Friday, February 11, 2011

Project Management & Tracking

I'am using a new project management website that came to my attention through Google Chrome. It keeps track of what I'am doing and allows for adding notes and testing reviews. I'am also using it as a diary noting what I'am doing every day. The URL is......

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Applied Game Design Continued...

Table of Contents

Main Options
-> Add Neighbours - 

  • Select Neighbours 
  • Invite

-> Help 

  • Overview 
  • Feature set explained

-> Play (Main application page)

  • Gold - Enter extra activity
  • Cash
  • Energy
  • XP & current level 
  • System toolbar 
                  - Zoom in
                  - Zoom out
                  - Full screen
                  - Sound

  • Mouse tool
                  - Move
                  - Rotate
                  - Mouse
                  - Demolition

  • Objectives / Trophies (3 Trophies to each objective)
                  - Suburbia
                  - Neighbours
                  - Decorations
                  - Energy
                  - Extra activities
                  - Downtown
                  - Silicon valley
                  - Expansion
                  - Buildings
                  - Rent
                  - Green area
                  - Water
                  - Wonders / Landmarks
                  - Entertainment   

  • Bottom toolbar
                  - Neighbours
                         ~ List of neighbours
                         ~ Visit neighbours see their XP points and level

(All the following will have a price to construct and will show the XP points for creating such, and the time for collection)

                  - Roads
                         ~ Roads
                         ~ Paths
                         ~ Railroad
                  - Homes
                         ~ Small
                         ~ Medium
                         ~ Large
                         ~ Mansion
                         ~ Condos / Apartments

                  - Businesses
                         ~ Offices
                         ~ Stores
                         ~ Restaurants
                         ~ Entertainment
                         ~ Misc
                         ~ Skyscrapers

                  - Community / Government Buildings
                         ~ Essential
                         ~ Education
                         ~ Safety
                         ~ Entertainment
                         ~ Religious
                         ~ Landmarks

                   - Water
                         ~ Docks
                         ~ Boats
                         ~ Sports
                   - Decor
                         ~ Plants
                         ~ Trees
                         ~ Fences
                         ~ Lights
                         ~ Water
                         ~ Misc
                         ~ Flags

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Applied Game Design Continued...

Applied Game Design

Core Statement

A casual social city-building simulation game as an application for the social networking website Facebook.

Feature Set

  • The game allows a Facebook member to become Major of a virtual city and to oversee its development into a large metropolis
  • The player performs tasks such as construction and collecting rent which uses energy points and money.
  • Energy is built up by the amount of steps a user registers every day on the android application (pedometer)
  • Money is used for construction of buildings. A user is given $100,000,000 at the beginning of the application. A user generates money after that from collecting rent from the buildings they have created.
  • Rent raises higher through the levels
  • A user gets through levels by gaining experience points (XP). XP can be gathered by performing tasks from the an objective and  by constructing buildings. An objective is complied by a group of tasks.
  • By completing objectives a user earns gold. Gold is used to buy government buildings. Certain government buildings are necessary to pass a level.
  • Gold can also be earned by performing extra physical activities (swimming, cycling etc). When a user performs a physical activity on a day they report it to the application giving details such as time and place. This information is posted to a users wall on their Facebook profile. The user is credited for the extra activities with gold.
  • The main task of the game is complete all the objectives. The objectives can be viewed on the top right hand side corner of the screen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Virtual World apps are Already on Facebook

For me to compete with the already fully accomplished and successful virtual world applications on Facebook I attempted to play them all and take down notes on game play graphics and my general opinion of them to see could i improve my world on their errors. These following comments are completely my own opinions no one else's and I'm not saying I'm right either. I only describe the ones that had the most effect on me or relevance.

I started first with Zynga a company who has made $39 Million from social games. They have 2 well recognized and established applications on Facebook Farmville & CityVille.

1. Farmville

General Opinion
I didn't understand the big deal about the whole thing you lay crops and just when you get into it their asking you for "Farm Cash" very annoying this is a constant complaint of mine for all these virtual worlds or social games you just get into them and their asking you for money. You have to be using the application every day or your crops die the more time you put into it the more you can develop your farm.

Features I did Like

  • The sign was a good idea you can place a sign on your farm and people can leave comments on it.
  • The five steps to complete to start you off in the game they stay at the top till you have completed them. There is "Start Farming", "Give Email Address", Become a Fan", "Play 3 days ion a row",  
  • The point system so you are competing against friends, you build up points for the more effort and time you put in
  • The bottom toolbar makes it easy to know what your doing, the tools are very easy accessible
Picture of Interface

Features I didn't Like

  • Constant asking for money
  • The use of an Avatar
  • The lack of things to create at the beginning (The reason I didn't proceed with the application) 
  • Takes ages loading
  • Sending gifts?

