Sunday, 29 January 2012

Dominoes - Game Design and Production Blog 3 (INFR 2330)


Hello! Welcome back to my blog!
Today, I will be talking about the game dominoes, although seeming easy, can be complex, frustrating and fun.

A few years back, my family seemed bored during the summers...we had nothing to do, and so we would occasionally take trips with each other to random places around Canada, the states, or the Caribbean. My father is a pastor for a church which I've been going to for my entire life. The name of this church was the World Impact Centre (W.I.C). One year, a pastor from the Caribbean called my dad and told him about a youth encounter that happens every year in the Antigua. My dad and mother, now struck with new ideas and feelings of this camp, had sent me there on my own to enjoy it.

Enough with the backstory, now to get into detail !

While in the Caribbean, they play a lot of games in which we would think was weird, but when seeing it, its mesmerizing. I heard they play "dominoes". When I hear dominoes? I think of the way you used to play with them, just stacking them up and knocking them down right? In actuality, that’s a giant flaw with that statement. As said before I learned that its not the same way that they play dominoes.


Dominoes in the Caribbean is carried out in a different way. The rules of the game dominoes is like so:

Players: 4
Objective/ How to win: Have no more playable domino tiles in your hands

How to Lose: Not be the first to have no more playable domino tiles in your hands.

Explanation: With domino, the lower the tile number, the higher chance that you have of winning. For example, if someone has the 6/6 domino, and you had the 5/5, and that was the last tile in each players hands, the 5/5 wins. Usual players try and find a pattern with the tiles that they have, so they can lay it out correctly so that in 7 turns, no tiles are left in their hands.

Tricks: To make people lose faster, trap off their amount of high number tiles in their hand, so no matter what, they lose. For example, in a box of dominoes, there are 28 tiles, thus letting four people play. There are 7 cards of each number, 1-6. If each player had played a value of a "6" tile, except the last person, who had the 6/6 tile, and you blocked "6"'s off so that he could not attach his "6" to it, then he is stuck with the 6/6 which adds to 12, and gives more assurance to the player that he cannot win.

Turns: Everyone has 7 cards and have to match each domino side with a side of its suit. Like a 6/1 and a 6/6 must only have the 6's touching. So it looks like so:

There are many ways to go about trying to win this game. There are mental psyches that you could learn in order to know who has what tile, also by watching the way they place their tiles. For me, I play by counting all of the tiles, and then guessing who has the next one, and trap the higher numbered cards so that I would win. With dominoes, its very funny and comical. Though it can seem boring, it is fun too see as to who will win.

Another thing that we do to spice up the game is that, the loser has to drink water. By the 5th  or 9th game, almost every person except the consistent winner is crying. It is very comical I hope that anyone who reads this blog would be able to have as much fun as I did with dominoes.

Overall it’s a great game to play ! Everyone should try !
This is an example of how you shuffle the tiles. face down, with one hand going in a clockwise motion, and the other in a counter-clockwise motion.
(It's me in the picture!)

Kazekumaru -- Peacing Out!

Questions to consider:
  1. After reading through that, would YOU like to play dominoes?
  1. If you have any questions or comments, place them in the comment section...BELOW !

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Game Design and Production Blog 2 - Common Vocabulary(INFR 2330)

In this blog, I will be responding to :“Challenges for Game Designers” and “I have no words and I must design”.

For this blog, the following questions were given:
What are Costikyan's arguments?
What did you get from reading his text?
Why is it important for Game designers to have a common vocabulary?
What are Costikyan's arguments?

It's Not a Puzzle.
Although some various games like to use puzzles in games, the puzzles are not the games. Puzzles are static, and games are not. Games change as the player progresses. Puzzles may be unique and have certain ways to solve them. But those ways remain static and never change, while a game's puzzles may change.

It's Not a Toy.
Here, Greg used Sim City as an example. Sim City is a 'toy'. It is stated as this because it has no objectives, no goals, no objectives, nothing. For example, we have a toy truck. With this truck, we can roll it around passing all other toys. If you give it an objective and goal, such as, crushing all toys with the truck and a time limit, you then have a game.

It's Not a Story.
Here is where a book and a game can be compared. In each, there is great imagery, visuals, and even interaction. However with all of this there is also a difference. With books, the decisions are pre-made and cannot be altered, but with a game, you are able to decide what you are going to do, think about your choices and make wise decisions.

It Demands Participation.
If a game was just there to watch, with no interaction or input that one could give, then it would be boring and it would lose its point. Games need interaction and participation in order to grab the playing audience, and allow them to have fun with the game, thus showing the game's worth and value.

