Interview: Alice Taylor, MakieLab

chloe

We were lucky to catch the brilliant Alice Taylor on the phone last week for a quick interview to talk about hackable toys, games and her absolutely awesome Makie dolls.

Alice who is a judge for the competition is also the founder & CEO of MakieLab, as well as the former Commissioning Editor, Education for Channel 4, where she developed a ton of award winning games.

*Disclaimer; sound quality was a bit poor during our recording, so make sure to raise your volume up a bit ;)

Trans-Atlantic Game Jammin’

chloe
Here at ‘Game On’ we love supporting Game Jams so what better way to launch our competition than with a double 48hour Jam across New York and London. We kicked off the events on Friday evening with some local guest speakers talking about games and the open web.

 

 

Atul Varma got a lot of love when he demoed his Hackable platformer and Sarah Shoeman opened interesting discussions around diversity and female representation in games.

 

Josh Debonis took the theme of Hackable Games a notch further by presenting the cult tabletop game Advanced Squad Leader; which has a huge community of people who create homemade scenarios for it based off their own interests.

 

On the demo side we got to play with Will Eastcott’s awesome PlayCanvas engine and Mark Baker shared with us a set of cool Craftyjs templates to play around with.

 

Finally Danny Greg and Scott Robert talked to us about Github + the open web. (They also gave away the coolest swag)

 

 

After revealing our secret theme for the Game Jam that involved choosing as an inspiration a meme to create a hackable game (even though teams were free to choose other competition categories as well) we mingled in teams and had heated discussions over topics such as “Should every game have a remix button?”

 

 

During the course of the weekend about 12 teams in total across each side of the Atlantic built playable prototypes of open web games; We were blown away by what people came up with and wanted to share with you a slice of that awesomness;

 

 

  • Robocybe - is a hackable multiplayer robo shooter that let’s you edit the javascript in order to customize the game mechanics and well … the robots. http://moka.co:443/ . Made in 26 hours (non-stop) by  @mrmaxm

 

 

 

  • Multi-Device Troll Game

http://ec2-54-245-151-226.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com/game_on/ By Roussina Valkova, Margaret Moser, and Michael Apon Palanuwech

  • Moshi Treasure Hunt: An interesting use of 3DCanvas in the Thimble interface ;
by Will Rayton

 

It was great to see some participants explore the theme of Hackable Games for the first time and come up with such interesting games. We can’t wait to see their final entries to the competition. If you want to join the game jammin’ action, the next round of Game Jams are happening in sync with one of our favorite partners, Global Game Jam; in Pittsburg with CMU, Atlanta with Georgia Tech, San Fransisco and rumors have it that there will be a Game On GGJ even in Lima, Peru!

 

 

If you are planning to run your own Game Jam for the competition here are some things we learned that might be useful to you:

 

  1. Having some speakers to introduce your event helps increase attendance and inspires people to create their games.
  2. Giving a theme to the event helps people come up with ideas. However, not all attendees will want to follow your theme so make sure to be open enough to allow everyone to make a game according to their interest.
  3. Having activities such as a spectogram make s a good conversation starter. In our case this was especially helpful to talk about topics relevant to the Game Jam such as ” Should every game have a hackable games button?”
  4. Having a repository of tools for people to hack on helps  A LOT. Here is what we used for this event;

Finally, a special thank you to Github, BabyCastles, MindCandy, The New School Game Club and Playcanvas for helping us running and spreading the word for the events and of course the Parsons DT Program and MozLondon for lending us their space.

It’s December: Make Hackable Games!

chloe
Happy Holidays! We’re especially psyched about the holiday season this year because we we’re off and running with the much anticipated Game On competition.


We want to invite all of you to follow our blog here for special updates on the competition and so much more gamelicious content. For the next three months, we’re going to be exploring  three themes in game design and the open web: Hackable Games, Web-Only Games, and Cross-Device games. (Of course, these are our contest categories too, so we hope this will be food for thought!).


Expect guest posts, videos and interviews with some of our favorite game peeps and the judges of the competition.


All excited? Great, let’s get started with December; Hackable Games month here on Game On.


What’s a Hackable Game?





So, you probably LOVE games if you are reading this blog. You know that games fuel our imagination in unique ways and often have players explore and create new worlds. So it comes as a surprise that games in their majority are closed systems; they are not exactly inviting players to also be makers of their game world.


In recent years, massive hits like Little Big Planet and Minecraft have embraced open-ended, creative world-bulding as a core gameplay concept . Our friends at the Institute of Play made this great video with the folks at Media Molecule  who explain the process of making a game that is all about having players create their own games.



Hackable Games are Open Systems


What if we looked at the web as a canvas for these types of experiences?
What if we built games that let their players customize assets and fork the code in order to create new games?
What if we built experiences that—like the web itself—are hackable by design?


