1.png


File:Zero Suit Samus Other M.png



Shiki Missaki http://twewy.wikia.com/wiki/Shiki_Misaki

Guy of my Dreams



God of War Ascension
Triumph of the lesser male body over the oversexed, overpacked males

Beyond Gender:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZDS5QbG61k Chayat


Mirror’s Edge

Pretentious Game


*Anita Sarkeesian http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Sarkeesian


Transgender Games

Micha Cardenas
 is a 31-year-old man taking hormones to become a woman. So, it's not surprising perhaps that Cardenas views the boundaries of gender as being somewhat fluid and has questions about what it means to be male and/or female.  http://ucsdopenstudios.com/2009/artists.php?a=Micha_Cardenas



Anna Anthropy
(http://auntiepixelante.com/). She's an indie dev who discusses and makes games about sex, gender, and trans* issues. Dys4ia (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/591565) is particularly interesting--it's a short, autobiographical game about hormone replacement therapy. She's got a few interviews on Rockpapershotgun.com which are worth checking out.

The opening of Anthropy's book Rise of the Videogame Zinesters mentions the communities that hacked games to include female or trans* twists on them

Romance, Love and Games

ETC Press The Well Played Journal edited by Jane Pinckard and focusing on the theme of romance in games.

Readings here:

Technology and emotion: Playing for the love of the game
Richard E. Ferdig & Kristine E. Pytash

NPC Romance as a Safe Space: BioWare and Healthier Identity Tourism by Heidi McDonald

Tick Tock: A review of Jason Rohrer’s Passage Eric Hamel

Quest for Love: Playing the Women of King’s Quest Anastasia Salter

Jane Pinckard, co-founder of the Digital Romance Lab (http://www.dirolab.com/), is editing this special issue and encourages contributors to write essays that explore games that engage emotions associated with love, romance and flirting. Topics might include such themes as developing an attachment to an NPC, falling in love in-game with another player, critique of romance subplots, depiction of loving attachments, experiments in making love a core mechanic of a game, and more. 

The Well Played Journal is a forum for in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. It is a reviewed journal open to submissions that will be released on a regular basis.

Contributors are encouraged to analyze sequences in a game in detail in order to illustrate and interpret how the various components of a game can come together to create a fulfilling playing experience unique to this medium. Through contributors, the journal will provide a variety of perspectives on the value of games.

The goal of the journal is to continue developing and defining a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis. By inviting contributors to look closely at video games and the experience of playing them, we hope to expand the discussion, and show how games are well played in a variety of ways.
For more information, and to purchase or download a copy, visit:

Love in Games:

Annika Waern is writing about how players experience romance and love in Dragon Age.

“I'm in love with someone that doesn't exist!!” Bleed in the context of a Computer Game


There is a (maybe less refined) version openly accessible on DiGRAs library.

Game Love
Esther MacCallum-Stewart neveah@GMAIL.COM Jessica Enevold

Sex and Games

Brenda Brathwaite's book Sex in Video Games

Tanya Krzywinska's article 'The Strange Case of the Misappearance of Sex in Video Games'

Evan Lauteria and Jenny Sunden are among those who've talked about gender and sexuality in relation to games

Damon Brown's Porn and

heteronormative bias in online affection games (http://www.lgrace.com/documents/Affection_Games_Content_Analysis_Digra.pdf

Heidi McDonald's work: 

popular, console RPGs:

Second Life with Mia Consalvo in Popular communication:


Ashley Brown on erotic roleplay in digital and tabletop games: http://amlbrown.com/

Baseline reference material of use for gender, male/female characters and body image content analysis:

1.     Martins, N., D. Williams, R. Ratan & K. Harrison (2010). Virtual Muscularity: A Content Analysis of Male Video Game Characters. Body Image: An International Journal of Research.

2.     Martins, N., D. Williams, R. Ratan & K. Harrison (2009). A Content Analysis of Female Body Imagery in Video Games. Sex Roles. 61(11-12) p. 824-836.

3.     Williams, D., N. Martins & M. Consalvo & J. Ivory (2009). The virtual census: Representations of gender, race and age in video games. New Media & Society. 11(5) p. 815-834.

4.     Huh, S. & D. Williams (2009). Dude looks like a lady: Gender swapping in an online game. In Online worlds: Convergence of the real and the virtual, Bainbridge, W. (Ed.). New York: Springer.

5.     Williams, D., M. Consalvo, S. Caplan & N. Yee. (2009). Looking for gender (LFG): Gender roles and behaviors among online gamers. Journal of Communication. 59, p. 700-725.

Porpentine http://aliendovecote.com/.

Merrit Kopas (http://mkopas.net/) runs the excellent Forest Ambassador website which includes some interesting links to games, including some on this topic


Arse Electronica anthologies. The latest one. 'Screw the System', has a few pieces on games.



* GTA & Race

*Celestine Arnold and Digital Multiculture


Positive race representation:


  | May 29, 2010
South Korea Expands Aid for Internet Addiction
The government plans to open rehabilitation centers for adult addicts and expand counseling for students and the unemployed.

