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Patrick Curry's Snow Day

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the stay-in-and-play dept.

Games 41

Patrick Curry, currently working on the next-gen John Woo title Stranglehold has a blog where he posts short, interesting idea kernels for games. His most recent post, entitled Snow Day, really grabbed my attention. From the post: "Snow Day is an open-world game where you play as a kid in a small town that's been completely snowed in. The schools and businesses are all closed, so for this one day the kids can do whatever they want! You can have a snowball fight, make a snowman, make snow-angels, or build a fort. As you explore the town you find items that unlock new activities, like sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating ... Snow Day gets really interesting when you start thinking of it as a multiplayer game. Suddenly the casual activities turn into a tournament, a sort of Winter Olympics for kids. Snow Day has most of the classic gameplay archetypes... exploring, racing, and some very light combat. But it also has creative gameplay, in building forts, snowmen, and all of the other ways you could manipulate the environment." Some of his other game idea posts include Oval Office, a president sim, and Freelance Foto, an on-the-run photojournalist game.

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World simulation vs. active participation (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807216)

It's been said that the brain is a muscle and we must exercise it or risk letting it go to waste.

This type of game where we can totally simulate playing in the outdoors is great for all those pasty kids who don't want to actually experience it firsthand. It makes a great, safe place where these kids can congregate without actually having to do anything but log on.

Contrast this with a game like DDR or actually getting dressed up to go play in the snow. You get all sweaty and gross and have to interact with actual people who you can't block with the click of a button. The upside to the simulation is immense, when you consider this.

Also, when you consider that those who would actually stay inside to play Winter Games are probably those we'd rather stay inside in the first place, I don't see a downside.

Re:World simulation vs. active participation (3, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807539)

>...exercise it or risk letting it go to waste.
>...pasty kids who don't want...
>...sweaty and gross...
>...interact with actual people who you can't block with the click of a button.

Part of growing in life is leaving your comfort zone, and that comfort zone can be defined physically, emotionally, intellectually, and even culinarily.

IMHO:
If we stay too far inside our comfort zone, too much of the time, we're missing too much of the value of life. For that matter, everyone (that dread "everyone") moans about the lack of civility in modern discourse, public and politic. I see part of the reason being in cable TV. Once upon a time, we all got our news feeds from the same 3 networks, 4 if you include PBS. Maybe some of us weren't in our comfort zones when watching the news, but we all shared a core zone. Now with cable diversity, we can stay in our comfort zone when watching the news - Fox, CNN, PBS, conventional network, etc. The same is now true on radio, as well. But our shared core is gone, and our world-views based on the news have diverged, as well.

In addition, getting more of our interaction online can be damaging, too. We could seek out a more diverse group of people to interact with - people who would normally be kept far beyond our reach by simple geography and today's tendancy not to write letters. But instead we have an understandable tendancy to seek out like-minded people for discourse - regardless of geography. This bypasses important lessons in how to cope with disagreements and the downright ornery.

Besides, part of the fun of going outside to play in the snow was coming in after, sitting in front of the vent (forced hot-air heat) and drinking a cup of hot chocolate and eating Graham crackers while watching a little TV.

WTF, SNOW IS KOREA (1)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807218)

Is there snow in korea afterall ?

Oh NO! (1)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807244)

I foresee an Attack Of The Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons!

Very nice to see... (1)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807247)

That's really great to see someone actually being creative for no other reason but for the sake of it. I think game developer's in general should take a leaf from Curry's book...

Re:Very nice to see... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807512)

Yes, let's all design games and have nobody develop them!

It's nice for the guy to design games for his own sake to train his skills. But game ideas (even good ones) are a dime a dozen; anybody who's ever played games has had game ideas. Doesn't make any of them worth a SlashDot article.

Now if he had put some thought into how to actually implement the damn idea, instead of just saying "you can do everything!", it might have been worthwhile.

I'm not just talking about the code side, but he even omitted to mention proposed mechanisms of interaction.

Re:Very nice to see... (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809312)

What makes you think they don't? I work at a game developer and probably hear 40 new game ideas a DAY. People constantly come up with ideas and bounce them off each other, looking for holes, seeing if there's a good nugget that can be used in an existing game or whatever. There's also practically a sport here: come up with a stupid concept and then figure out how to make a game out of it. (Anyone who wants to play the game version of My Dinner with Andre can email me.)

Re:Very nice to see... (1)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14815344)

I suppose you have a point, and I agree that anyone can come up with ideas, it's just nice to know that people actually do come up with their own ideas, instead of leeching off other people, like some people I know.

Re:Very nice to see... (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14810751)

Anyone can come up with ideas, it's the implementation that's the hard bit.

Katamari! (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807257)

As the utterly joyous We Love Katamari points out, the whole game is basically a fancy take on making snowmen anyway. So rolling the whole Snow Day gameworld up has got to be the best option.

A few comments... (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807269)

...from someone who works in games too!

