Sploder Game Types

3D Mission

I just attempted to play the 3D Mission games in Sploder.  My favorite out of the three was “Download Computer Core”, but I didn’t get very far in any of the games I tried.   I am probably the world’s worst when it comes to playing video games so as you can imagine, my missions failed on the first level.  I typically like games where I am working to complete a level and move onto the next one, but I could not get past level one in any of the games.  I like being able to search for different items throughout the levels and to increase my power, but I was getting angry because I would have to shoot a million times to kill one of the monsters in practically every game I played.  I don’t think creating this type of game would be right for me because it would probably be too easy and not worthwhile for the person playing it.

Retro Arcade

Retro arcade games might be the way to go for me and game creation.  I love everything about them, the music, the graphics, leveling-up.  I think I also love these games because they are kind of mind numbingly entertaining.  They don’t require a whole lot of thought except for maybe how to make it to the end of the level, yet they are entertaining enough to keep on playing.  They are a great way to take your mind off day-to-day stresses.  I also like that I don’t have to worry too much about which keys to press on my keyboard; there are only a few keys needed to run, jump, shoot, etc.  It doesn’t require much to play this type of game which is great for video game challenged people like me.

2D Top Down Shooter

Playing 2D Top Down Shooter Games remind me of some of the arcade games I played when I was a child.  In the first game I tried, I played as a robot and in the second game, I played as a spaceship.  Once I figured out which button to press, they were both fun to play.  I did not make it very far as the robot, though, because there were too many enemies shooting at me and eventually I blew up.  One thing I did not like in both games was using the mouse to move around.  If I just moved the mouse a little bit, my ship or robot would spin all over the place which made it hard to hit my enemy targets.  If I were to create this type of game, I would  need to be sure to not make it too easy or too hard.  I found it almost impossible to complete the robot game, but the spaceship game was too easy.  With either extreme, I could see someone getting bored easily and giving up on the game.

Physics Game Creator

The Physics Game Creator was interesting and might be something I incorporate into my own game creation.  In the game I played, I enjoyed the music that went along with it.  I also liked that when I did die on a level, I was able to try again beginning on the same level where I died.  I didn’t have to start all over again. I did not like that I only had one life on each level.  At least two would have been good.  I also didn’t like the 20 second time limit.  I felt like it was too short to really think about my strategy for conquering the level.

Platformer

I played the Platformer game “Pirate.”  This seems like the type of game that I would like, but I had so many dislikes while I was playing the game that they overshadowed any type of enjoyment.  One thing I did like were the screen backgrounds.  The game was less plain looking than some of the others I have played.  There were no real directions on how to play the game except to find the escape pod.  It was hard for me to figure out where I was on the screen even when trying to use the radar.  One misstep to the left at the beginning of the level and I ended up in a section that I could not escape.  Sometimes I couldn’t jump high enough to get to where I needed to go and I kept pressing “C” for the jet pack and that never worked.  I also found a whole section of power-ups and coins but I could never figure out how to reach them.  One thing I learned from playing this game is that if you make it too challenging or if features don’t work, the player gets frustrated and the game no longer is fun to play.

Conclusions

Based on playing all these types of games, I have come up with a list of good and bad characteristics for a game.  These characteristics are specific to me and may be different for another individual, but I think many people can relate to what I have listed.

Good game characteristics include:

  1. Something not too easy, but not so challenging that the player does not encounter any success.
  2. The ability to increase in power and levels.
  3. Music that is catchy or adds to the level of excitement in the game.
  4. Good graphics
  5. Thorough directions
  6. Not having to deal with too many controls like which keys to press and how to maneuver the mouse.
  7. Not having to start the game all over when the character dies and having more than one life.
  8. Having a reasonable time limit to complete a level.

Bad game characteristics include:

  1. A game that is so difficult that the player experiences too much frustration and gives up.
  2. Having too many buttons or controls to remember to press while playing.
  3. Having too many enemies on one level.
  4. A game that is too easy and does not pose any challenge.
  5.  Not having enough lives or time to complete a level.
  6. Obscure or lack of direction on how to play the game.
  7. When features on the game do not work.
  8. No continuity of where to go on the board to complete the level.

 

Play This, Learn That

In the first chapter of the eBook, Play This, Learn That by Chris Haskell, Ed.D we are introduced to the idea of using commercial games in an educational setting.  Game based learning engages learners in some type of activity they find fun in order to reach a desired learning outcome.  In an effective game based environment, the learner works toward a goal, makes choices along the way, and experiences consequences for their choices and  actions in a risk-free environment while actively learning and practicing the right way to do things.  The participant is highly motivated to think critically and perform actions in an environment that can eventually be applied to real life situations.  Game based learning should be an essential component in today’s education system because it transitions learning from being a boring, passive activity to something engaging and fun. Continue reading

Piloting Shuttles on the Prometheus

As a member of the flight crew on the Prometheus in EDTECH 532, Educational Games and Simulations, I took some time to complete a quest practicing piloting Type 6 Shuttles.  I feel like I have finally become proficient at flying this type of ship.  I practiced flying in hover mode and flight mode.  I found that it was easier to maneuver the ship in hover mode.  I encountered some issues while in flight mode.  I could not figure out how to get my ship to move left of right and I could not get the nose of the ship to point in the direction of my mouse pointer even when I followed the directions in the manual.  That is something that I will still need to work on.  Finally, I practiced using the weapons on the ship.  Since I am still new to piloting the ships and get confused easily, I pretty much stay close to the Prometheus while I practice.  It is very easy to get lost in space!  Here is a picture of me in flight outside the Prometheus.

Type 6 Shuttle_001

 

Different Types of Games

I am about to embark on a quest to learn about different types of video games.  The four quests will include narrative games, action games, simulation games, and other categories.  Stay tuned because as I play through these quests, I will add my thoughts and ideas about each type of game I play.

Narrative Games

Zork 1: The Great Underground Empire

Written between 1977-1979, Zork was one of the earliest fiction computer games created according to Wikipedia.  Just by looking at the game, one would have no idea where it takes place or what the game is about.  I only found out the plot and setting of the game by reading about it on Wikipedia.  All you see when you play is a black screen and words telling you what you see and what is taking place in the game. Everything is pretty much left up to the imagination.  The player then inputs commands in order to move along in the game such as “go east” or “turn lantern off”.  I also learned only through additional reading that the objective is to collect the Twenty Treasures of Zork and install them in the trophy case.

While playing Zork, I had to remember that for its time, this was probably a pretty fun and inventive game to play.  Players probably enjoyed the trial and error aspect.  They probably also weren’t looking for a lot of flash or graphics or even sound like one would find in the video games of today.  Even with its lack of detail, Zork provides a lot of mystery and intrigue for the player. It also provides humor especially when you try to open boarded doors and windows and tell it to eat garlic!

I played the game for close to half an hour.  I made it into the house, picked up a sword and lantern, ate some food, had some water, and then couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I tried all directions, but couldn’t get any real information, so I gave up and quit the game.  There were cheats online that I looked at later that made the game a lot more fun, but I only made it through because of the cheats.  This type of game would be a lot more fun if you could actually see something on the screen rather than picture it all in your head.  Maybe that is why the fictional games of today also include graphics so that the player can envision themselves in their role.  It might take away from the mystery and imagination involved in the game, but it makes it somewhat easier to maneuver through it.

I had trouble getting many of the versions of Zork 1 online to work, but here is a link to the one I played.  In addition, here is the site that helped me find my way out of the house. Continue reading

Gamifying Education

After viewing the video “Brain Training” Video Games and Tangential Learning  by Daniel Floyd, there are a few key points that I learned about Gamifying Education.  There is a big divide between educational games and fun games.  The main goal of educational games is to teach you something.  At times these games may not be very fun to the user and are seen as a chore.  Fun games are just that, fun, but do not expand the horizons of the gamer.  By combining the two we can enable learning because the user is engaged in what he or she is doing and is interested in the topic. When a learner is enthusiastic and engaged in what they are doing, the learning becomes easier.

 

In the video Floyd talks about the concept of Tangential Learning.  Floyd states that Tangential Learning is “not what you learn by being taught, rather it’s what you learn by being exposed to things in a context in which you are already engaged in.” If you introduce someone to a topic within a game  that they are already excited and engaged in, it may provoke that person to educate themselves more on that topic or a facet of the topic.

 

The whole point of gamifying education is enhancing the educational experience for the users without making them feel like they are being beaten over the head with the subject matter.  It is important to remember as game developers that we are provided with a wonderful opportunity to not only engage users, but also expand their horizons and learning experiences.