Mixing in action!

MixArt is another of the Magic Kinder games. Analysis time!

I won’t bore (to death) you explaining again what’s Magic Kinder, what’s Ferrero or how fantastic is Nutella…. wait… I never wrote about Nutella… even if it is a totally different matter Nutella might deserve a post too! …but some other day!

So, MixArt. Just like Sprinty, MixArt derive from its homonymous line of surprises.

Since the MixArt toys are many and very different, the videogame is composed of some small activities.

The game revolves around its 3D world/map, where the player can select the various areas clicking on the paired paper toy (they will be explained in another post, as soon as they are released);

each one takes the player to a different mini-game. Many of this games are linked to each other by the common pictures the game features (aka Scenic Scenes).

Let’s see each one of them in detail.

1: The Art School: the player choose one among the many Scenese; it is in a black and white version and the player can freely paint it. The user is able to color in three different ways: free, partially-guided and guided.

The free version doesn’t need any explanation. Just like in MS Windows’ Paint, the user moves and uses the brush, selecting one among many colors and textures.
The partially-guided mode is the dream method of coloring of every children! The user can color as they wish, but they do not risk to smear outside the selected area.
Last, the guided mode is similar to the Paint’s authomatic area filler.

The Art School allows the player to save one of their artworks and to print ’em.

2: The Jigsaw Box: well, the name is pretty much illustrative… the player rebuild one of the Scenes that was fractured into a number of pieces (players’ choice). Nothing unusual… it deserve a  mention the “docking animation” of the jigsaw pieces… really nice!

3: The Magic Mirror: this game is another calassic; the player has to find the 7 differences existing between two almost identical versions of a same image. Not much to say here too… some picture are quite simple, while others ask for a more attentive look. The artist did a very good job.

4: The Magic Lens: this one is my favourite… up to now! The player uses a lens able to reveal hidden objects. They have to find the one shown on the screen and avoid the “trap ones”. The artist made a superb job of humor! He was able to place super funny objects in the best places ever! I really suggest to try this one! Guaranteed fun!

This is the last MixArt mini-game today  available. Three more are to come quite soon…

As you can see, this game was almost enterely built by the graphic artist.  He drew the Scenes, the items, the icons, the buttons… everything! And he did it in a real nice manner!

Just like Sprinty, an advertising video was realized for this game; you can find it here:

http://www.magic-kinder.com/mk/lang/it_IT/video/mixart

Finally, I would like to point out that this game has really nice, lovely, musics!

Stay tuned for my next post. Time for the last Magic Kinder game. The biggest, widest and more interesting of the three,

What if Grand Theft Auto was for girls?

The cars are prepped, the tracks are cleared and everything is ready for Formula Sprinty!

At last! Finally it is time for a videogame topic!
This post is all about one of the three games I am really interested in of Kinder Ferrero’s website: Sprinty.

I’d like to carefully analyze it!

You can freely play it on http://www.magic-kinder.com/mk/lang/it_IT/sprinty/index.htm, just be sure to select your language!

Sprinty (or Formula Sprinty) is one member of the Magic Kinder’s website family of games.  http://www.magic-kinder.com/mk/lang/it_IT/index.htm hosts a big numeber of activities, games, pictures and short movies dedicated to young boys and girls. These contents are totally free and can be enjoyed by anyone from all over the world, since this website is translated into around 25 languages. I think is pointless remembering that Ferrero is the biggest Italian company.
Probably, the game will be freely released on iOS too.

Let’s get back to Sprinty. As suggested by its name, Formula Sprinty is a 3D racing game. This game draws on its hononymous Kinder Surprise toy line. Mainly, the five different game vehicles are inspired from those found in the chocolate eggs.

As mentioned, this game is really simple to play and conceived for the youngest players (3-10 years). The game features 5 cars, 9 tracks (with reversal mode, so 18 tracks) and several game modes.

The game offers a series of interesting peculiarity, making it a perfect game for kids. First of all its three levels of game difficulty: free, semi-assisted and a-lot-assisted. These modes totally change game controls.


+Free mode (in game Super-Pro) leaves the player the ability of accelerating, steering and braking.
+Semi-assisted mode (aka Hard) require that the player press on the accelerator, while the computer make bad steers; the player can improve the trajectories using directions on the keyboard.
+A-lot-assisted mode (aka Easy mode) ask the player to simply press the accelerator button; the user have to be careful and fast in proximity of the curves, in order to do not go to the exterior too much. It is obvious that the difficulties’ names (just like the tracks’ ones) are designed to make children think that they are champions and to expand their enthusiam.

Furthermore, the game features a system of increasing ability IA, ideal for beginners and young players. The user can start the game in a friendly envireonment while they learn the rules of the game.
Finally the very game structure, physics and tutorials are conceived for newbies and illiterate players; super-wide trakcs, fake physical laws and iconographic messages do the dirt work!