Firstly, nice to see a Hard Boiled game in the works. I found out about it today, and it sounds pretty cool - a bit like Black, but with John Wooisms!

Secondly, Snow Day sounds pretty cool (tee hee!). Sadly, snow is such a tactile thing that I don't know if it'd work in a game for kids, unless you put them in a fridge too. Also, snow would probably be a difficult thing to simulate well - getting it right enough to make snowballs, snowmen, snow angels and snow forts would probably be a big technical challenge. Of course, it'd be better than more shiny environment-mapped Havok-physics cars... :)

NOOOO!!1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807285)

Violence in video games is BADD!!!!1111!1oneoneoneone!11! NEXT THING YOU KNOW SOME KID WILL BRING A SNOW BALL TO SCHOOL AND IT'LL BE COLUMBINE ALL OVER!

Would someone PLEASE think of the children!?1/

a president sim? (2, Funny)

llortepud (940495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807298)

That sounds boring. I'd rather play a first person shooter, like a vice-president sim.

Ideas are worth nothing (1)

HeavyMS (820705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807304)

It's the time consuming implementation that is worth anything.

Re:Ideas are worth nothing (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807333)

Unfortunately that's what most of nowadays' game producers think, resulting in the 'idea crisis' aka "almost all new games suck." Shiny graphics and detail on the same old reused idea.

Let's Count Sand! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807315)

Next on his blog:

He has "Nada 3"!

A President Sim (2, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807345)


Some of his other game idea posts include Oval Office, a president sim

I've already played that game [defectiveyeti.com] .

It's very realistic...depressingly so.

Re:A President Sim (1)

syukton (256348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807527)

I wish I had points to mod you funny. That link was hilarious.

Game ideas are a dime a dozen (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807444)

Anyone with a single creative bone in their body, with a little time on their hands, can come up with awesome ideas from games. Talk is cheap, it's the 3 years of production time that is hard.

Re:Game ideas are a dime a dozen (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807596)

I'd agree, except for the prevalance of fighter sequels, generic FPS, and Final Fantasy.

Re:Game ideas are a dime a dozen (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14808201)

Ah, that's the really hard thing...

Persuading someone with money to invest in an original idea.

Re:Game ideas are a dime a dozen (1)

bk_veggie (807894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14808576)

Where are these fighting sequels?

The most recent 'new' sequel I can think of is DOA4, before that... Guilty Gear #Reload? Capcom Fighting Jam? (If you can consider that a 'game'..)

I wish to christ they were making more fighting games. If you're talking about brawlers, that I could buy, but fighters, nevermind new ones, are are in short supply.

(Goes back to playing 3s, wishing to christ Capcom would make a new 2d fighter..)

Re:Game ideas are a dime a dozen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14815493)

I beg to differ. As a writer with for a yearly venue, I get people coming to me with script ideas all the time, hoping to get their ideas into next year's show. They are...how do I put this? Awful. Horrible. Grotesque. Most of them, that is - and I only qualify that, because I assume that someone at some time might come to me with a good idea. I have yet to actually hear one.

When I started working on games, people would come to me with their game ideas too. Same thing. Their ideas were either things that had already been done, or concepts for a single feature. ("A game where you choose between 7 different characters," is NOT a game idea.) Never have I had someone come to me with a worthwhile game concept who wasn't a full-time game designer. (In fact, I've worked for game designers who couldn't even bring a well-developed idea to the table!)

I think anyone who says that anyone can develop a game idea speaks from a position of niavete. Game concept design is, in fact, monstrously hard and requires a great deal of knowledge, vision and intuition to do well. I've seen games written by people who think that code is the most important thing in game design, and they are NOT the games you see on store shelves.

Re:Game ideas are a dime a dozen (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14830361)

Please, you cannot tell me that the big sellers have some amazing game concept that raises them above all other games (excluding Katamari Damacy and a couple other games over the last few years). The big games are pretty much concepts like "Aliens take over the world by offering us immortality - go kill em" - HL2, "There's like these 2 factions with a bunch of races in them and you run around and level" - Wow. I havn't been keeping my eyes on sales figures but i'd suggest that ignoring a few well-done concept driven games, for the big sellers most of the basic concepts could be generated by 3 year olds. The story writers and the polish on both the media and code on these games are what makes them shine

I think I heard this one before (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807570)

Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, I think I heard something similar to this idea bandied about.

Try throwing snowballs at me NOW, punks!! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807977)

I just unlocked the hidden BFG. Time for some snow day CARNAGE!!!

-Eric

"Freelance Foto" (1)

Bagels (676159) | more than 8 years ago | (#14808249)

Freelance Foto was already sort of done, in the form of the Michael Ancel's game "Beyond Good & Evil." You got to take wildlife photography (with all the associated dangers - some of the subjects had teeth, claws, wings, death rays...) and journalistic photography (mostly of government misdeeds). It wasn't as dynamic or realistic as the game Curry suggests, but the basic idea was there, mixed in with a bit of Zelda and a bit of dumbed-down Metal Gear Solid.

