Archive for the ‘Video Game’ Category

Video Gaming and Healthcare Industries Collaborate to Deliver Dual-Effect Treatment

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Do you suffer from anxiety, depression, foggy memory, or lack of focus? Your doctor may soon prescribe video games as a form of mental therapy.  In his recent article “Will Doctors Soon Prescribe Videogames?” Adam Bluestein reveals that brain-training games are quickly being welcomed as a means of therapy by both the neuroscience as well as pharmaceutical companies. The game featured in the attached video is called Neuroracer, “a specifically designed driving game… [for] age-related cognitive decline in senior citizens, improving memory, attention, and the ability to multitask.” says Bluestein.

However gaming-based health solutions aren’t limited to the senior market. Another Neuroracer platform game called EVO is being developed, by game maker Alkili Interactive Labs, for adolescent to middle age adult tablet users. “The game is currently being deployed in about a half dozen clinical trials, testing its effectiveness for improving function in kids with ADHD (in collaboration with Shire) and autism, treating depression (with the National Institutes of Health), and detecting early signs of Alzheimer’s disease (with Pfizer).” Says Bluestein.

Pharmaceutical companies are partnering with game developers to market drug-software “eFormulations”. “Imagine picking up your medication and finding a software code on the package that directs you to a complementary game,” Bluestein said. This will be particularly helpful in aiding general anxiety disorder. Benzodiazepine is the standard prescription, which usually requires a component of deep breathing and meditation. The games are designed to put the patient at ease and in a state of serenity needed to react with the medication.

Cogswell offers programs in Game Design and Development combining both engineering and art for games and various forms of interactive technology.  The possibilities of merging game design with the healthcare industry open up lots of potential directions for future designers.

Where do you see the partnership between the two industries leading? What other industries do you think may merge with game design in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Fast Company

Cogswell Student’s Artwork Featured On Kotaku!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Matt Bard

Dungeonesque Walls

One of our students, Matt “Bardler” Bard, had his polycount rock formation featured on Kotaku as, “A rather magnificent-looking, somewhat dungeonesque wall from Bardler”

Clicker here for the article!

Awesome job, Matt!

Mario Kart 8 and Anti-Gravity: A New Frontier in Racing Game Design

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The 22-year-old Mario Kart franchise has always been Nintendo’s go-to game when it comes to boosting sales. The May 29th release of Mario Kart 8, couldn’t have come at a better time. Nintendo recently slashed its sales forecast for the Wii U down to a mere 3.6 million for the current fiscal year. The title may boost revenue for the floundering Wii U system, however the release also boasts new and innovative factions of video game design with the concept of Anti-Gravity.

Anti-Gravity allows gamers to defy the laws of physics and race on tracks horizontal, vertical, and upside-down. This creates a whole new angle on track options, game play, and the overall fun-factor. However defying the laws of gravity in a racing game proved complicated for game designers.

IGN Game reviewer Jose Otero offered insight on the issue in his recent review How Anti-Gravity Made Mario Kart Better. “We always want to introduce an element of surprise,” Director Kosuke Yabuki told IGN. “We thought that just improving the graphics to make the game prettier wouldn’t be enough.” Yabuki and the team came up with lots of ideas for what the new hook for Mario Kart 8 would be, but they settled on changing the direction of gravity,” Ostero said.

Mario Kart had a lot of to think about in terms of processes and physics. “Working in anti-gravity along with the speed of the karts, the camera location, and items that were in play was difficult,” said Ostero, “The team tried to come up with a system that would automatically determine gravity as a player raced along as a potential solution, but the results weren’t satisfactory.

The solution was a manual method of controlled gravity. “A programmer set specific areas that would activate different gravity in each course. This decision eventually led to being able to play these courses in a natural and comfortable way,” Ostero said.

The final product introduces a noteworthy new concept that’s subtle, but adds to the overall visual aesthetics. This also introduces a new spin on the concept of anti-gravity within the realm of racing games. Cogswell’s Game Design & Development programs exemplify the intersection of engineering and art concepts like that of anti-gravity.

