I gave a very similar (but slightly different and less long-winded) talk at Minnebar 2017 to the one I gave a few months ago at Cocoaheads. Probably the only notable difference is the inclusion of a screenshot from my new Unity port of ActionGo, for which I made this 30 second trailer.
I gave a 7 (-ish) minute presentation tonight at our local VR & HCI meeting. I was one of three folks invited to share their GDC / VRDC experiences. Here are the slides:
Additionally, I was contacted today by a student looking for more information about my experiences in the local game industry. If you are interested in that sort of thing, I’ve posted the transcript below.
Last week, as part of their initiative to clean up the app store, Apple marked two of my oldest apps as needing updates or they’ll be removed from the store (in 30 days). Since I don’t really have time to update them right now, I’m changed their pricing to free so everyone has a chance to download them before they’re removed. When I do get around to doing updates, I’ll definitely put them back back in the store as paid, so get ’em while they’re free!
As should be obvious to anyone following along, (or stumbling onto this series), I basically quit doing the weekly summaries for my “game idea a week” project back in July. There are probably a lot of reasons I suppose, but mainly I got busy. I had 19 daily journal entries in August, so I didn’t fall off doing them entirely. But if I didn’t have time for the daily journal entries, I definitely didn’t have time for the Friday recaps. (Which always took longer than I’ll admit to myself to write.)
Anyway, I felt I should write something here. I’m still going to keep this project going through the end of the year, and I want to write a recap of the entire year at some point, summarizing the number of entries, frequency of certain types, and generally just doing some meta-creative analysis.
Almost every week, I get to Friday, and before I start writing this post I’m thinking “wow, the ideas for this week were not very good, this is going to be a hard post to write”, but then I start looking at them, and it’s never as dire as I imagine. (Even bad ideas often have some merit!)
Also, I missed another day this week, and I’m thinking now that even if I skip one day a week, that’s alright. I don’t want this project to stress me out. (And I’ve got plenty of other stuff I should be working on.)
7/8 – I thought a bit about an augmented reality game in VR. So there is a virtual environment, and you put on a “headset” in the game, that then changes some aspect of the environment (either how it looks, or by changing it).
7/9 – Missed a day.
7/10 – A game where you are a walking flower, with littler flowers for eyes, and you collect flower petals to open doors that looks like giant flowers.
Maybe this was inspired by my donut on donut idea from the previous week. I guess idea inception was a theme for the week, since my next idea was basically the same thing for hats:
7/11 – A hat collecting puzzle game. A game where you put hats on cute furry animals. A game where hats are currency. A game with hats on top of hats on top of hats. A game where hats indicate status and occupation and stealing a person’s hat is tantamount to stealing their identity. A game with hats as achievement badges. A game with hats for guns. A game with hats to indicate belts in a hat-based kung-fu with hat-katas and hat-hand to hat-hand combat. Hattastrophie.
7/12 – A game inspired by some conversations on slack about Pokémon Go and “skinner box game mechanics”, labeled simply, Skinner Box: The Game. A game that attempts to recreate a Skinner box like experience as closely as possible. You are a rat in a cage. You have a single button and you are being conditioned to press it.
7/13 – Some thoughts on the milieu/setting/premise for a game set on the construction site for a giant city-sized building. The thing has been “under construction” for hundreds of years and the entire process has been meant to be self-sustaining from the beginning, so you have folks whose job it is to make food for the folks whose job it is to make concrete, etc.
7/14 – A game inspired by packing a moving truck full of boxes. Essentially you have a bunch of different boxes and you have to fit them into a truck. I was imagining this as a VR game, because I think it’s more fun if you have the 3D perspective on it. You could have a bunch of different sized trucks and scenarios. Maybe it starts out just packing trunks of cars getting ready to go on vacation.
7/1 – A sort of turret game where you control the angle, thrust, and explosion intensity of fireworks. Your goal is to line the trails up with stars in the sky above. Maybe this is in VR and you have to also line up your gaze at the right angle too.
7/2 – Had the revelation that it might be worth prototyping the playground games I’ve worked on in the Vive. My original journal entry for the playground games were written back in November 2014, so I’ve been thinking about these for a long time. This idea could use another entry (or two), since there are at least a few different games that could be evaluated whether they would “work” in the Vive, and how.
7/3 – A game you play with keys and locks. Maybe this is a match-2 game. The twist is that there is only one match on the board for each other tile. So it’s actually a lot like the match trivia games I made for Moai, with a sort of fantasy skin. Maybe there are also chests or safes, and any lock next to it is assumed to go with it. Once all the locks are open, the save opens and gives you a powerup, or maybe just another key that you need to proceed.
7/4 – You know how you can play “giant monopoly” at a bunch of different board game conventions? A lot of publishers have giant versions of their board games, and you can even buy some of them commercially. (Giant Jenga and giant connect-four are both playable at the recently opened Up Down arcade in Minneapolis). Anyway, this idea is basically just that you could play those giant versions in VR without having to have enough space for them. I was looking at my shelf of board games when I had this idea, and in particular imagining the game Spiel, (which is a pyramid of dice), and how fun it would be to walk around that game, and throw giant dice around.