Decision Making
Games need decision making. This is because if a game had only one choice, it would not only resemble a books 'choices'/plot, but it would also be uninteresting. The more decisions it gives for a player, the more involved they get, and the more they want to continue playing the game. If a player is able to buy food, but lose money, they have to think, "should I feed myself in this game? Or save for a two-handed sword later?". That was an example of one of the choices a player could come across within a game. Decision making is a crucial part in video games.

With games, goals are an important feature to have. Goals give something for the player to do, something to accomplish and give them a sense of satisfaction with every goal they accomplish. All games have a purpose. Soccer's purpose is to score as many goals in the opposite team's net to win. For solitaire, it is to match all cards up appropriately to win. For Tetris, an incredibly old game, the goal is to continue making full rows of blocks, so that they deplete, and you gain a higher score! Each of these games have goals in which you want to accomplish. A game would not exactly be a game, without goals.

For games, having opponents are amazing. Not only do you gain experience with playing, but you learn how the human mind works, and the types of choices that flash by the humans mind per second. For example, in games like 'League Of Legends' an experienced player has edge over a beginner. Why? Because he had his time playing against other opponents, gaining experience, learning how to think, how to operate, and how to see how opponents usually operate.

Managing Resources
Coupled on with decision making, managing resources is a strong and required thing within video games. Resources could come as money, ores to build weapons, ingredients for food, lumber, anything. They are there in order to give more choice. For example, if the character wants to build a sword, it takes his ores, lumber and some money, but what if he wanted to keep the money for food, and the lumber for a house or a fire? With resources, it gives a more in-depth and interesting look into games and what consequences they have for certain actions.
Game Tokens
Game tokens are a part of the game that you represent. Examples used in the text were things like game pieces like a shoe for monopoly, for roleplaying games, it is you as a character and for sports games it is you yourself. Games usually have this to give you an ability to manage everything through a medium depending on what game you are playing.

Information within games must be constantly shown, and given to the player. A good example is when in fighting games, how do you know when you have low health or stamina, or cannot fight anymore? These factors are usually taken care of by the Heads-Up Display(HUD).

In an earlier blog post for the game "Munchkin" you are able to make an 'alliance' with certain players to attack together to defeat a creature or harm someone. This alliancing is a form of diplomacy within games.

The colour that Greg is talking about related to certain aspects of a game. For example. In pokemon, they have certain styled gym's. Misty is a water pokemon user. If she was in an electric gym, it would not suit her. That is why they gave her a water-styled gym, for her water pokemon. Colour looks not only after the art but the themes. Another example for themes is Lego. Lego games like Lego star wars, all characters have lego-like qualities, and  even the ships and environment has these qualities to keep a constantly flow of the game.

Simulating the game brings the player more and more into it. What could be done here is for example in soccer, if a player forcibly hurts another, a fight would break out. You, the player, are now involved in this fight because of the dirty actions. Having all this happen would get a player mesmerized by the game.

Variety of Encounter
If a player encounters the same object or situation countless times, he would know how to handle it and it would then become boring because it is second nature. If variety is added, then the player would be thinking the unknown while playing the game because he or she would not know what would be to happen if a certain action was made.

Position Identification
Position identification is giving the player an awareness, attachment, and knowledge to where and what the character is that they are playing.

Roleplaying is almost a definition by itself. It is when you are playing as a character. Ex. When playing games like Super Smash Bros', you can choose different characters to play throughout a story.

Socializing is when you interact with the game and give your input. This can also be the friend lists in games such as Maplestory.

Narrative Tension
Narrative tension is having suspense and then drop. In the text, Greg said how if you are a yankees fan, and they came and pulled through and won from being in the losing half until near the end, you would be more satisfied and happy, than if they just had a winning drive from the very start. Narrative tension is where the story within the game shows downfall, but at the end, gives you success.
What did you get from reading his text?

From reading the text, what I now understand is a more in-depth look and realization as to what video games need, how they work, and prime mechanics that get and draw people into video games.

Why is it important for Game designers to have a common vocabulary?

From what I can intake from the reading, I would generally say that it is important for game designers to have a common vocabulary because, in order to make a fully functioning game, that corresponds and works together properly with all of the other game mechanics added in, everything would have to be in the same language, same format, and same feeling. This is because if anything were to be different, it would throw off the feel of the game. These are reasons as to why the vocabulary would need to be the same. To give a smooth flowing and flawless game.

