Curious Games: Novel Design Ideas

adventures in gaming, curious games

Think of an object that you’ve been using more or less your entire life. It’s better if it’s an object that uses electricity/has some complexity, but any object will do. Now, in two minutes or less, develop a new use for that object.

This is an exercise that we completed in class this week, first with a keyboard as our object, then with a trackpad and mouse. One of the ideas that my group came up with for the keyboard was the most interesting to me. It involved swiping the keys on the keyboard from one end to the other in order to accomplish something on-screen – perhaps something like shooting in a first person shooter, where the rate at which the player swipes affects the rate of fire, the charge of the weapon, etc.

I have a picture in my head of this actually being for some kind of magical ability – maybe like shooting a fireball or some other kind of magic missile. I think that there is a “sweet spot” rate of swiping, probably the longer that you press, the more charged that the projectile is (meaning that it does more damage), but the faster that you press, the farther the projectile goes (meaning that it goes less far if you take the time to charge it). It would have to be a chain of key presses and releases that sets off some kind of timer that sees how long it is between when a key is pressed and when it’s released, and what the time is between the first and last keys being pressed.

I think that it would be neat if the keyboard were a separate PC keyboard rather than one integrated into a laptop, that the player held at a right angle to themselves and strummed like a harp or something. Maybe a wireless keyboard, so that the player isn’t tied to the desktop.

Although it sounds like a tedious thing to debug, even I can see the glimmer of how to make something like that work on a limited scale in Stencyl, which has “button down” and “button released” behaviour.