Dynamic content games

The project city match

http://www.casualgamedesign.net/city-match-2/

 

aims to demonstrate a variety of different content imports.

The full game at the moment is 2MB in file-size but the different game set-ups are endless. Moreover, to add more cities and game content, all it takes it to edit a single xml file.

So what is dynamic ?

1. Importing City information from Wikipedia ( Inhabitants, country and country flag)

2. Importing city maps from Wiki Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/ ( includes tracing out white backgrounds and colouring)

3. Importing 3d Building from the Google3dWarehouse – Scaled and positioned in Papervision3d

4. Importing Weather data from World Weather Online – Weather conditions are translated to different background images

5. Importing random images from Flickr.com - The program access the “most insteresting” creative commons licensed pictures and chooses 6 randomly.

For more information on how the content is loaded please visit the Honours Project section

Please comment and discuss.

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The sound of the game

Sound in casual games is such a big subject I could spend an entire project on, well one could spend an entire life on :)

Today I want to emphasize how audio can help convey the game objectives. Two games, same game mechanic, same publishers, one asks the player to focus one time-limit the other one on strategic play.

Can you guess which one is which?

 

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Game clones – Where is the difference?

In the casual game industry it is very common to clone games. In fact it is difficult to introduce a complete new game mechanic to users. Casual Gamers don’t want to spend a long time learning a game and one key aspects of casual games are that they are easy to learn. So many Game studios and indi game developers take a popular game mechanic and add variations to it. Sometimes the game only varies in some graphical aspects and detail. But today I want to talk about 3 examples of very similar game clones. I chose a recently quite popular game mechanic known as “Hidden Object”. I chose this example because it is a game-type that doesn’t allow many variation to the mechanics. So what is the difference between clones? Why do we buy or play a particular game and don’t play another similar one ? More »

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Importing Google Earth files dynamically into Papervision3D – Scaling & positioning


Loading Google Earth models into flash, dynamically. The files are loaded directly from the web and rescaled and positioned. And this is how it is done: More »

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casual connect magazines now online


Casual Game Association (casual connect) magazines are now available online and for pdf download.

http://casualconnect.org/magazine-archive/

The Casual Game Association publishes 3 magazines a year featuring new game reviews, interviews, statistics, technology and company insights. Worth having a read, and it is free.

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Making Money (3)

This is just and update, as I have seen a new way how companies make money out of their games today.
Well it isn’t really new since it is advertising, but the way they implement it is quite clever.

So you play a free game, and in order to get boosters you have to watch an add, you can’t skip it you have to go through the full video to get your booster.
Bubblespeed on Facebook.

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Music in Games

Remember my last post said “not every game needs music” .
Well I’ve started a discussion on this because I realised that many Developers but especially sound designers of course would say “always add music”!

So here is the disccussion

Basically what it comes down to is

In other words, if the audio experience is complete, you can take enough focus away from the music to not require it. Certainly, you don’t have to make a game with bad music, ever.

Here is a very good and very popular example for a game with no music.

Here is a very good and very popular example for a game with no music. Bejeweled Blitz
I believe it is up to the players preferences. But whether you add background music or work with audio only, make sure you always include a clear visible Mute button.

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5 “dont’s” creating casual games

This is just 10 tips to consider when designing casual games.

1. Not every game needs music
Consider how people will play your game. Will they be fully engaged and concentrate only on the game or will they be doing other things in the background. A lot of people will play games during work or will listen to music while playing. So make sure they have the opportunity to turn the sound and music off as well.

2. Don’t create long intro stories for every game
Even hardcore games like Word of Warcraft struggle to get their players read or even watch the intro. Why would they read yours? A long, text-based intro story might put players of. If you decide you still need one, make sure you provide them with a Skip button

3. Don’t use custom keys
Most casual game players will be used to using the mouse, they can handle the arrow keys and probably the spacebar. Some more advanced players are used to WASD but if your introduction states: press U and Z and O they are probably not willing to spend that much time on your game.

4. Don’t go for “whatever is free”
Yes, there are a lot of free cliparts and graphics out there, but…
Most of them are only for non-commercial use but more important: they won’t be consistent and the graphics are very important for games.
The best option is still to get a designer to create all the game asssets you need. If you don’t have a great designer to help you, check flashgameart.com there you can propose a project to designers and they will bid on it. If you don’t have any cash but your game is very good they might offer to be paid by % of the money you make from the game.

5 Less is more
Rather focus on creating a clear and structured game interface than providing several different features and specials. As mentioned in 3, the casual gamer will most likely not be willing to spend hours to learn the game.

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Humble Bundle

The Humble Bundle 3 is there.

http://www.humblebundle.com/

What’s that?
It’s pay what you want, cross-platform game casual game bundle. Really, you can pay what you want, whatever it is worth to you and you can even decide who should get your money. The developers? Or  a charity ? Or split it?

I believe it is a brilliant concept for selling games that should be adopted more often.  I mean once you created the game there are no additional costs for duplicating it, so why not let people pay whatever they want!

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Why is my .swf so big?

I just came across a small very handy tool and thought I would share it.

http://haxer.be/SWFTools/swfcharts.swf

Put your swf in and it will give you a chart and diagram to see what makes up the file size.
Especially useful if you are struggling with long loading times.

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