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!

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).

Drink ‘n Drive!

 Global Game Jam 2014 came to an end last Sunday, 26th January 2014.

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I was able to join the event at the Bremen site, which is one of the biggest in Germany; over there, more than 80 jammers met and worked hard on their projects for 48 crazy hours.

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Since I went there without having a team, I joined on the spot a group of guys; luckily, our team got along really fast.
At 4PM the organization presented the Jam’s theme, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”. As such, the options for creating a game were almost endless, but we wanted to make something cool and kicking. That’s why, after a not-too-long brainstorming, we came up with “Drink ‘n Drive”, a non-politically-correct driving game based on the effects that alcohol can cause on drivers.

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The concept of the game, which sadly was not possible to take to full completion because the lack of time, was the following: there is a driver in his car who is in a big hurry; however, he does not feel like ignoring the speed limits, thus he drives quite slow. But, when he drinks and gets drunk, his inhibitions disappear and he starts driving much faster! In the meantime, his perceptions get altered and things start looking different; for example, a pedestrian might look no anymore as an innocent victim to dodge, but like a coin to collect or a zombie to slay.

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The game is, of course, pretty simple, but has a feature studied to make it much more funny and more similar to real life: to best appreciate the game, the player can use their Android mobile as a remote controller; thanks to its accelerometer, the device works as a beer bottle and, tilting it, the character drinks and gets drunk. The best way to appreciate the game is to attach the phone to a bottle and really drink to accelerate!

Last but not least game feature, are the real driving license question that are asked to the player! Evey time they start a race, a question is offered; if the player answers correctly, they get an in-game bonus! It was decided to add a small percentage of fake/funny questions, in order to confuse the player, but the time did not allow for that, even if I managed to prepare all of them.

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The game is realized in pure and awesome pixel art, in order to bring back memories of masterpieces such as Outran and Rad Racer.

 Likewise, the music selected for the game was supposed to be 8bit style.

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I would like to thank again my team for their efforts and great work and offer you, my good reader, the chance to try Drink ‘n Drive, by downloading it for free from the Global Game Jam website.
Maybe, one day, the rest of the team and me will decide to enrich this game and take it to its deserved accomplishment!

Yet another wannabe fantasy card game goes BOOM!

Blam! Sbang! Sbram! KA-BOOMKa-boom-app-store

Ka-boom is the latest game made by those crazy guys at Broken Arms Games, a small Indie company originating from Italy and recently moved to Australia. (Meet them on their new FaceBook page)
The crew is very young and driven by a natural passion towards gaming and game development. It is easy to recognize this feeling simply by starting to play one of its games, especially its baby-born, Ka-Boom.
Ka-Boom is a free fantasy card game released for mobile devices (and available on the Apple Store) which features a great quantity of humor and a “simple to learn and hard to master” gameplay. To let you have a quick glimpse about what I am talking about, please take a look at the game trailer (which, unluckily, I was only able to find in Italian).

The game is structured for offering a very amusing card game for two participants, both playing on a nine squares grid.
giocoDuring their turn, the users place a card in one of the squares and try to conquer opponent’s ones by having higher values. To make the game more thrilling, each card expires after a certain amounts of turns: a player who was gaining the upper hand in the challange, might suddenly find himself in a bad situation. Needless to say that these features, together with a huge number of cards, a cool crafting system and a very funny art style, make this game something that any iOS gamer should, at least, try.ka-boom-2

Now comes the part “Why are you writing about this and not about GTA 5?”
The answer is pretty easy: everybody is already taliking about GTA 5,  I personally know the guys at Broken Arms and they are my friends. While they were developing this cool app, they asked me for any game design suggestion and, since I gave them a small (but, I hope, good) one, they wanted to add me to the game credits. The least I can do is to make a blog entry on this!

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Once again, great job guys! And have an explosive (Ka-booming?) success with this game!