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Old 03-08-2013, 05:29 AM   #31
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Souvenir Shop Startup
If Disney executives do choose to pilot "Magic Cabinet" arcade machines at the parks, they might not necessarily start with resorts, or DisneyQuest, or even Epcot Innoventions. They might start with the souvenir shops. Especially if park-exclusive Mickey figurines will be sold, consider the number of different attractions that could feature themed Infinity gaming: Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Monster's Inc Laugh Floor, Mickey's Philharmagic, Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania, Fantasmic, and maybe Muppet Vision 3D and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride(!) The California Adventure Park could even have sit-down racers in Cars Land. If Disney Infinity figurines will be sold at each corresponding souvenir shop, a Disney Infinity arcade box could showcase the gaming. A single machine could be tucked in as easily as a pressed coin machine. Timed arcade games would mitigate crowding. Although the underlying hardware would support any number of games, the cabinet art and the provided figurine & game selections could target that particular attraction. MagicBand technology could still synch up leaderboards by the guest's resort. Imagine being greeted by a video game by name, posting a high score across the parks, and maybe even winning a FastPass, out of a souvenir shop? Disney souvenir shops have now become part of the entertainment, adding to the overall Disney experience.

Virtual Vouchers and MagicBand Proof Points
Remember that Disney resort arcade 100pt voucher? What if each MagicBand was primed with a few free virtual tokens, that could be used on any Magic Cabinet in the parks, including these souvenir shops? A few free trials could lead to more Disney Infinity sales, or simply lead to more money spent on the games themselves. The MagicBands could gather all sorts of data as to how often the games were played, who played them, what characters were selected, what games were selected, and what percentage led to a Disney Infinity sale. They could even track other persons' sales around the time the games were played (MagicBand big-data possibilities are really cool). These machines wouldn't necessarily need to make any money on their own and still contribute toward overall park revenue. And the MagicBands could prove it.

Souvenir Sales Bring Variety to the Arcades
Since the investment would have already been made to these souvenir shop Magic Cabinets and corresponding Disney Infinity games, they could be replicated for arcades in Epcot Innoventions, DisneyQuest, and the resort arcades. More generic cabinet art could be used for those boxes that would periodically change sets of games. This would provide a better visual presentation to these arcades. The selection would actually be somewhat diminished, given the souvenir-based selections, but it would feel like there was a bigger selection. The souvenir shop machines might also become in-Disney go-to machines. And every character in every game on every cabinet would be Disney.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:29 PM   #32
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There's No Toy Box in the Magic Cabinet
It may seem that the ideas here for a retro arcade machine differ greatly from the goals of creativity and problem-solving provided in the Toy Box. And they do. A Game Designer's Club out of Epcot's Innoventions and possibly another in the Create Zone of DisneyQuest would help connect the dots. Game design takes time. The Magic Cabinets represent the fruits of those labors, whether those timed arcade games are designed by the Disney Infinity Team or by contest winners. They would showcase what is possible, while providing a new facet to the Disney experience. But if the Toy Box might be able to tie multiple mini-games together, why not try to do that with the cabinets too?

MagicBands and Mickey Coins
In addition to tracking virtual game tokens, MagicBands could track and display accumulated Mickey Coins. This could represent another Leaderboard category, but one that only resets when a guest has finished their resort stay (a single day if staying off-site). Every arcade game could produce some number of Mickey Coins, separate from the game score. These virtual coins would have no real monetary value, but could be used to purchase power-ups or multipliers on individual Magic Cabinet games to help achieve higher scores (much like Facebook apps like Bejeweled Blitz). The MagicBands could also encourage park guests to try multiple cabinets and multiple figurines with a particular cabinet. At the end of each game, the screen would display these attributes, and once a set of four or five were achieved, some amount of bonus Mickey Coins would be awarded and the count reset. Play a bunch of different pirates on the pirates cabinet for 500 Mickey Coins. Play a set of Magic Kingdom cabinets for 1000. Play one in each of the four parks and get 2000. This would make for another mini scavenger hunt in the parks, and encourage guests to take a look at lots of figurines.

