Games in Production

Dirty Dancing game is is developed by Say Design. The game is based on film with the same name released in 1987 starred by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. The game is told to be casual action puzzle game, whatever that means. Sounds potentially interesting game. (From http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=77018)

John Woo and Warren Spector teams up to create film and game Ninja. Warren Spector explains the idea behind the project:

This was an attempt to create a concept that would work in, and be developed for, a variety of media simultaneously. That’s something new for games — and for movies.
(Reuters)

Waiting with interest what Woo and Spector will cook up.

Paper Accepted to Digra 2007 Conference

I got just message that told that paper Gameplay design patterns for believable non-player characters written by Staffan Björk and me was accepted to Digra 2007: Situated Play Conference (Tokyo, September 24–28). Now I need to organize funding for the trip to conference.

Here is abstract:

Descriptions of humans require several qualities for people to experience them as believable: human body; self-awareness, intentional states, and self impelled actions; expression of emotions; ability to use natural language; and persistent traits. Based on these we analyze non-player character Claudette Perrick in The Elders Scroll IV: Oblivion to detect how these qualities can be created in the interactive environment of a game. We derive the gameplay design patterns Awareness of Surrounding, Visual Body Damage, Dissectible Bodies, Initiative, Own Agenda, Sense of Self, Emotional Attachment, Contextual Conversational Responses, and Goal-Driven Personal Development, which point to design choices that can be made when designing believable non-player characters in games.

Canis Canem Edit

I started to playe Canis Canem Edit (aka Bully, Rockstar Vancouver) and I find it interesting.

The game takes GTA engine and uses it to brings carricature of a boarding school, where hard-handed headmaster is keeping order and classmates are bullies. The game consist taking classes (which are different kinds of minigames), free roam, and taking missions. Passing classes improves skills of the player character. He learns, e.g, better social skills (manifesting as abilities like making apologies, taunts, and seducing girls) and chemistry (manisfesting as ability to create stink bombs, itching powder, etc.). Missions, so far, have been mainly helping other students. However, motivations of Jimmy Hopkins, the player character, are not (totally) altruistic as Jimmy often wants some compensation (e.g., money or kiss) before accepting mission.

A crude implementation of social dynamics is interesting. Actions of Jimmy, like completing missions, will influence how different groups of students (which naturally are stereotypical groups from tean movies) act on Jimmy — is a NPC hostile or friendly. Unfortunately the challenges so far have consisted bit too much on brawls, running, or breaking and entring.

On the bad side is that the game controls are really awful. When camera angle changes directions of control changes too. Problem with the controls and camera is even worst than with Silent Hills.

Also caricatures and irony in the Canis Canem Edit could be more innovative. Time to time events and characters are just too stereotypical. Anyway, I have high hopes for the rest of the the game.

Beauty and Female Game Characters

Rubenstein discuss about character design and the role of beauty design on blog entry The beauty myth and character design in relation to Kathrine Isbister book Better Game Characters by Design. She finds similar weakness on Isbister’s argument that I did when I was wondering why models in Vogue are beautiful females in my comment on the book. Based on Isbister argument sexually attractive females in the magazine would alienate heterosexual female readers. But that seem not to be the case.

Parts of entry also considers about culture dependence of the concept of beauty. Rubenstein notes that some aspects seems to be intercultural , like symmetry, while others varies across the cultures.

On Philosophy of Science and RPG

JiiTuomas refered on argument about philosophy of science at Rule7, which started as something else. Got interested what kind of RPG forum Rule7 is and started to read. Some arguments in thread made me write this comment. Especially view expressed by ChessyPig (which few seem to agree) raises multiple problems in terms of what is science:

the English definition of science (which involves things like falsifiable hypothesis and controlled experiments […]). (ChessyPig)

Although there are multiple ways of interpreting comment, I take that he made strong claims: science requires falsifiable hypothesis AND controlled experiments. (Just linking science alone with Popper’s philosophy by making falsifiable hypothesis a criteria of science is problematic as, e.g, Kuhn [1962] has argued in detail.)

One obvious question that relates to falsifiability and controlled test as criteria of science is: is mathematics a science? How you use controlled test with mathematics? Are mathematical theories falsifiable?

Then how about physics? Would these above-mentioned criteria lead to that physics is not a science? Physics do not use controlled experiments, I think (I take that controlled experiments means tests with control groups like in medicine). Moreover, does formulating hypothesis that are currently not testable make that part of theory formulation unscientific (and it might turn to be science when someone invent a way to tests the hypothesis)? I think not.

The question is not so straight forward as some writes at Rule7 propose. John Dewey (1929) have criticized very premises of science as seeking certainty and something unchanging (e.g., Popper’s philosophy and falsifiable hypothesis).

Dewey (1929). The quest for certainty: A study of the relation of knowledge and action.
Kuhn (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press