Photo by Natalie Seery
A few weeks back, I announced my PhD defense. Now, after several months of delays, I finally got around to making the last edits. I’ve published the full dissertation (as a pdf file) on my personal website. You can read it here.
The dissertation explores a variety of theoretical issues in game design and design research more broadly. Discussing my notions of dialogic game design, broken games, and low process intensity games, I reflect on a number of games I’ve worked on over the past several years, including B.U.T.T.O.N. and Johann Sebastian Joust.
If you’re going to read any excerpts, I’d recommend the Intro chapter, as well as Chapter 3 – a journal article about B.U.T.T.O.N. which I’ve previously published in Game Studies, here. If you do read any of the dissertation, any feedback and/or critiques are welcome!
We’re pleased to announce that our party game Johann Sebastian Joust is one of the ten games chosen for this year’s PAX 10 showcase at PAX Prime. Hooray!
I’ll be flying out to Seattle to run the game on the showfloor. If you’ll be there too, stop by to say hello and play a round!
Having problems connecting PlayStation Move controllers to your OSX 10.7 Mac? In this post, we suggest some handy fixes. For a quick solution, see the video tutorial above.
Note: Chris Figueroa reports that the same tricks seem to work on the OSX 10.8 beta.
Last November, we distributed an early alpha version of Johann Sebastian Joust to several hundred people who had contributed to Brandon Boyer’s Venus Patrol Kickstarter campaign. This was great for us – not only were we able to support our friend Brandon, but we were also able to gather a bunch of useful feedback.
(To be clear: yes, we’re very eager to get the game out to the general public. We’re working on it. Meanwhile, I want to write this blog post for all the Venus Patrol donors, as well as any other developers working with the Move controller on Mac OSX).
I had developed the Venus Patrol alpha version of the game on OSX 10.6. Aside from a few problems here and there, the build seemed to work well on most Macs – even on 10.7.
A few months later, though, Apple released OSX 10.7.3. As far as I understand it, this version (and every version since) features some additional security measures related to connecting Bluetooth devices. Unfortunately for developers like me using Thomas Perl’s PS Move API, connecting Move controllers suddenly became a real headache.
I do hope to eventually “fix” this problem, or at least provide a smoother workaround. In the meanwhile, there are some solutions – some more user-friendly than others.
Last year, NYC resident Sara Bobo took some beautiful long-exposure photos of our game J.S. Joust as played on a Brooklyn rooftop.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Sara managed to top herself last night with a new batch of photos! Sara, our friend Dannel, and crew celebrated July 4th with another game of rooftop Joust. I’ve embedded the full slideshow below.
We’re excited to announce our brand new website for Johann Sebastian Joust! Check it out – and make sure to try clicking the four characters!
The website was designed and implemented by our friend Andreas Zecher, who is one of the guys behind the award-winning indie game Spirits. Like Nils and (formerly) Bernie, Andreas is a German living in Scandinavia (Stockholm, not Copenhagen). Andreas also happens to be the guy behind Promoter, a rad tool for game developers to keep track of reviews and promocodes, so he knows his stuff when it comes to web dev.
Why the new website, you ask? In addition to giving the Joust page a visual makeover, Andreas also added a few key features that are very handy indeed.
Thanks to my friend Mike, I’ve recently been doing a lot of thinking about the classic card game Bridge. As I learn more about the game, I’ve become increasingly intrigued. Speaking as a game designer and researcher, I find Bridge to be a wonderfully curious game, both mechanically and culturally. I’m surprised that Bridge doesn’t get referenced more often within the game dev and game studies communities.
I’m also surprised there aren’t more specialized 2v2 videogames out there. What an under-explored design space! There’s a reason that Bridge has become so popular, birthing clubs and leagues around the world – namely, it’s fun to play games with a partner! In the world of indie games, Ramiro Corbetta’s 2v2 sports game Hokra stands as compelling proof.
Mike got me reading one particular book about Bridge – Victor Mollo’s Bridge in the Menagerie, from 1965. The book, part of an entire series, follows a cast of fictional players at a fictional Bridge club, the Griffins Club. I wouldn’t recommend the book to beginners (I can’t entirely follow it myself), but I do want to share some choice excerpts.
Mollo, always a little wry, opens the book with a cheeky meditation on the “art of losing”:
“There is too much stress everywhere on the art of winning and not nearly enough anywhere on the art of losing. Yet it is surely the more important of the two, for not only do the losers pay the winners, but they clearly enjoy doing it. Were it otherwise they would have stopped playing – or taken to winning – long ago.”
Where is my Heart? is finally available on PlayStation Vita in North America! It had already been available on the European store, but now it’s out in both regions. You can download it in the “Minis” section of PlayStation Store.
(The above image is excerpt from Alpenland, the comic sequel to Where is my Heart?)
While living with the deer-man through autumn and winter the little boy starts taking care of the deer-man’s greenhouse.
Concept work for Alpenland the comic sequel to Where is my Heart?.
(Alpenland Concept Part 3 here)
Today we want to share a little taste of what we’ve been working on the last few weeks.
Yes, we’re still working on Johann Sebastian Joust and Where is my Heart?, but some of us have also started work on our new game, Mutazione. We haven’t shared so many details about the game yet, though you can read some background info here. The game is going to be a character-driven “swamp opera” set in a strange tropical world.
We don’t want to say too much just yet, but above you can view an early concept of the main character, Kay, sitting in her garden. We’ve also been experimenting with the sound and melodies generated by the garden’s ecosystem. Take a listen:
All those sounds are by our trusty composer, Alessandro Coronas. Alessandro is same guy who did the sound and music for Where is my Heart? and we’re excited to share more of his new work with you. Stay tuned!
This week we’ve received a flood of inquiries about our game Johann Sebastian Joust. Particularly, there have been some allegations that J.S. Joust has become the victim of “cloning.” In turn, a number of media outlets have asked us for an official response.
In this post, we address some of these issues and offer our opinion on a variety of topics.