Randomly Awarded Tokens
Randomly awarded FastPasses might not be the only reward for Magic Cabinet gaming. There could also be the random chance that a free game token is awarded, and in the case of resort guests, a free token to everyone sharing the resort room. It would cost essentially nothing, and would add another element of fun.

The Not-Forgotten Kingdom
There were no examples in the prior append for the Animal Kingdom, as if Disney Infinity wouldn't fit there. But there could be games based on the Lion King, perhaps Tarzan, and with the corresponding Pixar moving coming, Dinosaurs! If the Avatar plans would come to fruition, that's a given too. A toy avatar of an avatar
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:55 PM   #33
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Boardwalk Trinkets
Skeeball has been a staple of boardwalk arcades for years and many variants can now be found in smartphone apps. Part of its allure has been the tickets awarded based on the score, and the ability to redeem those tickets for a prize. It was always clear from the selection of trinkets that it would have been much less expensive to buy them outright, but there was a different feel, especially for young kids, that the prize had been won. Part of the price was to enjoy the game. You might play several times throughout your week of vacation at the beach. Then on the last day, the family would pool their tickets together and let the kids redeem their prizes. It would be something the kids looked forward to for that whole week. Skeeball apps have virtual unlockables, but it's not the same. There's not much anticipation to it, and you don't win a physical prize.

Magic Cabinet Prizes
What if you could win real prizes from playing Magic Cabinet games at the parks? Mickey coins would be the virtual tickets. For resort guests they could be accumulated over the course of the family's stay and be pooled together at the end to redeem prizes. This would be another advantage of staying on-site so that the Mickey coin count persisted for the entire vacation. The MyMagic+ app, in addition to showing the Disney Infinity Leaderboards, would track the guest's coin count and display the choice of prizes. It could also be used to redistribute the coins for the guests of a particular party. The Disney Infinity team could crunch the numbers on all the possible bonuses and multipliers of these games to determine the highest possible scores and "price" the prizes accordingly. It could be as simple as transferring Mickey coins into a small virtual gift card toward park purchases in general. Or it could be Infinity-related, to win a random Power Disc, a Disney Infinity T-shirt, or for some astronomical number of Mickey coins, an Infinity figurine. It could be that nearly-but-not-quite-unattainable grand prize to associate with the gaming. The prizes could be stocked throughout the parks & resorts so that they could be redeemed at multiple locations at nearly any time. Some prizes might even be exclusive to the gaming.

Value of DisneyQuest
DisneyQuest presents a completely different pricing structure than the rest of Disney World's arcade machines of course. It's a flat rate cost for essentially unlimited gaming. This would be a challenge for the number crunching on possible Mickey coin totals to keep the maximum number of redeemed prizes in check, but it wouldn't be impossible. Perhaps all the other machines at the parks & resorts could have a multiplier for their games. The amount of bonuses awarded for a set of games in each park (or resort) would factor in as well. It's a do-able mathematical problem, where an upfront purchase of a DisneyQuest ticket could be a nice way for a kid to win a prize, without getting out of control. With some extra MagicBand reader investment, perhaps the Skeeball machines could generate virtual Mickey coins too. In fact all of the DisneyQuest games could support some nominal amount of coins, contributing toward that total.

Adding More Magic to the Magic Cabinets
Prizes don't need to make sense. They don't need to be cost-effective for the gamer. They're just fun. They present a goal. You enjoy the experience of multiple games themselves with the hopes of winning something when you're done. Redeemable prizes for Disney park gaming would connect all of the games in all of their locations across multiple days of vacationing together. It would add an extra bit of magic to an already-magical Disney experience.
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Last edited by goofyspaceranger; 03-10-2013 at 03:57 PM. Reason: line feed for the pixie dust
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:11 PM   #34
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Ultimate Ride
Aside from DisneyQuest's CyberSpace Mountain and Epcot Innovention's Sum of All Thrills, when one thinks of virtual roller coasters, one thinks of Roller Coaster Tycoon, right? This decade-old PC game for managing a virtual theme park is a classic (and apparently is attempting a comeback - with iOS & Android versions coming early this year). Around the same time frame of the original game, another PC-based coaster simulator was developed, by none other than Disney Interactive Studios, titled "Ultimate Ride". With a follow-on version, the game even provided Disney park theming. They had weekly contests for best roller coaster design. Who knew?! Can we request some code reuse here? This could provide another Toy Box mode, where the landscape, structures, & scenery of the Disney Infinity world are part of the coaster theming, and the virtual toy character can hop in for a virtual ride. Different Play Sets could unlock different coaster design possibilities. The Disney Infinity graphics & tooling combined with kids' imaginations could provide fun simulations at home, and even more fun simulations at Walt Disney World. You could even throw in an educational crossover with Ludwig Von Drake. High school Physics classes often calculate coaster G forces prior to amusement park "field trips". Provide some Ludwig tutorials on the determination (it might actually help someone from getting ill )