Kazekumaru -- Peacing Out!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Freestyle Boardcross Race-Of-Survival - Game Design and Production Homework Assignment 2 (INFR 2330)

Welcome to another one of my blogs! Today I will be talking about a game that we had to make for my game design and production class.

When I first entered this class, I was excited to play board games, and we did the first class. As another class came by, more difficult pieces were put into play. Our next homework assignment to do in class was to make a board game ?! A fully functioning board game?! -- Challenge Accepted.

A fellow class-mate and group-mate Tyler Biback and I teamed up to make a game called Freestyle Boardcross Race-Of-Survival. Through our efforts, the final piece looked amazing. I'm extremely happy with the way that the game turned out and couldn't be happier.

Here is a picture of the game board that was made for the game...

Along with the board game we made comes rules and playing cards, as you can see the blue "icy" card spot, and the yellow "speed" card spot. When I initially thought of this game and cards, I didn't exactly think that it would take long to make them. I was wrong. They sheer amount of creativity and innovation that you have to put into making these cards is ridiculous. However, though ridiculous, it is fun. While making this game, funny jokes were said and I had personally wanted them to be on the cards, but the general feel of the game is for all audiences, so the 'jokes' could not be put on the cards.

There are many rules for this game. On the board, you see certain parts highlighted. The light blue spots, are called "Icy Spots". At an "Icy Spot", you may draw an "Icy" card. The "Speed" cards are drawn every turn to see how many spaces you may proceed forward.

The yellow highlighted spaces are called Quarter-pipe turns.

Quarter-pipe Turns
These turns have massive walls like Quarter-Pipes allowing boarders to ride the wall and gain maximum speed on the corners of the course! If you land on the Icy Spot on the corners, you must draw a Speed Card and get off of the icy corner before you can end your turn. If the Speed card says “Don’t go anywhere,” your turn ends and you must go back uphill 2 spaces.
Also,  as you can see, there are green highlighted spaces, that have a space in-between them. These are called jumps.

If you land on one of the icy patches leading to a jump, instead of picking up another Icy card, you must draw a speed card. You do not complete the jump during your current turn; instead you must wait until your next turn and continue normally. The speed card only determines if you will be able to successfully land the jump or not. The speed card must be 3 or above in order to successfully remain balanced and land the jump. If you draw a 2 or below you fall and sprain your ankle which counts as another X towards your Fall Count. Next turn, continue normally.

On your next turn, you must at least move forward 1 space to get past the jump. If you land on an Icy Spot draw an Icy card and continue normally. However, if on the next turn you draw a speed card that says you do not move anywhere, slide backwards uphill 1 space.

In general, this game was fun to make, and I am excited to see what we have to do next.

...I REALLY need to get a leaving quote...
well...BYE :D !

Kazekumaru -- Peacing Out!

Questions to consider: 
1. By the look of our game, would you like to play it? 
2. From the brief touch of the rules given in this blog, would you say there is a flaw? If there is, what is it, and how would you fix it?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Vindictus - Intermediate Computer Graphics Blog 1(INFR 2350)

Hey guys :D as you can see above, I will be talking about the game Vindictus.

What is Vindictus?

The Nexon game company has made Vindictus in its relation to a game called "Mabinogi", however, where the story of Vindictus begins is during a war era. The era of war that Nexon has started the story of Vindictus in, is not an era of which is facing humans, but other races of monsters. You start off as a person or mercenary who went in to save a friend. From there, your life unfolds to new journeys, battles, opportunities, and gold.

Game Graphics

In Vindictus, there are many ways to look at the different  shaders and graphics that are used. In many instances within the games dungeons, you have different uses for shaders. For example, if you strike a monster with a powerful kick, a 'power' field envelops the point of which you kicked, and the final boss and blurs the view.

At the side of that picture, closer to the edge, near the monster, you can see a pole sticking out. Under it lies a shadow. Within Vindictus, the way that they use shadows is unique, but in a tiny sense, flawed. As you can see in the picture above, there are heart pieces, and with the given shape, texture, and look of these heart pieces, they are seen to be 'crystal'-like but within the game, they have a full shadow, when in reality, crystals let some light through.

Although the shadows may not be fully correct with certain items or substances, the effects and definition are extremely accurate when compared to other games. In my first class of 'Intermediate Computer Graphics' a video of Crash Bandicoot was shown with shaders on and off. Without them, there was still a clear sense of depth and shadows, but with them on, it gave a different effect. However, you can see a difference when comparing a game like Crash, to a game like Vindictus. The quality is higher within Vindictus, and lower with Crash.

