The Videogame Industry’s Invisible Workforce: Part 1 – Medium

The videogame industry is bad at reaching mainstream audiences. It sounds like a cocky Buddhist koan, but one need only search the internet for a few Googles to see the game industry has not coexisted with the mainstream scrutiny and journalistic probing other entertainment industries have known for decades. Whereas film writing began in academic journals, videogame “journalism” and criticism began in enthusiast publications like Nintendo Power, where software companies and publishers kept information about products on a strict IV drip as prescribed by marketing plans. The dynamic hasn’t historically existed for picking up phones, chasing down leads, and taking scalpels to big systemic problems in the industry.

Source: The Videogame Industry’s Invisible Workforce: Part 1 – Medium

Steven Johnson: How play leads to great inventions | TED Talk |

Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, not always. Steven Johnson shows us how some of the most transformative ideas and technologies, like the computer, didn’t emerge out of necessity at all but instead from the strange delight of play. Share this captivating, illustrated exploration of the history of invention. Turns out, you’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.

Gamasutra: Daniel Cook’s Blog – Autumn of Indie Game Markets

If you are a smaller game developer, you’ve likely noticed some cyclical shifts in how we make games. Games are looking nicer than ever, don’t they? That quality bar keeps creeping higher. With so much work to do, your team is a bit larger. And with so many mouths to feed, it feels riskier to lose everything experimenting on wacky new game mechanics. Luckily, it is pretty clear which genres will yield the breakout hits you need to keep going. It is too bad that there’s a such an abundance of similar games; it feels like you can’t even give them way.

Source: Gamasutra: Daniel Cook’s Blog – Autumn of Indie Game Markets

Gamasutra – Designing Civilization VI’s distinctive districts system

City management has long been a core pillar of the Civilization franchise. As the building blocks of your empire, cities provide all the resources and tools required for it to flourish, from gold and science to the military and religious units that propagate your culture. Previous iterations have largely automated city management: players would pick a nice area, preferably near the coast or on a river and with a handful of natural resources nearby, and plop down their urban centers without further thought.

Source: Gamasutra – Designing Civilization VI’s distinctive districts system

IFComp 2016

This week IFComp 2016 announced the winners in their 22nd annual interactive fiction competition. After a seven-week play period, the entry with the highest average rating was “the noir standout ‘Detectiveland‘ by Robin Johnson,” according to contest organizers (while the game earning the lowest score was “Toiletworld.”) A special prize is also awarded each year — the Golden Banana of Discord — for the game which provoked the most wildly different ratings. This year that award went to “A Time of Tungsten” by Devin Raposo. (“The walls are high, the hole is deep. She is trapped, on a distant planet. Watched. She may not survive…”)

Source: IFComp 2016

Tropico 4 review


Inscribed layer

The mechanics of the game is quite complex. There are various external factors the player has to interact with. The game is a rough simulation of how to rule a small country in the caribbean. The game’s goal to see how long your country and reputation lasts, while maintaining order and stability in the country. The look and feel of the game responds well to how the player should go about playing the game. The game set-up allows the player to control their resources and control the type of tenants they want. After the player chooses the island they want the landscape and graphics are rendered well with a lot of detail.  The game has no general plot, it basically gives you ultimate freedom on how you want to run your island. The controls on where to build and what areas you want to dig or setup any building or factory is represented on a grid structure that color codes what type of area is good for a specific resource or location. The amount of data and statistics that the game engine runs on is amazing. Every aspect of an island has been broken down into segments that can be manipulated in the game. Playing through and understanding what my island can do was a little difficult to grasp all at once when the game started. I had to keep track of how to maintain my long term based on the island gives me. I could see my horizon of intent increasing with more options. Building relationships with international figures was a good addition to either increase your profit and also build an alliance. As long as the player completes the mini challenge or quest

Dynamic Layer

Once the game starts and you begin to build from your resources the mechanics of the game kick in. I had a island that was rich in bauxite and some iron, so I capitalized on the minerals as a natural resource to create weapons and build more factories. I figured I would want to make as much money as possible. The options in the games are bound to the island and what you can do as a dictator or ruler. The game started to get fun when the satisfaction levels of the people were measured. The more factories I build destroying vegetation, I could a spike in ecologist that were against it. Generally, trying to make money and keeping the people happy was interesting to juggle. I found that powering the cities and homes were an important factor in running an effective country. The main interests came from electricity and roads. Having the people react and in different ways was interesting to see develop over time. Any major factory or decision I made for political reasons, there was always a faction of people that were against it. I tried to balance the the overall public relation and tried not to go past 50% of disagreement among the people.

