Actually, this is quite old and Janina told me about it a long time ago, but it remained in my little box of ideas that still need to be processed.
So, Disney actually produced an iPad game for their Cars franchise – using actual toy cars, that can be dragged over the iPad screen, controlling the game.
Probably best to have a look at it:
What's interesting is the fact that the idea is not entirely new. Infocom had a similar concept named feelies, packing physical artefacts with their video games, some of them even necessary to solve the puzzles, acting as a sort of copy protection.
What fascinates me is the combination of a video game and a physical artefact. Not necessarily just a special controller, like Guitar Hero and co., but actual objects that are relevant to gameplay in some other way. I haven't exactly have an idea how to pull it off right now, but it is an idea I'd like to explore further.
Yes, so maybe I like reblogging Robert Yang's posts. Like, a lot. But the point is: he writes good stuff. In this case, it is about level design. And in my opinion, it is pretty clever idea.
Based on a presentation by Randy Smith on "Level Building for Stealth Games", Robert Yang creates a system do design levels based on valence.
In this way, Randy Smith's "valence theory" (NOTE: again, he never called it that, but I am) posits that different parts of a room or level can afford stealth mechanics: level elements can have a POSITIVE [+] valence (shadowy, quiet, stealth-friendly) or NEGATIVE [-] valence (bright, noisy, not stealth-friendly).
Scattering those elements with their valence over the level can give you an overview of how the level will be traversed.
One of the reasons why getting into game design right now is so interesting is the fact that part of the business, of the creative process and of the production is still forming – and in a constant state of flux.
While on one hand, game production teams have grown larger in order to produce even more content (after all, many AAA titles boast to have 50+ hours playtime – which is 25 times as much as a normal action film), other people reduced their teams and are producing awesome games with teams of three or four people.
Jason Schreier over at Wired's Game|Life argues as well that games need auteurs: a single person with a vision for a game, as opposed to "design by committee":
Most games, like most movies, are a massive undertaking involving the work of hundreds of people. But many films — the best, some would argue — are driven by the central creative direction of a single auteur. No matter how many other people work on a project, auteur theory holds that it is possible for a single, strong creative vision to shine through. Bringing such a dynamic to videogames could result in stronger stories, more compelling gameplay — and fewer artistic and commercial failures that result from that well-established enemy of the creative process, design by committee.
And, which is even better, the industry is slowly adapting that as well.
Or maybe it is just me doing exactly the same thing and therefore noticing every new post containing the word caffeine. Either way, this is interesting:
The study I linked above found that caffeine withdrawal occurs in people who consume as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. But how much is that? As nutrition blogger Colby Vorland pointed out last month, that’s not an easy question. Vorland cites two studies that attempted to measure the caffeine content of coffee. The researchers found that depending on where you get your coffee and how it’s prepared, the caffeine content in a serving can vary from 58 mg to 259 mg. Espresso shots in general had less caffeine than brewed coffee, ranging from 58 to 92 mg per shot; the 259 mg of caffeine was in a 16-ounce cup of Starbucks brewed coffee.
Meaning: I can get away with one espresso a day. Or not. Since one of the problems of caffeine is that no one seems to know how it really works. Does it give you energy immediately? Or much later, so you will not be able to sleep when you drink coffee after lunch? Are there actual withdrawal symptoms? Is it all just a placebo? Are you alert because of your coffee or because you do not have the withdrawal symptoms anymore?