Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

TUG: About my Kickstarter & the need for science in games

6:00 PM on 05.30.2013 // inoritewtf

Promoted from our Community Blogs!

[Peter Salinas -- one of the social scientists working at Nerd Kingdom -- hit up our Community Blogs recently to share a bit about the thought process behind their new game TUG. Pretty neat stuff! For more information on the game, check out the TUG Kickstarter, which passed its funding goal earlier this week.]

Hi! My name is Peter Salinas and I am a behavioral scientist that studies socio/cultural and psychological stuff in videogames. I have been a lurker of Dtoid and a member of the community for some time. What has always kept me here is the independence of the site and its ability to push harder each year, with more obstacles placed in its path, and still never sell out. For me, this is what is most important within the culture of the Dtoid community... well, that and all the dick and fart jokes. *high five*

I wanted to share with you a project I have been working on with a team of brilliant minds that could use your support -- or at least a moment of your attention. TUG is an open-world, sandbox role-playing fantasy game that is being developed on the foundation of human understanding and the motivation of dynamic play and interactions. To say our project has stirred up some questions would be a gross understatement, so I wanted to try to clear some things up in the hopes of garnering genuine support of what we are doing.

First, what experience do we have actually making games? As it turns out, tons. It is not a well-known fact, but many of those world-changing bits of tech -- or amazing AI systems, or data systems, or networking system -- were built for the industry by contracting a member of the academic community, and built upon by teams working under the publishers.

Of course, no credit is ever given; it's in the best interests of the publishers to assume full credit for their next big thing, and that is good and fine. In many cases, the publishers ask for things they can rarely even figure out how to use, and things are left behind or years later turned into some third party software touted about by another group who bought the rights as the "next big thing." We rarely have the chance to continue the work on some of our creations, and it is even more rare that we are ever able to share/publish what we have found from the development and research of those topics.

OK, that covers the technology side, but what about design? We are speaking of an open-world sandbox game, with elements of role-playing, so let's deconstruct what that is. It is an open environment where the ultimate variables are the environment and the other players. This is our "hood" as it were. Academics and areas of science have been tearing apart these things for generations, literally. Human interactions for conflict on an individual scale, or motivations of group interactions, religion, culture -- you name it, there is a field that obsesses over it. But what's more, we obsess over it for the sake of knowing it, not for the sake of capitalizing on it. Sounds stuffy, right? How do you make any of that fun, or avoid making some simulation of life out of it? This comes down to perspective.

It's not just some big "proximity marketing ploy" that we are all gamers; we really are. We raged with the lot of you when we got shafted on conclusions to trilogies being cut short of what was expected. We get all kinds of raged when they nerf our classes, or weapons are lacking proper balance. We get all kinds of sour grapes when publishers claim variety, but we get the same dungeon over and over again with artificial walls. We play games: not just for research, but because we grew up with all of this. Before anything else, fun is a priority. Things need to "feel" good, and this is why we are releasing the game in such an early phase. We do not do well guessing at things; we act on data/information.

So how can science and data in games make things better? Take a step back and think of all those "what ifs" or "I wish" things we thought of in games, before we just started accepting that things were this way in games. What if the monsters actually had some kind of sense to their behavior? What if combat was not based on some arbitrary number solely reliant on a grind? What if the economy in a game actually was a working economy and responded a certain way? What if the actions I took in a world really made a difference?

OK, admittedly there are a lot more in the role-playing areas of what ifs. But look at some of these and some of your own scenarios. From tens of thousands of players we have interacted with over the course of the past several years, the overwhelming majority of these "what ifs" were all asking for human systems in games. Things that we know of from our own real life. And why not? We are looking to act out a different role in another world -- these are the logistics that are important, not the presentation.

These systems are what we are great at. It is almost comical how often these fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, cognition, etc. have been looked at as "pointless" for the world, aside from academic bantering over semantics. And yet, these fields all revolve around understanding the world and human interactions within it, and can easily be translated into creation of worlds as well. We have seen many micro systems work effectively in the past, and we have an opportunity to converge our fields with other gamers, modders, developers, and artists to make something genuinely special. We've got an experienced and talented creative team of veteran designers, writers, and artists who are dedicated to making TUG an aesthetically coherent and unique creative vision, with a deep thematic drive guiding its creation.

Will it suck? Perhaps! But we have built the technology and the system to be "data driven and modular," which may sound like more catchy buzz vomit, but this is hugely significant. It means that systems are swapped in and out with ease, that we can make the tech available to others to test and create their own worlds, that hugely complex algorithms emulating world economies, or AI systems, or even weather cycles can be plugged in and taken out with ease, allowing us to constantly change and refine in the spirit of not suck. And given that we are not trying to be the next big sexy thing -- we just want to make something fun we want to play, and gain better understandings of who we are, and how we do things -- we will keep at this until it's done right. But we cannot do it without your support, even if it's just sharing what we are doing with others.

Backing, or even sharing this project with others, can make a world of difference to videogames, technology and with a little luck, maybe even the way we see the world.

 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

El Dango avatarEl Dango
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Protag shipping is best shipping. [img][/img]
El Dango avatarEl Dango
My dreams are really weird and scary, so I hope it's okay if I let them be dreams.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Finally played the last two Shantae games. Risky's Revenge wasn't bad, but Pirate's Curse was damn good.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Memo to self: spend your time cleaning before wasting ten or so hours on a cblog you'll end up just scrapping because you're incompetent and incapable of writing on the subject.
Is there an occupation out there for people who want to give up and not worry about shit for a while until they can recompose themselves before going back into society?
Parismio avatarParismio
That test was pretty raw. Some decisions cut deep, some I didnt care for at all. But im satisified with the end result.
Lawman avatarLawman
Torchman avatarTorchman
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
People are having serious anthropological discussions about video games and here I am reminding people that they have one more day to get a dumb card I painted:
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
I just finished this thing here: I'm mostly happy with my results, altough it lacks some stuff like Skyward Sword or Sonic & Knuckles [img][/img]
techsupport avatartechsupport
While I am glad I only paid $15 for it, I bought J-STARS VS+ for one specific reason: to drink some beer and kick ass as Yusuke and Hiei. And in that regard, it delivers. Beer not included.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
We can be so weird sometimes. You can easily move on from some of the stuff you might want to remember forever, but then sometimes you just can't let go of trivial things. What's up with that?
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I'm in the mood for some feel-good music. Hit me with your best feel-good VGM, people! [youtube][/youtube]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
My "Thankful it's over" post is done. Editing it tonight, posting tomorrow. Will there be more last-minute entries? Will Pixie be merciful to Twilight Princess? Will Zetta add words to his entry? Why is bear driving? Who run Bartertown? Stay Tuned!
Parismio avatarParismio
Whelp since i got my ass kicked at snowboarding ive been issued a muscle relaxer today and slept the entire day. Time went by so fast. Is- is this what the phantom cigar is like?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What the hell is a Shantae?
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you Monday morning motherfuckers, 3 favourite fictional universes you'd like to exist in (The initial iteration of the universe had to be in videogame form) Go.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just ran into my first 'suicide mole rat' in Fallout 4. I'm beginning to think this may not be a 100% accurate, meticulously researched recreation of life after the apocalypse.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well I just played Undertale. It's a really unique game, but the difficulty in the beginning is a tad intense. Got clobbered once they started throwing three monsters at me at a time and lost a lot of progress... where's Toriel when I need her?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -