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GDC - Game Design Challenge 19

Posted by Zonk
from the throwing-down dept.
For the past three years, Eric Zimmerman (of the gameLab group) has brought together a trio of designers to tackled a difficult game concept. Last year's Emily Dickinson challenge was a surreal poetry experience. This year Mr. Zimmerman took a more serious tack, by putting forward the concept of 'The Nobel Peace Prize' for the participants to ponder. Read on for notes on the presentations from Harvey Smith, CliffyB, and Keita Takahashi.


PeaceBomb (Harvey Smith's Presentation) -

A Web-based game played through the Nintendo DS, which organizes flashmobs of players to do constructive projects. A gameworld in which Earth is crushed under the jackboot of a soulless government/corporation. Players come up with ideas in a community-driven format, where the participants can create good ideas. If the idea gets enough good karma from other players, the game 'creates' the flashmob by asking players to show up and do something specific. Examples include donating money or clothes to a shelter, cleaning up an economically depressed area, or donating time to a Habitat for Humanity project. The game would feature the ability for others to vote project idea. It would also allow users to sign petitions with the DS stylus, and similar.

Empathy (CliffyB's Presentation) -

A game targeted at the leaders of the industrialized nations. The game would be an attempt to humanize the effects of war by forcing leaders to face those most affected by war: Civilians. As a leader of a household, within the game, you attempt to keep your family together and alive during a conflict. The player (a national leader) goes through the process of joining the military, and has to deal with the stresses of training and the disruption to their family. The game would be intended to evoke sympathy in the civilian, not in the soldier. A key would be realistic graphics, to ensure empathy with the family characters.

Keita Takahashi's Presentation -

The creator of Katamari Damacy essentially stated that games are a luxury. Games are only around when the game player is in a peaceful situation. If we could somehow get games to everyone all around the world, it would lead to peace by osmosis. His presentation was marked by his struggle with English and a surreal Katamari-esque powerpoint presentation. Despite his obvious effort, Takahashi's English was quite good and his warning at the beginning that we might not understand him turned out to be unneccessary. The presentation ended with a smiling globe and ever propagating happy gamer-people.

After a few questions from the audience, the audience voted via their applause for the design they liked the most. The vote went to Harvey Smith, for his Peacebomb idea, by virtue of a huge audience outpouring. Will Wright was on hand to put his pretty 'reigning champ' tiara on the head of the winner.

For another view on the event, please check out Next Generation's coverage of the challenge.

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GDC - Game Design Challenge

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  • His presentation was marked by his obvious struggle with English...

    His English was quite good, and his admonition at the beginning that we might not understand him turned out to be unneccessary.


    Which one was it??
    Oh well, I'm sure it was pretty cool either way.
    .....
    Jeffery: Where's your Katamari, Weedmaster P?
    Weedmaster P: We are inside it we have always been inside it.
    overcompensating.com [wigu.com]
  • Peace Bomb payout? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Allen Varney (449382) on Friday March 24, 2006 @12:38PM (#14988520) Homepage
    Harvey Smith's Peace Bomb idea sounds great. To sustain its community base, the game would need some incentive for players to keep playing, because in this case the "grind" would be genuinely valuable. Possibly players would make micropayments for small in-game enhancements, such as avatar wardrobe or something; then the payments would be aggregated and paid out to one winner at the end of each community project, voted by each member present at the project. If there were a genuine profit incentive, this would draw a lot of idle players.
    • by n9uxu8 (729360)
      Of course, upon awarding the dosh, the game and/or flashmob would encourage you to donate the funds to whatever project you just completed....which isn't a bad thing....

