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Comments and Questions on the May 2009 GDS Chellenge

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doho123
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Please use this thread to post any comments, questions or requests for clarification regarding the May 2009 Game Design Showdown Challenge, entitled "The Horror of the Siftables".

Doho123

End of Time Games
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This is my first time ever

This is my first time ever hearing about siftables. Does that disqualify me. Would it require me to somehow get get a hold of these things. THey looks so cool. It's an interesting challenge.

doho123
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End of Time Games wrote:This

End of Time Games wrote:
This is my first time ever hearing about siftables. Does that disqualify me. Would it require me to somehow get get a hold of these things. THey looks so cool. It's an interesting challenge.

I was hoping that most people here had not heard of them, so as to not give too much of an advantage to those who might have see the website before. As far as I can tell (based on their website), they are still in prototype phase. And so, you do not need to (and probably can't) get a hold of them.

Empking
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What are Siftables

I don't have sound so the video isn't very useful. What do siftables do?

doho123
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From this article, which

From this article, which describes a basic word game as developed on Siftables: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126965.400-when-computing-become...

"Each siftable measures about 5-centimetres square and is fitted with an LCD screen, battery, memory, an accelerometer to detect motion, a Bluetooth radio to communicate with other computers, and an infrared link to detect the presence and orientation of neighbouring siftables. Each block also has a small amount of built-in computing power, comparable to that available in a mid-1980s PC.

A group of siftables can be programmed to either solve problems independently, or take their orders from a desktop computer, in which case the way the pieces are moved around also controls an application running on the computer."

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Orientation

Note that the accelerometer not only detects motion, but the direction of gravity. A Siftable can tell when it's flat, tilted, upright, or face down. One part of the video shows them being used as virtual paint buckets: if one shows red and another blue, by bringing the red one near the blue and tilting it as if pouring, the red one will acquire blue and become purple.

SiddGames
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I saw that video a couple

I saw that video a couple months ago but haven't thought much about it. An interesting GDS topic... perhaps afterward, someone could invite the Siftables people to review the entries and comments?

:)

End of Time Games
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First off, I think I'm more

First off, I think I'm more interested in getting hold of some of these and playing with them, finding out about them for myself, before attempting to create a game. How can I really understand the thing if I'm not familiar with it.

I think this challenge is interesting, but I don't know if it's realistic.

End of Time Games
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Doho123, You posted that the

Doho123,
You posted that the start date is May and the end date is in April. Did you mean June? I only interested in going to the future.

Also am I to asume this game is suposed to take place on a computer screen?

Also, I think this could be stretching the realm of board game. Isn't the reason we play board games to get away from skreens and technology? I mean it's true we could have LCD game boards and digital cards, but what does that leave us with? The more I look at sifters, the more I am not impressed. Infact I think it's probably another useless peice of technology. Do you see a clear purpose in relating this to board gameing? Infact no. I don't think I am interested. One more thing that requires battery dependence!?

Jpwoo
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This is an interesting

This is an interesting challenge. Blurring the line a bit between computer and board games, but that line is already blurring with so many board games getting ported over to Xbox live, or that german boardgaming site that I can't remember right now.

I remember seeing these in a TED video not too long ago and they are pretty neat.

I'm thinking the real tough part will be to make something that is clearly a board game, or at least have a distinct board game feel.

Steve Ginty
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Can the setting of the game

Can the setting of the game be set in future times? If not that's fine.

Jpwoo
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Usually with the GDS you are

Usually with the GDS you are free to interpret the theme however you like.

Or were you talking about a game that can only be made with tech that doesn't exist yet?

RTaylor
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horrors!

Neat idea for a challenge- my struggle is really with the theme, not the siftables, as I'd already thought that they would work well with some game ideas I've had.

But HORROR? Not a genre I'm familiar with at all, so that is really stretching my imagination (I really don't want a 'chase' game, and no gore. I'm not sure that leaves much in the genre!), but all to the good I think- that's what appeals to me about the challenges.

Can't wait to see the entries- hopefully I'll come up with something at least a bit horrible too...

End of Time Games
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Actually, some of the

Actually, some of the siftable sort of principles or how they interact are in tune with a game I am already working on. It's an idea of how my cards work in "Beyond the Wheel" and how they will butt against eachother. I have already discussed this a little in my Journals. I admit the siftables are fun, but remain unimpressed on the grounds of the science of infrared and how frequency operates is a fascinating science, but......lets put it this way, and I know I am the party pooper many times but I am also the breaker of ordinaryness, the man who created this is brilliant obviously, but who is the market for this technology? Consumers, who aplawd (clap) for that which entertains them and makes there life easier. Not questioning the mechanism or science of how it is possible. I still hold this theory that if someone braught out a time machine or a "Your vary own UFO", consumers wouldn't question why or how it is possible, just that it provides a convenience for them.