Re:"Freelance Foto" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14809626)

Return to Zork from 1993 or so also had photography playing an important role.

And of course... (2, Funny)

keldog42 (956510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14808340)

A game like Snow Day would just be asking for a "Hot Cocoa" mod.

"Snow Day" wouldn't sell. (1)

dividedsky319 (907852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14808360)

In my opinion, no matter how fun "Snow Day" might be, it wouldn't be a success as far as sales go.

It seems like a GTA 3 type game, at first look... but it's the mindless violence that brought most of the attention to GTA. Sure, it's a fun game, but tell me the majority of players don't enjoy it becuase they can run around blowing stuff up.

"Snow Day" seems like it would be way too kiddy a game to the majority of gamers. It seems like something that would be on a Nintendo system... not a bad thing, but something that would automatically turn a lot of the "mature" players off. (Sad, really... in my opinion, a truly "mature" gamer would enjoy a game no matter WHAT the content... killing or not)

It's kind of sad that for a game to be "mature" (not a mature rating, but a game people over the age of 12 will enjoy too) and to be seen as truly successful it has to involve "adult situations" of some sort.

Sure, there's those niche games out there like Nintendogs that are popular with a lot of groups... but where's the games like Zelda for the NES that could be enjoyed by kids and adults and not be labeled a "kiddy game"? As time went on, the gap (mainly in peoples' minds) between a "kid's game" and a "mature game" got wider.

Re:"Snow Day" wouldn't sell. (2, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809089)

What if it had a Simpson's or South Park license?

Re:"Snow Day" wouldn't sell. (1)

dividedsky319 (907852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809158)

What if it had a Simpson's or South Park license?

It would probably sell more, but still not sell as well. Simpsons Hit and Run was a good game, for example. Not as polished as GTA, but still a quality game. But it didn't get anywhere NEAR the attention that GTA got. And I don't know any specifics, but I wouldn't say that Simpsons H&R was seen as an overwhelming success.

Re:"Snow Day" wouldn't sell. (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809824)

Well, Simpsons Hit and Run is still on the top 40:

Top 40 All Formats All Price [gamesindustry.biz]

There aren't very many GTA's out there, and that's not about rating either. Attempts to imitate GTA in the "gritty, urban" style tend to fail badly.

Brainstorming (1)

wickedj (652189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14808407)

His site is very cool. A minimalist design that features a new game idea each week. I often think of games I would like to see made but I never write anything down. Perhaps, I should start. I like his concept of Snow Day and it's multiplayer implications. I look forward to seeing more of his ideas, especially as newer interfaces spring up (i.e. Revolution controller).

Hidden Agenda (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14808745)

Some of his other game idea posts include... Freelance Foto, an on-the-run photojournalist game.

On-the-run?

"My name is Thomas Veil, or at least it was. I'm a photographer. I had it all: a wife, Alyson; friends; a career. And in one moment it was all taken away, all because of a single photograph. I have it; they want it; and they will do anything to get the negative."

Re:Hidden Agenda (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809049)

Nowhere Man - The Complete Series (1995) [amazon.com]

It isn't real, it never happened!

Re:Hidden Agenda (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14812990)

It isn't real, it never happened!

But, I've been keeping that journal [amazon.com] as proof that these events are real. I know they are; they... have to be!

Selling snow to fools (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809034)

Cute idea, but I've got enough real snow as it is. Canada sucks 5 months a year, but it's the country I hate least on this planet. Give me a game where the goal is to lounge on the beach all day, avoiding jellyfish during the day and diseased locals at night.

Re:Selling snow to fools (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809151)

As a fellow Canadian .... I wish I had some mod points to donate.

That's dumb as hell (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809391)

Sounds like The Sims Online but more boring.

big idea, big labor involved (1)

BruceTheBruce (671080) | more than 8 years ago | (#14809592)

From TFA: "The trick would be to find ways to keep each activity as deep and fun as possible, while still maintaining the breadth of so many activities." No kidding. Designing and implementing a game that only utilizes ONE type of gameplay, and makes that one kind fun and interesting, can consume two to three years of a team's time. And making a particular style of play fun generally means an engine specialized for that mode of play as well. And this game is supposed to have them all, and they're all still fun? GTA displayed this trait. If it had just been a racing game, it would have compared pretty poorly to other racing games. Ditto for third person action adventures. It was the story, setting, and sandbox element that made GTA a success. I'm not saying a snow game couldn't be done well, just that it would take an astronomical amount of effort to make the game as described really come together. I like the idea, though. I'd like to see a 'snow engine' that allowed players to sculpt snow into various forms. The Revolution controller may be a perfect fit for something like that. Scoop it down near the floor to pick up a fistful of snow. Then throw it by swinging the controller, or take it over to a growing fort to shore up a wall.
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