Game Pill Interactive

Blog Posts By mike

Care Bears Love to Learn, available on mobile just in time for the Holidays…


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App Description

 

Care Bears Love to Learn is ready for the holiday season! Little ones will delight in playing along with their favorite Care Bears in a series of fun and educational holiday-themed mini games and puzzles.
Care Bears Love to Learn is the first early-learning app developed by the creators of the iconic classic children’s brand, Care Bears™. Each game is designed to help kid sharpen their cognitive and motor skills, while learning to count, identify colors, and recognize shapes and letters. Children play through rounds of activities, facing new challenges each time they play. After completing each round, young learners earn “Care Bears Character Surprises,” which they can save and play with in the app.

Activities include:
 

•Counting sweet treats with Share Bear
•Building shapes with Grumpy Bear
•Care Bears card matching memory game with Love-a-Lot Bear
•Identifying colors in Cheer Bear’s garden
•Catching objects with Funshine Bear
•Music making with Harmony Bear
•Learning letters with Tenderheart Bear

Care Bears love to learn and kids will too with this fun new app featuring the classic bears who care! Download and play today!

App Information

  • Available Worldwide
  • Updated: Dec 08, 2015
  • Version: 3.0.0
  • Size: 196 MB
  • Language: English
  • Rated 4+
  • Requires iOS 7
  • Made for Ages 5 and Under

 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gamepill.carebears

 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/care-bears-love-to-learn/id884245655?mt=8

 

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What is a 5D experience?

5D design, better known as immersive experience, is growing as a marketing and branding practice. With all of this growth, have you ever wondered if you have participated in a 5D experience or, more importantly, can you spot one when it’s happening? Here are the six elements in what is becoming the next level of brand engagement.

1. It’s a Sensory Experience

The senses impact our view of the world, our emotions and our behaviour. A 5D experience capitalizes on all five senses, stunning realistic visuals, the tactile feeling as one navigates the environment, the sound emanating from the experience, smell, virtual taste and image association (taste the lushness found in a photograph of an orange). The ideal 5D experience needs to appeal to all of our senses, and also cater to our sense of balance and discovery.

2. It Allows Participants to be Lost in Time

We are talking about a 5D experience when the participants loose the sense of time. Gaming is a great example of an immersive experience often resulting in players loosing track of time. Immersive experiences draw viewers in by creating an environment where time has no value or influence. For brand marketers, this is truly an ideal factor where the target group is so involved in the experience, that the notion of stopping seems foreign.

3. Provides a High Level of Storytelling

5D experience is the virtual manifestation of a well-written story that is visually delivered while allowing the participant full control. For an immersive experience to be relevant, it needs to be anchored in a story and all of its aspects from the scene and players to the required behaviour and rituals.

4. The Experience is Stunningly Real

Stunning and realistic visuals are the common denominator of 5D experiences. The harder our brain needs to work at discerning the information, the more taxing the chore becomes, and the harder it is for a participant to remove the boundaries between digital experience and the reality. The closer to reality, the more immersive the experience becomes. The brain no longer needs to differentiate between the virtual and the reality. Without the boundary, the brain’s processing power is now relegated directly to the reptilian brain, the brain ruled by reflex and impulse, deepening the reality of the 5D experience.

5. Allows for Multiple Participants

Humans are social creatures and the closer the 5D experience reflects our social needs, the closer the experience comes to reality. One of the key dimensions of immersion is the ability of being surprised, challenged and engaged with other participants. The ability to contribute and help narrate the story makes the 5D experience that much more realistic and it deepens the experience.

6. Intuitive and Instinctive

To the best of my knowledge, the top games do not come with extensive instruction booklets. The games are designed to reflect how humans interact with their environments and as such, immersive experiences are intuitive. Intuitive thinking is not a conscious process and relies on the senses, sixth sense and instincts versus rational thinking. Similar to being stunningly real, 5D experiences rely heavily on the participants’ intuition and instincts to navigate the experience.

