Archive for February, 2012

Sympathy for Call of Duty: Black Ops


I don’t have any talent to make titles.

This entry was intended to be the third part of the last two posts (12), but I just dropped the idea.

If you read carefully the last entries you would notice that I didn’t mention a particular game of the Caracas Game Jam, I just talked in general about them. And there is a reason for it: It’s kinda stupid to point out flaws or achievements of games in an event that wasn’t a competition. The whole meaning of the Game Jam will be ruined if I say something like “this was the best game” even when I do have an opinion regarding that  matter. The point is, I need and example to illustrate this entry and using a game related to the last Game Jam is not a option.

That’s why this is another entry. Related to the last ones, but not attached to them.

And this is the example I want to use.



A General Perspective On Game Design. Case Study: Caracas Game Jam 2012 (and II)


And more of this.

In the last entry we made a short overview about Game Design from the perspective of one of its fundations: problem solving. We will continue from that point.

First of all, one thing anyone could point out is that “Problem Solving” is the purpose of any design process, so the point made in the last entry is vague, ambiguous and even redundant. Actually, that’s kind of true. Even though, remember that we are making a very general overview, but more over, I specifically choose a concrete example to write about: Caracas Game Jam 2012 (CGJ); any vaguity, ambiguity or redundancy could (and should, when needed) be ignored because there is a case study at hand.

Cleared that, let’s remember what our main premise is:

See, Game Design is, fundamentally, about two things: problem solving and teaching stuff.

We stated the following about the Problem Solving half of game design:

Game design is about problem solving. The first problem is stablished by the conditions in which the gameplay solution has to be develop, and the other one is how to deliver that solution to the player.

But, what is exactly a gameplay solution of the initial conditions of development? If you think about it, your gameplay solution is a procedure that takes as inputs those initial conditions and give us another set of problems, the ones that represent the challenge players have to face. At this point it’s quite obviuos a concrete difference between a game design process and any other design process: you solution is actually a number of steps thought to create even more problems.


A General Perspective On Game Design. Case Study: Caracas Game Jam 2012 (I)


Because is what this blog is about.

I noticed in the past Caracas Game Jam that a particular trend of creating level based games was the norm. That’s totally not an issue, at all, but it says a lot about people’s perspective over game design.

See, Game Design is, fundamentally, about two things: problem solving and teaching stuff.

A Game Jam is restricted to 48 hours of development, time in which you have to create a game that fullfils the expectations of fun of anyone (as a general purpose). Such a restrictive environment is set in order to serve as a start condition for gameplay solutions that maximize the time players have fun (funtime), in consequence encouraging creativity and collaboration in the making process. One way not to achieve that goal is to deliver level based games: unless a procedural way to create levels ingame is proposed, you do not have the time to include enough handmade levels in your gameplay solution. You just don’t have that time.

Of course, that’s not an issue in this case because a Game Jam is a place where you can do whatever you want, but if you (due some weird circumstances) are working for a client in the frame described above and your gameplay solution doesn’t maximize funtime then you failed. As simple as that.

And let me tell you something, those “weird circumstances” aren’t that uncommon.


Caracas Game Jam 2012: El Potrero


The title translates as: The Paddock. We were asleep at the end of the event, you know.

I won’t write too much about the event itself (I don’t want to write too much to be honest), if you are an spanish reader you can read a review here. I’ll be writing a lot about things we have done there in further posts, because what happpened that weekend was interesting in many ways.

First of all, I want to inform that the Caracas Game Jam 2012 (CGJ 2012) grew up quite a lot. And that’s a good thing. I was having a conversation yesterday with @chiguire and @justyole (founders of the event here in Caracas) and I said growing up is not (only) a matter of numbers, and this CGJ was a proof of it. Last year we had more people and more games (including a board one), this year the numbers weren’t quite different, but it was the experience as a whole. The last 3 years we had a facility specially designed for developing, this time wasn’t the case, but the desire to expand to other universities was a major goal this year so we decided to take the risks. We did it in the best way we could. But it wasn’t easy at all. We, as organizers, had to confront a million problems in order to keep the event going without much noticing by the attendees: from electric power problems to some douchebag claiming rights over some space we used those days, everything made CGJ better. Everything made us better.