Cultural layer

The cultural aspect of the game isn’t so much as a dictator themed game, but just a world building simulator game. The “culture” of the game stems from a long line of world building simulator games like sims, rollercoaster tycoon, civilization, rome, etc. Tropico has the same feel to it when playing. There major and minor occurrences that happen during the game, and based on the player’s own cultural influence, they can run a country like North Korea or like a capitalist society. The Game makes you start off as a lowly dictator that could turn into a major economic power if played correctly. The game although might seem a little too similar to civilization or other world building simulator games. I don’t really see a die hard following of Tropico, unlike Starcraft or Sims. The cultural impact of the game, is something that might be unique to a small demographic of players. The game however captures the response of citizens quite well and keeps the dictator in check of their decisions. If the people are not happy they can have a coup or revolt and overthrow the player. The reaction of people in the game creates a special unique culture within the game. The game can be used as a historical demonstration when dictators lose control of their country or island. The game has nice message behind the ways to win and lose. I like how the “happiness” and overall satisfaction of people is a constant theme the game revolves around after a certain time. There are always people that will not like the decision I made, but I have to come to terms with it to attain larger goal that will eventually lower the people’s disagreement. Much like in reality, there is a latency effect. The plan won’t take action immediately, but overtime and with accumulation of money or resources, the plan will work.

Character feedback for Kaze

Nice job on the overall character design, thank you for taking the time to draw this! I had a different take on this character, not sure what Maia thought, but I was thinking more along the lines of a Bruce Timm type of art style. I like how you drew from inspiration of Jessica Jones, but I was thinking like a Nikita type of character, fast and nimble.
Some things to consider:
-Try to slim down the character.
-Sharper angular lines for her build.
– She’s not an actual ninja, her demeanor and skills are just similar to a ninja. She needs to move fast, like the wind, which is what kaze means in Japanese. So like a “streamlined” look.
-And maybe for her white shoes, they can act as like a blurred streak she leaves behind when shes running around.

Really like the design you did with her name and made it look like Japanese calligraphy . The scarf is a good addition, and the leather jacket is exactly the type I was thinking. Hope this helps.


World Building Project

Roll a dice.

The number rolled is the number of paper slips that will be drawn from a category.

The order of draws starts with theme, then character, and lastly, setting.

Theme Character Setting






historical fiction




opposite of Sci-fi







anthropomorphic creature







abandoned town

airplane crashed on island



ancient jungle


amusement park



las vegas

food land


Group members: Sarah Meadows, Grant Ng, Michael Roman, Emily Novitski, Maia …

Tiling Variations Towards Board Game Design

This is a cross-collaborative post between Professor Basem Aly’s Game Design course and Professor Gorman’s Introduction to Architecture, section 07 course.

Tile Game Generator

I will be presenting this topic for 40 minutes to Professor Basem Aly’s Game Design and Analysis course on Thursday, October 27th at 12:50pm. I will be introducing his course to methods of tiling and subdividing in order to Invent towards game play. (Following Midterm, you will Invent how your visual systems can be used towards a relationship with the Body and towards an occupation + movement through.) Professor Aly and I will speculate with students on how these advanced methods of tiling making can alter the outcome of existing games, in order to generate new ones. Further, I will speculate how these grids could become spatial maps and three dimensional for further relationships in the Y/Z axis. The goal is to create a cross discussion between your abstract visual systems and “world making” in game design.

Please bring your recursive aggregation, subdivision and aggregation drawing sets to show the other class.

Goal: Game Design students are to use recursive subdivision and aggregation rules to create tiling patterns to alter the rules of existing tile games (ex. Settler of Catan, Carcassonne, etc.)

Read the entire the post here.


Fallout 4 is part of the Fallout series which takes the player to the future in a post – nuclear world. I agree with the argument the article puts forth that although the game is engaging, it still relies mainly on violence and combat to get the player hooked. Although you start the game as a quest, you are eventually led to situations where violence and killing are the only solutions. The game appears as narrative, only superficially. The author emphasizes his point with reference to Bloodborne’s – Yhaxnam & Watch Dog’s Chicago which also lead to the bloodbath. I agree that though these games are engaging, after a point they all seem repetitive even though the characters & situations are different.

The author contrasts this with Undertake & Day Z, which helps the players interact with the world. I concur with the author that games need to improve their method of storytelling like Witcher 3. Pieces of the puzzle need to come together to complete a quest. A game should should be challenging but not necessarily always lead to combat. It could involve observing and negotiating, planning & execution of the plan. The designer must construct games which reflect human behavior in varying situations and each situation cannot always end in violence or combat.