Addiction: show film excerpts from Second Skin

- Video Game Addiction No Fun
Compulsive video gaming is a modern-day psychological disorder that experts tell WebMD is becoming more and more popular. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/video-game-addiction-no-fun

- The Addictiveness of Games, Steve Meretsky
- Addictive Technologies http://www.cpandfriends.com/writing/addictiv.html

Engagement & Social Formation:
- social conditions in MMORPGs:
- From Ward Childress, This trend towards "massively-multiplayer" games has opened up a new way of enjoying virtual worlds. One in which its inhabitants can act out in ways relevant but often impossible in the real world. It has also changed the role of the developers. No longer can they idly sit by watching as things play themselves out. They are the gods and governors of this world, and hold all the responsibilities that go along with it. Edward Castronova site contains a wealth of economic information about these fictional worlds. Just how fictional is a game that has an exchange rate with dollars?

- The Simms



Visionaries of the Future
the Future:
In a linear conception of time, the future is the portion of the timeline that is still to occur, i.e. the place in space-time where lie all events that still have not occurred. In this sense the future is opposed to the past (the set of moments and events that have already occurred) and the present (the set of events that are occurring now).


The Future becomes the past

* The 1939 New York World's Fair:


Artists as “visionaries”
visualizing the future…..or ?

Futurists The Futurists explored art, including painting, sculpture, poetry, theatre, music, architecture and even gastronomy. The Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was the first among them to produce a manifesto of their artistic philosophy in his Manifesto of Futurism (1909), first released in Milan and published in the French paper Le Figaro (February 20). Marinetti summed up the major principles of the Futurists, including a passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions. He and others also espoused a love of speed, technology and violence. The car, the plane, the industrial town were all legendary for the Futurists, because they represented the technological triumph of man over nature.

Marinetti's impassioned polemic immediately attracted the support of the young Milanese painters —Boccioni, Carrà, and Russolo—who wanted to extend Marinetti's ideas to the visual arts (Russolo was also a composer, and introduced Futurist ideas into his compositions).

The Italian painter and sculptor Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) wrote the Manifesto of Futurist Painters in 1910 in which he vowed: “We will fight with all our might the fanatical, senseless and snobbish religion of the past, a religion encouraged by the vicious existence of museums. We rebel against that spineless worshipping of old canvases, old statues and old bric-a-brac, against everything which is filthy and worm-ridden and corroded by time. We consider the habitual contempt for everything which is young, new and burning with life to be unjust and even criminal.”



Other Related Art Games
Natalie Bookchin
‘The Intruder’ [1999] an experimental adaptation of a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, and represents a new hybrid form of narrative that exists on the border of computer and video arcade games, cinema and literature.  

Eric Zimmerman
Sissyfight’ [2000]
an intense war between a bunch of girls who are all out to ruin each other's popularity and self-esteem.

Michelle Teran & Amanda Ramos
The Playgirls [2000]

Thomson & Craighead

Trigger Happy’ [1998]

‘sod’ [2000]

selectparks.net games by artists


Josephine Starrs & Leon Cmielewski
‘Bio-Tek Kitchen’ [1999]
is a Marathon Infinity game patch. In Bio-Tek, the player cleans up the kitchen laboratory of a home biotech enthusiast using weapons such as dish cloths and egg flippers.
Marathon patch

Anne Marie Schleiner
‘Madame Polly’ [1998] a video game whose eponymous heroine engages in first person shooter style combat. The premise of this experimental game is that the near future is characterized by data "population overcrowding"; it is flooded with human controlled avatars and software personalities of all ages, sexes and gene lines. This problem is exacerbated by the emergence of a prolific hybrid breed of software agents called data ghosts, which are imprinted personalities of humans who continue to participate, to learn and thrive well beyond the life span of their physically human bodies.
Marathon patch http://synworld.t0.or.at/level2/gaming_reader/virtuellestars/schleiner.htm

Playskins an online anime role-playing game built around mystery, suspense and masturbation.

Robert Nideffer
Tomb Raider patch [1999]


Jason Roher computer programmer, writer, musician, and game designer


Roher makes games that are very simple, but so wonderful:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/hcsoftware/files/Passage/v2/Passage_v2_Windows.exe/download"Passage, created by Jason Rohrer, is an exercise in gaming minimalism. Made for korokomi's gamma 256 competition, It's only five minutes long, it weighs in at less than 500kb, it takes place on a 100x16 field of pixels, and it only requires the arrow keys. "--John Schwartz, EGD Fall 09





What went wrong so things can go right:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


Midterm assessments coming up (please upload all perfected work to drop box for evaluation next week)


Week 6: 
Teams show Final Project Prototype 1 Concepts


 MIDTERM ASSESSMENTS: all work to date will be reviewed from your student dropbox


Character Design


 Character Specs


Matt Musante emac ‘07



Character Development
Building Character- An Analysis of Character Creation by Steve Meretzky
- Building Character By Toby Gard
- Motion

SPORTS   | July 04, 2009
College Stars Sue Over Likenesses in Video Games
Two quarterbacks contend the N.C.A.A. and a video game manufacturer should pay college athletes for using their likenesses in popular electronic games


Are we constructing our game characters or are they constructing us?  and









STYLE   | December 24, 2009
Style:  The Year in Style | Lady Gaga
Michael Buckner/Getty Images
When Lady Gaga makes an appearance, so do her many influences.



