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Monday, 8. July 2013 - 10:54

As I consider my options when it comes to getting a new job (and more importantly: what kind of job), I’m more and more drawn to the idea of becoming a transmedia storyteller. Not the most obvious thing in Switzerland, I guess – but I might have a shot.

Sunday, 23. June 2013 - 12:09

Yes, the site looks a bit different right now.

I’m in the process of upgrading the underlying CMS of the site, and I’ll be applying a new theme as well.

Right now, the site is a bit of a mess. Sorry for that, it should be better soon.

Friday, 10. May 2013 - 10:26

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language.

After having analysed some of the most-played Facebook games in previous instalments of this series (Candy Crush Saga, FarmVille 2, Puzzle Bobble Clones, Diamond Dash and Pet Rescue Saga), this final chapter looks at what is so “social” about these “social games” – if at all.]

It is a common assumption that games that are part of the Facebook platform are inherently more “social” than other games, since that platform offers the possibility to developers to tap into the social graph.

Wednesday, 8. May 2013 - 10:12

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. As part of my master’s thesis I am analysing already existing games that are commonly known to be addictive. A lot of those games are Facebook games.]

Pet Rescue Saga by King is probably one of the best examples of how certain game mechanics are not unique to a game, but can be adapted to other games. Pet Rescue Saga is basically a mixture between Diamond Dash and Candy Crush Saga, yet works surprisingly well.

Monday, 6. May 2013 - 11:30

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language. As part of my master’s thesis I am analysing already existing games that are commonly known to be addictive. A lot of those games are Facebook games.]

Most Puzzle Bobble clones play quite similarly, with their graphics being their most distinguishing feature. The outliers are Bubble Island, which adds the element of time pressure into the mix, and Woobies, which comes from another era of online games, and lacks most of the additional game mechanics the Facebook games use. This core mechanic can be expanded upon, allowing the Facebook game studios to find ways to monetize the game. The game is easy to pick up and is equally well playable with any input device, be it a mouse or a track pad, making it an obvious candidate for a casual game. It is deceptively simple to play: aim, shoot, aim, shoot, with hardly anything that takes the player out of the flow.

Monday, 29. April 2013 - 10:58

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language. As part of my master’s thesis I am analysing already existing games that are commonly known to be addictive. A lot of those games are Facebook games.]

Diamond Dash by Wooga superficially looks like a matching tile game similar to Candy Crush Saga or Bejeweled, but works slightly different. Diamond Dash lacks some of the refined features of its competitors. When compared to Candy Crush Saga, Diamond Dash seems a bit rough around the edges, both art-wise as well as in the use of game mechanics. While Candy Crush Saga tries to cater to as many player types as possible, Diamond Dash mostly attracts agile, quickly reacting players that like to compete with their friends. Still, the classic Facebook game mechanics are implemented, mainly that one one hand, Facebook games usually provide strong motivations to do certain things but on the other hand directly prevent players to actually do those things – unless, of course, the players pay or bug their friends about it.

Monday, 22. April 2013 - 10:37

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children.]

FarmVille by Zynga is probably one of the best known Facebook games to date, both because of players that cannot seem to quit the game and their Facebook friends that are annoyed by the game’s ceaseless stream of pleas for help, designed to suck in even more players. FarmVille 2 has several tightly interwoven game mechanics that manage to keep the player glued to the game. The most important among them are the tight feedback loops, where finishing one task has an immediate effect on the next task at hand; a constant stream of quests that provide temporary “winning” conditions in an otherwise endless game; the possibility of self-expression through decoration, even if severely limited and finally the integration of Facebook friends that “ask for help”, cleverly exploiting social norms that result in players returning to the game again and again.

Wednesday, 17. April 2013 - 13:17

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language.]

Candy Crush Saga by King.com is a classic casual game (as most Facebook games are), that caters to different player types at once: the puzzler, the explorer as well as the competitive player. Candy Crush Saga is a Bejeweled clone, a simple matching tile game. Candy Crush Saga combines various basic game mechanics and feedback methods in order to attract a diverse set of player types. The basic game allows players to recognise patterns and create order (a common theme with many casual games, which is quite rewarding in itself), the level map caters to the explorer type, while the constant feedback of how well the player’s peers did eggs on competitive players. By catering to all those different player types alike, the producers of the game manage to capture an audience as large as possible, something a therapy game would likely have to achieve as well.

Monday, 26. November 2012 - 10:15

Over at The Astronauts, someone figured something out. Sometimes, games work even when you’re not shooting things.

Listed below, there are five well known action-adventure games. Think about your favorite, most memorable moments from the single player part of each, then click on the + spoiler button and see if I have managed to guess any of these moments.

What do all these moments have in common?

Thursday, 22. November 2012 - 10:10

This requires Photoshop Extended, since the 3D tools are only available in the Extended Version of Photoshop. It also has (at least in my current version, CS5) some serious shortcomings, i. e. forget about layers. Kiss them goodbye. Also, performance-wise, this is not something that works without waiting between every second brush stroke.