Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 6 Presentation Order

Just as a reminder, here is the order for tomorrow's group presentations (with tentative schedule). Remember, each group has only 15 minutes to present their projects, with a couple of additional minutes in between for questions and take down/set up.

9:15-9:30 Group 1: Jesse, Marie, Alexandra T., Courtney and Chris
9:35-9:50 Group 2: Nikki, Tracy, Mat, David B., Alexandra K. and Quest
9:55-10:10 Group 3: Allison, Alyssa, Brian and Justin

Short Break 

10:20-10:35 Group 4: Stephanie, Nicole M. and Nicole N.
10:40-10:55 Group 5: Siobhan, Heather, Jen, David D. and Laura
11:00-11:15 Group 6: Emily, Katy, Victoria, Nora and Rachael

11:20-11:50 Free Play!!! A chance to play each other's games (designs)
11:50 Wrap up and goodbye :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Inspiring Design

Via Quest (one of your classmates), some thoughts and resources on finding inspiration for your game designs:
Designers get inspiration from an array of different sources. i.e., Other games, Movies and videos, Real-life games, Dreams and nightmares. Some helpful tips to generate interesting game concepts can be found at http://anykeyanarchy.com/1839/video-game-inspiration-part-1/ , http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/designing-video-games.html, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kPJ0DzrpP0

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Today's Agenda

9am-10am: Play Bully NOTE: The graphics cards in some of these computers aren't quite able to display all the cut-scenes. For instance, when you start your game running, there's a short movie introduction - the visuals will probably lack colour and show up all wonky. You can skip it or listen to the audio. Once the gameplay starts, everything seems to be okay - so just get through that first part and you should be good to go!

10am-10:45am: Discussion about videogame controversies; how this links back to earlier discussions about ESRB ratings, story, games for education, etc.
Q: Should the library take a more active role in addressing and/or responding to these types of controversies? e.g. Libraries protect challenged books, and increasingly films, audio, as well. Should they take a more active role in protecting challenged games (against bans, censorship, etc.)?

10:45am-11:00am: Talk about presentations (and group assignments if any questions/issues) - assign presentation order for next week

11:00am-12:00pm: Group work! (reminder: this is our LAST CLASS before presentations)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Today's Agenda

  • 9:00am: PLAY SPORE!!!
  • 10:00am: Presentation by Chris Young on games & learning in the library. Q&A + Discussion of the role of educational (formal/informal) games in the library - how important (or unimportant) is this idea in building collections? For your playlists? In your game designs? Why?
  • What is "educational" - who defines it? how is it tracked/regulated?
  • Debrief on the gameplay experience. Discussion of the game in relation to this week's readings, discussion of the concepts of "educational" games and "games as learning engines" (James Paul Gee's arguments about informal learning vs. "edugames"), etc.
  • 11:00am: Group work.

Friday, March 23, 2012

James Paul Gee on Learning with Video Games

In follow up to the Gee article you will be reading in preparation for next week's class, you might want to check out this short talk by Gee on learning with videogames, where he unpacks some of his terms and explains the importance of "affinity spaces".
<iframe width="480" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JnEN2Sm4IIQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some Lessons in Intuitive Level Design

Hello classmates!

In light of the discussion during our week 2 class about designing games such that young kids will be able to learn them (short tutorials, limited text, etc.) reminded me of this great blogpost I read a while back. Sara encouraged me to write a post about it on the class blog, so here it is.



To all of you who played Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES, you may recall that, while that game had virtually no text in it, I don't think any of us had any difficulty figuring out how to play. On his blog "Significant Bits", Radek Koncewicz wrote a smashing in-depth analysis of the level designs for World 1 of Super Mario Bros. 3, detailing how each level cleverly encourages the player to discover the mechanics of the game.


It is a very interesting and relevant read for this class, and can be found here: http://www.significant-bits.com/super-mario-bros-3-level-design-lessons.

I know it looks long but a lot of it is screenshots. At the bottom of the post he links to parts 2 and 3 of his discussion, in which he discusses cleverly designed levels in Worlds 2-8, as well as design choices for the level selection "hubs."

Happy designing, everyone.

Week 3 Agenda:


Agenda:

9-10: Playtime:
- This week's workshop starts with a session of Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Hint: PLAY ON JR DETECTIVE SETTING - it's way easier). For anyone who doesn't have a terminal, run up and get yourself a notebook - they should already have the game on them.

10-11: Discussion:
- Debrief on gameplay. Thoughts about linkages to readings and this week's themes (narrative)
- What's the linkage between narrative and gender (girl games, Storytelling Alice) - or is there one?
- Chat about the more theoretical aspects of this week's readings (Bizzocchi)

Q: What role will narrative play in your design-a-game projects? In your playlists??


