Well, now, here’s a book to add to the Backburner in a few months.
Two years ago, independent game designer Steve Swink wrote an essay, an amazing, brilliant manifesto titled “Principles of Virtual Sensation.” In this design primer, Swink lists the tenets of movement and animation, and how these principles correspond to virtual sensation, which in turn makes for what Swink simply calls “good-feeling gameplay.” But what is virtual sensation? Swink explains:
Driving a car, you have a very strong sense of the position of that car, the feel of steering and controlling it, of mastery. This is the ability that every person who’s ever learned to drive a car has: the ability to extend precise control over something outside your body. There is a great amount of pleasure in the learning and eventual mastery of such a motion translation. [...] Many people also find this pleasure in video games, where it is both distilled to its essence and free of the constraints and dangers of more physical activities. You can change the turning radius of a car, but you can’t change gravity. This experience of control is derived from an artificial kinesthesia. This is the ‘feel’ of the game, the thing that makes your mom lean left and right in her seat as she tries to play Rad Racer.
If Swink’s essay leaves you wanting more, don’t worry!
Game Feel: a Game Designer’s Guide to Virtual Sensation is over 300 pages of game design philosophy, with plenty of insights from Swink’s indie design peers. (Incidentally, Phil Fish of Fez designed Game Feel’s cover jacket.)
Game Feel drops this October.
We’ve been thrilled about Shawn Smith’s Ninjatown DS game ever since we first heard about it through the grapevine. Ninjatown is based on Shawnimal’s line of plush ninja toys.
To be sure, the pixelicious sprites do blocky justice to Shawn’s character art. But is the game any good?
Kotaku’s Leigh Alexander sat down for a hands-on preview of the game, and from her description, Ninjatown sounds like a real-time strategy based on the “tower defense” template, like PixelJunk Monsters and Desktop Tower Defense before it. (And yes, she says, it’s good.)
DS owners can expect to push shinobi this October.
We love the art of Nathan Jurevicius—the pride of our Scarygirl vinyl toy collection is our Tree Dweller figurine—and that’s why we can’t wait to play this gorgeous Scarygirl online Flash game based on Jurevicus’ art and characters. Australia-based developers Touch My Pixel expect the game to launch in three months. The preview video is absolutely beautiful.
Gallery of the Absurd is singly the greatest one-glance-and-you’re-all-caught-up gossip blog on the internet. And while the latest Gallery entry is only tangentially related to videogames, it’s still pretty amazing. (Click thumbnail, at right, for the big picture.)
Speaking of shoes:
From the latest Sneaker Pimps art show (via).
We’re tremendous fans of the Sneaker Pimps show—we attended one in Chicago last year—and we’re really anxious to ascertain the identity of this shoe’s artist.
Still, this leads us to believe that the owner of Boston shoe store Concepts would know. We’ll try to find some contact information. Till then, send tips.