Friday, December 28, 2012

I'm thinking: Why video games can be BAD?

I think the main reason to call video games bad is purely psychological. Games are bad when the player completely forgets about the real world and finds solace only in the virtual world. Many thinkers, scientists etc call this as "game addiction". Well i don't. I'am neither a thinker nor scientist but I'm a true hardcore video gamer and I think video game addiction is not what the general definition goes. Game addiction for me has a very different meaning and understanding. I will explain it some other post. But the point is, I, as a video gamer do think video games can be bad. This is because games are only meant for fun and entertainment and nothing else. And when a player considers games as his only work/job, he is in trouble. He is in trouble psychologically.

If you find such a player then there is something wrong with his daily life. Such people do not find the real world challenging enough or do not find the world around them more rewarding.The exact thing that a good fun video game provides. There can be various reasons for them to think this way. They may not be happy with the way things are going with their school or college or work life, peer pressure, bad or ignored parenting. The list can be big. And so is the reason why people who don't play games think that they are bad for their children/spouse/friend.So you see, it is a psychological problem, isn't it?

The other reason I think why a game can be bad, is the game itself. 7 out of 10 games are not worth playing. They would either be gruesomely violent, have horrible gameplay or show content which is not suitable for the age of the player. This will definitely affect the person playing that game. And i think the ESRB ratings wont stop the age groups to play games not meant for them. Game developers should know that action is good, but also action should be fun. Somehow the "fun" part goes missing while creating a graphically awesome, massive action packed game, for most of the developers. And when such game falls into the hands of the wannabe player, it will only ruin his gaming spirit.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Gaming Culture

In India, Bangalore is the video gaming hub. There is no second thought about that. But there is this one thought I just cannot ignore: Gaming is extremely expensive here. I mean if you want to enjoy the latest released Halo4 on XBOX360 and BlacksOps2 on PS3, you will have to shell out close to Rs.200 per hour. 200 Rupees per hour? Are you kidding me?. I know these are high end console games, but don't you think this is over expensive. Even the online PC gaming will cost you near 100 bucks. Still expensive for an average Indian expenditure.

If this is the situation in Bangalore and happens to be in other parts of the country, then how are we supposed to have a video gaming culture here?. Yes, we do not have a video gaming culture in India yet. A culture is defined by the participation and the awareness of the people across age groups.Having said that ,the gaming participation is inversely proportion to its cost and directly proportional to its awareness. The more affordable gaming will be, the more participation it will get and will create even more awareness. And a land where every single rupee spent demands acceptable returns, the current gaming conditions are not fruitful.

Current gaming condition is limited to Social Games on Facebook, Google+ and Mobile games. These games are mostly freemium. Even though this has definitely set the momentum, it is not enough to say that we have gaming culture. It is too soon to say that. But until and unless we keep pace with the gaming world outside India, we will be behind. To improve the conditions, I think, below bulleted points could help in the near future to guarantee a gaming culture among us.

  • Good Fun games should be created here in India itself. Not many games, but a few GOOD games. Look at "Angry Birds".
  • More and more people from all age groups should get access to free video game playtime. This includes consoles like PS3, XBOX360,Wii and handheld consoles like PSP,WiiU. Let them experience the power of gaming for free. If you can convince them that gaming is worth spending money on then it will set the wheels rolling.
  • And last but no the least, The gaming cafes should have affordable charges and schemes. and should remember that gaming is for everybody and not just rich pocket people. Cafes are the best way to experience games before buying the hardware or without even buying it. I have spent countless hours of my gameplay in gaming cafes. They are worth every penny if made affordable. I have played PS2 games in my city for Rs.10 per hour. Now hows that?       


Friday, October 19, 2012


There is a saying... "When the student is ready, teacher appears" had organized a course on a topic called Gamification. Coursera is a non profit organization with an objective of educating the world with free courses. And Gamification was the first ever course being offered there.Gamification is a new term getting noticed by the world recently. A one line definition for this term will be "to apply video game concepts to the non game context".

The saying above applies to me perfectly. "When i was desperate to learn about Gamification, Coursera was there to offer the first ever Gamification course".

Why was I so eager to learn about Gamification from the outside world has a simple answer. I saw it coming. I saw gamification happening around me. It is a beautiful concept that when applied correctly can positively upgrade your product, service, customer relationships etc. that too in a fun way. Look at, and more recently the Mozilla Open Badge.

Gamification is very new concept. Though there have some traces of gamification earlier as well but this is the time when it is taking a firm hold in the Web industry, mobile industry and the world.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Solving Box2D build issues on Ubuntu 10.04

While building Box2D on a Ubuntu 10.04 system I faced many problems. After lot googling and trying different solutions I finally built it successfully. The solutions are scattered on the net. I have collected it in this blog at one place because i think i have faced all build problems :) .  

