A Bestiary of Alternative Game Controllers

Many game developers are suspicious about alternative controllers, believing that since they can’t be easily mass produced, they are useless. Well, this is the story of how an Arduino got me to San Francisco for free. Twice.

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Censorship in Games: Violence, Sex and Fig Leaves

Violence

From Pong to GTA V, it is undeniable that games have undergone a massive evolution in the past fifty years. While books and movies have offered a passive entertainment, games are the first really interactive media in history. And since we are the first generation which is experiencing it, it’s only natural that we question its power. This post offers a loose perspective on the effects of censorship in art and entertainment; on how it is affecting games and, even more importantly, on what it says about us as a society.

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The UGC Dilemma: post-mortem of a level editor

It is undeniable that user generated content is getting more and more relevant for games. When a player has the power to create their own content , they engage with the game in a completely new way. But if you’re a developer, you should know that creating a proper level editor can be even more time consuming that creating the game itself. Giving players the chance to create content is not enough: it has to be fun. On top of that, level editors need to be intuitive, or players won’t be able to use them properly. The best solution is a trade off between giving players the power to create whatever they want, and the need to simplify it.

500px-Puzzle_Creator_initial_viewA perfect example of this is Valve’s Puzzle Creator, which beautifully captures the essence of Portal’s gameplay. There is no space for scripting or custom events, making most of the original levels from Portal impossible to replicate. Valve has made a very clear design choice: they add constraints, but in a way that guide players’ creativity.

This post go through some of the challenged I encountered while working on the level editor for 0RBITALIS, and how I solved them. I will show in the second part how the editor actually works.

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