5D experiences exist in many forms and anyone who has viewed an IMAX movie, played one of the leading video games, or visited an interactive display in a museum or art gallery has participated knowingly or unknowingly in an immersive experience. As the use of this approach continues to gain momentum, it will become harder to determine what is immersive and what is real, what is virtual and what is reality.

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The Future of VR Goes Beyond a Headset

RE-POST OF WIRED ARTICLE THAT WE FIND INTERESTING:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—THIS year’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco was full of buzz about head-mounted virtual reality displays. Valve unveiled the HTC Vive headset running Steam VR, Sony gave us a closer look at its Project Morpheus, and John Carmack confirmed that Samsung and Oculus will turn the “Innovator Edition” of its Samsung Gear VR unit into a full consumer-grade HMD later this year. Everywhere you turned, you saw attendees strapping on the future-goggles to check out VR game demos. (I was particularly taken with Minority Media’s Time Machine.) But in a fascinating panel presentation, Disney’s Bei Yang encouraged game developers to think outside of the headset.

“When people talk about virtual reality these days, they’re generally talking about head-mounted displays,” Yang told me before his presentation. “But we need to think in a broader context. VR is really about the human body as an input/output mechanism. It’s about spoofing inputs into the human perceptual system to create desired effects.”

Yang is a creative technology executive with Disney Imagineering, the team that designs immersive experiences for rides, hotels, and cruise lines. Imagineers have always been adept at spoofing human perceptual inputs—like the stretching room and the ghosts in the 1969 attraction Haunted Mansion–and they’ve been implementing VR into rides for over 15 years. There’s Disney World’s Toy Story Midway Mania, which lets riders fire virtual darts at Disney characters. There’s Disneyland’s flight simulatorSoarin’ Over California, which dispenses blasts of wind as well as citrus and pine smells as riders zoom through orange fields and forests. And there’s Tokyo Disney’s Goofy’s Paint ‘n Play House, which lets kids launch blobs of color onto the walls of a room, thanks to an elaborate projection system.

 “Practical Virtual Reality in Disney Theme Parks,” Yang’s talk last week, broke down exactly how VR can spoof our perceptions, and pointed out some ways in which HMDs will never be able to match the immersiveness of a ride. Visual input is important for a VR experience, but so is proprioception, the sense of where our bodies are positioned in relation to other things. And three-dimensional audio that shifts around you as your head turns can create an enveloping experience, but Yang reminded attendees that the tiny hairs on the cochleas in your ears don’t just perceive sound—they are also internal accelerometers that let you know your pitch and yaw and the direction of your movement.

Some of Yang’s advice was counterintuitive. VR headset makers have been killing themselves trying to cut down on latency—the lag between when your head turns and when the display registers that your head is turning—but Yang insisted that amount of latency is less important that the consistency of the latency. “Your brain is really good at adapting things, and it can handle a fair amount of latency,” he said. “It’s variability of latency that causes motion sickness. Motion sickness feels a lot like being drunk because it is like being drunk. In both cases, you’re experiencing an input mismatch, and we’ve evolved to think that this input mismatch means that we have been poisoned. The nausea is just your body saying, ‘Oh no, I’ve been poisoned, please eject everything.’”

https://youtu.be/1IDBz-o2gZ0

According to Yang, VR was as integral to the building of Disney attractions as it is in the attractions themselves. Imagineers use tools like Digital Immersive Showroom to wander around a prototype version of an attraction before they begin any actual construction. “Building a theme park attraction is really expensive,” Yang told me me. “If you’re going to mess up, it’s better to do it with bits instead of concrete.” He discussed a VR system Disney uses to build life-sized environments on the fly with a pair of Wiimote-like mobile devices in each hand, and showed video of Imagineers walking around and inspect their handiwork as they build. He also pointed out thatMinority Report-style interfaces are not a good idea—it may look cool, but no one would actually want to go to work and wave their arms in the air for eight hours.

