Month: October 2014

COR

Light’s out, the curtains fall. Our game takes you into the vast nothingness of space. A little astroid drifts through the cold darkness. Without any goal or purpose it searches its way around space and time, dodging other asteroids, planets, suns and all the other objects in space, lest it gets absorbed and vanishes into an even colder oblivion. The little astroid knows: If that happened, severe consequences would follow. Though, it doesn’t know which. Or why it knows.

This uncertainty is clarified by an inevitable collision with another asteroid of the same, miraculous, somehow self aware kind. Our little asteroid is struck by sudden realisation. A flashback from a time long before our astroid’s memory reveals its purpose: By merging with that other asteroid it reunited with a part of itself – a part of its former great knowledge and tremendous importance. Our astroid understands that for some still uncertain reason it has to find all of its parts scattered around the universe. Every found part will give him back shatters of its memory, little by little revealing its destiny.

By setting this goal for itself, our little, inconspicuous asteroid becomes our protagonist –
COR is born.

COR, now aware of its duty, starts traveling the universe. It tries to collect its parts and – by doing so – learns everything it’s once forgotten. So it gets to know itself better with every retrieved part, and archieves understanding of the universe and everything in it. COR learns to master the physical powers that hold the universe together, and has to combine them skillfully to find every part. Gravity, speed and altering his density, coretemperature or aggregate state are just some of the tools COR will use to get from level to level. Space and time will be bend by our hero’s iron will to be back to its entire self again.

Our little asteroid grows to become the core of the biggest planet in the universe, with its final fate still to discover.

Elevator pitch

COR

Genre: 2D-Adventure

Type of Game: Mobile educational game, based on scientific facts.

 

COR is a 2D adventure game for mobile deviceswhere the main goal is to educate about basic astrophysics in an entertaining way. The main character is a little human-like asteroid who needs to fulfill different tasks by flying through the universe and using physical phenomena like gravity, aggregate state convertion, form changes, blackholes and more.

 

The main target group are young people and school classes (14-18 years).

 

Mind-mapping the target group

mindmap

 

By making a Mindmap of how our target group could look like, we defined one primary target group: secondary school classes for pupils between 14 and 18. As you can see on the Mindmap, we’ve got various secondary target groups too such as people with interest in physics or just want to play a casual game to kill time, for example whilst waiting or traveling.

Game research Monument Valley

SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTION OF THE GAME

The name of the game

“Monument Valley”

monument-valley-1

The producers or creators of the game

by ustwo
created iPhone apps since 2007
another famous game „Whale Trail“

Language

There is not a lot of language during the game, only in the beginning of each level. However, Monument Valley was designed to read & match the language you have set on your device.

Game platform used for review

Tablet, iPad
however, the game is also available on mobile devices.
The only technical requirement is a touch screen.

What documentation and help files are included?

There are no manuals, you have to figure it out on your own – which is the idea and sense behind this game. Ustwo’s intention was to create a game that everyone finish if you think hard enough and figure out the right perspective.
However, there is a support forum: blog.monumentvalleygame.com/faq/

Accessibility features

There is not really a font resizing because there is hardly any text, only as already said, in the beginning of each level. Those texts are however already that big and clear to read that you do not need font resizing.

There are close caption features for events, however the only control is by touch screen which is not re-mappable. There is also no varied play speed, due to the fact, that the play speed depends on each individual. The color scheme is also not controllable, nevertheless the color scheme is already that beautiful and visually appealing that you have no urge to change it. Also, for those who  suffer from colorblindness, the color does not determine or affect your success in playing.


SECTION 2 – SUMMARY DESCRIPTION AND CATEGORISATION OF THE GAME

Target group

This game is a single player game and does not offer multiplayer opportunities.
Ustwo did intentionally not define a target audience, since this game should be for everyone who has got a certain interest for perspective, geometry and optical illusions or just want to play a visually appealing game.
So the ESRB rating information would be for everyone.

Game genre

Monument valley falls in the category of Puzzle game genre, since it offers the following:

visual perception tricks, different architectual landscapes or portions of landscapes/stairs that can be rotated, flipped or moved by handles, color changes or bumps resembling the connectors on Lego bricks.

Categorisation of the game

Monument valley may in our opinion hold some potential educational benefit for the following categories:

  • presicion/motor skills: you have to shift, rotate and flip things, change perspective with and accurate and concise touch
  • applying concepts/rules: applying concepts of perception, isometry and optical illusions
  • decision making (stategy and problem solving): you have to figure out the precise strategy – of where to go, what to rotate and so on – with which you can master each level.

Does the game specifically target cultural issues and if so, which ones?

No, not really. Since the game plays in a fictive world in which a princess has to climb stairs and walk through architectural landscapes, there are no ethical or cultural issues being addressed.


