Jitesh's Domain

Game Designer. Producer. Gamer.


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Short Vacation in Bali!

I tend to post a lot about games, game design and everything games in general whenever time permits. Blaming ‘time’ for being lazy is a sorry excuse. To experience different times and moments, I and wifey finally decided to take ‘time out’ from our game development schedule and go on a fun filled vacation… Bali!

I would like to present a gist of our adventure in Bali with some pictures and free tips 🙂 This isn’t going to be an exhaustive moment-by-moment ‘what to do, where to go’… more of a ‘we did this’ and it was ‘fucking awesome!’ No, seriously, there will be some takeaways in case you are planning to visit Bali so keep reading 😉

August 29 to September 4
We started our journey from Kuala Lumpur on August 29. In case you struggle to find a decent place to eat at KL International Airport and love European cuisine… just take a chance with ‘Dome’. Fantastic place to munch, gracious soups and heavy sandwiches 🙂
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August 29 – Day 1

After checking out various places to visit in Bali, we both narrowed down to stay at Ubud and Seminyak. This way, we get to see the best of the scenery, greenery and rice fields of Ubud and clean and less-crowded beaches of Seminyak region.

Checked in to Green Field Hotel and Restaurant on August 29.

A true scenic and tranquil view of rice fields and away from the super-busy, narrow streets of Ubud. Look at the beautiful view you deserve!

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Green Field Hotel and Restaurant is a true ‘hidden gem’. Wonderful staff, beautiful rooms with serene views of fields, cold breeze and amazing breakfast. Location of this hotel is its main highlight – close to so many tourist spots!

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Our first visit was meant to be at either Goa Gajah, Mask Museum or ARMA… instead we stumbled upon a ‘Cat Cafe‘… which was wonderfully kitty xD and so close to our hotel!

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By the time we reached and left Cat Cafe, it was almost 6 pm. One thing to note is that almost every tourist place in Bali closes by 5 pm. So, we just walked around in Ubud till late night, had some nice Balinese food and slept off. Gearing up for the day ahead.

August 30 – Day 2

Early morning, after filling our stomach with some heavy breakfast we left for Campuhan Ridge Walk (without a guide). Do note – if you really want a guide here, you might have to book in advance by sending an email or hire nearby guides. We went ahead without a guide though, just roaming around the ridge.

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After a decent walk in Campuhan, we were on our to visit Ubud Palace. The heat was killing us… we decided to refuel ourselves. That’s where we found this interesting ‘Vegan Ice-Cream’ restaurant. The Chef over there also conducts cooking classes!
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Finally, after having 2 scoops of Vegan Ice-Cream (try Vanilla, its better than their coffee chocolate flavor), we reached Ubud Palace (not too far from Campuhan Ridge Walk). Much of the Palace was closed for renovation. So, it didn’t take us more than 15-20 mins to see the entirety of it.

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Next on my itinerary was ARMA… not the famous war game, this one expands to Agung Rai Museum of Art. Beautiful place with 2 main complexes – Traditional Bali Art and Modern Art work. Everything over here is excellent! A definite, must visit for artists and anyone remotely in love with experiencing some amazing artwork. Apart from the well maintained art museum, their entire compound has beautiful architecture, animal structures, greenery and a free ‘coffee/ tea’ with the entry ticket.

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It was almost evening and the place was closing down. Then, we made our way to what looked like an amazing ‘Paradise for coconut lovers like me’… Tukies!
Tukies Cafe in Bali is a coconut joint, here you get everything engulfed in coconut ❤

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For dinner of the day, I was really in the mood for some Pizza! If you love Pizza’s do not miss ‘Mamma Mia‘ in Ubud. Great variety and amazing value for money. True, original Italian taste 🙂

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August 31 – Day 3

Fresh after waking up, eating muesli with bread and eggs in Hotel, we made our way to one of the most famous place in Ubud – Tegallalang Rice Terraces!

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Absolutely breathtaking views! Do prepare to climb and walk your way to heavenly landscapes.

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Do keep in mind – as you walk on terraces, explore your way, you’ll come across several ‘Donation boxes’. Idea is to put Rupiah here and move on to explore further. Many of these boxes have a ‘minimum Rupiah’ – so make sure you put them first and then move ahead. Do not forget to go all the way up! It is completely worth it!

Next destination was Luwak Coffee Plantation. There are several plantations in Ubud… we chose to visit Satria plantation and it turned out to be pretty great!

Luwak Coffee comes from Cevat Cats! Do read up more on it on internet if you aren’t aware about this. Below you can see coffee beans extracted from their Poo. Considered as one of the most expensive coffee in the world. Apparently, also has health benefits!

