Global Game Jam Live Webcast
The Global Game Jam has started at MIT! Hit the jump or go to Ustream for the live webstream and live chat.
Chris Swain presents at MIT
Chris Swain, assistant professor from USC, gave a presentation at MIT on "The Future of Games" last night. GAMBIT alum Eitan Glinert has blogged some of the takeaways from Chris' talk, as well as some opinions and reactions:
Touching on myriad subjects, Chris hopped from how we came to our current state of game development, what areas/genres of game development are still ripe for exploration, and what trends he has been observing in the games industry. He ended with a quick piece on how he believes development will change over the next few years to remain sustainable.
GAMBIT presents at GDC!
We're proud to announce that two of our people here at the GAMBIT US lab will be presenting talks at this year's Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco! Postdoctoral researcher Doris C. Rusch will be presenting on "Profound Game Design: a Postmortem of Akrasia" and lecturer/researcher Jesper Juul will be presenting on "Beyond Balancing: Using Five Elements of Failure Design to Enhance Player Experiences".
The descriptions for the talks are as follows:
Profound Game Design - a Postmortem of Akrasia
Speaker: Doris C. Rusch
Track: Serious Games Summit
Secondary Track: TBD
Format: Panel discussion
Experience Level: All
This presentation provides valuable insights won through the development of Akrasia, a single-player 2D game that was made by seven students in the course of the annual eight-week summer programme at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. The goal of the project was to make a profound, thought-provoking game that fosters reflection and insight. More than that, purposeful experience design should promote game comprehension, and make the game work on the cognitive as well as the emotional level.
On the larger scale, the project was intended to test the design approach described in the paper "Games about LOVE and TRUST? Harnessing the Power of Metaphors for Experience Design", which was presented at the 2008 Sandbox conference. It deals with issues related to addiction by way of metaphors.
Attendees will get insights into the potentials and pitfalls of metaphorical game design - from the importance of a vision guy to the difference between procedurally representing a concept and making it emotionally tangible to players.
Intended Audience and Prerequisites
Designers and players interested in learning more about games' potential to expand their experiential scope and mature as a medium. An interest in games and game design is desirable.
Beyond Balancing: Using Five Elements of Failure Design to Enhance Player Experiences
Speaker: Jesper Juul
Track: Game Design
Secondary Track: Production
Format: 20-minute Lecture
Experience Level: All
This lecture presents a toolbox for improving failure design in single player games. Player research shows that the primary issue is not the frequency of failures, but how failure is communicated, what happens as a result of failing, and whether a given failure design allows the game to be enjoyed within a player's time constraints. Using concrete examples, this lecture will show how failure can play a positive role in games, how players of casual games are actually not averse to failure, and how developers can get beyond balancing to improve the failure design in their games.
Attendees will be introduced to new research on how players perceive failure in games. A framework of Five Elements of Failure design will be presented. Attendees will be able to use the framework for improving the design, testing, and balancing of video games for different audiences.
Intended Audience and Prerequisites
Designers, producers, testers, and marketers interested in both rethinking the role of difficulty and failure in their games and in tailoring game design to the preferences and time constraints of their audience. Knowledge of game balancing issues is helpful but not required.
Vote for Akrasia at JayIsGames!
While it's always an honor to be nominated, it's also a hoot to win. This is where you come in: the voting for the awards is public, so if you think Akrasia is the best on their (admittedly really impressive) lineup, please vote for us! We're the top entry on the Best Interactive Art or Puzzle page!
From the website:
Once again, a year has passed. We've tried our hardest to recommend the very best online games and downloadable casual games available on the Web, and now it's time for you to have your say. Yes, it's time for the fifth annual Jay Is Games "Best of" feature. Help us out by voting for your favorite games of 2008!
We're quite chuffed to be included, so please support, support!
Game Career Guide interviews the Showtime team!
A new interview has gone live over at gamecareerguide.com and it's with the dev team for CarneyVale: Showtime! (Okay, well, it's programmer Bruce Chia talking into that microphone, but he's speaking for all of 'em.)
From the interview:
GCG: In terms of mechanics, what existing games influenced this game? How?
Bruce provides a lot of valuable insight into how Showtime was created swing by and check it out!
GAMBIT alum wins XNA article contest!
2009 is really shaping up to be our year: GAMBIT alum Skeel Lee Keng Siang just won first place in the Ziggyware Fall 2008 XNA Article Contest! Skeel came to us from the National University of Singapore and was the programmer for Tenxion in our 2007 summer program.
His article, "Introduction to Soft Body Physics," begins as follows:
In recent years, there has been a high proliferation in the usage of physics simulations in games. This might be due to the increasing need for realistic movements of the objects to match their realistic renderings. Some of these physics simulations include rigid body simulations where the objects move and rotate but do not change their shapes, and ragdoll physics where the motion of a character can be simulated under force perturbations. There has however not been a lot of soft body physics in games yet, thus it might be worthwhile to start diving into this type of simulation so that you can start implementing some soft bodies for your game.
Way to go, Skeel! Congratulations!
(For more of Skeel's work, check out his website at http://www.skeelogy.com.)
CarneyVale: Showtime named an IGF grand prize finalist!
From the IGF website:
The 2009 Independent Games Festival (IGF) has revealed the finalists for this year's ninth installment of the pre-eminent indie game competition. From a record field of 226 entries, 30% over last year's totals, a number of notable games scored multiple nominations this year.
Showtime is GAMBIT's second game to place as a finalist in an IGF competition; Backflow was named a finalist in the 2008 Independent Games Festival Mobile competition. The winners will be announced at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California on March 25th, 2009. Stay tuned!
GAMBIT is looking for an Audio Director
GAMBIT is now accepting applications for a new research and development staff position beginning in March 2009. The Audio Director will:
Click here for more requirements, estimated pay rates and application instructions.
MIT is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer and strongly encourages the applications of women and members of minority groups.
AudiOdyssey in the New York Times!
The Singapore-M.I.T. GAMBIT Game Lab ("gambit" for gamers, aesthetics, mechanics, business, innovation and technology) brings together computer geeks of Cambridge and computer geeks of the Asian city-state. The point: to develop video games for the global market from the outset, not translate them from one continent to another.
Our folks are in great company - the full list includes profiles of innovators doing work in interactive toys at Syracuse University, rotavirus vaccine distribution methods at Johns Hopkins, kitchen chemistry for middle schoolers at Georgia Tech, neuromarketing at Yale, husk power at the University of Virginia and the electric gyroscopic motorcycle from MIT freshman Ben Gulak. Congratulations to Eitan and the rest of the AudiOdyssey team!