Playing Don’t Let Me Down, a double sided opposing gravity platformer on a 1920 x 480 screen.
Abstract: Don’t Let Me Down is a two player local co-op game for Windows and Mac. Two princesses must work together to escape a dangerous castle using their opposing gravities. One princess falls up, the other down. Because of this, they can use one another as platforms. The princesses must navigate through increasingly perilous situations, from upside down lava stair cases to impossible to reach ledges by using eachother and coordinating. The game was presented in class on a 1920 x 480 screen, with the players opposite one another with game controllers.
The idea initially came from a brainstorming session with Naomi Burgess and Ming Lu about ideas for a collaborative game. One idea was a version of Rapunzel where two girls hair was connected but they had separate gravities, and had to climb up each-other’s hair. Eventually the idea for two characters with opposing gravities was born and a prototype was made. I was inspired by a mix of Mario, Thomas was Alone, Gravity Guy, and for the final look of the game, but before this I went through many iterations of what the game was, what it looked like, and how difficult it was. I would let two people play through the game and get them to think out loud, which was pretty revealing about the way the human brain works. I would make appropriate gameplay adjustments. The idea of the 1920 x 480 tv came from your class in which the game could position players opposite one another, while also creating a sense of companionship, this also increased tension and let members talk more clearly to one another. It made it to the final version of the experience, and currently, for any future installs, I think it’s the best format.
People were interested in the accidents that could result in the game play. I think human error and showing that through the UI is an important part of the experience.
People thought the emergent strategies of the game could be interesting.
Non matrixed representation by Michael Kirby was mentioned, which is a term in acting to refer to performers who do not do not do anything to reinforce the information or identification. When the performer is themselves and isn’t pretending, they are non-matrixed.
A communication tool which asks users to avoid using either the letter ‘s’ or ‘h’, and to guess who is avoiding (or not avoiding) your letter.
I used glitch.com to make a chat room. I thought about complementary roles and how two strangers might work together (against one another) and how anonymity, both of identity and intent, can cause people to not trust or to trust each other. I thought about how regulations in communication can yield inventive solutions, and new tactics can be invented to communicate in these regulations.
Things I wanted to implement:
prevent spamming of guessing a player (so don’t do this)
I’m working on a chat room system where saying a certain letter of the alphabet will deduct you 200 points. When users connect they are assigned one of two letters: either “i” or “e.” A leaderboard will display who has the most points. You have a secret phrase you can only tell to people who have the same letter as you, though no one else is allowed to hear it. If you tell a person who has the same letter as you your secret, you both get 100 points. If you tell a person who has a different letter, they get 300 points and you lose 100 points. Reaching 0 points resets you.
Right now, letter assignments, checking if the letter is in your message, points, and usernames are all being stored server side, and your health is constantly being console.logged.
My game is called BUMPmap, and the works I am interested in are Bumpnet and No Man’s Sky. I am interested in allowing players to rename countries, invading one another’s spaces rapidly. However, there can only be four players at a time, and every time a new player joins, the first on the queue gets kicked.
No MAn’s Sky is a space exploration game which uses procedural generation to generate 18 quintillion planets. Player start on a random planet and ideally make their way to the center of the galaxy. However, they can also choose to explore other parts of the world. Nearly all parts of the galaxy are made through procedural generation using deterministic algorithms and number generators from a single seed number. Not much data is stored on the game’s servers, as the proximity of the player to a location is what generates its appearance based on the algorithm. I think that many of the criticisms people had with the project (that it was boring, that the multiplayer was artificial since you couldn’t see one another, lack of interesting generated content) have been met in the form of updates, which have come out over the last year. I think the commitment to making a massive explorable world which you can get lost in is what makes me attracted to this project. Also initially, the game was panned by audiences. Many “gamers” felt they had been cheated somehow, that the game was a scam, which kept me from buying it. They wanted combat and looting in a game about exploring and discovery. The ability to name your planet, and the creatures on it, and for it to be permanently named that, is a bold and optimistic decision. The game itself was influenced by the science fiction works of the 1970s and 80s, especially the look and feel, as well Neal Stephenson’s belief that it was mainstream to make a dystopian story. The studio behind it, Hello Games, and its founder Sean Murray, wanted to tell an optimistic and uplifting experience.
BumpNet is made by Jonah Brucker-Cohen as a successor to BumpList, except this time, it’s a public wireless network with a cap of how many clients it can have. The process involved using a consumer wireless router and modifying it to put people in competition with one another to get access to wifi. When a client joins, they will see the name of the person and machine they bumped off the queue, similar to Bumplist. There is a login screen where they enter their information and can then use the internet— eventually getting kicked themselves. I like this project because clients need to be geographically close to one another, allowing for non-violent, productive physical confrontations as well. I think that Bumplist has a more interesting metric for bumping people, rather than time with which they entered however.
