Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tidbits from the garden

A few odds and ends have collected in my inbox lately.

Video of the Princess Saving Application is up!
All the videos from the night are posted up on My talk starts 10 minutes into the first video and lasts approximately 30 minutes. There’s also a bit of Q &A after all the talks finish up. You can get the original slides here.

<a href="" target="_new" title="Microsoft Office Labs & Engineering Excellence IxDA Event Part I Daniel Cook">Video: Microsoft Office Labs & Engineering Excellence IxDA Event Part I Daniel Cook</a>

FishingGirl update
I’ve seen some sneak peeks of the FishingGirl prototypes and people are making great progress. It will be possible for someone to win a gold medal this time around. If you’ve started a prototype, finish it! There is solid fun lurking in that design and you still have a couple of weeks left to build something wonderful.

Some observations:
  • The store and the acquisition of the various rods adds a great sense of exploration and progression to the game.
  • The gameplay improves substantially if you give your fish a small dash of intelligence so that they move towards your lure if it is in their sight.
  • Making the game winnable. There is a story arc to the game and it feels incomplete if you don't let the player finish.
Skill atoms in action
Tex, over at the delightfully titled Tin Man Tex’s Slap Dang Blog, put together skill chain describing his mod. I liked how he intuitively started writing down skill atoms and then only later began connecting them together in a skill chain. Analyzing a game using skill atoms has an element of mind mapping to it that is pleasantly organic. Check it out. I hope to see more such examples in the future.
Other prototyping notes
BuschnicK created a nicely fleshed out version of Play with your Peas. It is a faithful implementation of the game and deserves a very solid silver reward. However, I still think the fun hasn't been completely uncovered.

At this point, we've had some reasonable implementations of the original concept. I suspect that the design may require some big changes to make it work. So here is a question: Why isn't Play with your Peas mind-thunderingly fun and what could be done to improve it?
Best wishes and may you have a sinfully glorious Thanksgiving.


  1. Danc,

    I enjoy reading your thoughts, thanks for sharing. Do you use Google Reader for RSS? If so it would be great if you could publicly share items you like. Or if not, a blogroll would be interesting.


  2. I found most people who tested my implementation of cute peas either immediately, or very quickly asked the question "so what's the point?"

    While playing around with peas is pretty fun, the game isn't really deep enough to encourage a sand-boxy type of game.

    Also I found that even I added scrolling, which gave the players a more or less infinite playing field, it was difficult to get the peas to do anything interesting with the playing field.

    I think two things would give the game major fun improvements:
    1 - A non point based goal, such as getting the peas to a certain position (perhaps with un-movable obstacles?)
    2 - More block types with interesting effects/interactions. Maybe a see saw, or a flying fox, or an elevator or something.

  3. OMG! Where did your hair go?! That's what happens when you don't visit Sweden enough!

  4. Danc, I posted a reply to your comment from a few days ago on my site. Thanks for commenting!

    If there's an easier way or a better place to have this conversation than online note passing through the comment fields I'm open to it. I'm still getting the hang of "professional blogging".

  5. I liked your talk a lot. Thanks for sharing thoughts. Please, dont stop.

    Still trying to do something with peas. :-)

  6. Wow, I really learnt something from that presentation. Thanks!