1. Download Box2D from here :
2. Read the Building.txt file that comes with the download carefully.
3. I faced problem while building the cod with premake. The error message was :
 The problem was that the vpaths are added in the premake 4.4 version only. Hence the problem. Read this: This solved 'vpaths' problem.

3. Another error you may face is :

==== Building HelloWorld (debug) ==== Creating obj/Debug/HelloWorld make[1]: *** No rule to make target `../../HelloWorld/Helloworld.cpp', needed by `obj/Debug/HelloWorld/Helloworld.o'. Stop. make: *** [HelloWorld] Error 2

This is a typo.Read this : This problem will also be solved.

4. Again after successful building of HelloWorld. You may face below problem :

==== Building HelloWorld (debug) ==== HelloWorld.cpp Linking HelloWorld ==== Building Testbed (debug) ==== Creating obj/Debug/Testbed Render.cpp Test.cpp Main.cpp TestEntries.cpp Linking Testbed /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lGLUT collect2: ld returned 1 exit status make[1]: *** [bin/Debug/Testbed] Error 1 make: *** [Testbed] Error 2

Read this to solve the issue:

5. Cmake problem :

[ 29%] Built target Box2D
[ 59%] Built target Box2D_shared
[ 60%] Built target HelloWorld
[ 61%] Building C object freeglut/CMakeFiles/freeglut_static.dir/freeglut_callbacks.c.o
In file included from /home/gaurav/Documents/me/Box2D_v2.2.1/freeglut/freeglut_callbacks.c:29:
/home/user/Box2D_v2.2.1/freeglut/freeglut_internal.h:111:39: error: X11/extensions/XInput.h: No such file or directory
make[2]: *** [freeglut/CMakeFiles/freeglut_static.dir/freeglut_callbacks.c.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [freeglut/CMakeFiles/freeglut_static.dir/all] Error 2
make: *** [all] Error 2

/usr/include/X11/extensions/XInput.h is present in Ubuntu 10.04 as /usr/include/X11/extensions/XI.h. So just go to Box2D_v2.2.1/freeglut/freeglut_internal.h. Inside check the the line where error occurred : include X11/extensions/XInput.h . Just rename it to include X11/extensions/XI.h.

Try to "make" again. And when you see the below lines :

Linking CXX executable Testbed
[100%] Built target Testbed

Congratulations. The Box2D build is complete successfully.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm Playing: Limbo

Two colors: Black and White and One Word: Monochromatic. That is all you can see on the screen when you start playing the "Limbo". Right from the first untill the 25 chilling, challenging chapters complete (if you could... :) ).

Limbo is an example that proves how a video game can be beautiful,innovative yet fun and entertaining. In addition to this, games like Limbo proves that video game making is an "Art". Said that I want to write especially about the art of Limbo in this post.

Imagine you are a video game designer and you have have been asked or you think to use only two colors : black and white in your game. What possibly you can do. I bet your imagination will not reach at the level Limbo is. The first thing that gets your attention in Limbo is the "Environment" of the game itself. The darkness in the environment of the game is its USP. There is nothing special about the mechanics of the gameplay if you ask. You control small boy with tiny white eyes blinking on his black boy. The boy moves forward and backward and can take small jumps and move objects. That's it. These are the only mechanics of the game. If i put the gameplay in one line then it will be like... move forward,move backward, jump,push and pull. It is the "other" game elements that makes this game unique.

Being a 2D side scrolling game, Limbo adds the game environment with puzzles, those are created using the elements present in the environment itself. The boxes, the saw blades,water,plants,trees, the light, the electricity each and every element talks to you tries to tell to something about the game.
 And as the game progress it is the environment the tells you the story of the game. No narration, no tips, no help guides, nothing.And when such thing happens it is nothing but a piece of "Art".

So did this game gave me a JawDropping experience ?? It surely did. And here it is...

Monday, May 21, 2012

UNCHARTED 3: Drake's Deception™ - Patch 1.11 Notes Video

I have added this link way back in May this year. But it was just when the patch was released. Now that i have experienced the Multiplayer mode of the Uncharted i have got mixed feelings. First thing is the the good thing, and it it that the various types of games that you can play is in awesome. Also the maps are good. The leveling up and the money making part of the multiplayer gameplay keeps you hooked to the PS3 and makes you play for long hours. Now the bad thing (yes only one thing) that i dont like about the gameplay is the speed at which the character moves the aim when holding the gun in first person mode. I know this is the part of single player mode, but  it is fine in that mode. But in multiplayer mode you expect the actions to be much faster and more robust. That's the only lacking part.