Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What would you like to see here?

11:41 AM by Mike · 2 comments
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Any who remotely follow this site will have noticed that I haven't had a poll up for a couple weeks now. I am trying to find a way of asking open-ended questions in a poll, but I've come up empty. What I am really wondering at the moment is what kind of content those who come across this site would like to see here. So, as the poll won't allow me to do what I want to do, I'll just have to put it here in a post.

The question is:

What kind of content do you prefer to see/read/hear on this site?

This could include things that are already here that could just be done more. It could be things that I've never put up that you would like to see. It could be some off-the-wall idea that you have. I'm open to any of it.

So, if you'd like to share your perspective just click that Post a Comment link and share your mind!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interview with Bruce Hammond of Missionary Novelty Company


I recently spoke with Bruce Hammond of Missionary Novelty Company. He was kind enough to share his experiences of running a company and publishing LDS themed games.




You can download the interview here (if you would prefer).

We discussed several games that are currently available and others that are coming out next year. He was very open to discussing his games and his experiences. Thank you Bruce for your time and insights!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Q&A with the "Righteous" Guys

Righteous! Book of Mormon Edition
Designed, Programmed, and Illustrated by Bryan Beach & Dave Thompson

This is an interactive DVD game based on the stories and characters from the Book of Mormon. Bryan Beach did the illustration and Dave Thompson programmed the DVD and did the animation.

I was able to ask a few questions and get a few answers from the designers about their process of game design, pitching it to Deseret Book, and pretty much their experience with the game. So, I figured I'd share it with the world (with their approval, of course). My questions are in bold and their answers in italics.

How did you get into game design?
We both work for the same company that produces and licenses films on DVD. We made a perfect team in creating a DVD board game, where Dave could design the interactive media and Bryan could design the printed materials.

What led you to design Righteous?
Dave came up with the idea while watching his relatives play the DVD/board game "Scene It.” He was surprised at how much his younger nieces and nephews had picked up on answers to questions of movies they had never seen before. We were hoping that the images and questions presented in our game would spark a child's interest in wanting to learn more about the characters in the Book of Mormon and create a fun opportunity for parents to teach them.

How long did it take?
To pitch of the game, we put about 25% of the game together in a month or so. Once the game had been accepted by Deseret Book, we worked on it for another few more months to fill-in content and finalize the project. Deseret Book, however, does have a time schedule in which they release products. After all materials are submitted to DB, it takes several months for the actual product to be printed/produced overseas. “Righteous” didn’t actually hit the store shelves until about 18 months after we initially pitched it to DB.



Was it a difficult process?
Since we both have full time jobs, we had to sacrifice a lot of our own time in the evenings. This made it difficult in terms of absorbing time, but the most difficult task was meeting the deadline with a finished and working product. It took some trial and error to get the board to line up properly when folded and the menu animation and DVD programming were quite a task.

What roles did the two of you take on?
Bryan designed and illustrated all of the printed materials. He also did the illustration utilized by the DVD, and the music/audio and the animated characters on the DVD. Dave designed and authored the DVD portion. He animated all of the effects on the DVD and conceived the interactive games and wrote most of the questions utilized by the DVD. We hired a contractor to write all of the written card questions.

How did you go about testing the game?
The hardest part about working with DVDs is that DVD players are all different. The quality of the DVD player and the features it offers, effects how the DVD will play back. Because of this, we had to test it in various brands of players and create a disc that would work best for the majority.

At what point did you pitch the idea to Deseret Book?
We pitched it as soon as we had a working proto-type, which was only a couple of months after we talked about the concept. There was nothing in the LDS market like it and so we had to act fast.

How did that all come about, how did you approach them, etc?
We made numerous cold calls trying to reach the right person. We told them that we had a product they might be interested in and wanted to set up a meeting. We were lucky in the fact that they happened to be looking for a new product at that time and that our game might fit the bill. Major luck.

How successful has the game been?
We didn't have much experience in creating a game for the LDS market and so were unsure of what to expect. Since we have nothing to compare it to, we really don't know if it has done well compared to the other games being sold or not. It seemed to sell well during the first few months, but sales have declined since then. Games really do best during the Christmas shopping season and “Righteous” was first released at that time.

Are you planning on doing any other versions?
We will most likely not create another version of “Righteous” but have a few other ideas on the back burner. Most recently, Deseret Book has released a card game that Bryan has created with the same characters from "Righteous" called the "Book of Mormon Card Deck."

Do you have any suggestions or specific insights you’d like to share with others who are designing games and trying to get them published?
Strive to make your game standout, be fun, LOOK professional and BE professional. The trick is to accomplish these things but also keep the costs low. It’s not easy but it is possible. Best of luck!

A big thanks goes to Bryan and Dave for their time in entertaining my curiosity. I really appreciate it!