Theme Park Mode
While they're at it, might the Disney Infinity team entertain a Theme Park mode for the Toy Box? What if the virtual world could be played out like a Roller Coaster Tycoon game? What if Play Sets came with unlockable rides that fit their themes? Who manages theme parks better than Disney? Why not make it into a game? Unlock a swinging pirate ship from the pirates' Play Set, and design a go-kart track from the Cars Play Set. Drop in carousels and scramblers, food vendors and souvenir shops, rest rooms, and character meet-n-greets. And of course design lots of different roller coasters. This would make a game out of the Toy Box itself, starting the "player" with a certain amount of Mickey Coins to gradually build up the park. The game would manage the park guests and simulate their behaviors. Manage the attraction queuing in different ways - "pay" more for interactive queues or FastPass+. Build stages to put on shows. "Pay" more for larger areas that provide more seating. Allow every figurine that a kid has purchased for the Infinity system to participate in the shows and meet-and-greets. Based on Play Set unlockables, build themed resorts for the guests' stay (the best way to build up those Mickey Coins in the game ). The game itself could gauge its simulated guest rating, or the virtual theme park could be another contest category. The virtual coasters could bring Disney Infinity to the theme parks, and Theme Park mode, well, you get the idea. Admittedly, it would require more retroactive coding for those Play Sets.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:10 PM   #35
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YouTube Options Galore
There are lots of ways that Disney Infinity gamers will be able to create YouTube movies of their creations and their gaming. If they're using a video game console, they can split the feed to both the TV and a camcorder. Or they can record with a DVR recorder and transfer it their laptop with DVD ripper software. If they're playing on the laptop directly, they can use screen recording software like Fraps, Dxtory, D3DGear, or others. The point is that the technology exists, and one of the main goals of Disney Infinity is creativity. They should make it even easier. They should encourage movie-making.

Disney Infinity's Hollywood Studios
There are so many ways in which Disney Infinity lends itself to YouTube movies. It could include game walkthroughs, tours of virtual worlds, or trailers of personally designed games. It could include recordings of toy plays, where kids write their own scripts and record their own voice-overs. If the platform would support tutorials, they could get voice-overs there as well. If PhilharMagic Mickey was available to conduct musical performances, they could be recorded too. If virtual roller coasters could be designed, imagine those virtual world tours. The Disney Infinity Team could facilitate synching up background music, sound effects, and voice-overs. It could support editing options for rearranging or cutting sets of frames, adjusting camera angles, potentially inserting 2D boards with title screens, voice balloons, or movie credits. Movie making tools would bring more depth to the creativity, and rather than restrict YouTube posting to experienced gamers, it would open it up to everybody. "Look what my kid made with Disney Infinity <insert YouTube link here>" - email quote or Facebook post, either way, it would be Hollywood Studios Magic.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:09 AM   #36
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Immersion Magic
Walt Disney World does not have the best roller coasters. It does not have the best "dark rides". It does not have the best water parks. Why then do so many people consider it the best amusement park (actually, best set of amusement parks)? It's about the immersion. It's about the overall "magical experience". It has the combination of rides, shows, restaurants, resorts, sporting facilities, you name it, all wrapped up together, relating to a tremendous collection of quality movies, appealing to the kid in everyone. What will make Disney Infinity such a great success? Same thing. Disney Interactive Studios need not attempt to create "the next best video game" any longer. Thank goodness. Some of the best-selling smartphone apps are repackaged variants of an earlier game. Like that famous dessert from Beaches & Cream at the Beach Club resort, the Disney Infinity Team could (& should) throw in everything including the kitchen sink. Leverage the investment with all of these figurines, 3D renderings, game mechanics, & infrastructure by including all kinds of references to the movies, the music, parks, everything. Categorize as much of it as possible into Play Set unlockables, feeding into that collective nature, and whatever can't be crammed into the schedules of their 2-month extension, retroactively throw it in with the next release as "bonus content". These elements don't need to be individually novel. They need to be of quality, but not necessarily novel. It's about the collection. There are collectible figurines, collectible Play Sets, collectible Power Discs, and along with them, collectible gaming & creativity constructs. The more the merrier.

