A while back, I asked, “Where is the D&D App?” and a few of you answered. One of you being Mike Pattee, developer of the i4e app for iPhones and iPods Touch. Full disclosure: this short review is based on a complimentary copy of the app, from Mr. Pattee. Further disclosure: I don’t own an iPhone or an iPod Touch — I played with the app on a borrowed device — so it’s entirely possible that there’s some secret jargon or traditional facet of app-analysis that I just don’t get. Forgive my n00bery.
Right now, my head is at the intersection of the Splinter Cell: Conviction demo, the Lady Blackbird game mechanics, and the stealth-action RPG rules I’m brewing on the side. What I like about the Trait-and-Tag language is the way that it casts every character as more than one thing, which the player must choose from when engaging with the game world.
The result of last night’s thinking about stealth action is this rough sketch, written to frame some inspiration in play terms:
A few weekends ago, I started doing some quests in the Lothlórien region of LOTRO’s Middle-earth, after spending quite a bit of time away from the game. I’m in that high-level slog where I’m eking through late levels in the hopes of catching up with the end-game content, and for a while I was pretty bored. It was all “Kill 10 bears” and “Slay 8 lizards;” not very rewarding, especially after 58 levels of this stuff.
I was just about to quit again when I discovered three quests that caught my eye, for three different reasons.
Matt Forbeck mentioned Evoke in a comment on my previous post about didacticism, and it occurred to me that we haven’t really talked about it on the site, yet. Aside from the actual website for the game — www.UrgentEvoke.com — most of my opinion on it was formed by an interview with designer Jane McGonical on Wired‘s site:
Games support happiness … by giving us more satisfying work or concrete tasks that we can accomplish…. Studies have shown that playing a short game — having something concrete that you can accomplish — actually gives you the motivation, energy and optimism to go back and tackle real work.
[Read More at Wired ]
It’s a crash course in how to start a venture, a business, that can tackle these problems [of poverty, disease, hunger] at a local level…. By the end of the game you have developed a real-world pitch for a venture [and] have acquired mentors to help you make it real. If you play the game you’re connected to somebody in the real world who has entrepreneurial experience to mentor you; you’ve also developed skills to make you a better problem solver.
[Read More at Wired ]
I watched The Hurt Locker the week before last. A fine movie, expertly acted, directed, and written, and presented with the aura of verisimilitude that makes people wonder if all movies aren’t just improvised on set or recorded from life by cameramen hiding in the bushes.
The Hurt Locker is built on a series of a half-dozen of the most suspenseful scenes I’ve ever seen. It’s a movie about people who disarm bombs in Iraq, and in these scenes, the bomb-of-the-moment could explode at any second and wipe our slate of protagonists clean.
The filmmakers fight dirty to create this suspense, but we deserve it. Their tactics are what we get for basing our expectations of what might happen next based not on what’s in the story, but on what we know about the business of modern film.