With all of this talk with shadows, the definitions of them, and depth, they all relate to shaders. A shader is a computer program used for rendering effects, such as making shadows have more depth. In Vindictus, they use shaders in the ways to give definitions to the characters shadows, casting shadows in the crevices of rocks, houses, and even the reflection and realness of water.

Vindictus Characters?

In Vindictus, the characters are very defined. Their armour is more defined than their own original body, but in which case, having armour on makes playing the game, so much more enjoying to look at. The amount of definition on the armour and the way that light bends when reflected off of it gives more of a touch of realness of the armour on the characters, or it makes it easier to see what type of armour is being worn by the character. The way that characters are made lately, the definition is being increased more and more every time. Why increase the realness of characters? The answer is that, with the more realness, the more people are attracted to play the game, sheerly because of the games character graphics.

Here is an example of the characters in Vindictus, showing the detail on character body, and armour.

Character Skin

Metallic Armour

Leather/ Pelt Armour

When you look at the body, compared to how defined the armour looks, some tend to wonder how they can go from such a low quality, to such a high quality with armour. The answer to that is bump mapping. Bump mapping is a technique used to add definition to a surface in computer graphics. For example, the picture with the metallic armour, could have been a smooth surface with no curves or bumps, but after using bump mapping, those circular bumps were rendered. Another example, is within the first picture, on the left, a male character is wearing red armour. This armour was probably a smooth surface, but after the use of bump mapping, those curvatures and streaks in-between what seems to be crude leather or fur, was then rendered.


If thought about carefully concerning the computer graphics for any game, you are able to pick out and describe many different factors or techniques, and tools that game companies use in order to render higher graphics within their game.

Well I personally don't have a leaving quote yet so...

Kazekumaru -- Peacing Out!

Questions to consider:

1. From reading what you see above, would you look more into Vindictus?
2. If you see a flaw from any picture or anything stated above concerning the game, what is it, and why?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Munchkin - Game Design and Production Blog 1 (INFR 2330)

Welcome to my blog ! For this initial post I will be talking about a game in which we had played within my first class of Game Design and Production at UOIT.

The name of the game that we had played is Munchkin. Within the world of Munchkin you have several races and character classes to choose from. For races, you have examples like elves, and half-lings, and for classes, you have things like thieves, warriors, and clerics.

This game is usually played with 3-6 people. In this case, we had 6 people in our group including myself, so we all took part in the game. With six people in our group, we had particularly long turns and, also, seeing as we were not used to this game, it took longer than an hour. Also, even though the game that we played took that long, we didn't even get to finish the game or even see as to who would win.

5 Things Liked About The Game:

Within Munchkin there are many various qualities that one could like. My favourite qualities within Munchkin is the gameplay, characters, monsters, skills, and the escaping system.

The gameplay within Munchkin is very unique. Though turn-based, it gives a certain thought process to a player while in their turn. After you draw a dungeon or 'door' card, you must flip it. If it doesn’t apply to you, then you can play a monster card from your hand that you can defeat, in order to level up. However if it applies to you in some way, shape, or form, then you must abide by it. If a monster, you must fight it. With this, if on another person's turn, hurt them, or backstab them within the instance that, if they are in a fight with a monster, you could send a negative bonus to them in which would lower their capability of fighting a monster and in turn could ruin their turn, kill them, or lower their level. This is the gameplay of the world of Munchkin!

When playing Munchkin, there are many types of characters of which you can become. As explained before, you have types of races and classes. Within classes, there are many choices. For classes, there are wizards, warriors, thieves, clerics, bards, and rangers. As for races, you have humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs, and gnomes. With each of these character types, you have certain bonuses or certain skills that come along with the class or races. Thieves have backstabbing and thievery, while Elves have a better chance of escaping. With each of these different customizable features, a game of Munchkin can become very interesting.

Monsters within Munchkin are on a different level. Their sheer amount of hilarity on certain cards can make a game of Munchkin incredibly fun, or really difficult. For example, a lawyer monster does not touch a thief because of a relation in the type of business or trade. Therefore a thief is the same as a lawyer? This, along with different monsters with certain effects for certain races or classes make the game more exciting. When I had played during class with my group, a fellow group member was an elf, but a certain monster hated elves. He was lucky because it was not his turn, because if that monster was to face him, because of the monsters certain effect on hating elves, he would have died regardless. This makes the game of Munchkin incredibly funny depending on how you customize yourself within and for gameplay.

