Monday, March 26, 2007


If you have ever wanted to program a video game but were too intimidated by things like graphics programming, or reading keyboard input, or creating sound files, etc: get XNA.

You still have to be a programmer to get started, but if you're like me - intimidated by low-level device handling or 3D math etc - it's a godsend.

It's single-handedly brought me back to thinking about video game production instead of board game production - brought me back to where I always wanted to be.

I'll keep you posted - the game I'm working on is one I've wanted to play since NES days!

Contest update

Unfortunately the World Bank decided to go in a different direction for their educational game contest. While this is disappointing, it wasn't unexpected even though I'm very happy with my design. There were simply so many possibilities about how to handle the massive amount of source material, that it was basically random whether my approach would align with their vision.
In any case, I'm now free to continue adapting the engine into a more interesting and marketable product...But it will have to wait since I have a new priority now - see the next post.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Quick overview of WB submission

Here's a very quick overview of my submission to the World Bank. At right, you can see a game in progress.

In this example, there are 4 neighborhoods in a city.

Each neighborhood is controlled by a different player (indicated by the purple, yellow, grey, and red "improvement" tokens.)

The little squares with stick-figures are tokens which represent the build-up of traffic in the neighborhoods. A 'hood with more traffic is harder for citizens to use and navigate through.

To eliminate traffic from a neighborhood, you can implement a street addressing improvement there. To do so, you order your team of workers (or addressing unit, represented by the grey player's "men at work" token) to the neighborhood. They implement the next stage of the street addressing program there (which is also indicated by the "improvement" tokens.) The purple and grey players haven't made any improvements to their neighborhoods. The yellow and red players, meanwhile, have actually implemented different parts of the addressing program (yellow has printed maps of the neighborhood; red has put addresses onto every building in the neighborhood.)

That's all I'll get into right now...I'll explain a few more concepts as time goes by, so that I can explain how I'm adapting this concept into other projects with more marketable themes...


First official (sort of) project complete

I've submitted my first ever prototype. The project was the World Bank's "Street Addressing Initiative" contest, check it out here.

I'm very happy with the submission, but if I don't win it will be for one of these 2 reasons:
1) Final product would be too expensive: I included a billion counters and tokens, along with 2 decks of cards, so I may have priced myself out of the market...Or,
2) Too "Euro-style" of an approach: If they wanted Snakes & Ladders, they didn't get it (at least not from me.) If they wanted something more like a simplified Settlers of Catan, which actually packed in a good lesson about why street addressing is necessary, then I came through for them.

Regardless, I like the "game engine" (and more importantly, so do the playtesters!) so I'm going to re-theme it over to something more interesting. I'm in the early stages of that now and will keep you posted ("you" being the hypothetical fans/players I am hoping to interact with someday, who are passionate enough to read all the way back to today's blog entry...By the way, thanks!!!)

Johnny Go-Time

PS: I've gotten into online Diplomacy with my buddies over at What a fantastic indy project!!!