Hi, it's been two months since my last update.
The time hasn't been uneventfull, but very few of the things happening have been related to gamedevelopement, so I haven't really had anything to write about in here.
I 've been working for a while as a sysadm and haven't had time to develop on my game. I also took a week-long course about the Unity-editor; I'm considering using it for the next game.
Right now I'm (co-)arranging the Nordic Game Jam 2011 at the end of the month. Greg Costikyan is coming to do the keynote and I'm doing all the arrangements regarding this. If you can make it to the NGJ, you should. It's crazy and amazing mad fun (but in a good way).
On top of this it's election year in Denmark and I'm politically active in an attempt to get a new goverment. We still have "our" Bush-administration.
Since last I've made a few levels for the game, added some interaction (new challenges) and made a small demo. I need to focus on the gameplay-experience of the game and do content that will go into the final game. My original idea was to call the game aMAZEd, as it is a maze game, but this title is already taken for an Android-game, so it would confuse things somewhat. I don't plan to release it on Android, so I'll have a talk with the guy making the game to hear if he's ok with me using the title for a PC game.
So for now the title is Amazing (which is very pretentious; I like that); the demo is here: Amazing Demo. This is the alpha of the demo, so a lot of stuff is missing. There's no sound, the levels aren't balanced and the basic idea is just to make a presentation of what is going on. It's still a work-in-progress; I hope someone will give me feedback on it.
The design philosophy behind it is to take the ideas from my thesis about challenges, tools & flow, create the simplest interaction possible and se if the theories are adequate enough to make a good game.
The conclusion is so far that they aren't. I've learned the following:
Before a person can achieve flow during an activity, he needs a motivation to begin the activity and needs to learn how to master the activity before the difficulty can increase and he can achive flow. So the game needs to entice the player to play.
Disclaimer: I still have to figure out how to do this for the game.
Secondly, the game needs to be varied. Even if the player achieves flow, he will still get accostumed to the interaction and it will then get boring if the only change in the game is that difficulty increases. So the interaction in the game must be varied. I don't think the variation in leveldesign is sufficient. Every time the interaction changes, the players skill starts from (close to) beginner's level and the difficulty must be "reset" to adjust for this. Else the player will fail repeatedly, become frustrated and quit the game.
Disclaimer: the levels in the demo aren't balanced based on the player's progression in skill-level, so some of them will be insanely hard. Press Enter in the game to skip a level.
The game is controlled with the directional keys and my dad had a really hard time playing it when playtested the game during Christmass. I don't want to change this for this game, but are looking into mouse-controls for the next game (just need to finish & release this game before I do the next). Mousecontrol also translates easier into touch-screen platforms (Ipad, Iphone, Android) and motion-controllers (Wii, Sony Move, Kinect).
Another design philosophy is to follow the scandinavian design tradition of streamlining. Only things that are essential for the game should be in it. No unnessary filling, - whether it's levels, interaction, graphics or audio. This is actually harder then it looks; I'm constantly tempted to put stuff in that isn't necessary, but that will add a bit glitz to it. But I must to keep it clean.
Gamedevelopement continues and I'll try to keep you posted on a regular basis.