Get a copy of the game here.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Game Instructions & Rulebooks

A few people have contacted me wanting to know how to get a hold of the rules for games. For example, I picked up the Bee Attitudes game the other day at DI and it didn't have the rulebook with it. I ended up contacting Covenant Communications, Phil Reschke, about how to get a copy. He replied with the rules attached (as a pdf file) and told me that if anyone is looking to get a copy of rules from games that they have published all they need to do is shoot him an email (PhilR@covenant-lds.com). They are happy to send the rules to anyone who asks for them.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

SaltCon



I just found out that there will be another game convention (we have the yearly Gathering of Strangers in Salt Lake each summer) in February in Salt Lake City. It's called SaltCon: Bringing flavor back into gaming! (link to the website). It will be held on University of Utah's campus at the Fort Douglas Officer's Club (here) on February 26, 27, & 28 of 2010.

It will cost you $10 for a single day pass or $25 for all three days. They also have family rates set up. They are also offering the option for you to volunteer, which will get you a discount on your registration fees.

For me, one of the most exciting things is that they've set up a game competition! It is called the Ion Award design competition. From the flier for the competition (here): "Judges will be representatives of game publishing companies who produce freelance designer games, qualified game store employees, and/or published authors." It will cost $5 for you to enter your game in the competition and you are able to enter as many games as you would like. I've got to get my games ready!!

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Online Book of Mormon Role-Playing Games

I recently came across a site that offers up two online Book of Mormon themed games (here): Nephi RPG and Book of Mormon Battles RPG.


I've never played an RPG. This was the first time I've tried one and to tell you the truth, it seemed to be just like a Choose Your Own Adventure book but online. I mean, I read what was presented to me and then was given a number of choices which I selected by clicking on them (as opposed to turning to the appropriate page). Certain progression points were also awarded as you play through the game.

The short time I played I enjoyed it. I did come across one problem that I wanted to touch on here. An unamed man was speaking to me telling me that he and his family were leaving Jerusalem and that I needed to come with them. That's fine (I was assuming it was Nephi and that I should probably choose to go with them), but he was talking to me outside my home. As he's telling me these things my mother calls me from inside the house. So, should I go immediately with this man or run in to see what my mother wanted? Well, I chose to heed my mother and see why she had called me. GAME OVER! Therein lies my problem. Yes, I should be learning about Book of Mormon history and, in essence, experiencing the stories! I'm all for that and I enjoyed the very short time I had doing it. The problem is that I should also learn to heed my parents and be obedient to them. Which would you choose?

 
This is a "massive mutliplayer online role-playing game set in the times of the Book of Mormon." In this game you dedicate a certain number of turns to doing activities like exploring the land, attacking enemies, buying provisions, etc. You make those decisions following which the game tells you what happened. For example, I used 2 turns scouting the land. Many of my army were hit with malaria! Not the most desirable of consequences that I was looking for!!

Well, for my first little stint into role-playing games it was too bad. These kinds of game require a lot of time to get involved with what's going on, developing your army and moving through the whole Book of Mormon story. If I had the time I would probably invest it and enjoy the games to their fullest!

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Book of Mormon Game

A new online Book of Mormon game called, appropriately, The Book of Mormon Game has recently been released (here). The premise is that a passage from the Book of Mormon is read out loud and it is your job to identify where the passage is located in the Book of Mormon (book and chapter), as quickly as you can.



Eric Poulin is the man behind the game. He mentions playing the game as a missionary. From the About section of the site:

While serving our missions in San Fernando, California, we'd play this game during interviews with our President, as we waited for our turn.

The first time I played this as a new missionary, I was amazed at how fast the other missionaries seemed to be able to find the right place. I love this game because it inspired me to study and learn the scriptures and become like those other missionaries. Now we present it to you. We hope it will also inspire you to become very familiar with this great book.

Eric Poulin (Ontario, Canada)
Shane Hartley (Washington, USA)


You can log in (via the site or using your Facebook account) and your times will be recorded. He has also created a Facebook app (here).

I think that this idea does have the potential of getting people to become more familiar with the scriptures, as was Eric's goal with putting it out. He's also working on a New Testament version (here), but says it needs a little more work before it is completely ready to go.

Lastly, Eric shared with me another game he's put together (it was qualified with a "needs graphic work and some further development"). It's called Don't Forget the Lyrics! and can be found here.


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Thursday, October 1, 2009

And the Winner is....!

8:44 AM by Mike · 0 comments
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We have a winner (well there was actually a tie)! Both logo 1 and logo 4 received 4 votes! Therefore, I will be displaying both on the blog here. They'll be rotated or changed from time to time. Thank you all for voting. I appreciate your input into what we've got going here.

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