Realism in Virtual Characters:


Making of La espera by Jorge Suarez




Realism in 3d: Krishnamurti Martins Costa, aka Antropus











Specular Mapping:







  1. Briefing
    Covers the inception phase, the phase of gathering requirements and analyzing the profile of the work.
  2. Looking for references
    The phase where we’re getting more familiar with the design requirements.
  3. Drawing the character
    We take a look at some basic principles in the corporate design of mascots and draw first sketches of the character.
  4. Coloring the character
    We make the character more vivid and pretty colorful using plain colors, shadows, lighting medium values, lights, reflection and lines coloring.
  5. Designing the logo
    The stage when we design a rather amusing logo which fits to the character.
  6. Final presentation
    We introduce final changes and finish the design combining everything we’ve created so far.






Vector character design:



Digital painting:




Comic strip approach: Traditional Drawing, then digital painting Tutorial

Environment painting http://airage.deviantart.com/art/Inside-Environment-Painting-2-29149738


 Speed Painting




Digital Painting Tutorial by Vitaly Alexius

Clouds http://tutorials.epilogue.net/tutorials/perfect-clouds-in-5-easy-steps

Wet Canvas Digital Painting Overview

 Digital Paint Portrait Techniques

 Concept Art   

A Concept Artist Daniel Dociu


Combining photo and digital painting

Feng Zhu Design http://www.fengzhudesign.com/tutorials.html



avatars” – computer generated visual representations of users  – have become a crucial link between users and the digital spaces they navigate. While the term “avatar” reaches back to Hindu scriptures ca. 200 BC, and the use of player representations in games can be traced to the earliest known games played more than 4.000 years ago, it was only in 1985 that the multi-user domain Habitat introduced the term for user representations in virtual worlds. Today, avatars are used in digital games as well as e-commerce applications, social virtual environments, virtual meetings and conferences, and many more digital spaces and applications.

However, avatars are not just an interface users manipulate to access and act in digital spaces – avatars and their human users form complex relationships. For instance, avatars may represent the users’ own or created identity, users may develop an emotional attachment or parasocial relation to their avatars, or the design or activities of an avatar may infringe rights or develop an economic value.


Realism in Rendering:


The Uncanny Valley

In 1978, the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori noticed something interesting: The more humanlike his robots became, the more people were attracted to them, but only up to a point. If an android become too realistic and lifelike, suddenly people were repelled and disgusted.
The Uncanny Valley

More on the Uncany Valley

personal team research Related final project research readings in the history, theory, ethics, philosophy, practice, and technical research as determined by your team and the instructor. Please list all research readings in your evolving game design document.


Week 7:

Teams show Phase I Proposal & Formal Group Presentation



* Reality Check Studio

Reality check on scope of project, semester schedule for everyone in the group including individual responsibilities and deadlines, more refined game design document, research with creative statement including treatment, narrative, more refined story board, and at least 5 citations of games/ websites/readings/ literature/ films that have influenced you.

(Conceptual geography, maps, scenarios, trainers, strategies, symbolism, scoring, rules, etc.)



- Genres
Genre and the Video Game
Graphing Taxonomies


Taxonomy - the science or technique of classification.

(in Biology - the science dealing with the description, identification, naming, and classification of organisms - such as Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.)sample:

Taxonomy of your Brain:

noun1. the branch of metaphysics which studies the nature of being and existence, (what “is”?)
2. (computer science) a rigorous and exhaustive organization of some knowledge domain that is usually hierarchical and contains all the relevant entities and their relations 

:::::::so…a taxonomy starts somewhere, but where will be entirely bounded by the needs, goals, interests and perceptions of its designer.

To find taxonomies of use to you, you need to first know what your own "needs, goals, interests and perceptions” are in regard to the purpose of your search.

A Taxonomy of Computer Games by Chris Crawford: from "The Art of Computer Game Design", 1982 old classification, but contain the roots of most later classifications:

General Taxonomy of Game Genres:

“Flash” Games
First-Person Shooters (fps)
Action Games
Real-Time Strategy
Turn-Based Strategy
Sports Games
Adventure Games


Empirical (focused on experience/observation, rather than theory)
Literally any videogame specialized website:
http://gametunnel.com/ (categories on the right of the site)
http://www.gamespot.com/games.html?type=games (use the "All Games" menu below "Most Popular games") http://uk.pc.ign.com/index/games.html (use the "Choose" menu left to "Show Genre" Button)

Ernest Adams & Andrew Rollings, "Ernest Adams & Andrew Rollings on Game Design", New Riders. A well detailed synthesis of such empirical classifications

For a Critical Refinement of Empirical Classifications-
Mark JP Worlf, "Genres and the Videogames", 2000 (42 categories, available online : http://www.robinlionheart.com/gamedev/genres.xhtml)

Alain & Frederic le Diberder, "Qui a peur des jeux vidéos", 1993.

