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Bars

2009-09-28

POI Connections Map

In the indie game "The Path", 99% of the gameplay consists of wandering around in the woods. The inherent issue with this is that you get lost. They tried to counteract this by giving you two kinds of maps.

FYI: Sometimes, feeling lost can be a good thing. An integral part of the experience in "The Path" is that you the player "feel" like you're wandering around.

There are a number of POI (points-of-interest). Each of the POI have their own symbol. The major POI are shown constantly on the edge of the screen according to their direction relative to the camera's direction. When you rotate the camera, these POI symbols would move around the edge of the screen. I call this the "heading up" map.

There's also a traditional "north up" map. Where you are on this map is not immediately obvious. The only thing this map shows is the "path" you've taken around the woods. You'd think you could use this to navigate by walking around and following the path you make on the map in real time. "The Path" doesn't let you do that. It only shows you the "north up" map for a few seconds, involuntarily, every 10 minutes or so. This effectively makes the "north up" map completely useless.

This was beyond a doubt the most frustrating aspect of the game. What, I know where I've been but I can only remember every 10 minutes, and only in a brief glimpse? That's not how the human brain works. If the characters are really that addle-brained, then they're too stupid to live. In reality, if we're lost, we seek connections between things we remember.

IMHO, instead of giving priority to the "north up" map's symbolic "path", the "north up" map should of been left out entirely and more effort should of been spent making the "heading up" map more useful.

Here's how I would of done it...

2009-09-09

Email-Based Browser Game Save File System

I was halfway through reading this Kotaku article when I came across this:
Then, a man who'd been waiting in line for nearly half an hour for a turn at the microphone put it something like this: "[I define] ‘Gamer' as someone dedicated to the perfection of fun. You can't do that in 10 [minute intervals]."

There was an audible hiss from the crowd and the panelists shifted uneasily. Was this guy saying casual gamers didn't count as gamers, or just classifying all short gaming experiences as casual games?
Now, if this were true -- if "casual" games were inherently incapable of perfecting fun and therefore not worth people's time -- then every single game made at the Global Game Jam this year (including the one I helped make) would be devalued simply because the games weren't supposed to have a play time longer than 5 minutes.

Naturally, I was rather upset by this, and then the following occurred to me: