In the culture of video games there are things called ludic artefacts. These are player created content, but not in the game, outside of it. Cuddly toys, costumes, films and fan art, they're all ludic artefacts. The internet is awash with them - just type 'cosplay' into Google and you'll see just a glimpse.
I was thinking that I should try to inspire some ludic artefactification of Alien Avian Attack. Maybe something around the alien avian designs, some of which look like this:
But then I realised that we've already been honoured, at the very highest level, no less:
In the morrow I shall be enjoying talks of wisdom at UX11, a kind of boutique conference on all things relating to user experiences.
Attendance is invitation only, which makes me feel rather special, in a good way. But it's also the source of mystery, because I don't know who referred me. I thank them, whoever they are; it's nice to be thought of.
Have you ever been in the situation where a friend has an idea for a game that's so simple, so obvious, so brilliant, you actually make them some graphics to help push them along the path of making the thing?
Exactly, we've all been there at some time, right?
Then, of course, they don't use your graphics and they go off and do other bits of software, but you keep nagging them and nagging them.
I know dear reader, its like I know your life.
And years pass, and you think "this game's never gonna happen." Well, I am here to give you good news: It does happen. After about four and a half years, you'll be sat there, maybe typing up a design for a touch application, maybe pretending not to watch Project Runway. And suddenly, wham, all systems are go! It's in progress. The game is on!
All I can tell you right now is that it's destined for iPhone, and, like an octopus crossed with a meercat, you'll wonder why you've not seen it before.
This morning I'm off to Victoria University Wellington, to see how the student games are coming along. This is their beta presentation, which means their games should be feature complete, although I doubt they will be on such short development times. It also means they have to present and defend their work, which will probably be heart-breaking, for at least one group.
Game development - like Lovecraftian insanity, but less permanent...
For me, it will be a mixture of envy and relief. Hitting beta on a project is a wonderful thing (assuming you actually hit it on time), where you can really start to refine the game. It's like you know the chords, you know the music, from this point on you just have to nail the phrasing.
Of course, that's an ideal world. Most of the time, even for the most professional of teams, beta is a heart-breaking occasion where you realise that you still have far too much content and features left to go into the build and balancing it all is going to drive you to the brink of insanity. But that's part of the reason those of us that make games enjoy it.