Trivial Pursuits
As an example, consider movie trivia. Look up any movie on the IMDB web site/app. There's "Did You Know?" trivia, goofs, quotes, etc. Consider the Disney version of the Trivial Pursuit game. Apparently Ludwig Von Drake has been the host of a D23 fan club tournament for it. What if there was a Disney trivia category that could be unlocked with every Play Set? What if the Toy Box could be used to design the game board and the more Play Sets you had, the greater variety of Disney trivia questions you would have? Questions could be on the movie (or set of movies) for each Play Set, and any related park attraction related to them. Each question could have 4-5 choices to choose from and the correct answer would allow the player to gain points and/or move up the game board. Individually, this would not be a huge selling point for a game. But this a platform. It's a collection. And this would offer a fun change-up to arcade-style gaming. For all of us die-hard Disney fans who are interested in the collectible figurines alone, the ability to unlock Disney trivia from Infinity Play Sets would be a fun plus.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:59 AM   #37
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How Much Does A Toy Remember?
It's been noted that the Disney Infinity figurines can be mobile, not immediately tablet mobile, but Infinity Pad mobile, moving from one pad to another and still remember things. But how much does it remember? If Power Discs are meant to be tradeable, then they're probably not remembered. Each Infinity character will apparently have specific unlockables in the corresponding Play Set, so hopefully those will be remembered. What about alternate Play Sets for the Toy Box? It seems unlikely that the collection of Play Sets purchased for a given Infinity Pad could be transferred to another pad when the figurine docks there. This would imply that each Infinity Pad is the storehouse for the Play Set collection with regard to Toy Box creations, and that the particular figurines currently on the pad determine the players. What happens if the Infinity Pad used doesn't have the optional Play Set associated with the mobile figurine? Is that Play Set temporarily unlocked for that Toy Box session? Will the Play Set sculptures be mobile? It seems unlikely that the Disney Infinity Team would want an entire Play Set to be permanently transferred to someone else's Toy Box from one visit. It will be interesting to see how they work out the details.