What is the point? The part that troubles me especially about that video is the marketing bs that "look what infra red can do....improve spacial skills......" Oh what I have seen children do! I am not impressed and all computer technology that exists does not match the possibilities of what the human brain can do. The brain is the greatest computer. I am troubled that humanity is made to forget this and some how beleave that they are dependent on technology. That the technology makes there life so easy that they never fully develop there brains potential or releave them more and more of using there brain. I can't help but point this out when I watch this video, because it looks from the reactions like this man proved the world was round or something, and then I know so many extraordinary examples of using the brain for beyond the ordinary things, of which due desurve a chorus of aplaws, however I know that is just the reality of liveing in a zom-b-movie. I'm serious. This stuff troubles me. I wish the day that the world was different and standards of greatness were much different and this would not be contravercial to write this stuff or necessary.

Perhaps due to the similaritys of some ideas I have had with card board, I will either go ahead and work on some ideas for this, or it is simply encouraging me to not forget about my game and keep working on it. I do find siftabls they seem fun, but the presentation seems cheesy. Of course I'm probably the only one on this forum probably who sees it the way I do. Not that I care of course....because I love the way I think.

doho123
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Steve Ginty wrote:Can the

Steve Ginty wrote:
Can the setting of the game be set in future times? If not that's fine.

It's usually left to the people who vote on how well a particular game meets it's criteria. From my point of view, I would say that "taking place in the future" would be fine as long as it still has a scary/horror element. But you have to be careful of the way genres blur, since depending how scifi you take your future setting may over-ride it.

Case in point, I personally would consider the first "Alien" movie to be a horror (mixed with scifi) film, while all of the sequels are more action-y.

Hedge-o-Matic
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Completely awesome tech. I

Completely awesome tech. I need to get my hands on these things when they're released! Great challenge, Seo!

seo
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Hedge-o-Matic

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
Completely awesome tech. I need to get my hands on these things when they're released! Great challenge, Seo!

Thanks, Hedge. Though I feel compelled to share part of the glory with Doho123, if only because HE is running the GDS this month. ;)

doho123
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End of Time Games

End of Time Games wrote:
Doho123,
You posted that the start date is May and the end date is in April. Did you mean June? I only interested in going to the future.

Also am I to asume this game is suposed to take place on a computer screen?

Also, I think this could be stretching the realm of board game. Isn't the reason we play board games to get away from skreens and technology? I mean it's true we could have LCD game boards and digital cards, but what does that leave us with? The more I look at sifters, the more I am not impressed. Infact I think it's probably another useless peice of technology. Do you see a clear purpose in relating this to board gameing? Infact no. I don't think I am interested. One more thing that requires battery dependence!?

Thanks for catching the date issue.

Each persons' reasons for playing board games are going to be different than anyone else. My reason's would be the more social atmosphere, whereas computer gaming tends to be a singular experience.

Anyway, one clear purpose to me in this product is this:
The elegance of a good game design is all about having "the game" do a lot of the drudgery work for you somehow (through clever mechanics, or clever scoring rules, or whatever), so you can concentrate on playing the game itself. Siftables, in my opinion, can do a LOT of this "monkey crank work," which would allow the designer to make more complicated designs while making the game simpler to play.

TheMob
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Very nice idea. Gonna take a

Very nice idea. Gonna take a bit of time to really understand how those darn things work. :)

Xaqery
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Very cool technology and an

Very cool technology and an interesting challenge Scott.

I wasn't sure from the video does a PC have to be near by or once the shiftables are configured they are very stand alone and can take them anywhere? Like you could program them at the board game factory and then sell them at board game stores to people that dont have computers?

Aslo do they produce sound on their own or was that comming from a near by PC?

- Dwight

Darkehorse
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Other tech questions

Xaqery wrote:
Very cool technology and an interesting challenge Scott.

I wasn't sure from the video does a PC have to be near by or once the shiftables are configured they are very stand alone and can take them anywhere? Like you could program them at the board game factory and then sell them at board game stores to people that dont have computers?

Aslo do they produce sound on their own or was that comming from a near by PC?

- Dwight


Along those same lines, does the bluetooth only work with a PC or does it allow the Siftables to know where they are in relation to each other? Are there any tech specs listed anywhere?