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As part of the tour, you get to sample 12 beverages! 6 amazing varieties of coffee and 6 teas. The guides over there are pretty great at explaining each of them, their benefits and are friendly enough to answer any questions you might have about coffee/ teas. Sampling these beverages is completely free of charge.

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What isn’t free is a sample cup of Luwak Coffee! Once here, you must try it out for yourself. It is not everyone’s cup of tea… erm, I mean coffee! Pretty strong, heavy and has an acquired taste. However, it isn’t as bitter/ strong as their original Bali Coffee!

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Next up, we visited Gunungkawi Temple. It is a beautiful temple with quite a lot of walking around to do and great scenic views. Do note, when visiting temples in Bali, one must wear decent clothing with Sarongs.

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After this, we visited Goa Gajah temple. Do keep your Sarongs on!
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No pictures here, but one of the busiest place in Ubud one must visit is the famous Ubud Market! Lots and lots of different items… clothing material, spices, local utensils to Sarongs and everything traditional is out there! Everyone is willing to negotiate nicely, so do go ahead!

September 1 – Day 4

This was the day we were supposed to check-out from Ubud and make our way to Seminyak. Now, one of the most famous tourist place which was so close-by to our Hotel was none other than ‘Sacred Monkey Forest’! Before checking out, we decided to check this place out.

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That’s a monkey, lying on the road at the entrance of the Monkey Forest. Now, pay attention… this place is unique. For some, it can be a true, one of a kind, excellent experience as one journey through forests with monkeys roaming, fighting, jumping all around. For some others, it can be a truly horrifying experience. Regardless of what rules you follow, there are high chances that monkeys may just start harassing/ attacking you.

That is exactly what happened with us. Be careful, extremely alert and careful. This is not a joke. These monkeys are wild animals and can be very dangerous. Read all the rules posted outside the forest and try to follow them. Just take my tip – even if you follow them, there is no guarantee that monkeys will leave you alone. There is no Monkey King or Hanuman that can come to your rescue here.

We just had to leave this place within 20 mins after one monkey approached my wife and chew off part of her dress (newly purchased one) and in next 5 mins, another monkey just used me as a stepping stone to reach a branch on the tree opposite to the bridge I was walking on!
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Saying that, the forest inside is truly beautiful. If you get lucky, have fun 😉 else just leave this place as soon as possible!

…till September 4 – Day 7

After reaching Seminyak, we checked into a wonderful Villa, Villa Coco… just 5 mins walk from Double Six beach! Again a very friendly staff, beautiful location, spacious and scenic villa with private garden space and my favorite… Hammock!

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The Double Six beach is a famous one for surfers out there. There are multiple Surfing schools operating here and overall, it is pretty clean, fresh and well managed.

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We came to Bali for relaxation, scenic views and to sit around and enjoy the beach! For all 4 days, September 1 to September 4 – we stayed around Double Six and Legian beach and walked around watching sunsets, surfers and wonderful restaurants… and chilled!

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When in this region, do not forget to roam around, visit shops, traditional art exhibitions that sell wonderful items for good price and eat at two of my favorite restaurants… Sacred Ground and Zanzibar!

Here is Sacred Ground… excellent ‘Gado-Gado’, Chicken Avocado sandwich and super yummy Unti (or Dadar)!

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Zanzibar over at the Double Six beach is where you should go if you want some excellent Italian and middle eastern food! Yes, I know… so different, yet so awesome!
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There are several amazing Spas everywhere! We chose to visit Sicilia Spa in Seminyak and it was wonderful! 🙂

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On the final day… we were feeling so sad :/ leaving this wonderful city. Idea was to enjoy, relax and take ‘time out’ and we managed to do just that. Bali was truly a wonderful experience for both of us. We definitely plan to visit this place again 🙂

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After saying goodbye to the wonderful Seminyak and Villa Coco, we made our way to the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Hungry again, we ate at Made’s Warung… repeat ‘Gado Gado’ and a burger for me!

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Currently Playing – The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine

The Game

I’m pretty sure by now, most of the readers have already played Witcher 3… or at least have heard about this gem. I finished the main game about 2 years ago and clocked in ~100 hours! For me, this game is without a doubt, one of the finest RPGs of this generation. It just does so many things right.

This post isn’t about what makes the game great, it is about how the game provides multitude of game settings that players can make use of to further intensify the entire game experience by making it more immersive (personalize to your liking). Some of you might know about this, as the game is a little old now… to me though, after trying some settings that I’ve mentioned down below, I can vouch for the increased ‘fun’ the whole thing brings.

How I used to play?

I directly delved into the game by making minimal adjustments to the game settings (apart from visuals and audio) and finished the main game in ‘Blood and Broken Bones’ difficulty. It was an excellent experience.

