Archive for August, 2012

August 31, 2012

Sifteo can be played without host computers now

Sifteo is a novel gaming system that composed by multiple cubes with embedded LED display and many other sensors. In the first generation, they need to be in a certain range with a host computer so that the computer can tell what to do next for the cube. Now, the players can play the cubes anywhere without the connection.

For more information: Source

Video:

Sifteo

August 29, 2012

Katamino

Team:Siddharth Chauhan, Emily Keen, Patrick Mize, Mukul Sati

For the second class, held on the 28th of August, we played and analyzed the game Katamino

The game consists of a number of pentaminos, along with a couple of free/filler pieces, which are to be used to completely fill up a grid. In the two player variant of the game that we played, the players take turns picking up their pentamino pieces, with both of them getting a standard allocation of filler pieces. Then, when the picking is done, both players embark onto furiously trying to fit their pieces onto the board, so that they have a configuration that leaves no spaces, making judicious use of fillers so as to fill up small gaps that remain.

SWOT

Strengths:

  1. Game might finish off very fast. Still, there is the potential for the other player to finish her game before moving on. So, she learns as well (because of the speed with which the game finishes off).
  2. Level flexibility: Can be increased/decreased in difficulty depending on the players expertise.
  3. If a child is playing, she might actually use the game for a different purpose altogether and use it to instead play around, created shapes, somewhat akin to LEGO blocks. The game manual actually had such a photograph depicting shapes that could possibly be made. One can also extend the playing field (literally :)) to 3D, as we did:

     An elephant, a deer and a pentamino skyscraper 🙂

Weaknesses:

  1. Possible to memorize pieces. This means that the game will have less re playability value.

Opportunities:

  1. As noted above, the game can be made more difficult by increasing the number of blocks.
  2. Can play with handicaps. By one person having a greater number of squares to fill? Thus, can be used to bring together people of different expertise levels.
  3. Possible extensions: Can extend this to 3D.

Threats:

  1. People can memorize pieces, as stated above.
  2. Choking hazard less, but could arise with the filler pieces.

Digitization / modification:

Digitization of this would be difficult. The game is expected to be fast paced, so the moving around pieces with mice is not very intuitive. Can add pieces (perhaps come up with them randomly) – ensuring that they fit together.

 A modification for the digital world could be to increase the board size to make the game last for a longer time.

Katamino for good:

Katamino is a very “spatial orientation aware” game. It should be used for rehabilitation and for increasing directional and spatial acumen in young kids, and could be transition point for branching off into more complex puzzles.

August 29, 2012

Bendominoes Junior

Game: Bendominoes Junior

Players: Yan-Ling Chen, Dustin Harris, Chih-Pin Hsiao, Nathan Weitzner, Andrew Harbor

Strengths:

  1. Players collaborate to produce an appealing visual design
  2. Simple instructions allow players of all ages to participate
  3. Ambiguity in instructions can teach kids creative problem solving

Weaknesses:

  1. Does not allow for sophisticated strategies for advanced players
  2. Success in this game is dependent upon luck
  3. Instructions do not account for all possible player moves

Opportunities:

  1. Should be more complicated if you want to appeal to older players
  2. Example: you could have several types of birds, and kids could either make exact matches or match by category

Digital Version:

  1. Add sounds or animations. There are seven types of dominoes in this game, so they could play music notes A-G
  2. Uses pieces as a “fence” and try to trap a digital animal running around on the screen

Other Uses:

  1. For healthcare: Alzheimer’s patients could place family members’ pictures on the tiles and match them
  2. For learning: Students of foreign languages could match images with foreign words (for example, an image of a butterfly and the word mariposa)
August 28, 2012

3. Pecha Kucha Game Wow

Sep 4th, Tuesday each team (each member could each present a couple slides, or just have one person present) presents a Pecha Kucha presentation that should consist of

* SWOT analysis of (at least) 2 games

* brainstorming of digitlization strategies for a hybrid game inspired by the games played and analyzed

* possible domain of applications.

You have 20 slides, and 20 seconds each to present your creative idea!

The goal is to be creative and come up with a game that would WOW everyone!

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August 28, 2012

Blokus 3D

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Blokus  is an abstract strategy board game for two to four players, invented by Bernard Tavitian and first released in 2000 by Sekkoïa, a French company.

