Month: March 2015

Tools and Resources

Hi guys,

This is a blog post to create a conversation on the tools and resources we can take advantage of for our final projects.

Text Adventure Engines:

Twine (
An HTML, browser-based Interactive Fiction engine. Supports image usage, and knowing a bit of CSS can make your piece even more interesting

A text-based Advnture game engine that allows a substantial amount of customization. No programming necessary.

2D Art Tools:
Aseprite (
This program is amazing if you want to look into pixel art. There’s a free version that doesn’t look as fancy and has the worst layer management, but its pretty great. Perpixel editing, and one of the most robust per frame animation suites I have ever used.
GIMP is a free Photoshop. Its a thing. It works. You can edit photos. Its really useful.

I really don’t have much more to say about this.

3D Art Tools
Blender (
Have you ever wondered what would happen if someone tried to combine Maya, ZBrush and 3DSMax into one program? Meet Blender. Its a free tool that you can use to model and manipulate objects. These models can then be used to make crazy things happen. I do not have many examples of this program in games, but here’s one game that I actually KNOW uses Blender for modeling: Gorogoa (

2D Engines:
Construct 2 by Scirra (
GameMaker by YoYo games (
Solarus (
This one can be used to make top down action-adventures if you’re into LUA
RPG Maker VX/VXAce (
A Japanese product that is widely used by hobbyists and has a substantial amount of fan-created materials.The base engine is built around a JRPG battle framework, but since the engine is built in Ruby, modders have managed to alter and change the engine in wild and crazy ways.

3D Engines:
Unity (
Despite the website, the Unity game engine can also be used to make 2D games. Its free, and 5 has really neat audio options that are work toying with. Requires knowledge in Javascript or C#.
Unreal Engine (
Despite the name, Unreal is quite real. Notable in the fact that you can visually code games with the Blueprint system. Optionally, you could code in C#.
Blender (
I’m not kidding. This is a thing. Blender has a Game Engine. Good luck finding the documentation for it though.
Irrlicht (
C++. Unless you commit to this engine, I do not recommend touching it with a six-foot pole.

Beach Party

For my intervention, I put a dozen beach balls on the ground of the freshman quad and watched to see what people’s reactions would be.


I sat with them for about 25-30 minutes and people mostly just ignored them. There were around 25 people out of the maybe 50 who walked by that actually interacted with them. Many of the people just walked by without even glancing at them, and most others just kicked at them a bit as they walked.  There was also a truck that just kind of drove through without making any effort to go around them. Luckily none of them were particularly in the way.


There was one girl who was walking with a friend and she stopped to kick a few of them. She yelled for her friend to wait, but he kept walking, so she moved on. A different girl however, was REALLY into the beach balls.

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She made a game where she wanted to see how far she could kick them, but didn’t get any of them too far due to the fact that a lot of them had deflated a bit and the wind kept them from going in a straight line.

One guy simply picked one up and walked away.

I think for the most part it would have been better to get bigger beach balls, and maybe to get more of them. The place I bought them from said they were supposed to be 14 inches in diameter, which was obviously a lie. I also would have waited for a less dreary day. Over all though, it was fun to watch people walk by and just absent-mindedly kick at the beach balls, and it was funnier that so many people just ignored them.



Subverting Dota 2

The Plan:

Dota 2 is a highly competitive multiplayer game where players choose heroes and fight AI and other players to level up, gain new skills, and get items. Each hero has specific roles they fill, and deviating from these roles often leads to losing, and results anger and abuse from teammates. So for my intervention, I decided to play heroes using opposite roles than they should be played, and observe my teammates results.

Initial Progress:

Initial progress was good (and by that I mean bad), where I was getting some abuse. When playing carries, if you don’t get the right items, you become dead weight on the team, and here is where I ran into some issues. Playing support, you are largely item-independent, so even though I wasn’t playing a support role, people generally had no comment. However, carry games led to abuse since I wasn’t doing my appropriate job.




Dota 2 has voice chat, so it was sometimes challenging to get evidence of chat abuse, since most of it was spoken. I had twp main ways of getting responses from this. Sometimes, I would stay completely silent no matter what anyone would say to me. Other times, I would be up front about me doing an art piece, and generally people were accepting. However, this did not lead to the chat abuse I wanted, since I was still getting replies through voice chat.



Although I didn’t get quite the responses through text that I was expecting, I did reach my end goal: Low Priority! My next couple games will suck, but art is pain.


The Great Sign Hunt – Final

Final Implementation

The Great Sign Hunt was an open invitation treasure hunt which consisted of five posters put up in a loop. The hunt could be started at any poster with instructions  on each directing the player to a twitter feed where they would post their progress. The first player to complete a loop of the posters would be the winner, earning themselves a gift card prize. From initial planning, the scope of the hunt was brought down to accommodate convenience for the player, as well as simplifying the clues from riddles to general destinations. Both of these changes were an attempt to make the game easier to complete as participation was expected to be low.