As said before with races and classes, they are paired with certain effects or skills that give bonus to the character and or, enable them to make certain actions within gameplay. Warriors have an ability so that if you are on the same level as a monster, the monster will die. This is different and has benefit because, within the game, you must have status effects or have bonuses that make you stronger than the monster or else you and the monster die together. For elves, with their running capability, they are able to run easier within a game. They have the skill so that they have to roll less of a number to run away when the normal price to roll, is 5 and 6 only. With all of these skills in Munchkin, they prove to be very fun to see, try, and modify.

Munchkin is a fair game when it comes to escaping without any bonuses. The way that they handle the escaping methods, is the player who is trying to escape rolls a die. If it lands on a 5 or a 6 as stated in the earlier paragraph, it is a successful escape. If not, then the player suffers the consequences that is stated on the monsters card. This is quite fair because, it is left up to probability to choose whether you are able to escape or not. With bonuses from treasure cards, races or classes, it increases the ability to escape, but even so, they also made it that with certain creatures, the escaping method would be harder for certain classes. The creators of Munchkin worked out the factors for escaping well, and made it fair for anyone who played.

5 Things Disliked About The Game:

Although stated above that there were many various qualities that one could like, there are also qualities that one could dislike. Among these dislikes, for me, I dislike the difficulty of getting items, teaming system, bonuses, death, and the levelling system.

In Munchkin, while playing, I found a problem with it. This problem, was obtaining treasures and items. Although you could obtain treasures easily from killing a monster, with the certain disadvantages that may happen, you could be at a low level, fighting an incredibly strong monster in which you would obviously die and lose items. Along with this, there are cards in which make you lose the items you have in possession. In general with the way that the treasure system was working, if one person would keep losing, they would never obtain a treasure and would continuously have a difficulty during a fighting phase.

Another problem that I had with Munchkin was the teaming system. When fighting a monster, if high level, you may team up with a person in which is also playing the game. What I dislike about this system, is that, with my knowledge, you are only allowed to team up with one person to fight the enemy and not multiple. In the case that neither of your powers are greater than the monster, you both fail and suffer a consequence. Also, when teaming up, certain skills used from a class would be applied to a team rather than one character individual. Ex. The Thief backstabbing skill.

Although bonuses come on treasure cards and classes or races, there are still some setbacks. With bonuses, for example, if you want two "big" weapons, to be wielded by your character, you cannot until you have a certain bonus card stating that you can. Also, if wanting a certain bonus, depending on what it is, you can only play it at certain times within game, when non-bonus cards like curses can be used anytime during gameplay.

Death, was a weird occurrence when it came to the game of Munchkin. In usual games, when you encountered death, you were done with the game, could not play again, and lose everything, however with Munchkin, you had to lose all your items, but you were able to keep the class in which you were and the race. You also just restarted the next turn that came around to you. This did not state that you were actually dead, but it more had the fact that you were back to a beginner, but with special allowances. For example, if you died, but you were a thief, the second you have more than two cards, you could use a thief skill, and backstab someone so that they lose a point of bonus on their character during a fight.

Levelling up in Munchkin can be one of the hardest things to do when there are many other players. The only ways to level are to beat monsters, get bonus cards, or buy your levels, in which the money you get is never refunded past the 1000 mark. Ex. If you have 2250, you get two levels, but lose the extra 250 in the process. If you get a bonus card, it is quite easy for other players to get rid of that card or one of your levels depending if they have a curse card or not. Also, if you cannot beat a monster, depending on their after-effect, you may encounter death, or lose level(s).

What I Would Change:

The one flaw that I could clearly see within the game of Munchkin would have to be the set of rules that is given. I would first make certain sections in which would show and explain how to do each occurrence within the game. When it pertains to death, I would either make certain monsters have a certain effect that when one would die, they lose the game and cannot re-enter. Also, when dead you completely restart, which means no cards, and just draw four cards the next turn. When levelling, I would make it so that the money used to level, could be stockpiled, so you can use the next amount of 1000 which includes your stockpiled amount to get to your next level. As for bonuses, id make it so that they can be used at any instance, and not just on your turn, and not as difficult to obtain. With the teaming system, what I would do, is make it so any amount of people can team up, and certain skills could be used on one person, two, three, and so on. For treasures and items, I would make it easier to obtain, as such for example, you would be able to obtain one treasure for each turn you do not have any in possession.

If you have any comments, post them in the comment section below..

Kazekumaru -- Peacing out!

Questions to consider:

1. Basing on what you saw of my likes, what would you say about Munchkin?
2. Looking at the dislikes, would you still want to look further into Munchkin?