How Many Accounts For Each Infinity Pad?
This is the bigger question: how many user accounts can a family have for a given Infinity Pad? Hopefully it's many. Hopefully it's unlimited. Hopefully lots of user-submitted content to the Infinity Cloud will be encouraged. Consider sibling rivalry alone. Sibling are not necessarily going to want to submit a family submission off the pad. They will probably want it to be individual. There's really no harm in it. It wouldn't slow sales. You need the figurines & pad to play. The accounts would really be tied to content submission. Each one could have a unique email address, and a corresponding avatar name for anonymity. Disney Infinity could look to Wizard101's naming conventions to prevent avatar names from being inappropriate. Have a list of optional adjectives, e.g. Grumpy, Dopey, Bashful, Incredible, Goofy, Blue, Red, etc. and have a list of roles, e.g. Pirate, Space Ranger, Cast Member, etc. and a huge list of optional first-names. Unlike Wizard101's names, these would need to be unique, so at registration a sequence number could be tacked on. Wonder how many Goofy Space Rangers there might be? There could be a collection of Infinity character faces to associate with the avatar. This would work well with Disney Infinity friendship circles too, regarding shared virtual worlds, leadership boards, etc. For collaborative content submission, everyone will want some credit, even if it's anonymous. Kids could take some figurines to their friends' house, work on a Toy Box creation together, and that submission could include both avatar IDs collectively. What about those academies at the parks to introduce Infinity? What about Game Design Clubs that could emerge out of schools? Kids need not own an Infinity Pad to start up an account. It's all about encouraging content, encouraging collaboration. The more mobile a Disney Infinity avatar account can be, the better. It would not slow sales. It would speed them up. Once someone experiments with Disney Infinity, they'll want their own Infinity Pad. Whenever some highly-rated Play Set mash game is seen on the Infinity Cloud, then kids will want all the required pieces to play the game. The more user-submitted content that becomes available, the more perceived value each figurine, each Play Set, each Power Disc will have.
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Last edited by goofyspaceranger; 03-22-2013 at 08:07 AM. Reason: nits
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:26 PM   #38
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Play Set Icons
If you take a look at the Disney Infinity figurine packaging, each one has the icon for the Play Set to which it belongs. This a practical thing, to ensure the buyer has the corresponding Play Set for said figurine. It also provides the means for lots of cool game mechanics that could highlight the nature of the Disney Infinity platform. In the YouTube videos that show some of the Starter Pack gameplay, these icons can already be seen used at the completion of various checkpoints. There are tons of console games and tons of apps that have unlockables, but how many have categories of unlockables? When you encourage the mash-up of all these Play Sets, then the icons can be used to give bonuses to the characters who belong to those respective Play Sets, or simply highlight the variety provided in a large collection.

Play Set Boosts
With Nintendo's Mario Party games, blue & red tiles are used to designate added or lost coins. If Disney Infinity is to support boardgames, what if the tiles could instead be Play Set icons? What if your player gained coins only when landing on a space with the icon matching its Play Set? What if it meant sliding to the next occurrence of that icon on the board? If Disney Infinity is to support virtual golfing, what if the Play Set icons were placed on the flags, where a player belonging to that Play Set had a free Mulligan option, or a "handicap" that halved the number of strokes for that hole (ensure an even distribution of those flags and it could still be a fair game)? For sports games in general, instead of "park sponsor teams" from the earlier append, maybe they could simply use the Play Set icons (albeit, with a design trade-off that teams couldn't mix across Play Sets). Musical scores for karaoke or instrumental performances could display the icon of the Play Set which unlocked that particular song. "Smash Bros" variant games could have random boost tokens that were particular to the Play Sets. Disney Infinity is a collection of collections. Play Set icons could highlight this, and improve the gameplay.

Playing Without A Full Deck
This may sound madder than the Hatter, but forget Wonderland for a moment and consider collecting a partial deck of cards from every Play Set. Instead of the traditional suits like hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades, each Play Set is a suit. With the Starter Pack you'd get the suits of Pirates, Monsters, and Incredibles. The icons could be simplified to one color in these cards, 2-10, with character images for Jack, Queen, and King, with the full multi-colored icon for the Ace. Incredibles could have Dash, Mrs. & Mr. Incredible for the face cards, Pirates could have Jack Sparrow (of course for the Jack), perhaps Calypso & Davy Jones for Queen & King. Monsters are trickier (no apparent Queen), but some female Monster could be used. Buy the Cars Play Set and you could maybe have Lightning as Prince, Mater as King, with Holley as the Queen. Whether or not the actual figurines of these face cards would need to be purchased to complete the suits would be a merchandising decision. Card games make popular apps and popular mini-games. Disney Infinity's versions of Solitaire, Memory games, Rummy, etc. could possibly be played with 3, 4, 5, or more "suits"! There could be some games where a "trump" suit applies when it matches that of the figurine/player. If the face-card is an exact match, the card could be a wild card. Disney Infinity could provide a separate game editor that specializes in creating your own card game. Gambling card games might not fit well with the Disney brand - but Mickey Coins could be left out of that particular game editor. Card games could work well as single-player and AI/online multi-player. Also consider the popularity of "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom" at the Magic Kingdom park. In addition to "traditional" Play Set suits, perhaps each Infinity figurine would unlock its own Sorcerers collectible card. Then with Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey (or The Hat as a Power Disc), there could be some Disney Infinity variant of this game. As with Disney trivia, this would not be a standalone winner. On its own, this would make for a rather expensive deck of cards. But thrown in with the rest of the games, this would be a nice addition to the collection and to the platform. And it would port well to smartphones & tablets.
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:10 AM   #39
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Infinity Box Icon Wildcard
The red Infinity Box icon looks cool in its own right. Given that the Toy Box is where all Play Sets will be mashed together, then the Infinity Box icon would make a perfect wildcard boost. Wherever there could be a Play Set specific boost for swashbuckler health points, a racer's speed, a boardgamer's moves, or a card player's trump, the Infinity Box icon could represent the wildcard boost that applies to all figurines, regardless of their Play Set. It would "complete" the game mechanic, bringing all of the Play Sets together.