Some New Ideas about Research in Taxonomies of Games:

Jan Klabbers
Principles of Gaming and Simulation
Jesper Juul
* A Multi Dimensional Topology of Games
* The Open and the Closed: Games of Emergence and Games of Progression



Week 8:

Games for Animals:

Blog about Games for Animals by Hanna Wirman http://ludusanimalis.blogspot.co.uk/

Animal Computer Interaction at Open University:  http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/ACI/

Frank Noz and Jinsoo An's "Cat Cat Revolution" paper from CHI a few years ago: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1979331

Also check out their website for the project: http://catcatrevolution.com/

Michelle Westerlaken michellewesterlaken.wordpress.com

Marinka’s work: http://www.playingwithpigs.nl/about/

Week 9:
Review Phase III Game Prototype & Formal Group Presentation

 With the Deliverables of:
* produce new work and progress on your game assets
* Definitive schedule for entire project which will be used for milestones for further project development, continuation of incorporating critical feedback, game play, polishing and refinement of content, methodology, delivery system, and game design document


Catch up




Week 10: 


Students show Phase IV Game Content & Informal team meetings with Game Industry Experts

Guest Critique of projects in process

Player Created Content:

Ideas & Issues





In World of Warcraft the closest to user created content we have are add-ons. But is it time for users to create their own content in WoW?
Is it Time for User Created Content in WoW?

Legal issues in UGC and Virtual Worlds:
User-Generated Content & Virtual Worlds


Monitoring User-Created Content:


Why User Generated Content Has Failed to Change The Face of Gaming



Revenue generating and UGC:

Leveraging the dominant format of user generated content for World of Warcraft players offers the ad instant credibility among the Warcraft community

OTOinsights: "Design Lessons from User Generated Content: An ...




Week 11: 

* Review Phase V Refinement & Formal Group Presentation



* User evaluation test plan talk & testing guide

* Craft your User Evaluation Test Plan


Previous Rensselaer Student Projects from EGD:







The Pervasive nature of Games:

Video Makes the Movie Star (With Help From Adam Sandler)

Intentional Design Fails

Breaking through the 4th Wall

Examples of games and UI that have integrated flaws and intentional fails

gameplay where failed process and interface are used as part of extending the story


Eternal Darkness, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Darkness:_Sanity's_Requiem,

Eternal Darkness successfully incorporates breaking the 4th wall into the game plot. (the 4th wall being the imaginary boundary between any fictional work and its audience. Speaking directly to or otherwise acknowledging the audience through the camera in a film or television program, or through this imaginary wall in a play, is referred to as "breaking the fourth wall" and is considered a technique of metafiction, as it penetrates the boundaries normally set up by works of fiction) It has a sanity meter that triggers unexpected events like pretending that your save file has been erased, or displaying a blue screen of death.
Sanity effects: The game's standout concept, patented by Nintendo, is the "sanity meter", a green bar on screen which is depleted under various conditions, generally when the character is seen by an enemy. It can be restored under various conditions, such as performing a "finishing move" on an enemy. As the bar becomes low, various effects occur, reflecting the character's slackening grip on reality. If the bar remains empty, further damage to sanity decreases the player character's health.

One effect which is consistently used is a skewed camera angle accompanied by whispers, cries, and unsettling noises. The lower the sanity meter, the more skewed the camera angle and the louder the sound effects. Fourth wall breaking effects include simulated errors and anomalies of the TV or GameCube; this does not affect gameplay unless the player misconstrues them as actual technical malfunctions. There are many different sanity effects, the length they last depends on each effect. Not all effects will necessarily be encountered during a given run through the game. A few more commonplace examples include sounds, such as footsteps, women and children screaming, doors slamming, the rattling of chains and the sound of a blade being sharpened; the player character finding him/herself walking upon the ceiling after entering a new room; walls and ceilings bleeding; the volume being lowered, accompanied by a fake television volume indicator on the screen; and the appearance of large numbers of monsters that are not really there, and disappear when attacked. Some sanity effects are character-specific and reflect the individual's personal fears or experiences. When the sanity effect is finished, everything goes back to normal and the character often utters a panicked statement to the effect of, "this can't be happening!"