This project was made in Unity, initially inspired by Snake, Starseed Pilgrim, and Shift.
I worked with Unity’s tile engine. I was interested in trying to make a game out of the concept of building negative and positive space in an environment. Eventually, it was Ho Chi’s suggestion to scale down the playing field that made me reconsider what scale meant to the game.
In a sense, the game could also be interesting on a large scale. Due to missteps on my part prototypes on a larger scale are lost, but they were enjoyable so I’d like to go back and try scaling up. I ran into a lot of problems when I tried to get the crawling mechanic working. 2D platformers get complicated if characters can run and jump all over the walls. I identified two main problems: walls and ledges. Cliffs were easy to manage. I used Unity’s ridgidbody system and made a custom gravity script, which rather than pull in a global down, it pulls in the local down. Teetering off the side of a cliff will stick it to the side of it, rather than careen off it. However, climbing walls was more difficult. Eventually, I used a grid based system to look for corners, and used raycasting to check if i was close enough to a corner while also standing on a floor. I checked for all cases and if I was in such a position, I would rotate up. However, this lead to movement bugs. I instead decided to go for a constant speed for my own sanity moving in a single direction. Right now, you can only go left. In the future, the choice could be left or right. Personally, I like the idea of a one button controller. But I think one can get more nuance with more movement too.
In the end, my project came out of abstract squares very quickly. I decided on the Space Ant heroine in an exhausted state. I think the idea of making Anti Space trails is pretty cool, and I think this could also be interesting if I ever tried to do this on a larger scale (multiple puzzles).
This is called Bertillon’s Dungeon. It’s designed to be a small interactive piece about surveillance and facial recognition. I was thinking about glut and the importance to business of sourcing faces as often as possible. I was thinking of mugshots and how they were used to profile criminals by their inventor, Bertillon until DNA testing outmoded them. Yet, we still use mugshots as a shorthand for being in the system. Though this was a small project, simple in nature, I reason that it could be expanded to be a smaller part of a larger story about facial recognition software. I also think it was important in my performance to try and hide my face when the pictures started getting taken, but to be sort of dazed and confused before the realization. I wanted to be someone who understood the motive behind the taking of the pictures (most likely to be used in court for incrimination), but still was conditioned to respect authority (even if they are trying to log into something they shouldn’t be).
Sound wasn’t done in the p5.js sketch. It was done for the documentation in logic. I would want to improve this by having the sound play in the browser.
I started by thinking about a gasmask in which obvious breathing was needed to stay alive- a melding between human and machine. This eventually became a number emblazoned on the head, which eventually became the assigning of an ID. I was initially thinking of also having real time facial recognition (or approximations) but this was going to take too much time. The idea of a multi roll of cameras came from watching Dan Schiffman’s Muybridge tutorial and thinking about an interesting transition.
Starseed Pilgrim is a game made by Alexander Martin, Ryan Roth, Mert Bartirbaygil, and Allan Offal which I just started playing this week. It’s a game that dissects video game literacy, attempting to capture the feeling of what it means to not know how video games work and how to introduce outsiders into new and unfamiliar terrains. Not only does it invite outsiders in, it asks them to change its world through experimentation with abstract tools. Martin says: “Create systems that are interesting to explore, and people will get more out of their own learning than any tutorial would ever give them.” The game does not have a tutorial, or instructions besides vague poems strewn across its surface. Interactions must be paid attention to- you’ll probably need notes to understand the elements you are playing with. However, in the end, the game asks the player to construct its world, to plan and ultimately make the chain of building blocks that will let their goals be realized. In a way, there is no one way to solve its puzzles. The game is completely emergent, assigning you the role of gardener, refugee, and builder. Abstraction through cellular automatic blocks and corruption are your only real visual guides on the journey.
In the designer’s words: “I really don’t like describing Starseed Pilgrim! But if I don’t, I’m pretty much asking you to buy it based on… images, and that’s worse. It’s a game about discovery and learning, and eventually about mastery of a strange set of tools. It’s been said, and echoed, that it’s a game you have to experience for yourself.”
Martin built Starseed Pilgrim in Flash. It took a year to do- “Starseed Pilgrim had been 90% done for a year and a half before I finally finished it. This wasn’t even a case of “the last 10% takes 90% of the work,” there was honestly almost nothing left to do but to make some tough tiny decisions, write some super easy code, and get sound. Sound ended up being the dealbreaker, though; it was worth the wait.”
I would say it is certainly time consuming, and I just started it. If you are willing to feel like you did the first time you played a videogame, unsure how it worked or how to interact with it, then Starseed Pilgrim should be of interest to you.