There’s a long tradition of modding on various platforms, and LittleBigPlanet and Minecraft show that creativity can be a very satisfying gameplay concept. People already make and share their own peronalized islands on social media like Facebook and Instagram. How can we bring these phenomena together?


What kinds of “hackable” games are only possible on the web?


Hackable Games are Learning Vehicles


If  you play games you might also have a hunch about what great  learning  vehicles they  can be; Skyrim might seem like it’s just about  killing  dragons, but if you look closer it requires some serious systems thinking  in order to make strategic decisions in the game.


By  default when playing a game you have to master certain skills in  order  to advance. Moreover games have their players fail multiple times  in  order to master such skills through experimentation and tinkering.


Now  if you think about it that process is quite similar to the way we  learn how to code games. We come up with ideas very often building on existing mechanics and games we love, we prototype and iterate, probably  write a bunch of  nonfunctional code, play test and iterate again and  eventually master a programming language and make a game we re quite proud about.


Game editors, map editors, and other similar experiences are a great gateway into this kind of thinking. World-famous JavaScript hacker Max Ogden put it this way:


“I actually got hooked [on programming] by playing Starcraft back in 1999. The custom  level editor has elements of event-driven asynchronous programming and I  started geeking out on custom Starcraft maps. And then realized that  programming is just Starcraft without the space aliens.”


Hackable Games are Empowering


“Hacking” a game is an empowering concept. By hacking a game,  a player becomes a designer, and learns a bit about design, systems thinking and even code. Players might shape the game experience into something even more tailored for them— and as a result we might see  games that are truer and more representative of what players like and who they are.


Games might become more diverse and representative. A great example of this is Torontonian Mike Hoye’s story of hacking Zelda so that Link is a girl character and not a boy. “I’m not having my daughter growing up  thinking girls don’t get  to be the hero and rescue their little brothers,” he says.


Anna Anthropy in her lovely interview titled “Don’t start a band: why everyone should be making video games” also talks about why having more people making games will eventually lead to democratizing and diversifying games.


Get Involved


If  you’re excited about the potential of hackable games, submit a game prototype to the competition! You have until February 24th to submit a game.


You can also join us in one of our upcoming Game Jams or run your own
using our lovingly prepared Game Jam Kit.


And follow us @mozgames to get involved in this conversation—there’s some interesting hacking ahead!

 

 

 

Introducing this year’s “Game On” competition

chloe

Imagine the Web as an open gaming platform for the world. Where game players seamlessly become game creators. Where your favorite games work on any device, anytime, anywhere. And where your own personal web-based creations earn you internet fame, fortune and the adulation of gamers around the world.

Sound like fun? Game on.

The Game On Competition wants YOU

Today, we’re proud to invite game designers, developers and enthusiasts everywhere to take part in this year’s Game On competition. We’re looking for your ideas and playable protoypes for gaming experiences that push the limits of what open Web technologies can do.

All are welcome to submit their entries now at gameon.mozilla.org. The deadline is Feb 24, 2013.

Red carpet treatment for you and your game

Participants can enter in three different competition categories. Winners chosen by our esteemed panel of judges will receive prizes that include:

  • An all-expense paid, red carpet trip to San Francisco for GDC 2013.
  • The chance to have your game featured in the Firefox Marketplace
  • The opportunity to show your game to the awesome folks at Chillingo for potential publishing on their network
  • One year membership to top industry associations IGDA and UKIE
  • Promotion of your game in the Game On Gallery and across Mozilla networks
  • Plus special edition Mozilla swag

Re-imagine the web as the console

Imagine games you could hack and remix to make even better — with open Web building blocks like HTML, CSS and Javascript serving as the world’s ultimate “level editor.” (Want to replace that zombie’s face with a picture of your dog? Go right ahead.)

What if we looked at games as open, creative systems that, like the Web itself, are hackable by design?” says Mozilla’s Chloe Varelidi.

“Games are traditionally at the forefront of tech, continually pushing the envelope of what’s possible,” she says. “Mozilla is inviting you to re-imagine the Web as the console, and use the power of the browser to revolutionize the way we make and play games.”

Game jam at the Mozilla Festival in November

Get involved

 

Double Game Jam in NYC & London!

chloe

We are so excited to announce that we are launching our official competition site gameon.mozilla.org next week. To celebrate this massive overload of game awesomness we are throwing not one but two 48 hour Game Jams across NYC & London. Whoa!

WITH GITHUB, BABYCASTLES, MIND CANDY AND THE NEW SCHOOL GAME CLUB

If you are around those two cities, come show us what’s possible using the web as an open gaming platform for the world. If you cannot make it follow the #mozgames on twitter, and if you are so psyched about running your own Game Jam check out our amazing kit or get in touch with us at gameon@mozilla.com to help you with the planning.

Learn more and RSVP for the two events here:

London: http://gameonjam.eventbrite.co.uk/

New York: http://gameonjamnyc.eventbrite.co.uk/

GAME ON!