This is how I played the game (~100+hours):

Witcher3_SettingsON

Take a note of the contents in the RED BOX.

The game itself is exceptionally beautiful, with lots of details in terms of the way interactions work, the way in which the world feels real with some truly well designed geography (with noticeable locations, terrains and points of interests).

Now, with no changes made to the game settings and keeping them at default, this is how it (over)populates the HUD. Unfortunately, I noticed the problem after countless hours of gameplay. Not really a problem per se, more of an hindrance. Everything inside the RED BOX is meant to simplify exploration and ease the players into the game. Give better, detailed directions to what, where, when and so on. In short, easing by hand-holding. Once we start playing the game this way, naturally we progress quicker and feel great about it. However, after paying close attention, we realize that by playing this way, our eyes are mostly focused at the RED BOX. Especially, glued to the glorious, beautiful, rotating, mini-map. This is when, we stop ‘truly playing the game’ to ‘surfing the game’ because of the minutiae brought about by the mini-map. In short, eyes glued at the wrong place… a tiny place in relation to the entire rest of the screen that is filled with intricate details… real details which are begging for your close touch and exploration.

This is how I play the game NOW (~10+hours and counting):

Witcher3_SettingsOFF

Trust me, with this way, my experience with the game and immersion it brings about has increased by a lot! To me at least. This is something that I would seriously recommend you all try too. I started with this personalized setting with the expansion ‘Blood and Wine’.

Toggle the following ‘Off’:

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Do not forget, we can open the main World map whenever we want to see the destination objective marker, explore and find our own way and traverse like a real ‘Witcher’. Let’s just not look at the shortest way to reach there with dotted lines on your mini-map with the exact distance of footsteps it’ll take you! Try it out and see the experience being enriched.

Along with this, I also found 2 more settings that can really add a little more twist and increase the sense of danger. This can be a little subjective, but worth a try 😉 Turn ‘Off’ Boss and Enemy Health Bars. Yes, sounds scary as frak! I can’t really recall right now, but few other games also have the setting for turning off HP bars. So, try this out here… a Witcher, after all doesn’t really know how much HP the opponents have (unless witcher-vision provides the touch) 😉 role-play!

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In short, I encourage every player to try and personalize and find settings that suit you best. Turning Off the mini-map is highly recommended as I personally found that it truly enriches the experience. Everything else, well tweak and play around with them, see if it works for you or not.

This is the beauty of a true player-friendly PC game. Tweaks and tips to dig deep and escape!

 


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Clash Royale – PART I

I’m pretty sure most of you have already started playing Clash Royale by now. Even if you aren’t one of the Royale players, you might very well be aware of the game. Clash Royale is Supercell’s next gem for mobile devices.

I’ve been playing this game on a daily basis since it launched in India. I wanted to jot down and do a few write-ups focusing on design.

The first design overview I felt like covering is the gameplay concept map. Please note:

  • This concept map focuses only on gameplay elements
  • It does not teach you how to play the game
  • Shows the inter-relationships of different elements

Now, I am not explaining what each element (especially the ones taken from the game) stand for. Obviously, if you have been playing the game, you’ll be aware of the intricacies. In case you haven’t tried the game out, this’ll help you understand (a little) the concept of gameplay in Clash Royale (inter-dependencies, skills needed, synergy and complexity).

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It is informative to look at the game, realize its scope and go through its various concepts. Do check it out, it’ll be fun to discuss more on this (especially if you have already been playing the game).

Keep checking here for further updates, I’ll most likely do more write-ups by focusing on different features. They may not necessarily be in sequence and will most likely be a little independent of each other.

Do shoot your feedback and rants. It’s always fun ;]

 

 

 


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Roleplaying in Wasteland 2

Playing a role.

I finally gave in and bought one of the games that was lying at No.1 spot for a long time on my Steam wishlist – Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut. I am a huge fan of the classic Fallout 1 and 2, love post-apocalyptic scenarios and isometric role-playing games. Most of the followers of the genre already know that Wasteland 1 is what inspired classic Fallout.

I always had in my mind a very particular set of characters, which I believed would be really interesting in a game like this. I love Firefly. I felt like coyboys, sci-fi and wasteland would be a perfect fit for me to roleplay (as a party). I went ahead with that decision and I am seriously so in love with this game.