Yang did have some advice for game designers working with HMDs. He believes that they’ll be particularly good for horror experiences. “When you see a scary movie in the theater, your friends are sitting right there next to you,” he said. “But that headset is so isolating that it really makes you feel cut off and alone.” He’s also keen to see VR real-time strategy games, where players can survey a virtual battlefield like a god looking down from on high. He talks about the surprising immersiveness of the decidedly old-school Disneyland experience Storybook Land Canal, even though it’s just a slow boat ride past miniature versions of classic Disney settings. “When you make something very small, it makes people feel powerful,” he says. “You don’t have to use pixels to make immersive environments.”

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Game Level Design 101

When you’re looking for brilliantly designed levels in video games, you need not to look further than Nintendo and Mario, the platforming plumber.

Super Mario 3D world is a perfect example of Nintendo’s continuous innovation with new level design. Each level in the Wii U game is broken down into four parts, beginning by teaching the player and then challenging them further. This format took inspiration from traditional Japanese Kishōtenketsu structure which is comprised of four parts, typically used for Manga. Through this layout, the player is able to learn any new mechanics thrown at them by the game while not being interrupted by overbearing tutorials and explanations.

In the examples below, Level 5-6 Cakewalk flip has panels that switch from blue to red whenever the player jumps.

Introducing the mechanic

The level begins with an introduction to the new mechanic, and allows the player to discover it in a safe environment. In the photo above, the player can test their ability to utilize the mechanic, without consequence of failure. The pink platform below the flip panels acts as a safety net so that the player won’t fall off the level if they miss the switch panels.

01 Wont fall


 

 

 

 

Developing the mechanic

The second part of the level takes the player through tougher challenges in order to develop their ability to play with the mechanic. In the photo above, the game develops the idea and tests the player by removing the safety net.

02 No safety net

In this photo, the player has to learn how to use the mechanic in a different way; in this case, climbing up a wall using the flipping panels.

03 Up the wall

Giving it a twist

04 the twist

The game then throws the player a curveball by challenging their ability to use their new technique alongside other tasks. In the case of the above photo, the player has to deal with the flipping panels, as well as the blast radius from the bumper enemy.

The level challenges the player’s mastery at the new technique, as well as forcing them to think about it from a different or fresh perspective.

 

Conclusion to the level

05 conclusion

After completing the twist of the level, the game gives the player one last chance to show off their new skills with a flagpole sequence ends off the level. The concept the player learned is now thrown away for the next level, however it doesn’t mean the player will never use it again. The game can re-introduce mechanics in later levels such as the Bowser stages, where the techniques that the player learned throughout that area of the game come together. The game maker would then be confident enough that the player remembers the mechanics and can still use them.

This is a system that allows easy understanding and learning of tiered new concepts, while still making the game fun and interesting for players.

See this system in action here:

https://youtu.be/dBmIkEvEBtA

If you want to brainstorm with us how we can implement these level design techniques into your game, or if you want to check out what we’ve been working on, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@gamepill.com!

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What is the Disney formula? And can it be used in Games?

It’s no secret that Disney’s formulaic storytelling has allowed for many of their works to be exceptionally entertaining without much new innovation. This magical formula has been working for so many years, however it hasn’t been used in many mediums other than film. This brings us to the question of whether it can be used in other ways, such as in a video game.

No one can know for sure what the exact formula could be, nor would anyone’s claims be completely accurate due to each film having their own approach; that said here is a comprehensive list of facts about Disney’s movies that hints to their formula:

01 Up Carl without Ellie
One or both parents, or an important figure, has to die or be dead

Some may not realize it right away, but nearly all of Disney’s protagonists either lose a parent figure, or lost one before the movie even started. We also say an important figure, because in movies similar to 2009’s Up, the lost one isn’t the parents (and in Up’s case, it’s the protagonist’s wife). Death can play a central role in the story; for example, Bambi’s plot is a young deer growing up in the forest after his mother is killed by hunters and the ways he copes with the loss. In other cases akin to Disney’s hit Frozen, the protagonist’s parents both die early on in the movie, however the occurrence doesn’t drive any major plot points. Regardless, the parental figure has been lost.