Are you going to buy Mario Kart 8? – Do you think that game design concepts like anti-gravity are enough to further the franchise? – Are you Team Mario or Team Luigi? Tell us in the comments below!

Source: IGN

The Sims 4: Unique Fusion of A.I. Technology and Emotion-Based Soundtrack offers Gamers New Ways to interact with their Sims

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Since 2000 The Sims has been a staple in the gaming world, setting the standard for real-life simulation.  However in recent years the various expansion packs and add-ons have confused consumers on the brand that original creator Will Wright began 14 years ago.

The Sims 4 offers new and exciting features that will remind gamers of the original game rooted in emotion. “SmartSim”, is a new feature that heightens emotions for the Sims. During gameplay, the Sims’ emotions are impacted in different ways, for example, hobbies, relationships, food, etc. Combined with new digital animation techniques and A.I. technology, the “Smart Sim” is a completely new breed of Sim.

In the past Sims never interacted with the gamer. However, by adding emotion, and a new soundtrack, the Sim can now react with the gamer through music. Soundtrack composer Ilan Eshkeri had to create scores that could take advantage of the SmartSim’s emotional capabilities and also hark back to earlier stages in the game.

“If something emotional happens… I’d try to relate all of those to a few notes or a riff or a chord sequence that appeared in one of the longer pieces of background music. For example, if character is doing something in the house or if something breaks in the house, I’d try to relate that to the music you heard when you were building the house,” Eshkeri said.

According to executive producer Rachel Franklin, the flow of the game comes together with the marriage of sound design and digital animation technology. “Ilan is known for these theatrical sweeping, wonderful compositions,” Franklin said. “It’s a way for the Sim to respond back to the player… You can really feel that in the audio. Combining that with animation technology and facial emotional overlays… things work together in a really cool way to make you feel more related to your Sim. Because ultimately you’re caring for them…the music brings your relationship really to a height.”

Cogswell College offers programs in Digital Art and Animation, Digital Audio Technology, and Game Design.  Titles like The Sims 4 wouldn’t be possible without the technological advancement of these disciplines.  – Learn more about the opportunities these programs can provide TODAY!

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/07/sims-4-composer-ilan-eshkeri

9 Video Games We Wish Had Sequels

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

When video game studios hit on a good idea, they’ll frequently throw all of their resources into turning that one success into a string of successes. Although franchising is very common, every now and then a designer will leave a great title as a lone project. It might be a budget issue or politics among the developers or just bad luck, but whatever the reason, some favorite titles that would be well-suited to follow-ups have been left untouched for years. From underground research facilities in Half-Life to heroic journeys in Heavenly Sword; the end of these games has left thousands of gamers heartbroken.

Some are stand-alones and some are series that lost their way, but a new chapter of any of these stories would be welcomed with open arms. Visit this link for a full list of the nine video games that we wish would get sequels.

Article originally published at Mashable here.

25 Years of Game Boy

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Raise your hand if you’ve owned a Game Boy (Hand raised)!

The Game Boy, Nintendo’s first full-sized handheld device, was released in Japan on April 21, 1989. It featured a green LCD screen, a directional pad, A, B, and start and select buttons. It was released in America in August of the same year for $89.99. Over the next decade and a half, the original Game Boy and its upgrades like Game Boy Color would sell 118 million units worldwide.

Take a look at this Mashable article for Every Game Boy Model from the Past 25 Years.

Top 10 Games we’d Love to Play in Virtual Reality

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The next chapter of gaming and entertainment is almost here; virtual reality. As Sony prepares ‘Project Morpheus’, a virtual reality prototype for the PS4; the realism that virtual reality games will be taken from concept to completion is approaching quickly. This new technology will deliver a sense of presence, where you as the player actually feel like you’re inside the game and your emotions feel that much more real.

With the knowledge that this will soon be available to the masses, CraveOnline made a list of the Top 10 Games We’d Love to Play in Virtual Reality. Although we think that practically any game in existence would be insanely cool to experience through virtual reality; this list really gets the imagination going at the idea of experiencing these games in a seemingly real environment. Take a look at their list and see for yourself!