Firefly party creation and composition:

  • There are so many amazing characters in the series, I had to shortlist the best taking into account character skills (TV series), ones that would really matter
  • Their chemistry – if made as an away team in a party
  • I know the game to be combat heavy (like Fallout Tactics, unlike Fallout 1 and 2), so made an appropriate selection – since 4 is the maximum number of party members allowed at game start
  • Unfortunately, biography for characters I made in Wasteland 2 party is blank at the moment (I thought those could also be edited after starting the game, but I’ll need to modify saves to do it – will update this later)
  • I’ve tried to make my party as close to their characters on the show as possible (attributes, characteristics, personalities and skills)
  • Quirks were truly interesting – and it took me a long time to choose!
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State of Firefly characters – Party creation process

I’ll now share how the characters grew in around 30 hours of gameplay. Most of the characters in my party are Level 13 as of this post. I tried to roleplay and add only those skills which made sense to me (staying in line with their show counterparts and also helpful in the game/ but not always)

Malcolm Reynolds

Without any thought, this guy had to be there. There was no question about it. A leader. Smart Ass. Charmer. Can make horrible/ bad choices ;]

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Character Screen – Coordination, Charisma

Quirk: Opportunist [description from Wasteland 2] –> It takes a certain ethical flexibility to take advantage of others, and it’s a flexibility you possess. Your predatory nature means that you kick your enemies just a bit harder when they’re down. However, you’re also equally timid and fearful of harm coming to you, and as a result, you do less damage to those that are healthy.

I believed that quirk to fit Mal perfectly in this game ;]

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Skills – Leadership, Smart Ass, Handguns

Skills: At this moment in the game, Mal is kind of above average in handgun combat. He also has Pulse Rifle as secondary weapon. Leadership helps during combat and Smart Ass provides interesting dialogue options in conversations (wherever possible). He is also perceptive and overall failure in safe-cracking.

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Perks – Know-it-All!

Perks: bonuses for your characters as they level up.

Mal is pretty much having bonuses in Conversations and a little combat advantage. Overall, I use Mal for primary communication with others in game.

 

Zoe Washburn

I really needed a character that can be strong in combat, hardcore and a true, good friend of Mal. It had to be Zoe. Bad-ass, strong and aware.

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Character Screen – Coordination, Awareness, Strength

Quirk: Now, I went through the entire list present in game, couldn’t really feel like a particular quirk to fit Zoe. So, in this case, there is no quirk! No plus, no minus.

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Skills – Shotguns, Field Medic, Assault Rifles

Skills: So, I really wanted Zoe to be a shotgun expert, bad-ass and strong. Her Field medic expertise (coming from Army) really helps out the other members. She also has average Rifle skills, really really useful when friends are in the way ;]

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Perks – Hardened!

Perks: Without blinking, as soon as I got an opportunity to give her the first Perk, I chose Hardened. +1base armor. Perfect for this character.

At this moment in game, she is one of the best combat lady in my party and really messes up raiders and other critters in-game! Just amazing :]

 

Jayne Cobb

Now, Jayne is a very interesting character. In the series and also in this game. I wanted a brawler, hard-ass and ranged expert at the same time. Jayne is all that and perfect Watchman!

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Character Screen – Awareness, Strength

Quirk: Thick-Skinned [description from Wasteland 2] –> All the boys ‘n girls in the playground used to pick on you. They called you stinky, fatty, ugly, and beat you up until you were bruised and sore. But the more you took it, the more you learned to shrug it off. Sticks and stones won’t break your bones. Years of physical abuse have left you thick-skinned and you can shrug off attacks more easily, but you’re heavier and more sluggish, and as a result, you move slower.

Isn’t it perfect for this guy? Such an easy choice for me – works especially well in the game too!

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Skills – Sniper Rifles, Hard Ass, Brawling

Skills: I did mentioned I wanted Jayne to be ranged expert but also a Hard Ass. Like how he really is. Brawling works wonderfully, when someone makes a mistake to jump on him ;]

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Perks – Watchman

Perks: Now, being a strong-willed sniper, Watchman it was! Also, we have here intimidating and Hoarder – all Jayne bonuses ;]

Right now, after around 30 hours, Jayne is one of the best combat specialist in my party. Ranged destruction FTW! I have even seen him breaking down a Robot Crawler by brawling him!

 

River Tam

Okay, so I’ll be frank, the aforementioned 3 selections (Mal, Zoe and Jayne) were easy choices for me. I mean, I had to have them in my party in Wasteland 2. For the final one, I took some time to decide on the best one.

I wanted the last member in my party to be one of these:

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Going with either of those, can give rise to their respective benefits, personalities and skills. After thinking a lot, I almost went with Kaylee. I mean, wouldn’t she be perfect for Mechanical repair, toaster repair and also charismatic? Then it hit me, River is someone who must be tremendously more interesting to have here, because she is so different. And, that is why, even in the game (after finally choosing her) she is so different – useful and oftentimes useless – but oh so interesting!

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Character Screen – Intelligence, Strength and Luck!

