This week on preGAME, hosts Jeff Bakalar and Mark Licea take a sneak peek at God of War III! Join us as we play it live on the show and talk to the game's lead designer, Todd Papy. We chat with Todd about wrapping up Kratos' epic saga, some of the new elements found in the game, and pushing the PlayStation 3 to its limits.
Hangaroo (Hardy Creations) is an addictive word game that is part hangman, part Wheel of Fortune, and lots of fun.
The program's interface is intuitive and very attractive, with high-quality graphics. We review a lot of games and we're quite used to subpar design, so Hangaroo was a pleasant surprise. The object of the game is to figure out a word or phrase from a given category--everything from TV shows to famous Egyptians--by guessing the letters that go in the blanks. Each time you make an incorrect guess, the noose tightens around the kangaroo's neck; after four … Read more
Frog Design's promised series on “Meaning-Driven Business” is taking shape. After introducing the concept of “Chief Meaning Officer” in the “Power” issue of design mind, we are going to formally launch this new forum in our upcoming special TEDGlobal issue (to be released on Sept. 21, 2009) as well as on a special microsite to be launched in a couple of weeks.
For the first round of essays, we are delighted to have received contributions from three industry and thought leaders: Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer of GE and one of the world's most influential Fortune 50 marketing executives, will take the economic crisis as an opportunity to make the case for marketing-driven innovation. Werner Bauer, Nestle's chief technology officer and head of innovation, will describe his company’s concept of “Shared Value” and how it enables a more socially responsible business. And Dev Patnaik, founder and chief executive of innovation consultancy Jump Associates and author of the book Wired to Care, will illustrate how “high-empathy organizations” of all kinds prosper when they tap into a power each of us already has: the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people. Stay tuned!
The conversation is continuing in other outlets, too, and some pundits want “meaning” to not only be an abstract concept, but a movement. Economist Umair Haque is one of them. His "Generation M (as in “meaning”) Manifesto" stirred some controversial reactions (just read the comments on his blog)--from unconditional endorsement to accusations of arrogance and naiveté. It is one out of many manifestos that have recently been published on the new “new economy”--this, too, is a sign of the times. Manifestos indicate an increased need for ideological alternatives – and meaning.… Read more
There are a lot of great ways to spend a weekend, from catching up on sleep to jetting off for a short getaway. But for a game enthusiast sitting at home bored, without a to-do list or good spring weather, what better way to spend a weekend than to create your own online game? You can build a platform title, or you can develop a puzzle game to perplex gamers.
Unless you're a coding genius, creating your own game requires some help. That's why I've put together a grouping of apps that help you build your own online game. From the simple to the complex, you'll find a bunch of useful tools in this roundup.
GameSalad GameSalad uses a simple drag-and-drop interface to help you create your game. It offers a download for your Mac (it's not currently available to Windows users) or a Web plug-in to get started. Once you're ready, the tool provides you with a series of "scenes" that you can edit. From there, you can pick characters, choose enemies, and modify them as you wish. Once it's done, you can share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, or embed it on your blog.Mockingbird Mockingbird lets you create games by using one of its "kits." There are 10 from which to choose, ranging from the "Throw Stuff" kit to the "Bulldozer" kit. Once you've picked the one that most matches the game you're trying to create, you can choose your player design, upload pictures, and pick sounds.
If you don't like the options that Mockingbird provides, you can also create characters from scratch. Once you choose all your options, Mockingbird will build your game and give you the option to try it out. If you're satisfied, you can share it with the Mockingbird community.
Mockingbird is easy to use, but it might be a bit too simple for more advanced developers.PlayCrafter PlayCrafter lets you create your own Flash game off a premade template. You just drag and drop different elements into your game, which are all controlled by an in-game physics system.
Despite the cookie cutter setup, any elements you add to the game can be modified. You can assign point totals to each element that factor into the game's performance and playability. PlayCrafter is simple and easy to use, and your games will be quite fun. (Check out CNET's full overview of PlayCrafter.)… Read more
DoInk is a free online drawing and animation tool that runs right in your browser. You can treat it like Microsoft Paint and use it to do just a quick doodle, or take advantage of its layer cloning and vector-based designs to create relatively advanced animations.
