December 8, 2012 in Findings, Research

New Experiments in Self-teaching [TED Talk]

Indian education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education – the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

via YouTube

(more ...)

December 6, 2012 in Tutorials+Tips

Remove .php from URLs [Snippet]

When making custom sites, I separate my code into various php files that each include a consistent header and footer so that I don’t have to deal with verbose, redundant HTML files. By default you end up with gross URLs like mysite.com/contact.php. Make it mysite.com/contact by adding this to your […]

(more ...)

November 16, 2012 in Games, Research

A Template for Analyzing Game Design

A note about analyzing vs. reviewing a game: an analysis mainly consists of what is actually present in the game, not what you think should be. Pick it apart and see what choices the designer made and think about why. I figured it'd be helpful to have a template for guidance when critiquing a game. Hopefully this will also be a useful inventory of mechanics for game design itself. Disclaimer: this is pretty long and prepare yourself for some lists. Also, appropriate use of the definition list HTML tag follows. Anyways: Formal Elements The Basics Name of the game, the platform, and time played. Note that you can get a good idea of the game from playing for 30 mins or so, it doesn't have to be a 20 hour endeavor. Overview A paragraph summary of everything below. Players How many players are supported? Does it need to be an exact number? How does this affect play? Some types of player frameworks: Single Player - like Solitare. Head-to-head - 1 vs. 1, Chess. PvE - Player vs. Environment, or multiple players vs. the game. Common in MMOs like World of Warcraft. One against Many - Single player vs. multiple (obvy). Free-for-all - Every man for himself (1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1..). Most common for multiplayer games, from Monopoly to Modern Warfare. Individuals Against the System - Like Blackjack, where the Dealer is playing against multiple players, but those players have no effect on each other. Team Competition - Multiple vs. multiple, i.e. sports.

(more ...)

November 4, 2012 in Games, Projects

Issues & Assets, a card game concept

Issues & Assets is a card game about WWI I've been working on. Pretty random, right? It's an assignment at the end of Game Design Concepts Level 3 (yes, I am working through this quite slowly) which was: Design a non-digital game with theme a relating to World War I. The primary objective of players cannot be territorial control, or capture/destroy. I watched some videos on WWI and promptly took a two hour nap afterwards because, well, obviously. Anyways, from my research I gathered that the war came about because of tension between world powers and unofficial agreements with one another. Maybe. I decided to create a game exploring pacts, agreements, and what it means to break them. The game is in its first/second-ish iteration and I have not play tested yet (other than with myself). So 90% of the following will change, but I figure it's good to practice to write about it. Your goal is to: Solve your Issues with the other player's Assets. Components Issues are cards with a problem on them (they aren't related to WWI in this initial version, but could be later on). Each has a value of 1-4. Right now the Issues are things like Hungry (2), Depressed (4), or Bad Breath (1).

(more ...)

October 29, 2012 in Miscellaneous

Wilfred

I’m not one to be hooked on shows necessarily, but this is a great one so thought I’d share. Starring Elijah Wood. It’s got one of those heady/mind-fuck themes, but is also ridiculous – I’d describe it as a lighter, more comedic Donnie Darko or A Beautiful Mind meets Ted (even though I’ve never seen Ted.) The first season is on Netflix.

(more ...)

October 27, 2012 in Design, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Web Design Day 2012

Just got back from Web Design Day, hosted by Refresh Pittsburgh, Pgh's web design meetup group. After a day of excellent presentations by some excellent speakers, excellent drinks and snacks were had at Commonwealth Press for the after party. #WDD2012 win, I'm definitely looking forward to next year. Thanks to Val and Jason Head for all their hard work. Anyways, here are some disjointed notes from a few of the presentations (there were other very good ones I didn't have notes on, so sorry): Kevin Hoffman: Designing Meetings to Work For How much information does a person retain when: Listening - 20% Seeing - 30% Discussing - 70% Making & Managing - 90% In large meetings, designate people for these four roles: Facilitator: a neutral person, listens to group member ideas and does not add their own. Recorder: Someone to capture ideas publicly, a graphic facilitator. White board it up. Group Member: Everyone else, those contributing the ideas. Leader: A person to decide why you are having the meeting, its goals, and the outcome. Assumes the role of a Group Member during said meeting. Collaborative Deliverables: Why not wireframe as a group? Print out a large version of what is being redesigned and mark it up together. Have a group sketching session. Meagan Fisher: Becoming a Web Design Champion: How to Better Collaborate, Develop Your Style, and Get Designs Launched Vary your sources of inspiration - if you are making a website, don't just look at websites. Go to a museum or read a graphic design book.

(more ...)

October 24, 2012 in Design, Tutorials+Tips

website starter kit

I’m sure many web designers have created their own compilation of preferred tools and site structure. Well, this is mine! A website starter kit. I figured I’d put it on Github because, why not? Maybe someone else will find it useful, and it will be a worthwhile project […]

(more ...)

October 14, 2012 in Games

Analysis of Temple Run for iPad

I want to start playing as many games as possible and doing brief-ish analyses of them, so here's a start: Basics Name: Temple Run Platform: iPad Time played: 25 mins Overview Temple run is a free (and ad free) 3D platform game. You are a man running from a herd of what appear to be gorillas and have to collect coins for bonuses along the way, all the while turning, leaping over, ducking under obstacles, and collecting coins. You can then spend your coins on powerups and new characters at a store and can, of course, buy more coins with real money if you don't have enough. There is also a comprehensive list of objectives to work through as you play.

(more ...)

October 10, 2012 in Ideas

The Online Class Club [Idea]

Every semester since I’ve graduated (which I guess is only 3), I’ve said I was going to unofficially take a course at CMU or Pitt. Which basically means sitting in on a class and hoping no one would care that I’m not actually a student. I never did this, […]

(more ...)

October 8, 2012 in Games, Projects

From the vaults [lnfnmo][NODOI]

Since the relatively recent renewal of my artistic/conceptual energy, I’ve been looking through some old projects and writing a bunch (won’t be posting that though). I am at last reintroducing NODOI and lnfnmo. It’s been about a 1.5 year break. I totally forgot how far I […]

(more ...)

October 7, 2012 in Inspiration, Pittsburgh

The Saxifrage School

From their website: The Saxifrage School is redesigning higher education by lowering costs, re-thinking the campus, and reconciling theory and practice. We teach students to make what is valuable and to question the value of what is made. Watch this: One of the most inspiring projects […]

(more ...)

October 4, 2012 in Games, Research

Some definitions of games & Game

There are many many definitions of a game, most of which differ only subtly. Some are dependent on the definition of play, but that's a whole other discussion. Maybe I should have written about that first, oh well. Anyways, here are a few ways to define a game, accompanied by thoughts: Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman define a game as a "system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome". Conflict, rules, and a goal are the driving factors in about all definitions I've read. I think the unique part of this one is "quantifiable outcome" which would mean a goal. But saying "outcome" instead of goal, seems like you could get there without necessarily meaning to. I guess technically, there are games (like the card game War) you could win by just following the rules with no ambition.

(more ...)

October 1, 2012 in Design, Projects

made myself a logo

The font is Geometric Slab 712 BT. Nabbed that from the school computers. There is a free alternative called Arvo that I’m using for some of the heading styles on here.

(more ...)