Quirk: Manic Depressive [description from Wasteland 2] –> Mania and melancholy are two sides of the same coin, and you have known it all your life. You are subject to intense mood changes, and those around you say you’re almost like a different person each time they see you.

Perfect! Ain’t it? Also, so damn risky. This directly means, her attributes keep shifting every few mins (~15mins) – depending on whether she is feeling Mania or Melancholy! Trust me, because of this the gameplay and how we play around it has become tremendously more enjoyable for me.

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Skills – SMG, Mech Repair, Computer Science and Animal Whisperer!

Skills: Obviously, since I didn’t choose Kaylee, I still needed someone skilled enough to repair stuff, break into locks and use her intelligence to hack into computers and blast into enemies using Submachine guns!

Also, I loved using her Animal Whisperer skills to tame more than 20 animals including gila monsters, goats and worms! :]

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Perks – Weathered

Perks: For bonuses, I’ve selected her to have Weathered (resistance to crits) and Camel – which is really useful in this wasteland. Save, conserve and efficiently use precious water.

During gameplay, if possible I always try to use her whisperer abilities to tame animals (unless its impossible – level difference is high). It is really interesting to make choices based on her mood-state in the game. Many times, I had to wait for her to regain her abilities so that I could lock-pick an important safe!

Well, so that’s about it! I’m currently engrossed in Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut and find the role-playing pretty enjoyable. Especially, with a team like this… what can go wrong?

If you are reading this and love Firefly, RPGs or have been playing Wasteland 2, do post your thoughts.

 

 


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WORKSHOP – FAST AND FURIOUS 7

NASSCOM NGDC2015 DESIGN WORKSHOP

FAST AND FURIOUS 7

I had an immense pleasure of organizing this year’s Design Workshop at Nasscom’s Game Developer Conference held at Mahratta Chamber Of Commerce Industries & Agriculture (MCCIA) Towers.

The idea and topic was pretty simple – understand and learn to deliver a game pitch in less than 7 mins. The basis of presentation technique was PechaKucha (chit-chat in Japanese).

A part of my preparation was to come up with interesting topics for participants.

I started creating topics…

Preparation - creation of mindboggling topics ;]

Preparation – creation of mindboggling topics ;]

Once I demonstrated the PechaKucha technique to participants, they were asked to be comfortable, form power groups (which were made to ensure friends don’t stick together and teams feel balanced).

The topic – a mandate on which participants had to create their game pitch consisted of 2 parts:

  • A subject/ core matter
  • Game Genre
Preparation - Cards in disarray!

Preparation – Cards in disarray!

The stacks were then made, successfully (before the workshop began, at my home):

Cards tied in RED –> Core/ Subject matter

Cards tied in YELLOW –> Game Genre

Power Cards... are READY!

Power Cards… are READY!

At the workshop, once my presentation was over and groups were formed, I asked one member from each group to draw cards from the stacks I had made. Interesting topics are created when randomness comes into play ;]

For eg: A group picked cards that gave them FOOD as Core Subject and SURVIVAL HORROR as game genre!

The rules were laid out:

  • use laptop
  • use internet connection
  • minimal text
  • Images, images and images!
  • 20 sec per slide rule
  • Max slides 20 (due to time restriction – I didn’t enforce 20 slides as MUST – it was a max limit for this workshop)
Fast and Furious 7 :: PechaKucha!

Fast and Furious 7 :: PechaKucha!

Here are some pictures from the workshop:

It's on!

It’s on!

Getting to know team and discussion within was paramount!

Getting to know team and discussion within was paramount!

A team brainstorming on their game pitch

A team brainstorming on their game pitch

Team getting their slides ready!

Team getting their slides ready!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

Team game pitch kickoff!

With Prashant!

With Prashant!

I apologize for some really shaken pictures! :]

My badge this year.

My badge this year.

I had an awesome time conducting the workshop, discussing terrific ideas with everyone who participated. If you are in the picture, you participated or were a part of the team – do share 🙂


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Hearthstone – Monies – Analysis

As many of you already know, I’m currently addicted to Hearthstone and it is the ONLY game for which my iPad is turned ON! No pun intended. Also, I have made no effort in playing this game on my PC. Coz, touch is for now best interface to play card games with.

I present to you a brief analysis I did few days back. This is not about the game design part of Hearthstone. But, more about how you gain benefits, its shop and various layers. Please feel free to comment.

 

BRIEF POINTS

·         Hearthstone has only ONE in-game currency = GOLD.

·         The only other method of purchase is via hard cash.

