Another Humble Bundle is out, about, and gleefully eating all of our money. Think of it like Humble Bundle goes UNICEF. Is it just me, or are they releasing these bundles with ever increasing frequency? But who cares, it’s for charity! (They recently added Blocks that Matter and The Binding of Isaac to the bundle, as well.)
Voxatron is a blast, by the way. I’ve been sneaking in a couple levels in between work and studying, and if I had more time to play it, I definitely would.
The controls are a little tricky to get accustomed to, even though they’re extremely simple. Move, jump, and shoot. You can shoot only in the direction you’re facing, and once you start shooting, you can’t change until you release the fire key and move in the direction you would like to fire. I would prefer to be able to change the direction I fire in without having to move in that direction. A minor detail that makes a difference, even though you get used to it.
Spry Fox, the design studio that brought us SteamBirds, has released a multiplayer word game called Panda Poet. The gist of it is that you spell words from the letter tiles available on the board in order to claim territory and score points. It’s a bit like scrabble combined with boggle, if that combination makes any sense. For multiplayer, Panda Poet opts for a “play by mail” style that doesn’t require immediate responses, rather, you play your turns when you can, be it seconds or days or months.
Daniel Cook, Chief Creative Officer at Spry Fox, posted about how they designed the social mechanics of the game. Although the game may not be as complicated as, say, an MMORPG, the decisions that must be made about the social design of a game remains the same: facilitating meaningful and satisfying relationships between players. He writes:
I see immense potential in this style of game and I’ll be using similar multiplayer structures in future games. When you design a game with real social play, ask “What is the intrinsic rhythm of back and forth conversation between participants?” If this key pattern has no space to exist, then perhaps you aren’t creating a social game after all.Mull that around in your head for a while. There’s a difference between a social game and a multiplayer game; just because a game has multiple participants doesn’t mean that it is automatically social. I’m trying to think of a good example, but I can’t. Any suggestions? (This distinction could also be incorrect.)