Infinity Box Icon Portal
Might that icon also be used to connect Toy Box worlds? What if walking through a misty portal or dark cave entrance or reflective mirror, flying through a suspended ring, or diving into a murky pool would transport your Infinity toy player to another destination, be it a mini-game or simply some alternate area to explore? What if this three-dimensional red box denoted such a portal, serving as a beacon for location jumps, and a fun reminder of the anything-goes nature of the Toy Box?

The Infinity Platform Wild Card
The entire Disney Infinity platform is a bit of a wild card too. Individually these are all familiar game genres. Many have already been implemented by Disney Interactive itself in previous offerings. There can be a fine line between a "tribute" to video gaming and a "me-too", "been-there, done-that". The quality of the collectible figurines and the variety that will be available at the launch will go a long way. The mash-up of all the toy Disney/Pixar characters adds a lot too. But the depth of the Toy Box, and the open invitation for kids of all ages to participate, to collaborate in game design will ultimately drive the platform's success. This wild card is a good bet.

Smartphone Synchup
Early Infinity interviews were quick to highlight that the eventual mobile device support could be a key factor in Infinity's success as well. There has certainly been a huge shift from console gaming to mobile apps. With all of those collectible figurines, Play Set sculptures, and Power Discs unlocking digital content off a disc, how will smartphones and tablets work? I still hope that the "Toy Box creativity accounts" can be "infinite", that there won't be some limit to the number of mobile devices associated with any given Infinity Pad. How would Disney support this, without affecting sales? Perhaps it would be an acceptable trade-off that acquiring mobile Infinity apps would require a synchup on a PC with a connected Infinity Pad. Downloads would be managed by the Infinity Cloud, not iTunes or Google Play, and the apps that could be acquired would be limited to the unlocked portions of tools according to that particular pad. You could visit a friend's house for example, and synch up with everything unlocked from his Infinity Pad, but would lose the apps synched up from your own. At any given time the mobile device would reflect apps associated with a single pad and its registered purchases. Perhaps the Disney Infinity Team would want to publish an app or two for free out on iTunes and Google Play to promote the platform, but that's a separate point. Perhaps there might even be some free apps that were specifically designed for Disney park visits to promote park-exclusive content.

