We’re done brainstorming. What next?

Your team has had a successful brainstorming session (or sessions), and now you guys have a ton of ideas. Now what? How do you narrow it down? This might seem like a daunting task, especially for larger projects which have a hundred or more ideas. A Google search will turn up millions of suggestions, but for this post, I’ll be focusing specifically on narrowing down your ideas for a transformational game. Why transformational games? Because that’s what my team is currently working on (more on that later). The general process for narrowing down your ideas isn’t sufficient, and there is woefully little relevant material about this on Google.

Transformational games are developed with the intention to create a real world change in the player which persists outside of the game, be it in the form of knowledge, belief, behavior, etc. It’s an umbrella term which encompasses other categories, like educational games, training simulators, games for health, and so on. The two key ideas here are transfer (the change extends to the real world) and persistence (the change remains after the game is over).

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Zero2Hero – Our design process

Over the past weekend, I took part in the Global Game Jam (GGJ), a 48 hour hackathon-like event for making games. It was my first game jam ever – heck, I’ve never even taken part in a hackathon before. Yea, unbelievable right? We made this 8-bit, 2 player game called Zero2Hero, and I’m very pleased with it! (: So, how did we arrive with this idea?

Zero2HeroA screenshot from Zero2Hero

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On brainstorming

One of the first steps in starting a project is brainstorming. Making a game is no different. I would argue that it’s one of the most crucial steps as well, and yet… I don’t really like it. And then today (1/20/16), I had the chance to observe a brainstorming method which I’m actually excited to try out.

That particular method made me reflect on myself and wonder why it resonated with me so much. What was it that made me dislike brainstorming in general, what other methods have I tried, and why didn’t I like them? What do people say are the important things to do during brainstorming, and do I really agree with them? Here are some of my thoughts.

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BVW Lightning Round

Lightning Round was nuts. And I’ve time to write this now because… You’ve guessed it, our platform(s) haven’t been confirm for this new round yet! Haha plus we have 3 weeks for Story Round. Which actually isn’t a lot of time, but whatever. Can afford to chill a bit first :P Anyway, I left off my previous post saying that we would either succeed or fail spectacularly, and I’m proud to say it’s the former (: Mostly. More on that later, but first, the video of our game during the presentation. Quality is crappy as we didn’t have enough time to record a proper one ):

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Life at the ETC

Life at the Entertainment Technology Center is… crazy. My awesome partner in crime, Lynnette, always says that the best way to describe NUS Computing is “pressurizing fun“, but I think that phrase is a lot more relevant here. There’s way more pressure here, and yet it’s so fun that we actually don’t mind all the hours we’re putting in. Think 9am to 11pm (or later) every day of the week, public holidays included.

So our first semester here is really structured and we have 4 allocated classes: Building Virtual Worlds (or BVW, which takes up 90% of our time), Visual Story (which takes up 5% of our time), ETC Fundamentals (or Fundies, 3%), and Improvisational Acting (or Improv, just go to class and have fun). Which basically leaves you with 2% to do other stuff ._.

BVW is really, really fun. You get together with a group of 2 programmers, 2 artists and 1 sound designer to build an experience from start to end in 2 weeks, after which you switch teams and start over again. The exceptions are lightning round (1 week, happening NOW), Story round and Festival round (3 weeks). You don’t get to choose your teams (except Festival round), so it forces you to learn to work with people from vastly diverse backgrounds, which I really love. You have no idea what each round is about (which is the fun of it, so NUS juniors who are coming here, I’m sorry for spoiling your fun), and you can only build for non traditional platforms like Google Tango, Myo Armband, Oculus Rift, etc. Interim presentations are held after the first week so you can get feedback, and the important thing here is to not get too attached to your work so you can throw stuff away if need be.

Dressing up for presentationDressing up for presentation because craziness is encouraged here. That team’s world was about a monkey collecting bananas haha.

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FREE return air tickets to Korea, first come first serve!

Update: 2 new destinations have been added! Japan (Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Tokyo), and Taiwan (Taipei, Koahsiung, Taichung). If you don’t want to travel, you can choose to receive $400 F&B vouchers or $400 Capitaland vouchers.

Disclaimer: I am in no way benefiting from this – I don’t even qualify for the offer T.T just doing my job as a class ambassador and publicising this for NUSS The Graduate Club (:

Travel to Korea for freeImage courtesy of NUSS The Graduate Club (:

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Dropbox space drain? Here’s how to get 1TB for free!

Edit for 2016: Yes, I’m aware that Weiyun no longer seems to have an English site, these Chinese cloud storage options all have relatively slow upload speeds, it might not be as secure as you like, etc. etc. Just don’t use them if you don’t feel comfortable!

Disclaimer: I wrote this solely for the reason of benefiting others and it’s NOT sponsored. Also, the 1TB free space is NOT for Dropbox.

Over the past week or so, I’ve seen many Facebook posts about the upcoming Space Drain, i.e. the free space from Dropbox’s Space Race expiring. Most of those complaints did have helpful comments about switching to alternatives like Google Drive, One Drive, or Box, but those only offer 15GB free space per service (the last I checked). I’m not sure about you guys, but I think 15GB is pretty pathetic. I’m using ~30GB on Dropbox now, and that’s just for my short term storage of files (my long term archives are somewhere else). And really, who wants to go through the hassle of using multiple cloud storage services and then forgetting where you saved each file?

Dropbox Space Race
Can you believe it’s been over 2 years since the Dropbox Space Race?
Photo credit: Dropbox

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