A game that can be played by 2-4 players. The goal of the game is to end with maximum number of blocks visible from above.

Rules:

Each player chooses a set of 11 blocks of the same color. One of the 4 black templates ( tower, corner, steps, pyramid) should be chosen and placed on the game board at the beginning of each game. The game ends when the players run out of their blocks.

Strengths : It’s very engaging and interesting. Helps one learn different strategies.

Weaknesses :  Rules are not clear which makes it hard to understand at the start.

Opportunities : Computerized version will be really interesting and more engaging as the wrong moves can be highlighted.

Threats :  Possibility of playing the game forever without actually using the correct rules.

August 28, 2012

Gobblet – SWOT Analysis

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Players : Arun Padmanabhan, Kevin Kraemer, Prashasti Baid

We played the game “Gobblet”, which was real fun. This is essentially a 2 player game, played on a 4*4 square, with players taking turns to make their moves. Each player is given 12 pieces. They pieces themselves are hollow and of different sizes. They are stacked into three groups of 4 pieces each. As each player puts his piece on the board, the other player can either choose to “gobble” the opponent’s piece if it is smaller than the piece he has, or put it on a separate square. The objective of the game is to get 4 pieces of the same color in a row. An important feature of the game is that each player can only play the exposed pieces first.

Strengths:

We found that the game was strong on many counts..

– This is a strategy based game and not based on luck. This makes it a good choice for those who want to play a game which tests your intelligence.

– Gobblet provides equal opportunities to both players.

– The objective of the game is simple and there are no complicated rules. Since the learning curve is short, the players start having fun right away 🙂

– Good exercise for brain as you need to plan many moves in advance and predict your opponent’s moves too.

– Each game can have only a finite number of moves. Since the games are short and intense, you can potentially play the game a number of times, with each player getting better with each game.

Weaknesses:

– The number of players is limited to two. The game could possibly be improved by adding another player with another color on the board.

– Relies on memory to some extent

– The game keeps going on till you realize you lost few moves back itself . So victory or loss not obvious at the time of the move it is actually decided (Is fun sometimes but then it is pointless play after that move)

– Although the game is strategy based, after playing the game with the same player for a couple of times, you start predicting the opponent too well. We felt that the game lost its edge there.

Opportunities:

– Can be played on a larger area with more squares ( This one was 4 X 4). Other thoughts on improving the game include having a third dimension( 4 x 4 x 4) and playing with more pieces.

– Can probably have a way to include more than two players.

– Just like Sudoku or Chess, this could be a potential game to keep old brains smart. It keeps you thinking on your feet.

– Could add a timer element to make each player move fast

– We could add a random element (say a dice throw to limit the size of next piece that a player can move) to the game to make it more interesting and keep experienced players guessing.

Threats:

– The moves could be decided in advance depending on previous experience and so could get boring

– Two players playing again and again with each other will start understanding the most likely moves of each other, making the game predictable.

Digitization:

Playing against the computer is a basic way of digitization. This could have many levels of difficulty based on player expertise

With a computer, you could potentially generate a large number of gobblet arrangements on the board and present it to a single player and ask him to predict the smallest number of moves with which he could win.

Overall, this was an awesome piece of game design and we would like to play it again when we get another chance 🙂

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August 28, 2012

Inspiration – Carnegie Mellon ETC Projects

Inspiration – Carnegie Mellon ETC Projects

After viewing Randy Pausch‘s last lecture, “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” I did a little research about Carnegie Mellon’s ETC program.

You should all take a look at the page of students’ projects and be inspired.

They are working on some really amazing things (many of which are games, too)!

August 28, 2012

SWOT Analysis- Katamino and Tangram

Group members: Shrihari M, Neelima Sailaja, Shashank Raghu, Suraj Saripalli, Anjali Ashok.

We picked up a few games to play with, one of them being Katamino. The objective of the game was to fit in a set of oddly shaped blocks into a rectangular space provided in the form of a board. There was no clear winner or loser, just an aim to complete the puzzle correctly.

Strengths:

1. Interactive, promotes collaboration with others.

2. Helps with learning geometric figures and visualization to a certain extent.

3. Can be used as 2 different games, with different approaches providing the same ending.

Weaknesses:

1. No proper pictorial representations to aid in understanding.

2. Confusing for young kids. (The game says ages 3+, but we were thoroughly confused in the beginning!)

Opportunities:

1. A packing algorithm could be used to design a game to enable young kids to learn how to code using visual aids like the blocks.