What games would you love to experience through virtual reality? Comment below!

Cogswell Game Studio & Barron Park Elementary School

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Cogswell Game Studio & Barron Park Elementary School

Barron Park ElementaryCogswell Game Studio, a project-based learning course, visited Barron Park Elementary on Thursday, March 6, 2014 for the first “play test” of their game Tangram Jam.

A “play test” is a quality insurance process in game development where an alpha or beta version of a game is tested in a controlled environment. The team took both a PC pre-alpha build and mobile versions of the user interface for 3rd grade students to experience.  While the game is fun, it is also a ‘serious game’; it teaches math concepts to students.

Arlinda Smith (teacher) and Magdelna Frittoria (Principal) welcomed the Cogswell students form the game development team into a 3rd grade class at Barron Park Elementary.  The elementary school students were enthusiastic to give feedback on the game and what they found to be fun elements.  Cogswell game design art and engineering students took metrics on game play performance and observed what the children were enjoying and learning during game play.

During this play test session, the team also found several things to improve the play of the game for the students.

Cogswell Game Studio is part of the curriculum and process in the Game Design & Development program.

It was a wonderful experience and we learned a lot. We were able to observe how the kids responded to the music, models and interface. We found out why they liked or didn’t like certain aspects of the game as well as what they would do differently with the game. My focus was seeing if the kids understood the interface. I was surprised at how easily the kids navigated through the interface as if they’ve done it a thousand times before. [We] tried to make the UI as clear and understandable as possible and we definitely nailed it with this one. I’m looking forward to the next school visit because we’ve prepared an even better game to present.

~ Shawn Sercombe, Cogswell student

ElementaryElementary 2

10 Most Influential Games of the 80s

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

It’s no secret that video games were a great deal different back in the 1980’s; from classics we still see today to the games that didn’t live to see the next decade. Remember the original versions of SimCity (1989), The Legend of Zelda (1987), John Madden Football (1988), and Super Mario Bros. (1985)? What about the always classic Pac-Man (1980) and Tetris (1987)? One component we can all likely agree on, however, is the fact that the ghosts of gaming past have paved the way and made a huge impact on the gaming industry we see today. This Yahoo article gives their picks of the 10 most influential games of the 1980s, but we’ll let you be the judge on which games were the most impactful from that decade.

What would you add to their list? How would you rank the games? Give us your two cents below!

Free-to-Play Games on the Rise

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Many experts in the game design industry predict that the rising trend in free-to-play games will continue during 2014 and the foreseeable future. Insiders and outsiders alike are of the opinion that free-to-play was just for mobile and browser titles, but that’s not the case.

Some high quality offerings have become available over the last couple of years and with the success they’ve experienced, more are planned. Full games such as Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, PlanetSide 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic have all launched on the free-to-play platform.

There are definitely pros and cons to free-to-play. On the positive side, people can try the game and play for extended periods of time before spending money. Casual gamers can enjoy playing without paying monthly fees. It offers a cheap entertainment alternative.

The flip side is that free isn’t free in a lot of cases, and it’s difficult to tell when you first start playing how much it will cost to maintain interest or stay competitive because many players will choose to add options. Some options give players a competitive advantage, hence the allegations of “pay to win,” and many players are willing to buy anything and pay any price to win.

How game designers make money with free-to-play games

It seems counter-intuitive that a game designer would make money for a free game, but they can actually make more money if done correctly by offering it for free rather than a pay-to-play model.

Through micro-transactions, (generally $1-$5) game designers make options available to enhance the player’s experience. Some purists decry this as “pay to win,” but many of the things you can buy in the cash shop are cosmetic options to differentiate players from each other.

Free-to-play games also monetize through advertising. Many have ads that pop up during breaks; in-game advertising banners placed throughout the game simulate advertising at sporting events. In-game adverting affects the game as little as possible.

It’s estimated that the free-to-play version of Team Fortress 2 generated 12 times the revenue of its subscription counterpart. So if it’s done well, game designers will find the free-to-play platform very lucrative.

As a consumer, do you use free-to-play games, or spend a little extra to enjoy an ad free gaming experience?