Saturday, January 22, 2011

Celestial Bodies, an experiment in Parametric game design.

I love Thingiverse. I love being able to download stuff and then actually make something from a downloaded file.  I especially love the parametric designs that people come up with.  Just by changing a few number around you can end up with something that is drastically different from what you started with.   Maybe even different from what the designer thought of.   It was this emergent design property that got me thinking, "What if I applied the principal idea behind parametric objects to game design?"  Game Developers are always looking for ways to create emergent behavior in their games. Why not? Creating emergent behaviors in a game lends to the verisimilitude of the game word, it adds depth to play mechanics, and allows the player to become more engaged in a game.  All of this while not requiring that lazy developer to lift a finger.  In fact separation from the developer is what makes emergent game behaviors... emergent.  Games like Little Big Planet, Mod Nation Racers, Minecraft, and Line Rider all thrive on the idea of emergent behavior as a cornerstone of their game design.  This is something that we commonly see in videogames especially online games, which leads me to Celestial Bodies.  One of my goals with Celestial Bodies was to leverage the internet connectivity of the 3D printing process, to create an emergent behavior ecosystem similar to the ecosystem that games like Little Big Planet and Minecraft enjoy.    By using the awesome power of thingiverse I am able to allow people to create their own game assets.  By creating their own game assets people create new ways to play,  keep themselves involved in the game, and offer free advertising when they show people their creations.   But most important of all it keeps the game fresh and fun.

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