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GDC - Game Design Challenge 19

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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  • 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.
  • by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @12:47PM (#14988615) Journal
    oops. wrong story :)
  • 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...
  • By osmosis? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kamineko ( 851857 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @09:45PM (#14992189)
    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 beaker, and stirring gently, result in the clank of the cart (or disc) rattling against the side, until it aligns itself flat against the inner wall of the beaker. These experiments have been conducted at all possible viable temperatures. We conclude that peace is not a solvent for games, and games are not a solute in peace.

    For osmosis to occur, we need a concentration gradient. Giving everybody games is a flawed course of action as everybody will have games, and there will be little motion of peace across this gradient. If peace dissolved in games, then peace would be distributed across the system via diffusion.

    Therefore, I believe we do not need to give everybody games for everybody to have peace. I recommend the rapid distribution of sugar to all the peoples of the world in the hope that we can create a peace gradient sufficient enough for the osmosis of peace to occur.

    Be advised, however, that this will reduce the concentration of peace in areas where peace is to be transferred from. This may result in a global peace distribution where all areas have equal, yet insufficient peace.

    I therefore recommend research into the improvement of efficient peace extraction methods of from common ores to fill this demand.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.