1pxg: Black/white + extended input ~ Alphabetical

One pixel games are a little pet experiment of mine in which I try to find “gameness” or ludicity in minimal systems, namely “pixels” – squares whose only function is to display color. You can check out other instances of these pixels here.

I was in the process of seeing through the release of the first commercial game I’ve worked on, kinda kept me away from the blog.

Anyways, I’ve continued working on one-pixel games in the meantime. I was planning to extend the color-displaying capacities at first, but decided to give my pixel the ability to recognize each keyboard key separately. This was previously not the case, as every key counted as a “press”.

The implications of this change is that the possible states of the input device can’t be naturally mapped to all the states the pixel can display. Prototypes derived from this situation should take advantage of this fact.

Alphabetical proximity

You must find the right letter. By the way, do you know your abc?

Click here to show/hide the prototype

Hinted alphabetical proximity

The same goal as above, I’ve just changed the way proximity is shown.

Click here to show/hide the prototype

Since the number of possible input configurations has exploded compared to the number of states the pixel can display, it becomes difficult to find the proper input if not explicitly prompted. This was leveraged for these two prototypes, where the proper input is randomly chosen between the alphabet letters at every new cycle. Theoretically, you would have 1/26 chances of finding the good input, averaging to 13 tries per cycle  if you are methodical.

That’s not fun. Believe me, I’ve tried.

In order to make the system more fun, I implemented a hint system that warns you when you hit a letter close to the one randomly chosen. I believe that this mechanism reduces the feeling of  being just trying to “brute force” the search and try to be a little more strategic, this being what might elicit the ludicity of the given system.

Abstract gamels, AKA “rules”

Author’s note: I’m attempting to develop a method for game analysis around irreducible game elements (gamels). This and all the other articles are a sort of log of my thought process, and are not definitive truths. Please feel free to react or comment in any way.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of game rules recently, partly due to Johan Huizinga’s influence and partly due to a “very small” project I’ve been investing my free time in recently.

Rules are what I manipulate when designing. Whether I’m tuning controls, scoring systems, writing a story or just thinking about a new super-cool gameplay, every design decision I make explicitly or implicitly affects one of the many rules that compose a video game. Continue reading

Constraint: Controls

I consider control to be the last of the constraint categories based off the physical characteristics of play. Also, it is one of the few “universal” constraints I might talk about, as it is applied to any kind of games. I would even go as far as stating that most games are determined by some form of constrained controls. Continue reading