I chose the latter, and put together a pretty slick looking animation in just a few minutes. Adding additional frames is simple and intuitive, and the app saves everything you're working on in the background (and in the cloud) so there are no local files to worry about. You can also hop between … Read more
Play With Pictures takes one of the most essential image-editing features and expands it into an entire program. It is not a photo editor, at least not in the mold of Photoshop. Play With Pictures takes the cut-and-paste feature and simplifies the process while building out supplementary features for creating online avatars, greetings cards, and other projects that require image mash-ups.
The interface presents a reimagining of the image-editing toolset, gearing users towards projects instead of stand-alone edits. The left nav toolbar even notes the steps needed to take a user from start to finish. Tools are categorized as Start, … Read more
Play With Pictures takes one of the most essential image editing features and expands it into an entire program. It is not a photo editor, at least not in the mold of Photoshop. Play With Pictures takes the cut-and-paste feature and simplifies the process while building out supplementary features for creating online avatars, greetings cards, and other projects that require image mash-ups.
The interface presents a re-imagining of the image editing toolset, gearing users towards projects instead of stand-alone edits. The left nav toolbar even notes the steps needed to take a user from start to finish. Tools are categorized … Read more
Turning your Gmail into an editable document used to be as simple as one, two, three clicks. Thanks to a new Gmail feature, however, it's now as simple as, well, one click.
Created by Jeremie LE and David K, the new feature, when activated, lets you turn the contents of an e-mail into a Google document with the click of a button.
To activate this feature, from your Gmail account click on Settings, then click on the Labs link. Scroll down to the Create a Document section. Check Enable and click Save changes. Now, you'll see a Create … Read more
I was interviewed by BrandWeek the other day for a story on the recent hype around “Design Thinking” in marketing. They were looking for a skeptic and found me. First of all, it is worth noting that the term “design thinking” is of course a clever marketing buzzword. It’s ironic that marketers themselves embrace it as the next big thing as it doesn’t create a new marketing paradigm so much as it proves that marketers are prone to being persuaded by their very own tricks. “Design Thinking” has become a brand, and brands are all the more powerful … Read more
Flash games can be obscenely fun to play, but not so easy to make. There is, however, a wonderful market of game building tools, including standouts like Microsoft's Popfly, and Sploder that have seen steady improvement. PlayCrafter is a new entrant to the fray with a tool that lets you build very simple, enjoyable games that run right in your browser.
Like the Incredible Machine and games that have come since, Playcrafter is a piecework creation tool that centers around combining various parts ruled by an in-game physics system. All game pieces are drag and drop, and each bucket of parts can be customized by color, point value, or in some cases down to their interaction with the in-game physics engine (hello, zero-friction mini golf).
Included in the builder are genres like Breakout (see Pong), Mini Golf, and Memory. These are simply templates, as you can remove each element to begin anew. There are also various sets of ready-made parts that plug in to the building environment. You can simply mix and match these to create a franken-game that blends genres completely.
Making a good game is about more than templates. Playcrafter requires a little bit of gaming know-how to create games that make you want to come back for more. The good news is that you can dive right into a creation that's half-baked in order to play-test it, and figure out where the weaknesses are, something that makes building games almost as fun as playing ones created by others.
When finished with a creation, you can share it with others in the built-in community page. The "fair," as it's called, shows which games have received the most play, along with their general difficulty level. You can also quickly eyeball which ones are worth playing from their thumbnail and see when they were last edited.
Playcrafter is off to a really fantastic start. There's a revenue sharing system in place that rewards game makers for heavily played titles, and enough game types to let you build 10 or more titles that are completely different from one another. Players looking for a truly unique experience, however, will still want to rely on honest to goodness game developers that distribute their work to sites like Kongregate, Miniclip, and others since Playcrafter is missing some of the deep community elements like in-game chat, and a rewards and payment system that will let creators make premium titles--all things to expect in future updates.
Video of the tool in action is after the jump.… Read more