January 29th, 2013 NY Gaming Meetup's January NYC Gaming Demo


On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, OLC attended NY Gaming Meetup's January NYC Gaming Demo held at Microsoft and featuring seven demos from Andrew Garrahan, Andy Wallace, Bez Arkush, David Kuelz, Glen Straub and Andrew Kallen, Jesse Freeman and Roger Purcell.

Andy Wallace presented Doodle Defense, the "only whiteboard-based tower defense" to have been ported to mobile devices. It is played on a regular whiteboard and uses computer vision to locate the walls and towers places on the board. Doodle Defense is just coming out for iOS and the iPad. "All you need is a projector, HD cable, iPhone and a whiteboard," Wallace said. The game started as exploring drawing as interacting with the game. "I liked the idea of organic gameplay," he said. Doodle Defense categorizes towers using different colors for different towers and uses the size of the towers to calculate its strength. "The spatial area becomes important in the game. You draw the towers bigger and place walls, but you also run out of ink." Wallace commented on how exciting it was to see what people created and drew on the whiteboard. "The iPad version is a lot like finger painting," Wallace said. "A lot of people who haven't played tower defense is playing it. Younger kids have fun, but they don't really play the game. They don't care about getting to level two!"

Roger Purcell demoed Math vs. Aliens, an interactive kids app for iOS. "The game follows a basic storyline," Purcell said. "It incorporates addition and subtraction and starts off pretty easy for the kids and the progresses to more difficult double digits as the child moves on." When the answers are correct, the user is motivated to do well. A sound effect—cheering—prompts the user to progress the level, but if the answer is wrong, there is no sound effect, but a "Try Again" screen. "You're not going to boo a little kid," Purcell said. He revealed that there was a lot of international interest in the game. "I got a lot of feedback from the international users, they said it taught them English and math," he said. When asked about why voiceovers were included in the app, Purcell said, "I had to add voiceovers because kids don't understand it—they need bright colors and noise to keep their minds stimulated." Purcell's goal is to move the app towards educational institutions.

Glen Straub and Andrew Kallen demoed What the Block? Kallen revealed that the app had been just launched for the iOS earlier today. The game was written through Corona SDK and used its cross development platform kit and its built-in physics engine. The game is played on iPad to move blocks into designated locations, color-coded to create the puzzle aspect of the game. The user can use multiple fingers to move the blocks around in the air. What the Block? used two combinations of testing to get feedback: "I got a sense of what was easy and what wasn't by sending it to family and friends and asking them what was difficult and what wasn't, and then we used beta testers for the rest," Kallen said. The game is .99 cents on the app store and there are in-app purchases in the game for further monetization. "The game is unlocked through progression," Kallen added.

Super Paper Monster Smasher was developed by Jesse Freeman (GameCook). The user plays as a monster and moves the monster left or right to attack the oncoming soldiers. The game flips the idea of good and evil on its head—the user plays the monster (evil) and fights against the soldiers (good). Freeman's approach to developing the game was to make it simple enough that even a three-year-old would be able to understand the game mechanics. "You basically click left or right to move the monster and kill these soldiers," Freeman said. The soldiers also had speech bubbles, shouting quips like, "HTML5 FTW!" Freeman said that the levels were all randomly generated and each new level introduces new attackers. The Windows 8 game is written in JavaScript and its music was developed by Sam McCraken. "Games are changing in mobile," Freeman said. "It's quick and if my three-year-old can't figure it out, I know I have no chance in that market."

David Kuelz demoed After, an RPG game that was developed through an RPG Maker. "I'm a writer," Kuelz said, "so I focused more on the storyline than the art—the art is all standard in RPG Maker." The gameplay, like Kuelz had described followed a strong storyline with side quests, amounting up to eight endings. "One gameplay decision I made was to make a class system—much like Final Fantasy—and the characters can choose up to two classes and unlock two skill trees." Kuelz wanted a strong replay value so he added 18 different variations of dungeons. "There's eight different endings and it's viable if there's different content every time you play it," he said. "There's 18 different dungeons and it changes depending on your storyline decisions. The dungeons are puzzle-based." Because RPG Maker is Windows-based, Kuelz thought about porting the game to Unity, but decided against it because he reasoned that mobile wasn't suited for a deep storyline. He also estimated the gameplay time to be around eight to 10 hours.

RespiRight is the first mobile connected device that helps respiratory training. It gamifies respiratory training for asthma patients. "There's no real incentive, direct progress of respiratory therapy," Bez Arkush said. "We're targeting athletes, sports markets, endurance and health spaces." A wire is connected to the iPad and the device, after the patient (or user) blows air into the tube can determine what level the user's respiratory condition is in. It can test, train and track respiratory progress and uploads data to a secure cloud database for doctors to track multiple patients. The app essentially builds a platform for the user. From the regular spirometer (digital), a diver game and an airship game (alternatively titled the adaptive respiratory game), RespiRight is a "fun way to play games," Arkush said.

Andrew Garrahan demoed Walking NYC and cited tardiness and rushing to work as inspirations for the app. "We wanted to know what the pet peeves were for New Yorkers when they are rushing to get to work or a meeting," Garrahan said. The game is built in openGL and the game is "a lot like Temple Run" in that it is an endless runner. The main character is in underpants and is late to work. The character can't run into other CPUs running or walking towards you and the user has to move the character to avoid them. Tourists are a lot like "victims and we got a lot of flak for that," and can be pushed on to the ground as the character runs towards his destination. The app took five months to develop and an additional two months to reach full development. Garrahan thought about releasing apps set in other cities, but he and his creative director were focused on NYC and would create other cities "only if this one sold well." Audience members pitched ideas to the two, suggesting that "punting dogs or pushing people standing in the middle of the street on cellphones into the gutter," which delighted Garrahan and the rest of the audience. 

January 22nd NY Gaming Meetup Recap: http://www.officeleasecenter.com/articles/january-22nd-2013-ny-gamings-meetup--deep-dive-how-to-master-prototyping-your-game-idea-on-paper.html