Outside usual options (as the vehicles’ customization) Sprinty contains a series of other features such as tournaments and asyncronous multiplayer modes.
The most interesting within this last category is the so-called Sprinty TV.


“What’s Sprinty TV” you say? Nice question! Sprinty TV is a bit of multiplayer and a bit of a TV replay. Once, each day, the player drives a time trial race; the next day they watch themself from a series of differnt camera view facing an opponent. The computer unites the two players datas and replays, creates a head-to-head race and shows the users the result.

Last but not least about Formula Sprinty, it is to underline that the game musics are really nice! Good job, composer!

The final point of this post is strictly related to Spinty game. It is a series of four short videos dedicated to Sprinty and published on Magic Kinder too.
You can give them a check at this link: http://www.magic-kinder.com/mk/lang/it_IT/video/sprinty

Ok, that’s all. Next time’s MixArt!

See ya!

Dungeon Guilds & Miniature Dragons – part 1

My freindly reader, you’ll probably feel deceived. Sorry. Again I’ll write about another non videogame design topic… But I believe you’ll forgive me given the fact that I’m gonna talk about one of the Games (with capital G).

So, almost everyone knows Dungeons & Dragons. This game created the base of roleplaying game and demonstrated that a game can be fun even when players cooperate instead of oppose against each other. Today, after decades, D&D is still the leading RPG seller.

Dungeons & Dragons deserves at least one consecrated post. Someday I’ll do it. Promised. But, today, I’ll write about its miniature game.

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures (DDM) is a tabletop miniature wargame created by Wizars of the Coast. The game is settled in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy world and uses its people, its heroes, its monsters and its spells.  Differently from traditional D&D, here two players face each other selecting a party of a few miniatures and fighting on a battle map.

Unlikely many other miniature games, this is quite easy, fast and calm. The rulebook is a short booklet. If you already know D&D’s rules, you learn it in no time.

The game is structured in a series of game release (around 20), each set containing 40 or 60 miniatures. Each set was released at a different time, and the whole process demanded many years. Today, the game counts around 1000 different miniatures. These are divided into 4 factions with different ideals.
Each player select a faction and forms a warband of a certain number of pieces, depending on how powerful they are. The players make their minis fights on special battle maps divided into regular squares. The player whose miniatures survive the fight, wins.

During the first half of the past decade, this game meet a respectable success and, as usual, groups of ardent players gathered in fan communities. One among them became the leading association and was officially sanctioned by Wizards of the Coast; it was the DDMGuild

After some years, at first, Wizards charged the DDMGuild with the task of organizing all the sanctioned games and tournaments all over the world.

If interested in it, please feel free to visit   www.ddmguild.com

Some years later, Wizards also decided to leave the job of keeping on expanding the game to the Guild, creating new profiles, rules any many other marvelous things.

Wizards’ decisions of giving more and more room to the Guild came in parallel with the game decline. However, it should be noted that Dungeons & Dragons Miniature game is still played all over the world and some official events are still held in many American conventions.

My good and patient reader, let’s keep on going onward to the core of this post. It is not too far!

During the Guild’s regency, the game’s rule system faced a major change, related to Dungeons & Dragons evolution from the 3rd to the 4th Edition. DDM’s rules adapted in a consecutive way, trying to keep themselves similar to their traditional counterpart.

This change was apocalyptic and ment the loss of a great deal of players.
In this scenario, players had only a few options:

+ learn the new rules and adapt to the change (even if the new game structure might be worse)
+ leave the whole game (as already mentioned)
+ keeping on using the Original Edition game rules (for any reason)

I opted for the third choice.
But this involved an important consequence: I would have not been able to use the new miniatures which were based on the 4th Edition rules. That would have ment losing one third of the game possibilities.

This issue caused a group of passionate multinational players to regroup under the Guild’s banner and form an “Original Edition Revision Team”, charged of converting current edition miniatures to the original one.

I entered this team not too time later.

But let’s keep this topic for one other time.

X P L O R E D

Xplored is a small but growing videogame company situated in the beautiful Rapallo, Italy.

http://www.xplored.com/play/

As you can see from the website (if you took a look at it), the company is young itself and formed by young passionate people.

Xplored already managed to create dozens of games which can be played free on the web or on smartphones/iPhones.

In Xplored I work as junior game designer, but, as a matter of facts, I’m the only internal designer of the company.

I have several roles and carry out different tasks at once; the main ones are: writing the design documents, both the in-game and out-game texts, working on the general game designs, studing levels designs for the games, creating storytelling and doing playtests. I also act as a sort of “memory unit” for the development team, which refers to me for doubts and forgetfulnesses.

