sexta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2016

Book: Play Anything - the pleasure of limits, the uses of boredom, and the secret of games

I bought a new book for my ludic library: Play Anything - the pleasure of limits, the uses of boredom, and the secret of games. Written by the game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost, the book is an awesome discussion about limitation, boredom, games and fun.

You can buy on Amazon. Click here.

Check the synopsis below:

How filling life with play—whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds—forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age.

Life is no game. It’s demanding, boring, and rarely fun. But what if we’ve got games wrong? Playing anything—whether an instrument, a sport, or a video game—takes hard work and makes absurd demands. Where’s the fun in that?

In Play Anything, acclaimed philosopher and award-winning game designer Ian Bogost reveals that play isn’t a mindless escape from boring reality. Instead, play is what happens when we accept limitations, narrow our focus, and—consequently—have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating cards to make a poker hand is no different than treating chores and obligations as tools but which we can discover new happiness.

Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, from ancient poetics to modern consumerism, Play Anything reveals how today’s chaotic world can only be tamed—and enjoyed—when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.


domingo, 9 de outubro de 2016

Horizon Chase – a Brazilian game

As a Brazilian game designer, I like to discuss and bring some Brazilian gaming examples to this blog. Today, I want to talk about Horizon Chase, one very cool game that is a tribute to classic arcade racers.

Created by Aquiris Games Studio and launched in 2015, the game won many prizes and it’s a master class on how to use mobile media to give players a good experience. Check the trailer and gameplay below:

Some important game features to highlight:

1) Horizon Chase is a causal game and its gameplay is created in a simple and intuitive way;
2) Graphics are completely adjusted to the gameplay – the roads, cars and landscapes work together in a very intuitive mechanics;
3) Freeware model for gaming distribution (the studio created this product to win prizes and acquire “symbolic currency”);
4) Horizon Chase dialogues with new and old gamers with its retro mechanics, with a cool, modern layout.

The Brazilian gaming market is coming up with great ideas every year and mobile platforms are a good possibility for many companies. We don’t have a triple A industry here, but there are other options to show the work to the world.

Click here to access the site and download it for free on Apple and Android platforms.


quinta-feira, 22 de setembro de 2016

Rock Flickz: download it now!

This month, my new mobile game, Rock Flickz, was released. I already talked a little bit about the game in this post and now you can download it in the App Store and Play Store for free.

I created this game in a partnership with the digital agency Sioux, from São Paulo and the site Shovel Music. Rock Flickz is a casual experience with a “match the color” mechanics. In the background, players can listen to music from Brazilian independent bands and share their impressions about them. The game has a business model structured in advertising and partnership with a music site named Shovel.

Download it now! Experience a true Brazilian indie game filled with Brazilian indie music! Click here to access the official site.

One more important information: today we celebrate FIVE YEARS of Gaming Conceptz*! Cheers, my friends!


*Check the first post here.

terça-feira, 13 de setembro de 2016

The importance of wireframes in the creative process of gaming

Information architecture is the basis for many digital products in the contemporary scenario. Apps, games, sites, bank phones and many other platforms are designed following the principles of this discipline.

We have many definitions for information architecture, but one that fits better in this post’s subject comes from Rosenfeld and Morville (2002, p.4): I.A. is “an emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape”. When we talk about I.A. we are talking about carefully planning a project. One architect will never build a house without a plan, a map or blueprints – so, we will never build a game without instructions, plans, rules, prototypes or models.

In this post, I want to emphasize the importance of wireframes in the creative process of a digital mobile game. After the definition of the concept, the development of rules and the first tests of the game, it’s fundamental to structure one grid with the basic gaming features and mechanics.

I will use my new game Rock Flickz as an example for this post: after the definition of a theme and a “match the color” mechanics, we started to work on the wireframes – simple structures that indicate the core movements and contents of the game. The function of a wireframe is not to “block” the structure, but to build the functionality of the game. Check below some wireframes with the basic mechanics, menu and main screens from the game (and in the end, the final interface).

So, before the complex codes and final layouts, it’s important to plan – in a simple way – how the game works. It may not be as cool, but it is a fundamental guide to bring the product to life.

It’s important to highlight that wireframes are one curious intersection between the prototype and the final version. It’s a tool to gain time and minimize errors. It’s one methodological process that can be used in analogical and digital game.



ROSENFELD, Louis; MORVILEE, Peter. Information architecture for the world wide web. Sebastopol: O’Reilly, 2002.

segunda-feira, 29 de agosto de 2016

Eight steps for great puzzle designing

Scott Kim is a designer who creates puzzles for print media, websites and computer games. He is a big reference in this very specific field of ludic studies. Ernest Adams, in his book Fundamentals of Puzzle and Casual Game Design (2014), references Kim’s work talking about the “eight steps to create a good puzzle”. I want to highlight some ideas in these eight essential points.