2. It can be used as a pedagogical device to help in understanding geometric shapes and angles.

Threats:

1. Initially not understandable and can lead to confusion and make one feel inadequate!

As already mentioned before, in order to have a digital version of the game, a packing algorithm can be used to create a set of blocks that lead to a set of solutions and can enable users to have many solutions to the same problem, based on the shape and configuration of each block.

Tangram:

The game consists of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. The particular puzzle set we got, had two sets f the seven tans and we set out to create a table and chair based on certain illustrations provided in the pamphlet that came with the game. 

Strengths:

1. Stimulates the mind.

2. Two sets available and can be used by 2 players.

3. Increases creativity, very open-ended and can be made into anything!

4. Self-explanatory game. (Put pieces together to form any shape you want)

Weaknesses:

1.Small parts which tend to get lost!

2. Lack of certain instructions to start off.

3. Maximum of 2 players can play with it.

4. Interaction limited.

Opportunities:

1. Can be made into a timed game to increase the competitive atmosphere.

The game can be made into a digital version by having a touch screen provided by parts of the tangram puzzle (tans), and they can be moved about (rotated) to fit into a workspace. To make it easier, an outline of the final figure can be provided to help with visualization.

August 28, 2012

Metal Puzzles – SWOT

Player: Yida Gong

About: 12 metal puzzles. Challenge your family and friends to separate the puzzle pieces. Have hours of fun solving these 12 intriguing puzzles.

Strength:

1. It is very easy to understand the purpose of this game: to separate the parts or to joint the parts.

2. They are called puzzles and they are intriguing. When the puzzles are solved, players can have feelings like magical things. Thus, players can be attracted.

3. The material is metal, so they look like exquisite. The metal rang is a kind of sound feedback to players.

4. They are small, easy to take with.

Weakness:

1. Players may lose patience after playing for a long time without success.

2. It is easy to mix all the parts up.

3. Once the players get the anwser, they will not be intersted.

4. Players may be mislead by the toys because of inaccuracy of some parts.

5. Once one part lost, the game cannot be continued.

Opportunities:

1. Players can learn something about joint.

2. The game can improve ability of operation of players.

Threats:

1. The small parts are dangerous for little children.

2. The parts may hurt players’ hands if players push too hard.

Digitization:

I think the digital version of this game is a challenge, because the most interesting part of this game is interactivity between players and toy. In the digital version, players cannot touch the toy and try all the angles. This puzzle is 3D, while most digital puzzles are 2D.

As players judge whether it gonna be successful by their hands most time, maybe the digital version can add display of strength or other feedback of strength.

Different Purposes:

1. It can be decoration on bags.

2. We can learn from it about joints.

August 28, 2012

Gobblet – SWOT analysis

About

Gobblet is a turn based strategy game which can be played by two people. The game consists of a 4*4 play board and each person is given three stacks of 4 hollow goblets which can be stacked on top of each other. The objective of the game is to place 4 pieces of the same color in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally). At each turn a player can place a goblet on the board or move an existing goblet on the board or choose to “gobble” an opponents piece, which involves placing the players goblet to cover the opponents goblet and is possible only when the player’s goblet is larger than the opponent’s goblet. There are other rules governing the “gobble” action.

Strengths

The game combines aspects of chess(piece capturing) and tic-tac-toe which makes it really interesting to play

Owing to the nature of the rules, it is possible for the player to come up with multiple strategies to conquer the game

Weakness

Some of the rules defined are ambiguous and might lead to confusion during game play.

Only two player can play the game.

Opportunities

The play board and the number of pieces can be increased giving rise to more complex strategies

The “gobbling” rules can be tweaked around a little bit to make the game simpler(or complex)

Digitization

An AI for playing the game could be developed by combining the elements of a chess and a tic-tac-toe AI. Since the game does not involve multiple move patterns or end game scenarios, like chess, the design should be much simpler.

Certain goblet position can always represent an end game favoring one player(like in tic-tac-toe) . Algorithms can be developed to identify these scenarios and come up with moves leading to the end game.

Compiled by,

Anjali, Neelima, Shasank, Shrihari, Suraj