·         The game makes sure to SELL ONLY Expert Card packs

o   Each Expert Card Pack consists of 5 Cards out of which at least 1 is rare or above

·         The game doesn’t allow trading of cards or packs

 

SHOP

Hearthstone - Shop Screen (Currency is INR)

Hearthstone – Shop Screen (Currency is INR)

 

I made a small table to illustrate how the shop works [the currency here is Euro – €]:

 (The image shown above is from my AppStore account – so it is in Rs. Talking in Euro makes more sense internationally. Sorry for the confusion)

PURCHASE COST Without wholesale discounts – Compared to Cost for 2 Packs – Actual Costs SAVING
Expert Card Packs
1 100 Gold
2 2.69
7 8.99 9.42 0.42
15 17.99 20.18 2.19
40 44.99 53.80 8.81

 

NOTE: Player can always purchase 1 Expert Card pack using in-game currency GOLD but to buy more she must invest in hard-cash (one way). The only other method is to keep accumulating GOLD and buy 1 Pack after another as needed.

Looking at the table above it is very clear that the player can understand and see benefits that keep increasing the higher she goes in spending for card packs.

Overall – € 8.99 and € 17.99 for 7 and 15 Packs are most interesting for players. Good amount of savings.

 

Accumulating GOLD:

·         Hearthstone provides a very interesting Quest system

o   Daily Quests are given to the player [valid in ONLINE play with strangers or Arena mode]

o   A maximum of 3 can be stacked at any given time

o   Quests come in various categories which provide rewards

o   Rewards = GOLD [40-100] – depending on quest difficulty/ length

·         Ideally, a person who doesn’t want to use hard-cash to purchase Card Packs (grinder) – the best way is to ALWAYS make sure to keep finishing Quests

·         3 Consequent wins with same hero – 30 GOLD

 

ARENA MODE

One of my example match in Arena (strength of the key - color)

One of my example match in Arena (strength of the key – color)

 

·         This is my personal favorite and one of the best game mode in Hearthstone

·         Arena mode requires an entry fee

o   150 GOLD OR € 2

·         Arena mechanic

o   Choose one of a random hero presented to the player (choice among 3)

o   Make a card deck from a set of random cards

  Interesting part is – almost entire deck in Hearthstone is available

  This includes every rare, epic and legendary cards

  However, the order and selection is random

o   Player keeps progressing in Arena to unlock better and better rewards until she loses three times

  The player is basically unlocking “KEY”

·         Keys come in different variety and open the specific reward box

 

Check the table below that gives an idea about the rewards presented in Arena (wiki helped here):

 

Wins Key Rewards Random reward pool
0 Novice 2 1. One expert pack 25-40 gold
2. One random reward 25-40 dust
One common card
1 Apprentice 2 1. One expert pack 30-50 gold
2. One random reward 25-50 dust
One common card
2 Journeyman 2 1. One expert pack 40-50 gold
2. One random reward 40-50 dust
One common card
One rare card
3 Copper 3 1. One expert pack 20-25 gold
2. 25-35 gold 20-25 dust
3. One random reward One common card
One rare card
12 Lightforge 5 1. One expert pack 20-175 gold
2. 215-235 gold 20-25 dust
3. One random reward One golden common card
4. One random reward One golden or regular rare card
5. One random reward One golden or regular epic card
One golden or regular legendary card
One expert pack

 

NOTE: The important point to note here is that if the player loses all 3 games in Arena (doesn’t win even a single one) – she still gets 1 Expert Card Pack and any one of the random reward.

So according to the investment made (if used GOLD) to enter Arena –

  • Player is for sure going to get in return 67% GOLD back in terms of 1 Expert Card Pack
  • 25-40 GOLD or dust

For any non-payable player this is almost completely a win scenario.

Arena offers almost fair play as the deck is created in this mode itself + all cards are made available.

No. of wins a player gets in Arena is directly proportional to the rewards she shall reap.

 

CRAFTING

Crafting screen

Crafting screen

·         Player can disenchant any of the cards (except soulbound – hero basic cards) to earn what is called as “Arcane Dust”.

·         Can be termed as other currency (indirect) as this cannot be purchased anywhere/ nor converted from GOLD

 

Check the table below:

 

Rarity in Card Type Crafting Disenchanting
Cost Golden Card Reward Golden Card
Common (White) 40 400 5 50
Rare (Blue) 100 800 20 100
Epic (Purple) 400 1600 100 400
Legendary (Orange) 1600 3200 400 1600

Considering that the reward in Arcane Dust for disenchanting is anywhere from 1/8th to 1/4th – it is just TOO LOW for anyone to make a significant card.The only way is to sacrifice certain unused cards or to dilute extra cards… in other words earn more cards from Arena/ Expert Card purchases.

