Storytelling at a new level

It’s definitely too much time that I’m not posting anything here… 534476_417853834948833_106206925_n
Time is short and running away like a river, however I found a few minutes to talk about one of the most recent thing I was involved into: Mamoo.
Mamoo is a project aiming at teaching foreign languages to small kids through fairy tales  portrayed on its software.
What I also find interesting is that, beside using famous stories, Mamoo relies on new authors and emerging artists.
As a creative game designer, storytelling is part of my everyday life and is one of my hobbies; for this reason, I enthusiastically joined the group of professionals involved in this ambitious project and wrote down a short fairy tale which is currently under development.
I found the experience of writing a fable quite interesting; in order to be part of Mamoo you can not create just any story, you also need to convey educational messages through simple words. Teaching a language is only one of the many features offered by this project!
Well, let’s hope that Mamoo will become a great success, since it offers a unique and extremely useful service in a colorful and entertaining way!

Of course, I will report when my fairy tale will be published!

Advertisements

When “Music” means “Adventures”!

Disney’s Violetta: Music Adventure is finally out! This is the latest game I worked on as game designer and was released today on the iOS App Store.1
Become Violetta and explore her world, meet her friends and experience her same feelings. This adventure game faithfully follows the popular TV series and allows the players to do whatever they always dreamt about while watching it.ce07b5aa77-SLIDE_02_NEW
The player is asked to take on some quests, in order to help this or that friend who are in need; talk to people, look for objects, visit colourful locations and train your sing skills through funny mini-games.logo
Violetta: Music Adventure is the latest game released by Artematica Entertainment, one of the oldest and most successful Italian game developers. This was not the first time I helped them as an external game designer and it will not be the last one. I am pretty sure that this game will gather a lot of attention from all the series’ fans and top the popularity charts in the blink of an eye.
Violetta: Music Adventure is available for iOS and Google Play.

Taming the Red Dragon

This post is some kind of followup of the one with a related name dated 23rd August 2012. Somehow a year and half passed, but looks like I am still after this ill-famed red dragon. conf5

I don’t know if you read my previous post about this, but in my free time I like to work on parallel game design projects and, helping the Italian Confrontation players’ community (CDRI), is one among them. I will not digress about what is Confrontation, beside furnishing a good link and telling you that is a tabletop wargame.

As said, in the last one and half year, I cooperated with 4 other guys for revisiting all the aspects of this awesome game called Confrontation. Each of us had a different role; of course I was the game designer. We did not create a new game, we “simply” updated an existing one, corrected bugs, bad game mechanics, improved miniatures’ usability, revised spells and so on. Of course, we also create new assets and features, but our will was, as first part of an ongoing project, to make stable what we already have; once that is done, we can move on and enlarge it.

During this time, we worked on so many things concerning the game: the rulebook, the character profiles, the spells, the missions etc. We rewrote several hundreds pages and tested it all. It was a huge work, especially because we did not receive much help from the rest of the gaming community, which was quite skeptic about our determination in fulfilling this project. However, in the end, we manage to do it and almost everybody is happy with our work. In a couple months form the Confrontation 5th Italian Evoultion release, several “old and disappeared” players came back and started playing again thanks to what we did.

We are definitely happy about that, but it is not over yet! safe_image

If you are curious about this, I suggest you to take a look at the teaser we made before the official release, while you can visit the Italian Community forum (you can meet me there as Felian) where you can freely download all the gaming materials (here) or the Facebook page; sadly, everything is written in Italian…

If you are an Italian reader, I warmly encourage you to check this topic in greater detail and try Confrontation 5th Italian Evolution. If you are not, you are anyway invited to check it and take a look to the last official ruleset, freely released as a creative common by its actual owner, Cyanide Studio (which is also making Confrontation based video games).

Casual gamers vs hardcore gamers

hardcore vs casualA full month passed since my last post! Shame on me, but I was super busy… or I wasn’t and I simply was lazy… or both!

