Thursday, December 13, 2007


In the near future, the RFIDs are going to be omnipresent, and used across everywhere.
Playing cards could also have RFIDs associated with it.
With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, the idea of surface computing becoming ubiquitous seems a reality.

This is an Idea for a technology based Card Game for children in Rural India.
Thus the scenario is a case in say 2020, where the children in rural India have access to technology in the schools.

Children in Rural India are often told stories from the great epics Mahabharata and the Ramayana and other religious texts. The idea is to enhance the story telling experience using technology and a lot of visuals. The another lying idea is to improve the knowledge about Indian Mythology amongst the children. Of late the trend of telling stories have stopped and hence the children do not get to know the stories that we have grown up with.

People are around a central table that is comprised of a matchbox, a playground , and the stack, that has all the set of cards in the deck. The idea is to match the set of cards one after the other. Every Myth card has a Character card that it is matched onto. The match can be found by placing these two match cards in the area of the table marked as Match box.

There are two set of cards. One the Myth set of card, and one the Character set of card. The game is played with 2 or more people.

The Myth Cards, will be comprising of myths associated with the particular God. The myths are in the form of visual clues and not in forms of text. This is so that the children can go above the reading barrier, and make ConneXions based on the visual clues.

If the correct match is made, the Matchbox plays a story with the ConneXions between the Myth and the Character.

The players are initially given 7 cards. The player have to pick from the stack of cards and if they do not need the card, throw it back in the playground. Any player can pick up any card from the playground at his/her turn.

If the set of cards in the stack are finished, the cards from the playground are taken and shuffled again and kept on the stack.

A bonus point is given if there is a match with three cards. A myth and Two Character Cards.
For Eg: If the Character cards, are of the elephant God Ganesh, and the Lord Shiva, One myth can find a story between them all. Thus this is a bonus point.

Who wins? The person who is able to tell the maximum stories or in other words, make the maximum ConneXions.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Designing Games for Rural Population

One of my interest lately has been designing for the rural population.
By rural population I mean the rural population in third world countries like India, and Africa. I believe that there is a whole lot of challenges involved in this and many a times the tried and tested methods and design patterns do not work in these cases.
I came across this paper today that deals with designing games for the children in rural India.
The paper titled: "Mobile Gaming with Children in Rural India: Contextual Factors in the Use of Game Design Patterns."

This is really interesting as in the paper its discussed that the general design patterns, become not so useful, as the context varies from one culture to the other. Similarly the cognitive understanding of games are completely different for children across cultures.

Using of identified game design patterns for expert game designers, the novice designers and the developers who are not designers is important to know. Many a times the standard design patterns do not work and its nothing short of suicidal to blindly follow them.

One of the things that i seek to find out is the parameters on which the design for games, and entertainment for that matter , are dependent on. This could also mean a design pattern of the rural population. How children interpret symbols, graphics, based on myths, based on society's superstitions...

The whole thing is proposed to be a part of the framework that I call the Rural Interaction Design framework.

Gamish Web Page Design

How does one make a web page more gamish?
What are the elements that play a role in creating a lively experience? What are the graphics and the colors that are to be used to target a younger age group of people using the website? What is the amount of text that one needs to put?
These are some of the questions that I seeked to answer when I redesigned the webpage of Dr Ralph's Bonus Years Diet Book.

Here's my take on the website.
The few things i tried to make it was make it look more gamish.
I wanted to play with the lively and joyful colors. Ultimately the book or the game should be resulting in joy for the user.

Also another thing that i wanted to target is the removal of a lot of text, and adding lot of images. Its more likely that the age group that we are targeting is going to like images and click more on it rather than read up a lot of text. I have I have also tried to follow Web 2.0 style of Visual Design by adding images to icons and also reflections and gradations.

Also the highlight of the book can be the game and that the full version would be available on purchase of the book.

The website however allows for the trial version download of the game and also allows the users to play the trial version online.
These villains can be refreshed every-time, based on a random command that selects the image every-time the page is refreshed.

The images and the graphics have been kept simple and cartoonish to make it look more gamish and more appealing to the younger age group.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shoot'em All!

A LARP (Live Action Role Playing Game) based on the following two quotes.
"A photograph is worth a thousand words." "Everything in this world is connected in some way or the other"
The other idea on which this game is based is that everyone can take photograph and one does not need to be a photographer to take a photograph.
Everyone likes to take photographs.

All that is required here is loads of enthusiasm, crazy ways to connect things, a basic digital camera.
Every player in the game is a photographer. They could be a nature photographer, a portrait photographer, an abstract photographer etc.

The motivation behind the game is that we all like to click photographs and share photos with people. Its difficult for people to express when they are asked to draw, but anyone can take a photograph if given just slight instructions.