 

CLOSING POINTS

·         Pushes player to purchase card packs

·         Disenchant additional cards

o   Try crafting common or rare cards

o   Crafting a legendary card revolves around sacrificing other strong cards in huge portion

·         There is no energy system or waiting time

·         Without putting any real money, a grinder can still win many games to her satisfaction by involving more

o   In Arena

o   Daily Quests

o   Casual Online play

·         The game statistics screen NEVER display

o   Win/ Loss ratio (similar to Kill/ Death in multiplayer)

o   It is interesting to note that usually in multiplayer games the ratio is very very important to players

o   Hearthstone goes in a different direction by

  Increasing motivation – by NEVER showing how many games one loses (apart from in Arena – where it is part of core loop)

  Wins are presented strategically and in appealing fashion

  Even Arena category outside on stats page – always display the KEY till which player has reached till date (showing only positive side)

·         An average player will keep earning GOLD in loads if she keeps finishing quests and thus can easily keep purchasing Card Packs

·         The monetization is still going strong for players

o   Who do not wish to grind and wait

o   Excellent savings provided in card packs’ price

o   Very important – player NEVER knows which cards are there when she is buying Expert Packs

  So, there will be duplicates (but they can be disenchanted for dust)

  In case she doesn’t get good enough cards she’ll just go ahead and buy more packs!


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Senselessness for the soul.

It has been a really long time since my last website update. I was thinking over and over and wanted to spark Senseless Stories section. This post isn’t going to be a big one. More of an announcement really.

I finally sat down, busted grey matter in hand with my keyboard. Some senselessness should do good, right? Isn’t it what the world desires? Needs even? What’s the point in learning only from matter that makes sense. Why not otherwise? Everyone is entitled to waste their time! One way or another… it must happen and should happen to every single soul on this planet.

Without further whatnot, I forcefully invite you to just go ahead and read one of the first senseless pulp from my side – A Random Encounter?

Feel free to comment and shout.

 


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Flappy Jam!

It was around 2 weeks back when me and many of my colleagues started playing this little game called “Flappy Bird” on iOS. We were having fun with the game trying to beat score. We all kind of played it for few hours then moved on to some other game on iOS.
Just few days later, we came across news on the internet mentioning the game’s sudden rise on the AppStore. We were all like… what?! I’m pretty sure many of you must’ve already experience the game recently on your iPad/ iPhone and some of you might’ve even played it months back when it was originally released! In my opinion, the sudden rise of this game was mainly due to virality and word-of-mouth tactics. It worked. It actually worked wonders for the developer. The game started making tons of monies. Which is both a good and a bad thing.

Few things about Flappy Bird:

  • It presents a classic game appeal
  • Addictive, fun game meant to be played in quick bursts
  • Inspired by retro/ other classics
  • Absolutely no gameplay variation
  • No enhancements in core mechanics as the player progresses
  • No variation in level design

The game still raked hundreds of thousands of dollars. It clearly goes on to show how marketing, virality can work wonders + climb of simplicity.

Due to its sudden rise, the developer gained huge amount of fame and negative press at the same time. Negativity mainly emerged due to aforementioned reasons. I’m sure you’ll find the news about what all happened in detail on various news sites. Eventually, the developer could not take all the press and hatred and decided to remove the app from the AppStore.

Then, soon there was this event that popped up –> Flappy Jam! Hundreds of developers came forth in support and for passion’s sake!

Today is the last day of submission at –> http://itch.io/jam/flappyjam
And… here is my entry (Inspired by Space Invaders) 🙂

http://uns33n.itch.io/dont-invade-my-flappy-space

http://www.kongregate.com/games/JiteshP1/dont-invade-my-flappy-space

Screen_2 Screen_1 Screen_3

Do check out my game and other developers’ efforts too! Share, leave feedback and have fun ;]


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GPU’s in my life. 17 years+

Pentium MMX 166MHz. Matrox Manipulation Extensions. MultiMedia Extensions. What have you. Neither is correct though. That’s another story and is completely out of the scope here. This article is about GPUs. Yes. The meat. The bones. The love. Raw processing power in drawing tris/s and accelerating games by lowering burden on CPUs.

My first foray into gaming like a crazy addict on PC started with my first purchase (above). Of course, I ain’t counting playing games for countless hours on classic x86 (286, 386, 486 and Pentium Class 1) in my school/ cousin’s/ friend’s place. My personal relationship with computers started in my home with Pentium 166 MHz MMX. During that time, 1996 I did not have a dedicated 3D-accelerator (so it was called then). What was available for me was on-board Cirrus Logic (if I remember it correctly). It had a mightly 1MB of memory size. Yes. That is 0.1% of Video RAM that is currently installed in my PC.

For me, getting into graphics accelerators started when Quake II arrived. I was having super-fun playing the game in software mode. But, then I came across OpenGL setting for the game. Well, that was it. I turned it on and somehow got it working in Quake II. Immediately, the graphics smoothed out, green filter all over the screen and the game portrayed a fun ride with approx 2-5 FPS (or I think so). That was it. I had to buy myself a new graphics card. That’s when I started researching and knowing more about accelerators available in market.