Fez, the game pretends to be corrupted within the first hour of gameplay. This then serves as a critical plot point. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fez_(video_game)







Incidentally hidden in the FEZ soundtrack http://disasterpeace.com/album/fez

 are mysteries hidden at the end of tracks. Apparently, when you look at the actual files of the Fez soundtrack with a spectrogram, you'll find images of historical figures and scannable QR codes, one of which reveals a series of dates. None of the secrets seem to interact with the game directly. It doesn't seem to reveal hidden areas of the game, or anything along those lines. Check out our original story below on how to get your hands on the soundtrack, which is great even without hidden pictures of eyeballs and smiley faces embedded in the song. Pictures, numbers, Jesus, Harry S Truman all could be nonsequiturs, or they could be clues from the game's creative staff or from soundtrack composer Rich "Disasterpeace" Vreeland. http://www.geek.com/articles/games/fez-soundtrack-contains-hidden-information-20120420/


Space Taxi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Taxi, where the simplistic game concept (controling a flying taxi with left-right, up-down controls) was made more interesting in later levels by having some or all of those controls fail, for example, shifts in gravity via magnets or a black hole. The memory that sprang to mind is Level 19 "The Switch" where the left-right, up-down controls are reconfigured for the duration of the level. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEcxgPvmQqU


Metal Gear Solid series. A character named Psycho Mantis would tell you what games you had saved on your memory card to screw with you. Many of these were more subtle and while the elements were referring to things outside the game, the characters would never break character and talk about it beyond their intended design. Hideo Kojima is known for adding in "4th Wall Breaking" parts of the game in his design. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFLeNTM9SG4


GTA: Vice City there's a mission where the player is drunk on moonshine and the controls are inconsistent - they keep changing so it's impossible to walk straight.



run run run jump http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIglEgV6Stw

Global game jam a couple of years ago has "deception" as one of the themes, and many of the games incorporated it into gameplay.


depict1 Kyle Pulver (http://www.kpulv.com/stuff/game/) created a game that had mechanics that bordered on "intentional mechanics fails" for the 2010 Global Game Jam.  It was called depict1, and it can be played here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/546057

The game plays with your expectations around common platform conventions.  It has an unreliable narrator who provides incorrect instructions throughout the first portion of the game.  The controls are unlisted, and must be discovered by the player through trial and error.  Gems and other "powerups" kill or impair the character, while spikes...do something else...I don't want to spoil the surprise for you. :)  It's a delightful subversion of platform conventions that I highly recommend.


Batman:Arkham Asylum

When you first encounter the Scarecrow, the game pretends to have locked up and "crashes' the machine. It then reboots, replaying the intro sequence. Instead of depicting Batman committing the Joker to the asylum, however, it depicts the Joker committing Batman. The con is maintained for a very short period of time, and is used as a one-off jump scare. (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnhtTF26KeE)


Browser game "Skrillex Quest" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVuZ5z6DOM

and the freeware PC Game "ROM CHECK FAIL" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6RlozysHGA

 both pretend that an old school game cartridge had become corrupt and use this as the general fiction that frames the game.


A circular wall? Reformulating the fourth wall for videogames http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132475/a_circular_wall_reformulating_the_.php?print=1 

Steven Conway 


Space Team, a free ios game, who's entire mechanic is being a multi-player game with a constantly breaking interface.Panels fall off, are mislabeled, and get covered in goo. (disasters start happening to the end) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiZs96CBvqs




Ivan Zanotti's "imscared" http://indiegraph.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/independent-game-developers-to-watch-ivan-zanotti/



Alan Wake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAqZJNCINfo


Utsurun Desu good example with visual gags and puzzles on design fail.


Also GGJ submission Glitchhiker uses gliches to attack the player, killing them until all lives are lost and then the game self destructed.


Some from Kyle:

Hotline Miami / Spec Ops: The Line - Both of these games have the standard mission loading tool tips such as "Melee attacks are silent." and "Hold shift to run into cover." but near the end, these degrade into subversive messages such as "She's already dead." and "You're still a good person."


Puzzle Agent - The game consists of many puzzle mini games strung together by a point and click adventure, but at one point the game throws an unsolvable puzzle at you. After letting you struggle for a bit, an antagonist breaks apart the puzzle UI, throwing you back out to the over world. It's a very jarring and unexpected moment.


It seems like these design fails are strongly tied to narratives where the main character goes insane. Breaking the rules of the game seems like gaming's most potent way to integrate insanity.




Week 12: 

* teams present Phase VI Further Refinement & Informal Group Presentation



Best Practices: Five Tips for Better Playtesting


VideoGames are Dead??


Game Trailers

Casual Revolution

The Beatles Rock Band

Kiri Miller's entry "Just Add Performance" on FlowTV http://flowtv.org/?p=4019           



Push. Play: An Examination of the Gameplay Button

Stephen Griffin PDF


Buttons, Simplicity, and Natural Interfaces

J R Parker PDF

Because the push button was an inexpensive way to send control signals to a computer from a user or game player, it became the most common aspect...


A Visual-Inertial Hybrid Controller Approach to Improving Immersion in 3D Video Games

Alexander Wong PDF

Advances in various areas such as graphics, sound, physics and artificial intelligence have improved the level of player immersion into the gaming...


Becoming Machinic Virtuosos: Guitar Hero, Rez, and Multitudinous Aesthetics

Henry Adam Svec PDF

Media scholars Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greg de Peuter view digital play as a complex, conflicted site on the terrain of global capital; although...