Talking about time, it flies and games and gamers change.

cc07b0a1498a3db3cf43025e0a4b65cf-casual-vs-hardcore-gamersA few years ago, when iPhones, iPads and Wii became popular, two new “genre of gamers” were born: casual gamers and, their counterpart, hardcore gamers. Who are these casual and hardcore gamers? Nowadays, this is really a tricky question, while it was easier to answer a few years ago. Why I say so? Because the so-called early casual gamers (those who played Farmville, for example) have evolved, have moved to more complex games and they don’t play “casually” anymore: they attach to a game for long time and many hours a day. Are they still casual than?

And, about hardcore gamers? Are they simply those who play many hours per day? Or are they those who play some games defined “hardcore”? And what about hardcore gamers appreciating more accessible ones? But which games are “hardcore”? Are considered hardcore the games that are time-consuming? Are considered hardcore the games that have high levels of difficulty? Are considered hardcore the niche games with a small amount of players although their high quality? Are considered hardcore the games containing a high quantity of violence?

These are just a few questions to try to define hardcore games, but the main ones. Usually it is believed that a hardcore game answers YES to all the previous questions, but let’s see if it is true and if it its true only for them:

  • Call of Duty:COD
    • many hours long? Yes, in multiplayer
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents’ skills
    • niche? No: a lot of people play COD
    • violence? Yes, lots of realistic violence
  • League of Legends:LOL
    • many hours long? Yes, in multiplayer
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents’ skills
    • niche? No, a lot of people play LOL
    • violence? Cartoon mild violence
  • Monster Hunter:
    • many hours lonMHg? Yes, several hundreds
    • difficult? Yes, it is solely based on player’s skills
    • niche? Depending on countries: in western ones it’s not very famous, but in Japan it’s a top seller
    • violence? Fantasy violence against monsters
  • Final Fantasy:Dissidia_Final_Fantasy_-_CG_artwork_of_Warriors_of_Cosmos
    • many hours long? Yes, several dozens
    • difficult? Depending on the time spent on grinding, so the answer could be, “not really”
    • niche? Depending on countries; in western ones it’s quite famous, but in Japan it’s a top seller
    • violence? Fantasy violence
  • FIFA:fifa09_large_1
    • many hours long? Yes, in multiplayer
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents’ skills
    • niche? Not at all
    • violence? No violence beside fouls
  • R-Type:rtype
    • many hours long? Depends on player’s skills
    • difficult? Extremely difficult
    • niche? Yes, extremely
    • violence? Somehow: spaceships shooting lasers…
  • Blitz Brigade:blitz
    • many hours long? Quite
    • difficult? Yes, depending on player and opponents’ skills
    • niche? No, this is a social game
    • violence? Yes, lots of realistic violence
  • Candy Crush Saga:candy
    • many hours long? Yes, a lot
    • difficult? Advanced levels can be really tough
    • niche? Not at all!
    • Violence? Extreme violence against candies! So, no.

hayday

From this list, if we take a closer look, we see that games like Call of Duty (which is considered hardcore) is not really different from Candy Crush Saga. Can we really judge a gamer from what he/she plays?
Would it be better to judge them by the amount of time spent playing per day? For example, on average Hay Day is played even 81 minutes per day per player, and Hay Day is definitely considered to be a casual game… Candy Crush Saga is played even more!

Mad-World-Wallpaper

Likewise, we could try to argue that it depends on the platform on which the game belongs, but we have several problems with games such as Angry Birds and Minecraft, which are long, difficult, one of niche, the other not and somehow violent. Even consoles such as Wii (erroneously considered to be casual) hosts games such as Pandora’s Tower and Mad World, which are far from being casual games!

So, we can not easily define casual vs hardcore gamers on the played game structures, on the quantity of time spent playing or on the platform used… This makes things really tricky… Especially if you add that somebody plays both games considered to be hardcore and casual!

But, we can ask another kind of question, maybe more interesting for future discussions: does it still make sense to divide these two kind of players in two opposed groups? Is this still relevant?

cropped-wall10-1024x768-1-1