 

02 Cinderella and Prince Charming
True Love appears

In every Disney movie that follows the formula, some form of true love always begins between typically the protagonist and an interest that is introduced late into the first act. We leave this solely as true love rather than a love interest to account for films that broke the formula. Disney’s Frozen challenges the original principle by having true love appear in the form of sisterly love, rather than the classic true love’s kiss. Wall-E changed this by only having the main protagonist, Wall-E, fall in love with Eve after she lands on earth. She becomes attracted to Wall-E during the second act of the film. The classic example of true love still exists through timeless films such as Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, where finding the “Prince Charming” was the central point of the plot.

 

03 Elsa and Anna
Be willing to give up everything for your true love

In many of Disney’s movies, the protagonist gives up almost everything for the person they are pursuing. In The Little Mermaid, Ariel falls in love with Eric at first sight. She has to get him to kiss her so that she can get her voice back; in doing this, she gives up all her family and friends in order to remainq human and marry him. Then we have movies like Frozen that bend the rules; Anna still does anything for Elsa, but the end goal and the reasoning behind it are very different than the classic Disney movies.

 

04 Lion King
Why does the Disney formula work?

The formula was mastered by Disney to appeal to all audiences; to keep their attention, and to make their content simple, yet astonishingly enjoyable. It is the exact “happily ever after” that audiences want to see. This has been proven to be true throughout Disney’s history since the Disney Renaissance period; movies from that era that followed the formula are, more often than not, the most memorable and performed the best at the box-office and home distribution. Movies like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast were loved by audiences so much that they were remastered several times for each new distribution mediums.

 

05 Last of Us
How could Disney’s formula be applied to games?

Disney’s formula isn’t built specifically for films, the formula could be applied to any form of storytelling including a game’s narrative. The overall story could be based around the 3-act system that Disney has followed where you play out the events of the game as the protagonist.

This can be seen in some games such as Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us and Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series. Both games traditionally follow the “Hero’s Journey/Monomyth” method of storytelling, however there are many aspects of Disney’s formula found throughout their plots.
In The Last of Us, the lead characters both have lost people close to them. Joel, the adult male, is a single parent, who loses his daughter in the fungi pandemic. Through the first few events of the game, he meets Ellie, a young teenage girl, who is alone, has no family, and is immune to the deadly effects of the fungi. Throughout the events of the game, John and Ellie develop a close father-daughter relationship with each other; by the game’s conclusion, its easy for the player to see how they would do anything for the other, even if it means sacrificing their own lives.

The Last of Us is the most awarded game of all time, winning 230 “Game of the Year” awards and is praised for its critically acclaimed plot.

In order for the Disney formula to work akin to one of Disney’s films, the game would have to immerse the player into the storyline; the player must feel like they are the character, living the story that unfolds beneath them, rather than controlling an entity in a fictional world.
The game doesn’t necessarily have to be a long epic with 20+ hours of main gameplay either; games built for the casual playing audience could achieve the same effect as a feature console game; the effort shouldn’t be in the depth of the gameplay and the length, it’s in the delivery and how immersive the story is.

To learn more about applying the Disney formula to your game or app contact us at info@gamepill.com

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What is Google Cardboard?

Trust us, it is way cooler than it sounds.

Cardboard is Google’s way to allow users to experience Virtual Reality in a simple, fun and inexpensive way, using a headset made only out of materials you probably already own and can easily get!

How does Google Cardboard work?
There’s two essential parts to Cardboard; the headset, and your smartphone.
The virtual reality technology is powered by Google’s own mobile operating system, Android, that renders the images necessary to the experience and tracks user and sensory input.