Players Profile:
Any number of people can play the game. There is no age limit to the age of the players. Ideally older people have more experience with things and hence the older the people, the more interesting stories are told. However,

The players meet up at a common location. The setting can be selected differently every-time. For example, the setting could be at the Navy Pier, or a county park, and the photographs taken in and around this location.
Shadow Play

Players are divided into teams and the game is time based. One person in a team acts as the chief photographer. Their is a healthy rivalry that exists between the teams.
The photographers shoot the photographs and hence they are called the shooters! If a player from team A "shoots" a player from team B by clicking his/her photograph in a front portrait position, the player from team B is disqualified and hence they cannot take part further in the shooting photographs part. There could be further ways in which a shooter could get disqualified!

However, this disqualified person can take part in the second part of the game, which is to form connections between things and also build stories!

The players collaborate at the end of the stipulated time and collaborate to create a story. The idea is to create a story based on the photographs collected. Every photograph can have an interpretation in a particular manner and put into the story accordingly. Every photograph has a story or an intention as to why it was clicked.

Who Wins?
There are no winners as such in the game as the idea is to learn and play and go creative at the same time.
The idea is to create story everytime, and have fun while doing so!

A must for every designer!


A Learn, Look, Ask and Try approach to finding out the different processes, terminologies used by a designer / design consultancy firm.

Just Brilliant stuff!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The War on Terror

Thoughts behind a computer based game on "The war of Terror":
Can a game have multi-player model? Can each of the players have separate task to accomplish in-order to win the game?
Can a villain of a game win? Can a villain have their own set of goals and that is negative.

About the game:
This is a role based game. The player(s) selects the role every-time they start a game. The game works on a multi-player model.
There are multiple aims of the game, depending on the role of the people playing the game.
A person can be a paramedics person, a FBI /CIA official, Terrorist (the bad guy), a soldier. These are the main characters in the stage.

The aim of the paramedics person is to help lives without getting hit by the attacks themselves.
The aim of the soldiers is to track down the terrorists and shoot them down, without dying themselves.
The aim of the FBI / CIA officials is to find hidden clues and hints and other information from various sources and give information to the army to catch it.
The aim of the terrorist i to create more mayhem and cause more trouble. His aim would be to destroy the city and kill more lives.

The game is based on the premise of fighting terror on planet earth. There could be various ways in which a person is being a part of the help from terror. This comes out of a need that we often fail to help in the times of the humanitarian needs when a terror strikes at a particular place.

Its a multi-player game with people able to share resources. Multiple nations can get together to attack against a terrorist organization, and similarly, multiple terrorist organizations can target one or many nations. Information can be shared from across countries officials.
This because some countries have a very good land army, and some may have an excellent supply of ambulances.
It builds on the theme of sharing resources.

Age group: 15-30 years.
Number of players required: Minimum 1, Maximum: can be any number.

At the beginning of the game, a overview of the situation is given to the person. The player selects their role from the prompt that is given to them.
After the player has selected the role in which they want to play, a player enters the situation of the game in that position.
For example : An attack has happened in the downtown area of the town. The special forces are called in. If there are multiple people who play , then the computer is not involved. If there is a shortage of players then apart from the role that is played by the player, the remaining players are played by the computer. The different players select the roles and start the game.

The idea is to have the terrorist killed, save more lives, or kill a certain number of people.
In all the cases all the people are also playing simultaneously.

How do the people playing the game win?
Role: CIA/FBI Officer :- The clues are connected and able to spot the target terrorist correctly. This is only possible by connecting the clues that the player keeps getting. If an Officer fires at a terrorist / or a terrorist place, they gain points. If they accidentally fire at the paramedics, they loose points.

Role: Paramedics: If they are able to help the specified injured people to safety and in the process let minimum lives die they win. This depends entirely on the fact that how many were the initial casualty.

Role: Soldier : If they are able to track down the terrorist, find out where they are, and combat with them without themselves dying, they win. If the set of terrorist is more than one, the player has to kill all of them to win.

Role: Terrorist : If the player is able to kill all the people in a certain time frame or cause maximum carnage in a stipulated time.

All the tasks are time based. If a soldier is not able to kill in certain time, he gets negative points.
Similar things can be arranged for the other roles.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nurturing a baby...

Have you ever tried doing that?

Its happening.
The baby is being nurtured... The baby here is the "Bonus Year Game" for Dr Chef.
The Final Game is developing... and everyday the excitement level seems to be increasing.

Of late I started to analyze how difficult it is to be a game designer. Its challenging but its fun!
Its no easy profession.

The level of planning that goes in the development of each character, each frame, each flow, each level, each prop in the game.
the work s mind boggling.

Add to it the theory being given by our Prof Thom, along with the information from the Theory of Fun book by Raph Koster is really interesting.

Its interesting the moment you start to think about a game being designed you tend to add thousand features, only to realize late that actually nine hundred of them would actually not add to the overall experience of a game.

The theory point of a game is what we miss at times and its a pleasure to read this book.

Often, as a photographer and a designer I have felt that any system(photograph, video, game) would only be pleasurable to use, if there is a certain degree of fun associated with it. The way we not define fun is interesting.