The posters were put up in Curry Student Center, the Library Classroom stairwell, Churchill Hall, Hayden Hall, and Ell Hall. The posters were designed to appear like an old treasure map both to fit the project theme and to catch attention by being different from all of the modern posters found elsewhere on campus.

Hunt Poster

An example poster that was put up around campus



After two days, I have received one tweet of one of the posters. No one has completed the hunt which is disappointing however at least there was some participation. Perhaps the various building hopping was asking too much of the player  and an even smaller area would have been more successful.

Twitter 1

Twitter 2





Its tik-tac-toe with insults! A brand new form of gamer-shaming! A game that goes to show that even with all these years of cultural evolution, we’re still a race that loves to abuse.

Jokes aside, this game trivializes and opens the door for a list of discussions regarding the cultural impact of certain actions and words. The game is centered about two players that are insulting each other with their own cultural insults. The first insult, represented by the glove, is based upon a medieval challenge, usually based in France. While the common turn of the phrase is “throw down the gauntlet,” knights would often challenge each other by tossing down silk gloves.

Gloves were considered a shield for higher nobles- a shield against dirt and perverted degenerates that was everyone else. Tossing down gloves was considered a great insult to the challenged.

The second insult is represented by shoes. In this case, we have Indian chappals. The form of this insult does no matter, as long as it is represented by a shoe. The shoe in Islamic culture is considered much like the glove in old French culture- it is a shield against dirt. Except, in this case, the dirt is actual dirt. Because shoes are used to move around, it is considered a grave insulting to meet someone’s face with the base of a shoe.

For example: before the US invasion of Iraq, an important hotel had a mosiac of President Bush sr. set into the floor of its lobby.

When the US army invaded, this floor was blown apart and then replaced with a mosaic of Saddam Hussein.

The game forces the player to insult through their actions, but makes these actions seem benign until their meaning is fully explained.

Faux Veg


The plan for this game was to get a group of friends together and give each player a pack of post-it notes. Each player would get their own color, and be told to explore a traditional Supermarket and seek out items that would seem vegetarian to them. They would then check the ingredients of the product to see whether or not their instinct was correct. If the product they selected has meat in it, like a Twinkie, then they would need to write the meat product on their top post-it and place it on the product before moving on. Once a player has placed five post-it notes, they report to the game master, a third party with no real stake in the outcome of the game. If someone were seeking to make this into a competitive game, these times would be the competing factor determining who winner and losers were.

The goal of this was to make people that are unfamiliar with vegetarian dining see how difficult it is to deal with being vegetarian in America.

Additionally, the idea was to also leave big post-its with an explicit statement about the meat contained in each of these products, most of which are bought without much thought. This adds an extra element to the intervention, one that persists after the intervention takes place.


The unfortunate thing about being Vegetarian is that most of your friends are aware of your limits, and are therefore more educated about what to look for in a vegetarian product. This foreknowledge ended up ruining the “raw experience” I originally intended to create. That said, it did result in a few surprises.

For instance- chewy chocolate chip cookies are often back with Egg involved. Like cake, these cookies need a pliable bonding agent, which made this image all the more entertaining:

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Chips ahoy Chewy Cookies do not actually have egg in them. Does this make the product an healthier? HIGHLY doubt it. But this does make them conducive to a vegetarian diet.

Another issue with this idea was that having too large a group would attract too much attention. Our third playtest had five players, and that got management involved, claiming that we were marking up products in a manner that the management approved. This may have also been instigated by one of the previous playtests, during which I tried to use Sharpies on the products themselves.

2015-03-20 00.07.38i was forced to buy cookies.


Our second playthrough, we tried using Sharpies on Post-it notes. We stuck with the post-it notes ideas, but ditched the Sharpies because the markers kept bleeding through the Sticky Notes we purchased.

Finding volunteers for this intervention was also a major factor. Scheduling kept on messing up our plans to test out the game. Additionally, after the first playthrough elicited a negative response, most of my friends got a bit camera shy.

Most of them did not want to play again anyways, as these playtests were performed during times when the Grocery store we used was extremely busy. The crowd became a much bigger factor in the intervention than I had expected, as the human traffic often ground the gameplay to a halt. Most of the players often ended up shopping on the side as well, but that was because most of them actually had shopping to do.  This made the times difficult to gauge.

Another huge factor involved with the success of this project is the fact that people have different ideas of what is vegetarian. Vegans, Ovavegetarians, those Vegetarians-to-whom-fish-isn’t-meat- there are a lot of different definitions of what is really ok for Vegetarians to eat. Unfortunately, the group I managed to assemble seemed to share similar views on vegetarianism, even though I made it a point not to define the term in any way before starting each game.


The game I ended up properly recording was a smaller game, with three players  around lunch time, when the store was reasonably empty. The players all went ahead and went about tagging faux-veg items.

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The Dinglehopper Poster Experience

Artist Statement:

As described in my proposal, I wanted to leverage the name and assets of my last card game, Dinglehopper, in a physical space as an intervention. As Dinglehopper relied on an interesting environment to begin with in its initial format, I felt it would be an interesting thing to use a physical medium to call people to action in redefining the objects around campus. It also could be used to possibly stir interest in the card game, which I was very pleased with, and would like to pursue further.