Advantages of a Free Cloud
There may be a temptation for Disney to follow the Chromebook pricing model and charge for the user-submitted games (or at least the storage where they reside). That would be the "cloud service" after all, to manage the data, and it could theoretically be subscription based. Hopefully that won't happen. The Disney Infinity expense has already been discussed online extensively, and pricing associated with collectible figurines is simply more palatable for lots of people. A figurine is something that you can physically hold in your hand, even if the virtual counterpart vanishes without the connectivity of an Infinity Pad. It's an emotional connection. Plus there may possibly be some legal benefits. If all of the user-generated content is kept free, perhaps there's some additional protection from copyright lawsuits (disclaimer: not a lawyer, defer to actual legal counsel). This platform shows appearances in becoming a tribute to video gaming. And while there are already unique elements with these Disney-trademarked characters, using new game editor software mashing them up in different ways, Disney is a large corporation. A quick scan on these Disboards shows a number of seemingly-frivolous lawsuits. If the user-submitted content can technically be freeware, that's probably a good thing. And if some contest winning games do make it to the Disney parks (where there certainly would be a separate charge), then those games need to be distinct, definitively unique.
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Last edited by goofyspaceranger; 03-28-2013 at 04:11 AM. Reason: nit
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:59 AM   #40
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Artistic Bells & Whistles
There is certainly a big artistic element in designing virtual worlds. But it would be cool to see even more artistry included within Disney Infinity. Consider for example the Animation Academy in Hollywood Studios, a half-hour hands-on class where everyone draws a particular Disney character. The nearby gift shop sells various workbooks that cover sets of Disney characters. What if each Disney figurine unlocked such a lesson, with one or more views of that character? This Sketch Mode could feature Luxo Jr. the Pixar lamp with each instruction video (is he going to be a Disney Infinity unlockable for gaming too?). No, this is not attempting to synch up with Disney Infinity's Facebook April Fool's joke about supporting the paper platform . It would be fun. Tech-savvy kids might not use the traditional pencil & paper either, nor post on the refrigerator door. Many might use an iPad & stylus, posting to Facebook, Tumblr blog, or Twitter (or with age restrictions, their parents might post to their own accounts). Consider the Paper app by FiftyThree - it's an awesome, inexpensive drawing app with an unlimited number of virtual notebooks that can directly post to all three. Drawing lessons within Disney Infinity would be a nifty digital connection. Consider too the popularity of the DrawSomething app or the classic party game of Pictionary (which apparently has a Disney version too). Imagine an online Disney Infinity mini-game to draw some Infinity toy with a game controller to see which of the three other online players could guess the right answer.

Budding Artistry
Consider the popularity of Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival. Imagine kids designing their own flower artwork in the virtual world of Disney Infinity. The original Roller Coaster Tycoon game included various shrubs & flowers as an important element to its virtual theme parks. Why not add more artistry in the design of virtual golf courses, theme parks, or any given mini-game? Imagine a contest to help design some portion of the next Epcot festival. And what about those famous Disney World topiaries? They've already appeared in Disney Interactive Studio's coaster software. What if every Disney Infinity figurine unlocked its own topiary? Each topiary could match the pose of the actual figurine. Or maybe these "virtual poseable action figures" could be used to design topiaries in different poses? You might only have two figurines on the Infinity Base at a time, but you could have dozens of topiaries. You could have dozens of instances of the same character. The topiaries need not be inanimate either. Imagine them becoming an active part of the gaming. They might be "sparring doubles", or be non-player-characters in a hedge maze game of tag, or perhaps... defenders of a castle.

Cinderella's Towers of Defense
On a side-note, another popular type of game is the Tower of Defense. This turn-based strategy game would be a good change-up from arcade style games, where strategically placed missile launchers and magical fireworks attempt to hold back a siege of evil minions. Isn't everyone wondering if we could design our own castles regardless? It just seems fitting that the "ground troops" defending a Disney castle would be topiaries. Different figurines could offer different missile defenders as well as "Topiary Troops" while different Play Sets could offer different types of castles and different sets of evil minions.

Collages & Cards, Puzzles & Posters
There have been some cool collages as well virtual cards posted to Disney Infinity's Facebook page. Imagine kids designing their own. Whether or not the platform is opened up for all-out Hollywood Studios' movie-making, why not facilitate this type of artistry? Kids could use Disney Infinity to email birthday cards and holiday greetings to family & friends, design backgrounds for their ipads or laptops, or post to Facebook, Tumbler, or Twitter. Imagine a Disney Infinity collage becoming a digital puzzle. The picture could be "cut up" by the system into some number of pieces based on a chosen difficulty level. It might just be some snapshot of the virtual world they created. There could be timed mini-games for solving simpler puzzles. It would probably be relatively simple to implement and really fun to play. Whether it's a hand-drawn sketch or digitally designed poster, a kid might even want to just print out a copy of their digital artwork for that traditional kitchen posting. Throwing in a few more artistic elements to Disney Infinity would be good for that "kitchen sink" of content, as well as the family refrigerator .
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:37 AM   #41
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Follow the Bouncing Ball
There is nothing so fundamental to young kids' outdoor games than a bouncy ball. Before the start of organized sports (admittedly, the latter starts at younger & younger ages), the games of kickball, dodge ball, ball-tag, or spud are the go-to activities. The bouncy ball has also been fundamental to video gaming since Pong, and has not stopped being so. The appearance of the Pixar bouncy ball in one of the earliest Disney Infinity images was a welcome sight. At the risk of sounding simplistic, with all of the virtual gizmos & gadgets already seen for this gaming platform, it would be nice to unlock a separate ball for each Play Set with corresponding color & icon. The Toy Box editor could scale any of these balls up or down, adjust the buoyancy in the Physics simulation, and change the sound effects associated with the bounces. A collection of Play Set balls could then be used to make lots of different games. Kids could design a Disney Infinity variant of the popular bubble shooter games, or a classic breakout game where the ball changes appearance & properties when hitting certain bricks. There could be variants of games similar to PopCap's Peggle or Atomica. Combined with collages and unlockable "bumpers", the balls could be used to create themed Pinball games, or on tablets, gyro-enabled labyrinths. Yet another possibility could be a Disney Infinity variant of billiards, specifically 8-ball...