Guitar Hero: "Not Like Playing Guitar At All"?

Dominic Arsenault PDF

This paper studies the Guitar Hero video game as a simulation. This is done by examining the game controller and the visual interface, and how they...




Rez -
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: http://www.arts.rpi.edu/%7Eruiz/EGDSpring11/Game%20DesignDetails_files/image021.jpg  Sega's quirky, abstract art-influenced shooter, an endorphin machine, video game inspired by the abstract artist Kandinsky aims to overload the senses with its psychedelic visuals and pulsating dance beats.
Rez for the Playstation 2 seeks to create a sense of synaesthesia, literally a crossing of the senses, so that you can "see" sounds or "taste" colours.
"Rez is an experience, a fusion of light, vibration and sound completely immersed in synaesthesia," said its creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Japanese game developers United Game Artists.
The game takes place in a virtual world inside a computer. You play a hacker of sorts, flying through six levels of cyberspace in search of the artificial intelligence at the heart of this world.
But there is a twist to the traditional shoot-em approach that makes Rez stand out.
Virtual DJ Every time you destroy one of the insect-like enemies, a sound is generated. This sound becomes a form in the scrolling, flashing 3D computer world rushing past.

Katamari Damacy-


Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: http://www.arts.rpi.edu/%7Eruiz/EGDSpring11/Game%20DesignDetails_files/image023.jpg When the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroys all the stars in the sky, he orders you, his pint-sized princely son, to put the twinkle back in the heavens above. The only way you can do that is by rolling everything on Earth into clumps so that he can replace what's missing in space. "Everything" includes cookies, lawn mowers, lamp posts, sumo wrestlers, bulldozers, brontosauruses , cruise ships, and more. Katamari Damacy also includes a two-player battle mod e where you and a friend can see who can grow the biggest ball of stuff. For one to two players.
Simple play controlled with analog sticks only; no buttons to press
Dimensions change drastically as clumps grow; 2-player battle mode
Ball-rolling and object-collecting gameplay with quirky, infectious humor throughout Insanely cosmic animations; wacky musical stylings; royally contagious storyline




Week 13:

* Teams present Phase VII & Formal Group Presentation
Refinement for pre-review and three week trajectory for individual team work with assistance in class.


Intensive critical analysis of game development, game play, interaction, hardware testing, detailed plan for installing game and gear at Game Festival

Studio: catch up and intensive work on improving projects



Emotion & Games
warning: some of these are spoilers

* The Last of Us: Opening Scene



*For the past couple of years, Dom has been searching for his wife. He gets word that she was captured in a Locust (the enemy monsters of the game) slave camp. He finds her.




*Here is the clip that made me cry in Shadow of the Colossus. The best place to start is around the 1:30 point.



Shadow of the Colossus



Mass Effect (death scene of female Shep) by Beth W. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWdRoBH5Lzk

Mass Effect 1 Ending Paragon (Male Shepard)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuBBjbOWekk Jared

Thane's death in Mass Effect 3

start at 4:19


Heavy Rain - Father and Son http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W7ITJDV1jA


The end of Metal Gear Solid 4.

It links narrative and gameplay by making you experience the pain and exertion Snake feels in game through a button mashing sequence that lasts an exhausting 3 minutes. The background cut scenes show your allies struggling to survive in acts of self-sacrifice that all depend on you succeeding here. ~Kyle


alan wake
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAqZJNCINfo by Beth T.


Red Dead Redemption Ending http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9832BrE2q4
Dan & James


Cortana Death Scene  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACvIxGpzGs8 Brian R


Earthbound: Magicant (part 1/2) (117) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUAV3aVZmqs david e


kingdom hearts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ6VmDCZW68 angela


Bastion: by Tyler
Background http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mX48y24t9iU#t=7s
Moment http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9JvNhc13oKI


Sleeping Dogs:*Spoiler* Jackie Ma's Death Super violent by Sean http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TTiI1QpiV4


Dear Esther


http://www.youtube.com/watchv=7wV9oSY8d_M 12:15




Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core - Ending




Lucien Lachance Hunt and Death [Oblivion]




Bomberman 64: The Second Attack


Gerald Franklin


Cutscene before the final boss in The World Ends With You:





Bioshock 2 Minerva's Den Ending - The reveal of Porter's Fate



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9sUnif6Wz4 start at 8:15




Poetics and Aristotle

(Greek philosopher 384-322 B.C.)

  Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: http://www.kyshakes.org/Resources/Images/Aristotle.jpg Aristotle was born in Stagirus, Macedonia, Greece in 384 BC and died at age 62 in 322 BC. He was a student at Plato's Academy and later became one of the greatest philosophers of Ancient Greece. He is one of the fathers of Western Philosophy and  wrote over 400 books on nearly everything from mollusks to immortal souls. He believed there was something wonderful about the whole of the natural world.


