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  1. #1
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
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    So I made a game (sort of...)

    Another Edit (I put this thing up way to early): I decided to spent some more time with it in order to make it less obscure. This may take some time, but I'm going to constantly update this page, as I'm still relying on other people telling me what's wrong with it.


    I was toying with the idea of making videogames for quite some time (who hasn't?) but always bounced off the programming stuff. I was also hesitant to use any of the 'you don't need to program'-Programs (e.g. Construct), because I actually wanted to learn how to program.
    So at the beginning of this year, due to a suggestion in the comments beneath one of those 'Learn how to program in Minecraft' Posts on RPS, I found Codeacademy. About two weeks ago I started putting something together in Unity.

    And here we have the result. In lack of any better name, I called it 'Telos'.







    And if you already thought that the name sounds slightly pretentious, wait until you hear what's it about.

    Telos is a game about the Problem of Induction. Its main Element is based upon a thought experiment by Paul Watzlawick (1921-2007), called 'Die Aberglšubische Ratte' ('The superstitious Rat'), published in his Book 'Wie wirklich ist die Wirklichkeit?' ('How Real is Real' in english (according to Wikipedia.)).

    My goal was to present a simple example of how humans try to gain reliable knowledge about our world and what kind of problems we might encounter while pursuing
    this knowledge. This game is an experiment since I haven't done anything like that before. It's also an 'ingame experiment' as you (the player) has no clue about how the world you're
    put into actually works. You have to find that out for yourself.

    You can get it here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/42qnrznbykck7zv/_qAHPMJQVo

    (If someone has a better suggestion to host the file then dropbox, please feel free to tell me.)

    You can choose between a Windows (not XP), Mac and Linux-Version, but the latter two are completely untested, so if you happen to try them out, please tell me whether or not they actually work.
    Please also tell me if you encounter any other kind of technical Problem. I can't promise anything, but I will at least try to fix it.


    Besides that, it should run on almost anything. Just be wary for the giant ball of unoptimised particle effects that is 'the sun' as it tanked the framerate on my (fairly crappy) Laptop when I looked at it. I reduced its size in the latest version, but chances are hight that it wasn't enough.
    Last edited by MOKKA; 14-03-2013 at 03:05 PM. Reason: put in a slightly better description

  2. #2
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    It might help if you told us a bit about the game :)

  3. #3
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordcooper View Post
    It might help if you told us a bit about the game :)
    Yeah probably. My posting yesterday was a bit premature and I didn't really thought much about how to actually 'promote' it. Going to edit the OP a bit.

    Edit: Changed the Op a bit to make it slightly less optuse, I hope it's enough.
    Last edited by MOKKA; 13-03-2013 at 10:49 AM.

  4. #4
    hello MOKKA
    just downloaded your game and had a quick play, thought i would offer you some feedback if that is okay

    - i loved the volume change from the initial starting corridor to the adjacent chamber, small auditory tweaks like this can have larger implications for how the player experiences/perceives the game world, so kudos to you

    - i thought the overall visual design (lots of flat colours, hard to differentiate between vertical/horizontal surfaces) slightly reminiscent of that terry cavanagh game "At a Distance" (here is link incase you are interested: http://distractionware.com/blog/2011/12/at-a-distance/ ) - but sometimes it was hard to visually 'read' what was going on in your environment, whereas the at a distance style pushes that difficulty of depth perception so much, that it becomes a game mechanic! i guess i'm trying to say, maybe push the visual style to a further extreme, or simplify it some?

    - i got to the top of a room, where there were 3 buttons with corresponding sounds - after pressing them all out of order, then in order, then in backwards order, nothing seemed to happen & i couldn't progress - maybe that just illustrates i'm not a very smart cookie, but might i suggest more visual feedback which correspond to player actions?

    but for a project which is your first, i think it's great! and thanks for posting it, & also thanks for introducing me to codeacadamy, maybe in a few more months you can comment on one of my games :D

    all best, and i hope my comments didn't sound at all negative (not my intention)

  5. #5
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
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    Sorry for the late answer, it's sounds a bit funny, but just when I was about to answer you on friday, my Internet died.

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.trout1 View Post
    all best, and i hope my comments didn't sound at all negative (not my intention)
    Your comment is perfectly fine, don't worry. Seriously, if I would to be offended by rational, construcitve ciriticism, I should not put my stuff out in public to begin with. Come to think of it, I better also not be offended by the irrational, loud stuff. This is still the internet we're talking about.

    Anyway, let's talk about your points in paticular.

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.trout1 View Post
    - i thought the overall visual design (lots of flat colours, hard to differentiate between vertical/horizontal surfaces) slightly reminiscent of that terry cavanagh game "At a Distance" (here is link incase you are interested: http://distractionware.com/blog/2011/12/at-a-distance/ ) - but sometimes it was hard to visually 'read' what was going on in your environment, whereas the at a distance style pushes that difficulty of depth perception so much, that it becomes a game mechanic! i guess i'm trying to say, maybe push the visual style to a further extreme, or simplify it some?
    Nice that you pointed out 'At a distance', because I used screenshots of the game as some kind of orientation. The paticular 'look' of the game is, as I said in the OP, more or less accidental. I'm going to play with it around a bit. Yesterday I almost broke it, while I was playing with some colousettings and Unity, despite me saying to not save the changes, somehow saved them. The game now looks a bit different as I think the walls are a bit darker. I think I really need to play at a Distance now. Can you even play it alone?