11-12: Work on Projects:
Design-a-game - finish playing through the tutorials, get started on your game/level!!!
Playlist - should have a theme established by now. Start narrowing down your choices

Monday, March 19, 2012

Video Games @ The Museum

Via Gawker, a short but relevant article on a new digital games exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum called "The Art of Video Games". Here's an excerpt:
The exhibit takes museum visitors on a journey, from the humble beginnings of Space Invaders and Combat to games like 2010's Heavy Rain, "which explores the boundaries of parental love." (I've had serious enough emotional breakdowns playing Pac-Man, thanks.) Patrons can interact with the games on giant screens, making the Smithsonian's exhibit an arcade with more cultural credibility. And fewer quarters.
There are, of course, lots of digital game museum exhibits out there (contrary to what this article implies), including an entire wing of the Strong Museum of Play and an International Centre for the History of Electronic Games. But the Smithsonian brand and reputation carries a lot of weight, and this particular exhibit is focused on the "art" of video games, which is a pretty rare thing to find in a mainstream venue. Field trip to Washington DC, anyone??

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

1006: Winter 2012: Week2

Agenda for Week2 Workshop
General:

1. 9am-10am: Play "World of Goo"!!

2. 10am-11am: Group Discussion
  • Bryant article - thoughts on designing for particular users - special needs and vulnerabilities - troubling notions of "gamers" and/or "children" and/or "expertise"
  • Thoughts on the ESRB rating system - particularly the category "E for Everyone" (what does this mean, what are the underlying politics, etc.).
  • Meeting the groups: what are your initial ideas for playlist topics & design tools
3. 11am-12pm: Work on Projects


**********************************
Readings:
- Bryant et al.'s designing for preschoolers article (usability, design strategies, & later on...assessment)
- ESRB Rating Systems: thoughts on process, uses, problems, oversights, etc.

Possible Discussion points: 

  • Thoughts on designing "for kids" - determining whether something is "age appropriate" - and all the many, many problems that arise out of these processes.
  • Difference in the "process" each team goes through (Bryant et al. user-centered design, informed by theory, iterative process involving kids, parents) (ESRB coding videos of the games for certain types of content - yet "E" comes to mean so much more)
  • From preschoolers to elementary-age....big developmental changes. How would the challenges Bryant describes change over time - how to accommodate for this - how to anticipate without training in child development theory, child education, usability, etc.
  • Assessing and selecting - issues these articles might raise
  • Usability and user-centered processes - how can these concepts be incorporated into collection development OR research OR tech assessment


Games:
- World of Goo 
(As indicated on the syllabus, also relevant to this week's themes/readings are the Lego Star Wars games - a copy is available for short term loan via course reserves at the Inforum).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

INF1005 Group Created Games Winter 2012

Hi All - As promised, here are the links to the class' awesome, fun and CHALLENGING group-created games!!!! Enjoy!

GameStar Mechanic games (*****Log In Required*****):
Rescue the Prince (by Group 1: Sandrena, Sally, Michelle, Katherine and Melissa)
The ROCM of Games (by Group 2: Lisa, Mona, Brian, Peter, Matthew and Melody)
Dusk Until Dawn (by Group 4: Divya, Quenby, Austin, Carrie, Amin and Desiree)

And here's the link to our Scratch game, Fred the Snowman (by Group 3: Nahid, Meghan, Laura, Rex and Allison)

Sadly, we can't figure out how to upload Group 5's Garry's Mod and GameMaker games, but you can watch a number of entertaining walkthroughs of the Garry's Mod level on Tys' YouTube Channel.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Order for Tomorrow's Presentations

Hi All - As promised, here's the schedule for tomorrow's presentations. You get 15 minutes each, and I've added in some time for set up in between.

9:10am Group 1: Melissa, Sally, Michelle, Katherine and Sandrena

9:30am Group 2: Melody, Brian, Lisa, Matthew, Peter and Mona

9:50am Group 3: Meghan, Alli, Laura, Nahid and Rex

10:05 Break

10:15am Group 4: Carrie, Austin, Desiree, Divya, Amin and Quenby

10:35am Group 5: Chi-Wei, Tys, Caterina, Lydia, and Naveen

10:50am Group discussion/debrief, followed by game play

11:30am Course Wrap-Up

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 5: Agenda

9am-10am: Play Bully NOTE: The graphics cards in these computers aren't quite able to display the cut-scenes. For instance, when you start your game running, there's a short movie introduction - the visuals will lack colour and show up all wonky. You can skip it or listen to the audio. Once the gameplay starts, everything seems to be okay - so just get through that first part and you should be good to go!