7/5 – A VR relaxation/exercise game called Sway. The main game input mechanic is the name of the game. You progress “forward” by moving your weight from foot to foot, swaying back and forth. The game will also prompt you to look left right, up down, for neck stretches, and to swing your arms or spiral them, essentially doing upper body stretches.
7/6 – As you can see to the right, I spent a bit of time this week (a few hours so far) prototyping a game from this entry. Some friends and fellow MN gamedevs recently conceived and built The Donutron, and I was basically lamenting the fact that there aren’t (yet) any games made for it specifically involving donuts. So this idea is just that you are a donut, rolling around a giant donut, collecting donuts. I’m soliciting feedback on a name for the game. Here are the possible names so far: Donutworld, The Little Donut, Space-Time Donut, It Came Frosting Space!, Planet Donut, Donut Moon, Space Case Donut Race, TorusTime, DonutFall, DonutGame, Donutroid, Donut Donut Donut!, Donut on Donut (on Donut?), Donut Eat Donut, Yo Donut, I heard you like Donuts!, Donut Moon. I’m leaning toward Donut on Donut, or Donut Eat Donut.
7/7 – A few different one-line game ideas yesterday: An open world board game (open in terms of you can do anything at any time). Game where your body is melting as the timer mechanic. Game where your feet are rats and you can’t really control where they go without cheese. Game where the world is a bicycle tire. Game where you are made of lava and melt / burn everything you touch. Game where you head is a book and you have to fill it with words.
Some weeks pass so much faster than others. This week felt like an eyeblink. Here were some ideas:
6/24 – I teased two entries on this day in last week’s entry, but the second entry was very much just about some UI mechanics (specifically about menus attached to your controller in VR), and not really a game at all. The first entry was interesting, but also could probably be read as “all the ideas from Cosmic Trip that I really liked”. For instance, I really like the way the teleport mechanic works, how there are discreet parts of the map, tied together by this network of portals. In the game I imagined, they are all regularly spaced hexagons, with potentially different resource types on each, and you can harvest them and craft stuff.
6/25 – A simulator for those cute magnets that come in cubes of 6x6x6. Maybe in VR. The beauty of the idea is that they could be any size! Probably this would be a great way to teach people how to make specific shapes and patterns with them. But you’d be able to shrink / grow the creation at will. Also, you wouldn’t be limited in how many you own!
6/26 – In the same way Zombies!!! made bags of little plastic zombies popular, it would be fun to make a game with little plastic ants. I know I had some when I was a kid, and they were a blast to put all over everything. I’m imagining you set up a table with some obstacles and every player has a bag of colored ants (everyone with a different color). There are some objects on the table that represent food, and you have an ant hole where your ants spawn, and then you make trails of ants to the food nearest your hole. This happens one ant at a time, and no ant you place can be more than one ant-length away from at least one of your other ants. So you build lines and on your turn, you can place one ant then move any of the food objects that are within one ant-length from one of your ants, down the line, one ant toward your hole at a time. When you’ve collected a sufficient number of food objects, or when it’s obvious who will win, the player with the most food wins. Your ants can also fight, maybe, so there could be rules about that too.
6/27 – I think it would be fun to make a game called “Crash Reports” about debugging. (Or maybe just an extended metaphor game about debugging.) The story is that you are a galactic traffic cop, and you have to go to the sites of major interstellar space ship crashes and write up reports.
6/28 – This idea is literally: “just add water!” Basically, a waterproof board game where the box has a fill line and maybe some cups that look like towers. Maybe you have pieces that sink (anchors) and pieces that float that you can attach to them (or not, but you can’t reposition them between turns!). Not sure what the goal(s) would be yet though…
6/29 – A dinner table in VR, you pick up the corn on the cob and play Tetris on it.
Another game: You are a butcher, cutting up a cow in VR. (Butcher Simulator!)
6/30 – Turrets are cool in VR. You are in a circular room more or less the size of your room-scale (smaller than your chaperone). Maybe there are different levels for different eras in time. A castle level, where you have arrow slits and have to shoot out of them with a bow. A WW2 level, with rifles and sand bags. And a future level with cool telescoping windows and laser guns. You are basically just shooting enemies as they approach, but maybe you can send waves of enemies out of your tower… and it’s multiplayer, so you are sending them to your opponent’s tower. Or maybe you build the castle itself before you get into your tower.
Sorry for the delay on this post (and the short writeups)! Here are the game ideas from last week.
6/17 – A pen-and-paper game with destructible element mechanics. Kind of a complicated last-man-standing tic-tac-toe variant. Co-credit for this game idea should go to Zach Johnson.
6/18 – A connect-the-pipes game in VR. Thoughts on mechanics and UI.
6/19 – A mountain-climbing game, where you realize the mountains you are climbing are actually human fingerprints.
6/20 – A Poi simulator for the Vive. (This came out of the news that the Blarp! source code is available on github.)
6/21 – Some thoughts on shared mechanics in table top games Splendor and Ticket To Ride. I then outlined a game that does something slightly different but draws on those elements.
6/22 – A VR bird-simulator. I’m pretty sure I’ve had thoughts along these lines in the past, but apparently I didn’t remember that at the time.
6/23 – I actually didn’t write an entry on the 23rd. (3rd or 4th missed/skipped day, I’m not sure.) I wrote two the next day to make up for it, but you’ll have to wait till next week’s writeup for those!