SECTION 3 – OVERVIEW/ WALKTHROUGH OF THE GAME

Intication of my skill level/ experience in terms of computer/ video games:

Intermediate/ occasionally play games

Provide the back-story for the game and the conditions for success

For me as an intermediate player, it was pretty easy to start the game, since it begins fairly easy.
The first levels introduce the player to the rules and concept of the game. It gets harder and harder and more interesting with each level. Also, I have never seen such a visually appealing game before.

soundtrack

Provide a short walkthrough to describe the steps for successful play

You have to guide the white princess “Ida” through different levels which consist of various architectural landscapes. Those have to be put together or shifted, etc. so that the princess can get to the other side.

Monument-Valley-The-Top-Selling-iOS-Game-This-Week-436086-2

Describe the game play and navigation

You have to figure out the navigation on your own, there are various stairs, paths you can walk on, handles you can push or rotate so that paths change directions, perspective changes, and so on. In the end of each level, you always have to get through a door to step out of another one or into another level.

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Highlight any issues that could hinder play/ confusing aspects

There are also crows wich walk through the levels and hinder you walking past them. They have to be tricked to get past them.
Also, your mind can be tricked through optical illusions, perspectives, etc.

Monument-Valley-crazy-bridgetumblr_n3h7lrovtf1qfrov6o7_500tumblr_mzgkhmpN0W1qfrov6o5_250

Amount of overall game time

Always depends on individual and the individual skills
first levels: easy, 5–10 minutes
Later levels: 10–15 minutes, maybe more, depending on your capabilities

Learning curve time

The estimated amount of time needed to learn how to use the game: Under one minute.

Can the game be saved and restarted from the same point?

Yes


SECTION 4 – PEDAGOGICAL ASPECTS

Please provide suggestions for use of the game in the classrom/ formal educational setting

Monument valley could be used in psychology as well as art classes, due to visually appealing settings and optical illusions, perceptions which is introduced in the game.

Regarding learning outside of a formal education setting – please provide suggestions for use of the game for learning outside the classroom.

It stimulates the brain and the concentration, you learn how your perception can be tricked, how to see things from a different angle.

the Game City in Vienna

On Friday the 10th of October we visited the 8th Game City in Vienna and hoped we’d make the best gaming experience of our live. Sadly the Game City didn’t meet our expectations. Too long queues, overcrowded halls and a limited variety of already known games made the excitement disappear quite quickly.

 

logo

 

But let’s start by telling what the Game City offered. After we found the entrance after a whole round around the townhall we were able to enter the Game City but only after we queued to get one of the extremely desired wristbands for the 18+ areas. The path we took led us past Gran turismo, the fanta-van with minecraft, journey and two other games we can’t remember. Inside the townhall there was “just dance” and some other games on the X-box like Fifa. In the main room “Sims”, “Far cry”, “Assasins creed”, “Shadows of Mordor”, “Halo” and some Indie games were offered. Waiting for those games would have cost us a lot of time so we decided not to try those games. Instead we focused on the more artistic games that could be testes immedietly like “Journey” and “Monument Valley”.

“Jorney” is a beatifully designed game which lets you travel through a huge world full of fantastic “animals” made of fabric. During this game the player will be connected with a random player. You don’t get to know the name of this player until the very end of the game and you are not able to communicate with each other in any way. The only thing you can do is help him or her with their journey. We thought it was very interesting to go on an epic journey with a total stranger and then losing him after you built a relationship with him.

Another game we found very interesting was “Monument Valley”. This game for tablets and mobile devices  scores with it’s stunning artwork and magnificent game mechanics. The player has to change the point of view of the whole map by tapping and draging. This way he creates optical paths for the main character who has to reach the end of the level. A very awesome game in our opinion which we chose to do our game research about (details in the next blog).

To sum it up: The Game City had some great games hidden in the smallest corners and a lot of big visitor attractions with too long queues. A lot of fun if you have a lot of time but less joy if you got little time and a limited amount of patience.

creating identity

A game is something you shouldn’t take too seriously. Its main purpose when playing, mostly, is fun. It’s the perfect way to escape the cold, cruel reality for a few hours and flee into a world of excitement and wonders, be it a computer game with thousands of magnificent characters and impressive sights to discover, or an absorbing board game on a table with some other reality-refugees.

Namesake of our virtual firm, therefore, is Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain’s flagship rascal is a suitable example of not taking your world very seriously, an example of living a game. And that’s what our game developement’s philosophy is.

Huckleberry Games. Live the game.

Huckleberry-Games_wordpress-logo-entwurf

The logo shows a bunch of huckleberries forming a solar system, not only implying a figurative galaxy of gaming and fun, which huckleberry games is about to provide, but also hinting the setting of our first game!