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Mechanic Prototyping Project Ideas

When tasked with making a prototype for a game mechanic, I was wondering what kind of games I’d like to see more of as well as something new to try and implemet in Javascript that I hadn’t before. Previously I had worked on making driving and shooting mechanics so I wanted to do make something more relaxing instead. Combining these factors together I first thought to make a tycoon based mechanic, similar to the likes of Game Dev Tycoon or Software Inc. After some thoughts I realised that simulating such things would be rather time consuming and wouldn’t have much user interaction or graphic elements so I thought about some similar games and thought of some building mechanics from games such as SimCity and Prison Architect which I felt would be more fun for the user to interact with and woul be more achievable.

I intend to make a basic verion of SimCity like features as a prototype. Src: https://www.abandonwaredos.com/public/articoli/immagini/simcity-6.jpg

After setting myself a topic to work on, it was time to decide what the prototype would include, of course I couldn’t have a full simulation of people and transport so I decided to focus on the building aspects more that simulation. Hopefully by the time of the deadline I can create a road system that’s easy to use and have multiple buildings to place down, if time allows it I would like to include random maps and money aspects.

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Ethics in Computer Games: Violence

Many triple A titles and popular franchises of the modern day contain graphic depictions of violence, such examples such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto are widely popular titles where the main gameplay focus is around violence. There have been many concerns about these kinds of games causing increased aggression and also desensitizing people to violence, gore and other related topics.

There have been numerous studies to do with violent video games, one in particular was carried out by the Michigan Youth Violence Protection Center in an article titled Do Video Games Influence Violent Behavior? (http://yvpc.sph.umich.edu/video-games-influence-violent-behavior/) where they point out that violent games can increase precursors to violent behaviour but whether any drastic action is taken after this is down to an individuals situation, making crazy stories that come out from time to time (e.g. Kid Shoots Parents Over Halo 3, https://www.tomsguide.com/us/Halo-3-Shot-Parents,news-3153.html), seem more down to the person rather than the game.

Personally I don’t think violence is a bad thing within the games industry, but I do feel that it is a lot more saturated and normalised than it should be. Companies like Sony have censorship policies that I find quite strange where high content of violence is allowed in games for their consoles but slight suggestive themes or nudity is often banned or edited before release on their console, especially if it’s from a more indie developer.

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Schell’s Lenses: #2 The Lens of Surprise

Schell’s second lens talks about the element of surprise within games and entertainment media as a whole, he says that it is crucial to entertainment as “Our brains are hardwired to enjoy surprises”.

In games design, I believe that there are 2 distinct ways of causing the user to feel surprised while engaged in playing. The first is intended to be a surprise where the developers purposely added some element of surprise which could be for various reasons. Horror games like Slender: The Arrival make use of unsettling figures popping up out of the dark to surprise and scare the user which is the main feature that the game plays around, which highlights the importance of surprise in games of similar caliber. More story-driven games surprise players with twists in the narrative, Halo:Combat Evolved is a great example of narrative surprise as at the halfway mark, the game’s focus switches to a hidden third enemy which changes the course of the story from what the player would have expected. There are plenty of ways to invoke this kind of surprise in a story, whether it be through a catastrophic event or a sudden switch of focus.

The second main way of causing surprise is through randomness within the game. Though this is usually present in all games, sandbox games are the most prevalent of random surprise. Titles like The Sims 4 entice players to create their own stories for their characters which are fueled by the unpredictable nature of the game, using The Sims franchise as an example, things such as fires, burglars, encounters with other sims and countless more events are not able to be consistently anticipated which can startle players and make the game more enjoyable for the different experiences you may have.

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Drawing API Devlog

This week’s entry is focused on experimenting with HTML and JavaScript to utilise the drawing API, the base program contained 2 colours and 1 tool.

I first started with colours as they seemed the most simple to implement. In the style element, I copied over the ‘col1’ section a few times and assigned different RGB values to each one and of course re-named them to ‘col2’, ‘col3’ e.t.c.

With the colours now added, all I had to do was put them into the div element assinged to the colour menu and then they would show up and be usable for webpage visitors.

This didn’t take too long and surprised me on how simple adding new features to a HTML document is once you have the foundations down. It is definitely something to keep in mind for games development as adding new items to a game may not be as big a burden as previously thought.

My second task was to add some more brushes into the program, I started off simple by making a thicker brush which was simple since it only required minor edits so i quickly moved onto researching different things I could draw onto the canvas.

After outlining what brushes I wanted to make, it was off to JavaScript to make it happen. I found it faily easy to pick up and use since they all stem off the same variable ‘ctx’ which allowed me to see similarities between the brushes.

The last two brushes are unconventional for general drawing but it’s always nice to make something silly and who knows, someone might find a use for them. As for the final webpage, it looks like this:

Overall I found this project to be a lot of fun and I feel it was good for getting used to the API. Drawing seems to play a big role in HTML games since it can create complex shapes and allows for the fundementals for a 2D game to be built. To expand this further, I could add sliders for colour to give users access to all RGB colours rather than a set amount, this could also be implemented for brush size to allow even more freedom.