      Dave
    • as well as the good feeling players would get from putting back into the community, perhaps they would be awarded with a Karma modifer ;) and get ranked on how helpful they were. gold star anyone ??
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Friday March 24, 2006 @12:41PM (#14988546) Journal
    Relativistic mass is gravitational mass (a body approaching speed of light gains mass instead of speed, the heavier a body is, the stronger its gravity -> the faster the body moves the stronger its gravity). The movement doesn't have to be in a straight line, it can be equally well a circular trajectory. So if you get something to spin fast enough that material on the outer edges reaches linear C, it gets heavier and as result its gravity increases. By pumping arbitrary amounts of energy into rotation you're arbitrarily increasing the mass and as result creating a small body that isn't travelling at any significant speed but has arbitrarily high gravity. Slow it down and its gravity drops.
    Now theory hits practice and centrifugal forces break it apart long before it nears C. But if you managed to get a piece of material hard enough not to break and withstand the forces, you can quite easily make it into a controllable gravitational mass.
  • The creator of Katamari Damacy essentially stated that games are a luxury. Games are only around when the game player is in a peaceful situation. If we could somehow get games to everyone all around the world, it would lead to peace by osmosis.

    Once everyone is in a position where they can stop worrying about where their next meal is coming from, where they're going to sleep at night, how they can avoid dying of a nasty disease .. then they can start thinking about luxuries like games. Giving them the games
  • As a Katamari fan, I can't say that Keita Takahashi's presentation is the least bit surprising. I do notice they made no mention of him being on an psychoactive substances, however...
  • Really... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Friday March 24, 2006 @12:52PM (#14988672) Homepage
    His presentation was marked by his obvious struggle with English and a surreal Katamari-esque powerpoint presentation. His English was quite good, and his admonition at the beginning that we might not understand him turned out to be unneccessary.

    One of these things is not like the other...
    • Re:Really... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GodaiYuhsaku (543082)
      "marked by his obvious struggle with English grammer"
      "His English pronounciation was quite good"

      Is a way of making sense of the quote. Meaning he had some problems thinking up the proper sentence but you understood the words that are coming out of his mouth.
      But thats just my 2c.
      • "marked by his obvious struggle with English grammer"
        "His English pronounciation was quite good"

        Is a way of making sense of the quote. Meaning he had some problems thinking up the proper sentence but you understood the words that are coming out of his mouth. But thats just my 2c.


        You know, I'm starting to get very used to being wrong. ;)
  • A fourth game idea, a GTA style game where you run around preventing crime and helping pedestrians. It could even be a MMO.
    • Finally a game where you might be allowed to shoot cheaters on sight. I can already hear it.

      "You there! Drop that mouse right now, put it down! Now shove it over to me!"
    • Dunno, I was thinking about a game where you are a police officer with riot equipment between a group of punks and a group of neonazis and your job is to keep the damage to a minimum.
  • The creator of Katamari Damacy essentially stated that games are a luxury. Games are only around when the game player is in a peaceful situation. If we could somehow get games to everyone all around the world, it would lead to peace by osmosis.

    People play games for entertainment and to escape. Soldiers have been playing games for centuries, whether they be games of dice, cards, or on the GBA. Besides, when I was younger, my siblings and I fought over the Nintendo far more than anything else.

  • UN did it (Score:2, Informative)

    by Finkbug (789750)
    http://food-force.com/ [food-force.com] Currently available for Windows & Mac and localized to more languages every day. Surprisingly, crucially, it's actually a solid game.
  • By osmosis? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kamineko (851857)
    Osmosis, as you may know, is the diffusion of a solvent between two distinct 'cells' through a selectively-permeable membrane where there is a concentration gradient.

    This brings the question, is peace is to be transferred via osmosis, what dissolves in peace? Well, many chemicals found in the household dissolve in peace. You put sugar into water, stir it gently, and it dissolves in peace.

    Games, however, do not dissolve in peace. Experiements placing various cartridge and optical media into a large enough be
  • Wouldnt it be great if all games were done in a virtual battelfield, of using robots? but, alas, the loser would just resort to real warefare to win. it makes me wonder if peace would actually work. theres always one guy who wants to spoil things for everyone. if the world had no weapons, and peace was everywhere, what happens when one guy with a home-made weapon comes along? surely no-one could stop him that easily?

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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