Let’s begin with my first purchase. It was the year of enlightenment, 1998.

Disclaimer: All the years associated with GPUs in my blog is “Year of purchase

1. Diamond Viper V330 [1998]

RIVA 128 GPU

This card immediately boosted my performance in games from almost-nothingness to spectacular (by standards of ’98). Major boost was with the increase in memory size to 4MB.

2. Asus AGP-V7700 Nvidia GeForce GTS 32MB [2000]

GeForce2 GTS 32MB 2

The major selling point of this card was Transform & Lighting (T&L). It was all woohoo at the moment. I absolutely loved this graphics card. Particularly, this card blew Giants: Citizen Kabuto. One of the first games that used this card to the limit.

3. Sapphire ATI Radeon 9600 SE [2003]

To this day, I still consider this card to be a filler. Getting this was more of a mistake. I was supposed to get 9600, SE was a real low when it came to performance. Very unsatisfactory. Mainly, as it had a measly 64-bit memory bus. It just couldn’t handle games of that generation well.

4. Nvidia GeForce 6600 GT [2005]

Nvidia Geforce 6600GT GPU 2009-01-27

After the love that was GeForce 2 GTS, 6600 GT blew me again. This is one of the most famous cards of the decade. I am pretty sure countless PC gamers had an affair with this video card by Nvidia. Effective memory clock frequency of 1000 MHz! DDR all the way! Yeah!

5. Sapphire ATI Radeon x1950 Pro [2007]

x1950 Pro

x1950 Pro

This was another of my favorite GPU. It faithfully allowed hordes of games to run smoothly at pretty high settings. Plus, it boasted a killer 44.2GB/s memory bandwidth. Yes!

6. Palit AMD Radeon 4870 Dual Sonic Edition [2009]

Palit 4870 Dual Sonic Ed. 1024MB

Palit 4870 Dual Sonic Ed. 1024MB

It has been 4.5 years now since I bought this card. I must say, this has been one of the best performer. Ever. Even after 4 years, this card performs admirably in current gen games like Metro: Last Light and Far Cry 3. Most games are still playable at 1080p. Love it. Guess, I’ll wait for awhile before I upgrade next. The time has not yet come. 4870 still rocks and has enough juice to satisfy me. At least for a while. 

6. Sapphire AMD Radeon R9 280x Dual-X OC Edition [2013]

Sapphire AMD Radeon R9 280x Dual-X OC (UEFI)

Sapphire AMD Radeon R9 280x Dual-X OC (UEFI)

And… I finally gave in to this marvelous new GPU from AMD. R9 280x is a notch above everyone in competition and very close to mighty Nvidia Geforce GTX 770! For the price, this is certainly one of the best value. 3D performance in current-gen games is mindblowing! Not sure how this might handle 4K resolutions… but that is for next year!

I thought of making some interesting analysis (high level) on specifications of all these cards that I owned.

Just shows how the chipsets have evolved since 17 years (or more closely 13 years). Presented here in graph format. I’ve considered some of the major criteria that defines a GPU at a high level. Let’s begin!

Transistor Count

Increase in the count of Transistors on chip

Increase in the count of Transistors on chip

Memory Size

Increase in (raw) Memory Size (technology not taken into account here)

Increase in (raw) Memory Size (technology not taken into account here)

Memory Bus

Memory Bus size

Memory Bus size

Memory Bandwidth

Rise in Memory bandwidth through the years

Rise in Memory bandwidth through the years

Core Clock

Increase in Core processing clock frequency

Increase in Core processing clock frequency

Memory Clock

Increase in Memory clock frequency

Increase in Memory clock frequency

Fabrication

Decrease in the Fabrication process

Decrease in the Fabrication process

 

That’s about it folks. For now. Might post some mid-level details soon.


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Currently Playing – The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

The name intrigued me. Van Helsing. Adventures? Incredible Adventures? That too for $15? Well, I bought this game to experience and relive classic ARPGs like Diablo. I mean the first one. The one which I consider is better than two and way ahead of 3.

Adventuring Party? Marvelous reference!

I haven’t played a lot of this game yet. I’m just level 8 and my companion, Lady Katarina is 7. She’s like my pet Ghost. I mean like the pet you have in Torchlight II.

Dolby flame surround.

Dolby flame surround.

Characters in this game are very likable and display a peculiar sense of humor. Okay, I wanted to write more about this game… but guess I’ll do that next time. Soon. I’ll go back to hacking, slashing and having some more fun while the rain drops outside. Good times.