    Now onto the buttons, which somehow adresses one of the main flaws of this thing. So far the only people who are able to 'get' what I'm trying to do with this game, are the one's who know the thought-experiment I mentioned in the OP. This or I told them personally what's it about.

    So let me give you a quick summary about it:

    Imagine the following experiment:
    You have a corridor, on one end you put a bowl and on the other end, you put a rat. After 10 seconds, food will fall into the bow,but only if the rat does not reach it, before those 10 seconds are up. After some trial and error the rat will recognise a correlation between the time which has passed and the appearance of food. it usually takes the rat about 2 seconds to get to the bowl, which isn't enough. So the rat needs to something else in order to pass more time. What she does is at first, completely random, but with repetition will get a 'pseudocausal' status. Which means that the rat is going to repeat the exact same motions over and over again, because she thinks that it's because of those motions that the food appears.

    What fascinates me about this thought experiment is that you see this kind of behaviour in humans every day. Just on my way to the university today I saw a woman in the bus pressing the 'stop' button next to the door, because she thinks she needs to press it in order for the door to open. But this is not true.

    The important thing is, that we can never be sure that whatever kind of causal relationship we think we have found in the world is actually true. It could be something completely different. So, by repeating the same things over and over again, we will never learn anything new, we will only verify our own believes.
    Science tries to circumvent this problem by using falsification. Science does not really seeks the 'truth'. It actually tries to find out what's wrong. The only thing we can at least remotely be sure of is, that if something is proven wrong, it usually stays wrong.



    Why am I writing this? Because this is what I want to demonstrate with this game. Sadly so far it's not completely possible right now. This has mostly two reasons:

    Firstly: There is no incentive for the player to get some food. It takes some time for the food to appear and the size of the level makes it highly unlikely that the player even gets the food, if he's not actively looking for it.
    How could I circumvent it? Well, by either changing the mechanism, or by giving the player a reason to stay near the 'food machine'.

    Secondly: Even if the player manages to get repeatedly some food and even develops his own kind of superstitious rule about how the food appears, he will never ever come to the point and starts to ask himself some questions of existential importance. Why should he? He's comfortable. So I need to push the player. But I also don't want to rub it into his face. I always found those games the most impressive where I got tricked into doing something and which then confronted me with this later on.

    I have some ideas which might work, but I haven't tried to implement them right now. Partially, because I'm still without Internet at home and I still need it look up on all these programming things.

    The other reason why I'm hesitant to do it, and this is going to sound a bit pretentious (but I mean it nonetheless): I'm afraid of dilluting the initial message by making it 'more clear'.

    You know what my first idea was? To simply make an empty room, which rotates around a sun. I wanted to make something like this, to ask the question if a game even need to have an externally defined goal and purpose. This somehow then got mixed with this other idea about the food machine. And I'm still hesitant to give the player some kind of 'goal' in order to get him to do stuff.

    I think I'm going to do something very subtle. Maybe make the world a bit less static and put in some text which appears at certain points in the game.

    And now, after reading this, I'm going to let you answer the question whether or not the buttons actually do anything yourself.

    I probably should've picked something less philosophical as a first project. But to be honest, the potential of adressing question like this was the reason what really got me interested in making my own games.

    P.S.:

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.trout1 View Post
    but for a project which is your first, i think it's great! and thanks for posting it, & also thanks for introducing me to codeacadamy, maybe in a few more months you can comment on one of my games :D
    Thanks for the nice words. Codecademy is a nice place to start I think. Just one word of advice: Codeacademy has some kind of stupid 'gamification' thing going in order to keep you motivated. I don't think this is a very good idea, as it could encourage people to rush through the lessons, without fully comprehending their contents. Take your time.
    But do it. Make some room in your schedule and start learning. Making this thing was (and still is) highly frustrating. But writing a piece of code and after hours of screaming see it executing exactly as you intended it, is very rewarding. And if anything, it really makes you appreciate all those people who make games for a living.

  6. #6
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    Hi Mokka, what programming language did you use for this / what course in code academy did you take? I've started doing programming classes on udacity and been enjoying it quite a bit, with probably the eventual goal of making my own game as well. I'm going to download this and check it out--will let you know once I do.

  7. #7
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vg fan View Post
    Hi Mokka, what programming language did you use for this / what course in code academy did you take? I've started doing programming classes on udacity and been enjoying it quite a bit, with probably the eventual goal of making my own game as well. I'm going to download this and check it out--will let you know once I do.
    I did the whole track for Javascript at codeacademy as Javascript is one of the languages you could use to program in Unity, the others being C# and Boo (I think?).
    By the way, you don't really need to know how to code in order to make games. Sure being able to program helps, but things like Construct or Game maker (to some extend) let you put stuff together witouth coding. If you like making games you can still start to learn a programming language after that. I just happened to go that way, because I actually want to learn how to program. Just do what you think works best for you. Don't look too much at other people, don't think too much about it, just start working on it.

    I'm still without Internet at home, but hopefully I'll be able to update the game during the weekend. You can still play the current version if you like, be it only to verify my current hypothesis. After that last update I'm going to start working on something new with a bit more player interaction.

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