-Darke

InvisibleJon
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Siftables can peer-communicate wirelessly.

Darkehorse wrote:
does the bluetooth only work with a PC or does it allow the Siftables to know where they are in relation to each other? Are there any tech specs listed anywhere?
My understanding is that siftables can talk to each other via bluetooth.

From http://siftables.com/

"What are Siftables?
"Siftables are cookie-sized computers with motion sensing, neighbor detection, graphical display, and wireless communication. They act in concert to form a single interface: users physically manipulate them - piling, grouping, sorting - to interact with digital information and media. Siftables provides a new platform on which to implement tangible, visual and mobile applications."

Xaqery
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InvisibleJon wrote:My

InvisibleJon wrote:
My understanding is that siftables can talk to each other via bluetooth.

From http://siftables.com/

"What are Siftables?
"Siftables are cookie-sized computers with motion sensing, neighbor detection, graphical display, and wireless communication. They act in concert to form a single interface: users physically manipulate them - piling, grouping, sorting - to interact with digital information and media. Siftables provides a new platform on which to implement tangible, visual and mobile applications."

I will assume that

"to interact with digital information and media. Siftables provides a new platform on which to implement tangible, visual and mobile applications"

Means you dont have a to have a PC near by and "digital information and media" means visuals and sounds.

doho123
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There is no need to have a PC

There is no need to have a PC present (well, aside from the initial programming of them, I guess). From what we've gathered on further reading is that they are still deciding whether the final version will require a PC for them to communicate, or if they are each their own stand-alone computers.

While I hate to set down hard and fast rules; I don't want entries getting bogged down in technological descriptions.

For those who need a better technical spec for the sake of the GDS, (based on the information gleaned):

-- No "Mothership" PC is needed. Each Siftable can talk to any other Siftable via bluetooth.

-- Assume each Siftable has a tiny speaker in it for sounds.

-- Siftables location aware to each other within a reasonable distance: "Siftable X is to my right."

Again, defining how the technology works is not as important as the game itself: Assume that most programmers can figure out to implement your game. As an example, let's say that you are using the Siftables to build a map, but each player keeps certain Siftables behind a player screen, and players turns adding to the map. Player draw from a stack of face down Siftables.

It is not your job to figure out how a Siftable knows where it is (behind a screen, in the center of the table as a part of the map, or in the draw pile).

Ideally, there are many ways to determine this, such as, there might be one Siftables that is the Map Starter. Siftables are constantly "pinging" each known Siftable next to it via the IR sensors to see if it can trace back a path through other Siftables to the Map Starter. If it can't, it assumes it is not on the map, and therefore behind a player screen. Once it can trace a path through other Siftables to the Map Starter, it becomes an "active member" (whatever that means) of the map. Since Siftables can detect motion, and rotation in a 3D space, they know that when they are placed upside-down (in the draw stack) they shouldn't even bother to check where they are, or if they are in the map. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU SHOULD CONCERN YOURSELF WITH! What you need to concern yourself with in this example would be what exactly the Siftable means/does in the game when it becomes an "active member," and how and when the player draws new Siftables.

TheMob
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By the way, right now the

By the way, right now the challenge page links to april entry.
http://www.bgdf.com/node/1469 there's link to http://www.bgdf.com/node/1337

seo
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TheMob wrote:By the way,

TheMob wrote:
By the way, right now the challenge page links to april entry.
http://www.bgdf.com/node/1469 there's link to http://www.bgdf.com/node/1337

Fixed, thanks.

TheMob
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seo wrote:TheMob wrote:By the

seo wrote:
TheMob wrote:
By the way, right now the challenge page links to april entry.
http://www.bgdf.com/node/1469 there's link to http://www.bgdf.com/node/1337

Fixed, thanks.


Still wrong - now it points to the locked thread. :)

Should point to:
http://www.bgdf.com/node/1468 (not 1469) :)

----

By the way, here's one another good youtube video showing what you can do with Siftables.
Should help getting ideas for those unfamiliar... :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbwzBBHtNGI&feature=related

seo
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maybe now it's fixed

TheMob wrote:
seo wrote:
Fixed, thanks.
Still wrong - now it points to the locked thread. :)

Should point to: http://www.bgdf.com/node/1468 (not 1469) :)

It wasn't still wrong, it's just that you looked too soon, and I use an approximation method to fix wrong links. ;)

OK, this time I think it is fixed.

TheMob
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Fair enough :)

Fair enough :)

SiddGames
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Is a solitaire game entry

Is a solitaire game entry allowed?

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