When you boot up your phone inside the viewer, it will display two adjacent images for the left and right eyes to simulate one three-dimensional image. This is known as binocular rendering. To feel like you’re looking into a virtual environment, apps utilize your phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to detect movement, subsequently moving the image you are seeing.

google_cardboard

What is it made of?
The viewer itself is comprised of cardboard (held together through flaps and slots), lenses, magnets for menu navigation, Velcro, and a rubber band.

You can build Cardboard yourself from home, by finding the necessary parts and following Google’s downloadable instructions, or you can purchase a pre-fabricated kit from a manufacturer.

All you have to do is assemble it. Some of manufacturers, such as Unofficial Cardboard, sell individual parts, in case you were missing something when building your own viewer!

If you want to purchase a pre-made kit, all you have to do is head on over to Google’s Cardboard website, where they link you to manufacturers like DODOcase and I AM CARDBOARD.

The price for viewers range from $15.00, giving you the simplest of viewers to about $30.00 for some extra features (like an internal NFC tag). There’s even a viewer constructed out of aluminum produced by Knox Labs that prices at $85.00!

How do I develop for Google Cardboard?
Developers can create apps and games that take advantage of the Cardboard’s VR experience, and make them available on the Google play store. The game engine Unity has even developed a Source Development Kit (SDK) so developers can create cardboard applications while using a familiar and popular engine. The SDK can even adapt already existing applications for virtual reality!

What to look out for?
Google recently announced a partnership with world-famous toy designer Mattel to bring back the iconic View-Master and give it a 21st-century makeover.

The new toy will take advantage of Google’s virtual reality technology to recreate the effects that were achieved by the original View-Master toy virtually. The classic reels will still exist but they provide different experiences dubbed “360 degree photospheres” that take you to see places like a space shuttle or Alcatraz.

So far, there aren’t many apps available for Cardboard. However, because Cardboard is so affordable and easy to use, it enables many developers to inexpensively experiment and create applications for the virtual reality environment.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@gamepill.com if you want to brainstorm ideas for your brand, or to check out what we’ve been working on!

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5 Augmented Reality Examples

As technology evolves, the fine line that separates the physical and virtual world continues to dissolve.

Here are 5 of our favorite uses of augmented reality in retail:

1 IKEA

1. IKEA’s extended 2014 catalogue
The Swedish furniture store’s 2014 catalogue came with an extra 50 pages, accessible by downloading the IKEA catalogue app for iPhone and scanning the catalogue. You could then use the app with your phone’s camera to see how furniture from the catalogue would fit in your own living space!

2 AUTODESK

2. Autodesk Showcase 2015
Autodesk’s Showcase is used to present CAD designs and models to clients; one of the very interesting uses of the software is the ability to present those models using the build-in augmented reality plugins that allow the designs to be shown in the physical world in all its three-dimensional glory.

3 GUINNESS

3. Guinness Book of World Records
The famous world records book took the viewing experience to a whole new level with its added augmented reality experience. All you have to do is download the app, and point your phone at the pages of the book and watch them come alive!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4. IBM Research’s Smarter Shopping
The research division of the tech giant showed that 58% of consumers want to get information about products in-store, while 19% are already browsing on their mobile devices while shopping. The scientists behind this research wanted to bring the benefits of online shopping to the in-store experience through an app with augmented reality technology. When you point your phone to the product you want to buy, the app provides you with any information you’re looking for, such as nutritional value.

5 AMERICAN APPAREL

5. American Apparel’s Shopping Assistant

Now you won’t have to ask the sales associate if the shirt you’re interested in comes in your favourite colour! With American Apparel’s Augmented Reality shopping assistant, you’re able to scan the product display and the app will provide you with information about the product, such as customer reviews, what sizes it comes in, and what colours it’s available in.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@gamepill.com if you’d like to brainstorm ideas for your brand, or to find out what we’ve been working on!

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