In one of his treatises, The Poetics, he outlines the Six Elements Of Drama, based on the Ancient Greek belief that tragedy was the highest form of Drama. This outline has become a guideline for many playwrights throughout history, and is especially emphasized in the works of William Shakespeare.

Aristotle’s Definition of Tragedy

“A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having
magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language;...
in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear,
wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions.”  


(Catharsis being a purification or purgation of the emotions primarily through art or a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension or an elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression)


A type of emotional orgasm


Aristotle’s Six Elements of Drama


  1. PLOT – what happens in a play; the order of events, the story as opposed to the theme; what happens rather than what it means. Inventing and arranging the events that would lead to the conclusion, the manner in which the story was told.
  2. THEME – what the play means as opposed to what happens (plot); the main idea within the play.
  3. CHARACTER – the personality or the part an actor represents in a play; a role played by an actor in a play.
  4. DICTION/LANGUAGE/DIALOGUE – the word choices made by the playwright and the enunciation of the actors delivering the lines.
  5. MUSIC/RHYTHM – by music Aristotle meant the sound, rhythm and melody of the speeches.
  6. SPECTACLE – the visual elements of the production of a play; the scenery, costumes, and special effects in a production.


4 kinds of tragedy:






Epics: "The Iliad is at once simple and 'pathetic,' and the Odyssey complex (for Recognition scenes run through it), and at the same time 'ethical.'


"Armchair Arcade" (www.armchairarcade.com).


 Matt Barton's 'Treatise on Videogames', in which he applies Aristotle's Poetics to (among others) Space Invaders. http://www.armchairarcade.com/neo/node/223

He writes: "Like tragedies in Aristotle's time, Space Invaders' story is obvious and irrelevant. We also know how the story must end--eventually, the player will be destroyed. The 'fun' of this videogame is not the story, but rather the gameplay. In the case of Space Invaders and other tragic games, the player's satisfaction arises not from the literary contemplation of a story, but the measurement of his gameplay skill as represented by the score."


Matt thinks Space Invaders is tragic, and - as he later points out - even cathartic. But is it really? And why do we keep playing it if it clears our souls of eleos (mercy, pity, compassion) and phobos (fear)?


For more information on Aristotle: http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/aris.htm

Aristotle invented deductive logic:
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: http://www.arts.rpi.edu/%7Eruiz/EGDSpring11/Game%20DesignDetails_files/image027.jpg 
Premise: all frogs can swim
Premise: This is a frog
Conclusion: Therefore it can swim
Similar logical structures or syllogisms can be produced with: No frogs” and “Some frogs”
He is known for induction: These frogs can swim, therefore all frogs can swim.
His teleological (circular) approach relies on methodological, cautious tendencies which rely only on what one knows from what ones’ 5 senses tell them.  (This is in opposition to Platonic tendencies which strive to seek hidden, unrealized (forms) and ultimate mystical truths through the use of reason.)

Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture
Vol 9 issue 1 - Encountering the real-virtuality: digital games in media, culture and society



Games and Alcohol

We are researching the problem of abuse of alcohol. We want to analyze and test some of the games that tackle this problem through the gameplay. Games that raise awareness of the problematics of drinking.  Interestingly enough, I find games for drinking! :)   Oh well!

* TiconBlue, of the effect of driving under drugs or alcohol. http://www.ticonblu.it/guidatu.html

* Papo & Yo A Montreal studio called Minority Media released a game called Papo & Yo a couple of months ago. It's an autobiographical game, telling the story of the company's owner and his alcoholic father. You play as a young boy, trying to make your way through a somewhat surreal version of a South American city. The gameplay mainly consists of puzzles, and to help you solve them you have a fierce-looking but generally friendly Monster helping you out. He's a lot taller, bigger, and stronger than you, and most of the time you really need him. He doesn't seem to mind helping you either, not until he finds his favorite type of frogs to eat anyway. When he gets the frogs, he'll turn into an unstoppable, huge, and horrifying monster. He'll come after no matter what, and all you can do is to run and hide until he falls asleep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkrjby0lKRE

only available on PS3 for now, but judging from the reviews, it should be a very powerful experience and commentary on alcohol abuse. 

* the depiction of alcoholism in Max Payne 3 would be relevant



* Far Cry 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE9EpmDMZtA


* Akrasia a non-mainstream game that tackles the concept of substance abuse metaphorically: Akrasia. We made this game at MIT with a student team a few years ago. It's a small game, but conceptually interesting and metaphorically sound. It focuses on the experience of addiction from a subjective point of few (the player enacts the role of the addict and goes through the various phases of addiction including "stepping over the line, high, crash, craving, withdrawal, relaps, relearning new behavior and quicking the habit). It is deliberately "non-preachy". Am happy to answer any questions in regard to the game. There's also a book chapter on it about the design process and modeling emotional concepts that I can send along.



* 'the Booze Cruise', which is specifically about drinking and driving. It simulates the effect of alcohol and shows that you really cannot drive properly while drunk.



* Secret Happy Night: French Serious Games about drinking (it's actually a series of games designed to warn young people about the danger of alcohol - but only the first two episodes are available in english) : Secret Happy Night.


The best episode is so far the first one. It's an adventure game where you play as a secret agent who investigate into a night club, and throughout the game you'll be offered a drink on many occasions. It's up to you whether to drink or not, but if you do drink, it may affect our secret agent skills and leads to some "colateral damages" during your mission (i.e. you may shoot the wrong target, feel sick and throw up while listening discretly to a conversation...). Very interesting game that use laughter to be able to "speak" to young adults.



Back in 2007, there was also another French Serious Games on the same topic "Sortez-Revenez" (litt. going out and coming back alive). As a yound people throwing a party, you'll have to set up your house so that your guest will have fun by won't die on the road back to their homes. It was part of the official public "don't drive and drive" campaign in 2007, and it was a very nice game. Unfortunately it's no longer available online, but you can still get some infos here:



* Playstation game called LSD:Dream Emulator...



* Grand Theft Auto 4, players' abilities to walk and drive a car are greatly (and noticeably) diminished after drinking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0DV4zAOzUU


* Conker's Bad Fur Day, an action-adventure game for N64 featuring an alcoholic squirrel as the hero character.



* If you want to go further back there is Bozo's Night Out, though it is probably more of a celebration of binge drinking culture than any kind of critical commentary on it.



* In Persuasive Games, Ian Bogost discusses the "Toilet Training Game," which emulates the difficulty of using the toilet after several drinks.



* "interactive urinal" games to encourage people at bars not to drive drunk. See these links:




* uk company called PlayGen that devs serious games. It was involved in a drink awareness game for the US Military a few years ago. The average reading age of US service personnel is sub 15 so games are a very useful educational tool. http://playgen.com/

* http://radstronomical.com/media/FlirtOffPublic.html



Gamification uses game design to make a system that primarily supports non-game tasks more fun, engaging, and motivating.

Many businesses are using gamification to get people hooked on their products and services — and it is working, thanks to smartphones and the Internet.


Gamification in the workplace:
ludifiaction, gamification, playfulness, transmedia Research questions include:
* Formation of digital communities, new user-groups and niche segments;
* Image-based networks;
* New forms of interaction and organization;
* Impact and functionality of innovative interface solutions, ludic interfaces and new media platforms.



Narrative Revisited:
The art of telling a good story…..

Akira Kurosawa  The Tunnel :::: and::::
Excerpts from Ran
The famous Japanese filmmaker uses Shakeapear’s King Lear to tell the story of an old man’s quest for meaning within and incomprehensible, unframed war. To enable the audience to see the clash of armies, Kurosawa silences their clashing armor and the screams of the wounded before he immerses the carnage in music. He imposes a spectacular order on chaos.


-Everything But the Words: A Dramatic Writing Primer for Gamers by Hal Barwood
- Storytelling in Action by Bob Bates



* Finish Game Fully
* final game project fully functioning and perfected NO EXCEPTIONS.

* Printed and digital posters

* Printed and digital Final Game Design Document

* Printed and digital project summary

Please ensure that all work is spell checked. All work must be printed and also submitted on labeled CDs or DVDs
* prep for Gamefest : Questions asked of game entrants have been:


What is the Genre of the game?

What did the team learn from the project?

Describe your game in one sentence and additionally provide 3 keywords that best describe your game.

What tech was used – XNA, Unity, etc.?

What IDE, if any, was used – Visual Studio?

Any middleware used – what?

What Tools were used?

How did you test it your code / game play?

What is the architecture?  Provide a UML diagram, if possible.

What language was used (C#, C++?)?

Were any design patterns utilized?  If so, what?

Did you use source control?  If so, what?

Were any coding standards used?

What key emotions are the music supporting.

What SFX is the most important in the game.




Week 14: 

Perfected, Gamefest-Ready Games

* final game project fully functioning and perfected NO EXCEPTIONS.
* Printed and digital posters
* Printed and digital Final Game Design Document
* Printed and digital project summary

Please ensure that all work is spell checked. All work must be printed and also submitted on labeled CDs or DVDs

GAMEFEST Saturday, April 26 


Week 15:


Phase IX Formal Group Presentation LAST CLASS 

All perfected work due this day. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Complete and refine all work on final projects for Final Completed Game Project:
submit on a labeled dvd:

 * Your game and all elements including all art, programming files, etc.

* Your game design document in .html format with all relevant files

* Your project summary in .doc format with summation image

* high quality edited high def. 1920 x 1080, H264 mp4 video trailer of game play. Please include your title, overview, interaction, gameplay and credits. This video will be used to judge whether your game gets into the competition.

* Your digital poster file

* Your user Evaluation Testing Summary and Recommendations


Also submit:

* Printed posters
* Printed Final Game Design Document

* Printed project summary


Please ensure that all work is spell checked.

All work must be printed and also submitted on labeled CDs or DVDs 


Discuss the future of games, simulation and upcoming developments.

The Game Industry by Hyman, The Studio Stance