Looks like I’ve gotta make an amendment to my lifelong to-do list. After hearing about some recent stories (in the last 4 months) coming out in the news regarding people who made games and got other people to play them in order to solve scientific problems, in recent weeks I have decided I have a new goal.
I would like to create a game. A game that actually looks and works like a game and is fun to play. However, the purpose of the game is to find the solution to some social, economic, or scientific problem.
In the story I read about, biologists used in-game information from the players, in order to collect data about how some protein folds or something like that. Though I may be mixing it up with a story from ten years back, when scientists used a distributed computing “screensaver” in order to solve some protein-folding problem. Well, I’ll post a link later if I can find it.
But anyway, here’s my amendment:
- Produce a Game- I have a lot of ideas in my head just waiting to be expressed. I have fantasized about being a Game Designer for years. My favorite game format is the Trading Card Game, but there are a variety of formats that appeal to me. I would like to produce at least one game that is purely recreational. However, I would like to also produce a game whose data can be used to solve a social, economic, or scientific problem.
By the way, consider this an open invitation to anyone who is aware of a problem that can be solved by data-mining/collection, repeated/automated action, distributed computing, or some other task that involving information that necessitates a lot of resources. Making a game to solve a problem would be great!
I have always been an advocate for writing down one’s lifelong goals. Over two years ago, I actually did it. Here’s an updated and reworded list. A few of the items have been removed from the list. Some have been revised or reworded.
- Produce a Game– I have a lot of ideas in my head just waiting to be expressed. I have fantasized about being a Game Designer* for years. My favorite game format is the Trading Card Game, but there are a variety of formats that appeal to me.
- Produce Several Works of Fiction– I have lots of ideas for stories in my head. Lots of concepts. But you know what they say- “If it isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist!” I should write my ideas down before those ideas go away. I have started writing down some of them. **
- Backup All My Paper Documents on Digital Format– I have knocked a lot of this out of the way. What remains are a few a lot of fake Pokémon cards I designed, mostly from 2002-2006.
- Prove to the World We Can Survive Without Intellectual Property– Perhaps by releasing content using a fund-and-release method or some other established IP-free method (or maybe by a model of my own invention!).
- Win a Pokémon TCG Premier Event– Never done it before. This is not necessarily a difficult goal to achieve, but when you judge more events than you play in, your number of chances for winning an event go down. Starting in September, I’m going to be doing a little less judging and a little more playing, so I may get closer to this goal.
- Do Something Noteworthy– You know, something that makes people remember me. Accomplish something that smart people will remember after I”m dead. Perhaps something that will get me my own page on Wikipedia.
- Compose a Video Game Song– Compose a song used in a commercial video game. The soundtrack of a movie or TV show would be good too, but video game is what I’m shooting for.
Here are some goals from my previous list that I have removed:
- Learn Japanese– If they want foreigners to learn their written language, they should make it easier to learn. Using symbols (instead of a phonetic alphabet) is an archaic concept. And yes, I am aware that there are a lot of homophones in Japanese. In all seriousness, the amount of work required for this relative to the payoff is low.
- Learn the International Phonetic Alphabet- not really useful if you”re not a linguist.
- Become Leader of the Largest Pokémon TCG League in the World– I quit being a Pokémon TCG League Leader in September 2009. Now, I am primarily a Premier Event judge and a player.
- Discover the Best Way to Play Rock, Paper, Scissors– Turns out this was actually done in 1999 and 2000, with a tournament in which people designed computer programs that would play RPS against each other.
- Finish Every TV Series I Liked Watching– My life has stabilized significantly since I wrote my first to-do list, so I do not miss out on TV as much. There are still a few series I”ve never finished watching, but if I don”t get to ’em, no biggie.
*Keep in mind that “game designer” does not mean “graphic designer” or “programmer”. It’s not somebody who writes the code for the game or somebody who designs the graphics for the game, but somebody who designs the game: the game’s rules, objectives- how the game works. Sorry for those of you already in the know, but many still seem to be confused as to what a game designer is. And yes, I do write code and I do design graphics in my day-to-day life. That will not change.
**As for what format they should be, I think the cost of publishing a TV show (streaming to the internet or to DVD) is discouraging, but publishing stories as a comic, novel, serialized light novel, or radio drama might be a possbility. Any format is fine with me as long as it makes sense.
There are a few I think would be ideal if published as a comic book/illustrated novel. The idea is to have it published one volume at a time. The readers will be informed that it is a fund-and-release system; they will be given an opportunity to contribute funds. Once a certain funding threshold has been reached, the next volume will be published. I’ve also considered writing a children’s story in the form of an illustrated book.