1. Find inspiration: seems obvious, but it’s a nuclear part of the process. To solve lots of puzzles could be a great inspiration, but to search for ideas in other fields is another interesting way to create enigmas. Literature, movies, comics, toys and TV series are some examples of where to find inspiration.

2. Simplify: “keep it simple” is a mantra for game designers. After creating the main idea of a puzzle, it’s important to remove the excesses. Exploring the features of the platform (console, board game, mobile media etc.) can give you creative solutions for puzzle design.

3. Create a construction set: this third item is about prototypes and fast tests. With an idea on your mind, start to construct models (analogical or digital ones) and test this initial version. Test, test, test and test it again. Test alone and call other players to test.

4. Define the rules: Adams (2014, p.10) says that rules are “the key part of puzzle design. Most puzzles are characterized in terms of four things: the board (Is it a grid? A network? Is it regular? Or is there no board at all?), the pieces (How are they shaped? What pictures are on them? Where do they come from?), the moves (What is allowed and what is not? Are they sequential or simultaneous? What side effects do they have?), and the good or victory condition (Does it have to be an exact match, or will a partial one do?

5. Build the puzzles: when the mechanics is ready and functional it’s time to create the final version of the puzzle (analogical or digital). Here we need to pay attention to the first aesthetical details, information architecture and clear instructions for the player.

6. Test: is the final version done? Then test, test, test, and test it again. To find zero faults is difficult but it is always the desired outcome.

7. Devise a sequence: in a game with many puzzles - or many levels with puzzles – it’s good to create a logical order for them. Raising difficulty with some hints between the challenges is an interesting way to work the challenges of your game.

8. Pay attention to presentation: sounds, graphics and other details will make the difference in the puzzle experience. A good puzzle folded in a poor layout could be terrible for the players. Here, multidisciplinary work is essential.

Finally, it’s important to remember that, especially in digital games, puzzles can reach a new level of challenge using some impossible features or breaking the laws of physics. But in analogic games it’s possible to find interesting solutions, like in the “Codex Silenda”, a wooden book that compels you to solve puzzles to turn the pages.

In the video below, the designer behind the idea shows us a little bit of his creative process for this product.



ADAMS, Ernest. Fundamentals of Puzzle and Casual Game Design. San Francisco: Pearson, 2014.

terça-feira, 16 de agosto de 2016

How Super Mario Mastered Level Design

This video from Extra Credits is an awesome game design class using the level 1-1 from Super Mario Bros as an example. We can learn many important features with this classic game. It's a simple level but full of good references to think about game design.

Check the content below:


domingo, 7 de agosto de 2016

What we can learn from Atari's Keystone Kapers

I always like to replay some old classic games from the Atari generation. Not only because of the nostalgia, but to find some simple game design solutions to inspire myself to create new ludic stuff.

This week, I was playing the excellent KEYSTONE KAPERS (Activision, 1983) and I'll talk a little bit about some interesting features from this game, in this post.

I played this game a lot when I was a child and it is a masterpiece until today. The narrative is about a cop chasing a thief inside a kind of a shopping mall. Before discussing some highlights from the game, I invite you to watch the gameplay; please, pay special attention to the brilliant multi-floor scenario linked by a lift.

For a game from the beginning of the 1980's KEYSTONE KAPERS is a very advanced ludic experience. Three important game design points to observe in this title are:

1. Multiple interesting dangers with increasing difficulty throughout the levels. The scenario is always the same, as well as the speed of the two characters; so, objects thrown by the villain against the hero move differently. The shopping cart moves in a straight line, the balls kick, the airplane occupies the top of the floor etc. with a progressing level of speed. About this, Brathwaite and Schreiber (2009, p.100) remember us that "video games that have a sequence of levels, simply start off easy and become progressively more difficult as times goes on" and we can see this feature in classic arcade games.

2. Twitch decision-making. KEYSTONE KAPERS starts slow and becomes fast level by level (as we can see in the previous video). In the beginning of the game, it's possible to run only on the floors, use the stairs and catch the thief. However, in the high levels you must use the lift to capture the villain. Brathwaite and Schreiber (2009, p.101,102) teach us that there are five basic twitch mechanics: pure speed, timing, precision, avoidance, and time pressure. In some way, we can identify these five elements in the gaming interface.

3. Minimal and clear art direction integrated with the gameplay. Everybody knows how difficult it was to create games for Atari platform using minimal resources and few bits for programming, sounds and interface. In KEYSTONE KAPERS, we have a very strategic use of every single element. It's possible to clearly identify all the objects, the scenario, the characters and the gaming interface elements (points, lives etc.). All these features cooperate to create a good gameplay; a good art direction establishes logical dynamics for a good gameplay experience.

Once more, we can find inspiration in some treasures from the past. I usually call it "ludic archeology". If you want to read more about this subject, click here.



BRATHWAITE, Brenda & SCHREIBER, Ian. CHALLENGES FOR GAME DESIGNERS: non-digital exercises for video game designers. USA: Cengage, 2009.