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Open Data + Video Games = Win

Secret Lab
February 02, 2016
220

Open Data + Video Games = Win

Slides from our presentation on using open data, mostly from government, to make video games. Presented at the Open Knowledge Miniconf at Linux.conf.au 2016, in Geelong.

Secret Lab

February 02, 2016
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Transcript

  1. @desplesda @parisba

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  2. We make games, and
    write books.

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  3. Open Data + Video
    Games = Win

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  4. The Situation

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  5. Governments like the idea
    of open data

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  6. Hackathons are
    fashionable

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  7. The idea:

    1. Put a bunch of nerds in a room
    2. Stew for 24-48 hours
    3. Extract innovation

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  8. Australia/New Zealand-wide 

    "open government data sources" hackathon

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  9. Some really great stuff
    gets made

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  10. The problem with hackathons

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  11. Often very oriented around
    producing product-like results

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  12. But they're almost never
    followed up on

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  13. Game jams know this

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  14. Game jams aim to do
    two things…

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  15. 1. Make something

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  16. 2. Show something cool

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  17. Game jam games are made quickly
    and abandoned immediately.

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  18. Game jams are for practice,
    and for honing skills.

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  19. Games matter.
    Even in serious environments.

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  20. Games teach.

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  21. Games are engaging.

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  22. Twisted the concept into an
    excuse to have a game jam

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  23. … without being jerks

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  24. Conceiving of Game Ideas

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  25. Anything can be a game

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  26. Example: 

    Global Game Jam

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  27. • 2009 - "As long as we have each other, we will never run out of problems"
    • 2010 - "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain" and "Deception"
    • 2011 - "Extinction"
    • 2012 - An image of Ouroboros.
    • 2013 - Sound of a Heartbeat
    • 2014 - "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
    • 2015 - "What do we do now?"

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  28. Every one of those resulted
    in awesome games

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  29. There’s no reason “taxes”
    can’t be an awesome theme
    for a game

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  30. Or census info

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  31. Or the energy efficiency
    ratings of household
    appliances

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  32. That last one is what
    we did …

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  33. “Appliances all have these
    stats on them…”

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  34. … and the Department of Industry,
    Innovation, and Science collects the
    stats for every device sold in Australia.
    https://data.gov.au/dataset/energy-rating-for-household-appliances

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  35. “Why don’t we make a
    Pokémon style creature-
    battle game?”

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  36. “A game in which players yell
    at each other about whose
    fault the problems are”

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  37. Actual politicians are
    really good at this game

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  38. https://twitter.com/parisba/status/498395309089648641
    A real-life politician

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  39. “A quiz game about how
    elected politicians vote on
    the issues.”

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  40. TheyVoteForYou

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  41. Also: Hansard is
    AMAZING DATA

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  42. Creating engaging
    games from dry concepts

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  43. Games are built out of
    systems

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  44. The world is built out of
    systems

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  45. Find the similarities and
    play with them

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  46. Preserving the spirit and
    meaning of your games

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  47. Don't try to model real-
    world processes

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  48. Taking liberties is
    absolutely fine

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  49. But not so far as to make the
    player lose sight of the
    underlying theme

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  50. You need to engage
    three groups of people

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  51. Fellow participants

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  52. Whoever deals out the
    prizes

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  53. Multiplayer is the best
    way to do this

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  54. It's much easier to be
    fun

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  55. Removes a need to
    create an AI player

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  56. Fun to show in person

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  57. People want to see a
    game between players

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  58. Fun to show in demo
    videos

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  59. That said, multiplayer is
    HARD

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  60. Do local multiplayer if
    you can

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  61. Don't ever try to do
    stuff over the Internet

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  62. Turn based is easier
    than real time

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  63. If you must do real
    time, keep it simple

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  64. Don't get clever

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  65. Make assumptions about
    the environment

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  66. Ignore latency.
    You have unlimited bandwidth.
    Poll the server.

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  67. Don't try to prevent cheating.

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  68. Trust the client.

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  69. Forget long term balance and
    replayability.

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  70. Your players will spend no more
    than 15 minutes in the game.

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  71. You will never return to
    this code.

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  72. Make it work at all.
    Forget about making it work right.

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  73. Staying on-message

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  74. You need to remain relevant
    to the context of the event.

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  75. You're subversive enough
    just by doing a game

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  76. Don't get too weird with
    your idea…

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  77. This also helps to keep
    your design simple

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  78. Cut mercilessly

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  79. Cut often and early

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  80. Cut in the direction of
    the theme

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  81. Audio is absolutely vital

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  82. Time is your enemy, but
    not in the way you think

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  83. Time limits foster
    deadline-oriented thinking

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  84. "We only have 48 hours!
    Engage crunch mode!"

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  85. All nighters are
    deceptive

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  86. You will never do your
    best work on an all nighter

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  87. Go home at night

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  88. Get a good night's
    sleep

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  89. Arrive rested at a
    decent time

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  90. Quality of the result is better
    than quantity of work

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  91. This is also another reason
    for cutting mercilessly

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  92. Preserving meaning
    with games

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  93. … you often don’t
    actually need to …

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  94. Raising engagement in the topic, rather
    than going in depth, is often enough.

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  95. Why do any of this in
    the first place?

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  96. We get asked
    “how do you make games”
    pretty often

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  97. The best way to do it is
    to make games

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  98. Problem is, games are
    hard to make

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  99. Part of that problem is games
    are often seen as “big” projects

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  100. Use the external pressure
    to constrain yourself

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  101. It’s fun for you, it’s fun for
    players, and it’s fun for event
    organisers!

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  102. @desplesda @parisba
    @thesecretlab

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