2. CityVille

General Opinion
Preferred it in comparison to Farmville a define improvement by Zygna. It is more realistic in my opinion I person can relate better to building a city a have a better feeling of accomplishment. The asking for money is evident but not as dependable as Farmville

Features I did Like
  • Uses population count instead of points
  • Can visit other friends cities
  • The bottom toolbar makes it easy to know what your doing, the tools are very easy accessible. Gives you good easy layout and shows you what you can build.
  • Can make away better places like in the interface pictures below you can see the comparison between a standard city to a more advanced city
  • Can do a good amount of stuff before you run out of money
  • The animations walking around
  • You get rent from the houses you build
  • You have energy levels you have to build up
  • Daily bonus awards and bonuses for playing 3 days in a row
  • You had to build government buildings
  • Really liked the landscape especially the water
Picture of Interface

Features I didn't Like
  • Constant asking for money
  • Annoying background music
  • Things popping up to the screen constantly
  • Gifts?
  • The limitations are the reason i stopped playing, the game was fun for the first 15mins even the next day I played it I had fun for 5mins before limitations of not having enough money kicked in

3. Hotel City

General Opinion
Boring. Seemed interesting at the start to build a hotel but just could do 2 little to make me interested before had to pay money. Don't like the way you have to build upwards and no stairs, makes no sense!

Features I did Like
  • Tutorial that highlights all the features at the start
  • Gave tips & advice
  • Nice Zoom in/out buttons
  • Neat layout to toolbars etc
Picture of Interface

Features I didn't Like
  • Clustered interface
  • Things popping up to the screen I wasn't sure what was going on half the time

4. My Town

General Opinion
This was my favourite out of all the applications I played and if I was to waste money it would probably be on this application. It is like a modified version of cityville has stats, trophies too which is away better technique of getting a user to accomplish things. 

Features I did Like
  • Tutorial that highlights all the features at the start
  • Best Layout everything you need is easily accessible and in front of out
  • Best zoom in/out option
  • Roads free to build
  • Also collects rent but if your late you lose rent
  • The demolition tool is a first, you have to pay to demolish something others its just like deleting this adds to the experience
  • Toolbar is superior
  • Can buy multiple towns
  • Good help made that is easily accessible from top tab bar
Picture of Interface

Features I didn't Like
  • Landscape too plain
  • I still don't like the whole gift thing but I suppose good way to get people playing the game
  • Background music is very irritating
  • Invite and add neighbours same thing?
  • Cash is pretty much worthless in comparison to coins
5. Millionaire City

General Opinion
Same thing over again but not as good layout. Free roads was a plus you could get fairly creative with the roads but nothing really exciting this application could have been rated higher only for me playing it after my town like it has same features like free roads, demolition, expansion but just is not presented as well as my town. Toolbar was a huge disappointment and wouldn't play the game again just over that.

Features I did Like
  • Tutorial that highlights all the features at the start
  • I like the expansion options and landscape its not plain
  • lots of expansion room
  • Building takes time to build or you can spend more for an instant build
  • You have to build sites first
  • Cars driving on the roads
  • Have to unlock levels
Picture of Interface

Features I didn't Like
  • Layout of toolbars etc is poor and not easy to see this is essential to be laid out properly and wasn't so very disappointed
  • Very slow loading
  • You choose a man or woman as your avatar
  • A new screen pops up with your building etc options
  • Very shiny interface
  • not enough things to build

I also played Nightclub City, Social City, Zoo World and couple more nothing really worth mentioning about them that hasn't already been mentioned.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Design Requirements for Creating a Facebook Application that Encourages Physical Activity

These are design guidelines I have derived from studying all the different aspects for creating such an application. By the end of the project I will evaluate my design requirements to my results.

My design requirements are....

1. The Application should be fun
- A user should forget they are doing more physical exercise just be doing it to participate in the game because they enjoy it.

2. Support Social Influence
- Make the progress of a user visible on their Facebook wall
- Encourage friends to participate together

3. Make Every One Equal
- Equal opportunities for all players no matter of background
- Avoid Segregation of players
- Don't use avatar's
- Make a users actual progress/physical activity private but publicly portrait it through the game positively

4. Have a Fair Rewarding System
- Have short achievable tasks and also long term tasks
- Do not over reward user's for accomplishing the short task
- Make it clear how the reward system functions
- Any device measuring a users physical activity has to be accurate

5. Consider Practical Constraints
- A user shall not have to carry a new device for your application
- A application should encourage balanced exercise appropriate to a users ability

6. Facilitate Leadership for Novice Players
- Have tutorials explaining system
- Do not have an intimidating environment such as GYM, swimming pool etc incorporated into your application