This post (which is quite serious and boring if compared to the previous ones), is the necessary preface for the next ones, where I’ll write about the games I worked on, here in Xplored!

I have to point out that, since the customer enrolling us wants some secrecy, right now I can’t openly declare on which titles I worked on, but I can say it’s a huge company and that you might find some clues reading my following posts!

Stay tuned!

Chasing the Red Dragon

Shame on me!

This blog is brand new (and empty) and I already left it untouched for a whole week! I have to apologize but I went on a Londoner vacation…

But, never mind and go on!

Today I’d like to talk about a bit different topic: game design instead of videogame design.

Since I love games in the widest sense of the term, I ended up helping the guys of the Italian Red Dragon Confederaion (or Confederazione del Drago Rosso Italia), a fan based association of tabletop wargames players.

Here’s alink to CDRI’s forum:  http://confrontation.cdritalia.org/forum/  (which is in Italian language, of course) [you can find me here if you look for Felian]


But, let’s get back to the beginning of my adventure with CDRI.

The Confederation was born as the official Italian fan community of Rackham’s miniature games;. Rackham was a French company producing super-high quality miniatures, mainly designed for “Confrontation” [French pronuntiation], a skirmish wargame.

Rackham designed a huge fantasy world (Aarklash) of peoples fighting against each others and against their oppressive gods. This magnificent world was described in many books, magazines and manuals. I really hope I’ll be able to write about Aarklash someday in the future!

I ended up playing Confrontation after some years of its existence and began to actively partecipate to the forum discussions and Italian tournaments. I really enjoy this community since it’s made of players who became friends to each other after many meetings.

With Rackham’s bankruptcy, the Confrontation game was abandoned to itself and to the many communities scattered around the world. Italy’s one decided that the game really needed an update and started improving the basic rules and gathering the dispersed game sources, in order to permit everyone to start playing.

During these years, the community lost many original members, but aquired some new ones. After playing many many games and having passed an examen, I was appointed referee.

At this point, not to much time later,  I entered the official designer and tester group and started helping improving the game.

Last but not least, for the joy of its many fans, around an year ago Confrontation’s rights were taken over by another company and should reborn from its cinders with the name of “Phoenix Edition”!

http://confrontationphoenix.com/

Many miniatures were already resculpted and sold on Cool Mini or Not, a fantastic American games website.

http://www.coolminiornot.com/

That’s all for now. As I was here with you, my friend, my quarry flew away… Got to go!

First love is never forgotten

It may be obvious, but the first post regarding game design has to refer to my first game.

At the following link, you can take a look to the tiny but interesting “Puzzle Shui”.

http://globalgamejam.org/2012/puzzle-shui

The game obviously refers to Feng Shui discipline, since this game tries to relax the player and bring them into the eastern alchemical world.

As one friend of mine pointed out, actually Feng Shui means “water air/wind” (or maybe it was the reversal), so the game name doesn’t make that big sense…. but, WHO CARES!

Puzzle Sgui was created during the busy Global Game Jam 2012 held in Genoa’s University. We had only 48 hours to bring into existence something which made sense. After 8 hour of headbutts on the tables, we managed to conceive this game. The remaining 64 hours were spent coding, testing, finding sounds and so on. Oh, we managed to get some sleep on the hard floor too!

The team was composed of me (designer) and three coder guys. Graphics and audios were the result of some lucky accident, mistake or divine intervention, I believe.
Actually, I forgot to mention the team’s mascot, Maialino Amorino (in the picture he is coding after a sleepless night of work)

Given these facts, it is clear that the game is some kind of prototype, but nonetheless, it occupy a special place in my heart! Who knows, maybe one day I find some crazy ones and we’ll make Puzzle Shui a real game!

[Please, be aware that everyone can download and try this game freely. So, don’t waste more time, click on the link and try it immediately without complaining!]

“Let there be light”. The Sun is already down and I can’t see an inch from my nose

So, this is it…

I tried to resist long years, but in the end I had to surrender and open some kind of a web-site, blog-stuff…

Since I am (well, I hope to be) a videogame designer, this page will be the place where I’ll write something about videogame, about design, and, why not, about videogame design. Did I mentioned that I will talk about videodesign game too? No? Well, I didn’t since I won’t!

It will also be the place where I put on display the projects in which I worked… let’s call it marketing!

Now now now….

Before anything else, I found this nice article on becoming a game designer… I believe it deserves at least a quick reading:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_113/1385-How-to-Become-a-Game-Designer

The author, Ryan Shwayder, clearly explain why you should not be a game designer….

I sincerely believe that to be a (good) designer you should possess a fair amount of crazyness and foolishness… of course, the more the better!

Enough for now. This is just an opener!

“on the road to Damasc… Game Design!!!”