The core of the experience in designing this intervention was the call for players to act in a way that they may normally not consider: redefining objects they see every day. While we as creatively thinking beings often will look at an unknown item and ponder its purpose, rarely do we consciously look at something familiar in the same light as a new object. We bring our preconceived notions to bear in almost every interaction we have with the items around us, and that can lead to mental stagnation. Dinglehopper exists to shake things up, and to get us as creatives looking at objects as if they were brand new to us.

Documentation and Results:

Dinglehopper, while a fun card game with a lot of potential, apparently does not elicit a great response in the physical space.

I probably underestimated how little time people actually spend reading posters, and even the ones who did stop to read it apparently did not interact with it. Even the friends who I begged to use the hashtag to seed the Twitter account apparently did not; proof of this is that the hashtag #DinglehopperNU remains unused after 6 days of existence, and remains with only myself as a follower. To remedy this in the future, I think rather than using a hashtag, I would link them directly to the Twitter page to follow and Tweet at. Perhaps I would also remove the Tumblr from the equation entirely, as fewer people Tumbl than Tweet, and having it on the poster might have confused players.

I think one of the other major issues that arose in this experiment was poster removal. Several of the posters I had put up in Ryder Hall were not there on Thursday when I checked on them, likely taken down by facilities between Tuesday and Thursday. Perhaps with more time I would have been able to get more approval for pasting them up in public places and not have them taken down, but we’ll likely never know.

I have updated the poster for future game endeavors to direct people to Tweet to @DinglehopGame rather than use the hashtag, and while I don’t have time to post it at Northeastern before this assignment comes to a close, I will see if I can get any feedback from other universities in the future. In any case, photo documentation by me does exist that the original posters were there (not all are pictured here; click images to view full-sized). The Tumblr and the Twitter also will remain up, just in case I decide to start a marketing campaign for the card game in the future.

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3DS Intervention Final

The Plan:

For my intervention I walked around the show floor of PAX East 2015 taking pictures of people on their 3DS video game consoles. I would then upload those pictures to a Twitter account I created called @On3DSatPAX with the hash tags #On3DS and #PAXEast2015. I managed to take 35 photos total, although some photos contain multiple people on their 3DS consoles.

I didn’t verbally tell anyone about my Twitter account, what I used to communicate was a feature of the 3DS called “Street pass.” Street pass works when two people with 3DS consoles are close to each other where upon the both send a digital avatar for the consoles, known as a Mii, to the adjacent persons 3DS. The Mii can then be viewed with a personalized message. I made a Mii in the likeness of Mario, gave him the name “On3DSatPax,” and gave him the message “Find Mii Twitter.”

So for Friday and Sunday of the PAX convention I walked around PAX with my 3DS in my pocket taking pictures of people in the hopes that they would get my message and see themselves posted on Twitter.


The Strugle:

The 3DS does not allow the use of @ symbols in the use of either the name or the message of the Mii, not that it mattered because both the name and the message used the maximum allowed characters. So I tried to compromise in a way that was both clever, and relatively easy to understand the meaning of.

Something I did not realize before doing this was that a 3DS can only store up to 10 street passed Miis at anyone time. Meaning that if someone was not checking their 3DS regularly, there was a good chance they would not receive my Mii or my message due to the amount of people at the convention also street passing with each other.

The Result:

By the end of the convention I had four followers, who I assumed to be bots and spam accounts, and had recieved only two messages, which had nothing to do with the subject of my Twitter account. I also have know way of knowing if anyone saw anything I posted due to my Street Passing, and seriously doubt that anyone who did recieved my Mii bothered to read its name or its message (I usually don’t). You can see the documentation of the intervention here:

Flower Power

Flower Power is an experiment I chose to run in Animal Crossing New Leaf.

I had a friend play in my town and get used to the locations of several different buildings and landmarks.  Once my friend was used to the layout of my city, I had them run to different areas as I called them out to see how they moved around the town.

As I anticipated, my friend chose to run to the areas that I called out.

After they had completed one circuit around my town, I then planted flowers all over.  In Animal Crossing, if a player runs over flowers, they can be destroyed.  Players typically try not to run over flowers because of how fragile they are.  I wanted to see whether or not my friend would slow down and/or choose new paths to avoid flowers so they could run.


When watching my friend’s second circuit, in which they were ordered to go to the same locations in the same order, it became clear that if they could get around the flowers, they would do so an run, but if not, they would simply walk to where they were going.



I was really happy that my friend hadn’t run through many of the flowers.  I hadn’t given them any rules to follow aside from, “go where I tell you to.”  The rules about running were self-given and demonstrated a rule that players give themselves in games despite not needing to.

Animal Crossing also has a bad luck mechanic.  Everyday, the player has a chance of being unlucky, which means that when the player runs, they will trip.  It was highly coincidental that the day I opted to test, my town had bad luck.  The game, perhaps sensing the nature of the assignment, helped intervene the player in my intervention, which I really enjoyed.