10am-10:45am: Discussion about videogame controversies; how this links back to earlier discussions about ESRB ratings, story, games for education, etc.
Q: What do you think the role of the library should be in addressing and/or responding to these types of controversies? e.g. Libraries protect challenged books, and increasingly films, audio, as well. Should they take a more active role in protecting challenged games (against bans, censorship, etc.)?

10:45am-11:00am: Talk about presentations (and group assignments if any questions/issues) - assign presentation order for next week

11:00am-12:00pm: Group work! (reminder: this is our LAST CLASS before presentations)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week 4: Agenda

  • 9:00am: PLAY SPORE!!!
  • 10:00am: Presentation by Chris Young on games & learning in the library. Q&A + Discussion of the role of educational (formal/informal) games in the library - how important (or unimportant) is this idea in building collections? For your playlists? In your game designs? Why?
    Time allowing: Debrief on the gameplay experience. Discussion of the game in relation to this week's readings, discussion of the concepts of "educational" games and "games as learning engines" (James Paul Gee's arguments), etc.
  • 11:00am: Group work.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week3: Games and Narrative

Agenda:

9-10: Playtime:
- This week's workshop starts with a session of Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Hint: PLAY ON JR DETECTIVE SETTING - it's way easier). For anyone who doesn't have a terminal, run up and get yourself a notebook - they should already have the game on them.

10-11: Discussion:
- Debrief on gameplay. Thoughts about linkages to readings and this week's themes.
- Chat about this week's readings (Bizzocchi - see below)

Q: What role will narrative play in your design-a-game projects? In your playlists??


11-12: Work on Projects:
Design-a-game - finish playing through the tutorials, get started on your game/level!!!
Playlist - should have a theme established by now. Start narrowing down your choices

Monday, January 23, 2012

Games as Story Worlds

In anticipation of tomorrow's workshop on narrative in games, here are the slides from a talk I gave on the topic, at last summer's TEDxLibrariansTO event:
TEDxLibrarians_SMGTalk

Monday, January 16, 2012

1005: Winter 2012: Week 2

Agenda for Week2 Workshop
General:

1. 9am-10am: Play "World of Goo"!!

2. 10am-11am: Group Discussion
  • Bryant article - thoughts on designing for particular users - special needs and vulnerabilities - troubling notions of "gamers" and/or "children" and/or "expertise"
  • Thoughts on the ESRB rating system - particularly the category "E for Everyone" (what does this mean, what are the underlying politics, etc.).
  • Meeting the groups: what are your initial ideas for playlist topics & design tools
3. 11am-12pm: Work on Projects


**********************************
Readings:
- Bryant et al.'s designing for preschoolers article (usability, design strategies, & later on...assessment)
- ESRB Rating Systems: thoughts on process, uses, problems, oversights, etc.
[Since we're going to be talking about the ESRB tomorrow, I thought I'd point out an article I wrote about the system last year for an online magazine (and good source for gaming news/reviews), The Escapist. In the article, I argue that the ESRB is running the risk of causing its own obsolescence - at the time, it became the centre of a small but fiery debate, both in the comments section of the magazine itself, as well as on other game community blogs and news sources. I later wrote a response on my blog, Gamine Expedition, which you can read here if you're interested.]

Possible Discussion points: 

  • Difference in the "process" each team goes through (Bryant et al. user-centered design, informed by theory, iterative process involving kids, parents) (ESRB coding videos of the games for certain types of content - yet "E" comes to mean so much more)
  • From preschoolers to elementary-age....big developmental changes. How would the challenges Bryant describes change over time - how to accommodate for this - how to anticipate without training in child development theory, child education, usability, etc.
  • Assessing and selecting - issues these articles might raise
  • Usability and user-centered processes - how can these concepts be incorporated into collection development OR research OR tech assessment


Games:
- World of Goo 
(As indicated on the syllabus, also relevant to this week's themes/readings are the Lego Star Wars games - a copy will be available for short term loan via course reserves at the Inforum later this semester).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Intro to the Workshop: Slides

Welcome Winter 2012 students of INF1005/6 Children's Digital Games Workshop

Hello and welcome to section 102 of the INF1005/1006 workshop series - Children's Digital Games. Please use this blog as an interactive syllabus. I will be using it throughout the semester to post additional information on the course, readings, games, assignments, as well as highlight any relevant current events, research, developments or ideas that may assist you in your journey through the workshop and its major themes. I'll also be posting links to key resources, projects and published research in the Background section, so be sure to check in regularly.


Looking forward to meeting half of you tomorrow (and the other half in March)!!