Disney Infinity Billiards
Proposing a Play Set-based collection of balls for a billiards game makes Disney Infinity card games look inexpensive in comparison. But what if there weren't any numbers on the billiard balls, and not that many colors? For a 2-player game, there could be 7 identical balls from one toy's Play Set, 7 from the other, and 1 from a third Play Set of which neither player belongs. This last ball is the equivalent of the 8-ball. The other two colors are the equivalent of "stripes" and "solids". You could have an online 4-player game with 2-player teams where team members were from the same Play Set. Or you could have a 4-player game with 5 Play Set colors, 5 balls for each player, plus 1 for the "8-ball", for a larger starting triangle of 21 balls. The tables could be different polygons, pockets could be placed anywhere, and they might even be "stacked", where dropping down one pocket drops the ball onto a separate table. The players might need to play through two or three different tables to win the game, and on any given turn need to decide which table is best played to make a shot (there could be a cue ball on each table and returned to that table in case of a scratch). Imagine a Disney Infinity world where the toys set sail on a pirate ship to a gaming "Pleasure Island" with billiards, card games, and maybe bowling.

Disney Springs
Regarding Pleasure Island (or the closing thereof), how might Disney Infinity be further incorporated into the redeveloped, renamed Downtown Disney? In addition to rebuilding Disney Quest, there could be a Magic Cabinet featuring sports games at the Team Mickey Athletic Club, along with T-shirts featuring all of the Disney Infinity sports teams, and sports balls/equipment matching the Play Set logos. Disney Infinity decals could also be provided at the Design-a-Tee store for kids to design their own gaming T-shirts. Another Magic Cabinet could feature Phineas & Ferb themed games if the new "Phineas & Ferb & YOU" persists. What about Splitsville? It already has some Mickey Mouse themed bowling balls. What about colors & icons on the bowling balls that would match the Play Set versions? What if there were optional racks of billiard balls to match these Disney Infinity logos as well? It would be a novelty for this Disney location of the Splitsville chain. A Magic Cabinet or two could feature the virtual versions of these activities, perhaps with some card games as well, to connect the theming together.

One Mickey Glove
Side-note on Disney Infinity golf: at Disney World, Cast Members often sport a single plush Mickey glove to greet park guests. Pairs of these Mickey gloves can be purchased at the parks as souvenirs, but it's more practical for a CM to just wear one. Consider real golf, where a single white glove is typical to keep grip on the club for those long shots. It would be fun for Disney Infinity toy golfers to each have this one huge Mickey glove too. There can never be too many reminders that "it all started with a mouse".
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:34 PM   #42
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Sorcerers of Disney Infinity
Consider the double-decade success of "Magic: The Gathering". It's part collectible, part card game and it involves a lot of strategy along with the luck of randomly drawn cards. "Planeswalker" wizards duel it out via combinations of these collectible decks of cards. The game mechanic is based on five colors of magic and corresponding "land" cards to power the other cards. A fair amount of strategy is involved in the deck construction before the game even begins. Many medieval fantasy games base their magic systems on the "elements" of earth, wind, fire, & water (even before "Avatar: The Last Airbender", the popular animation series). Wizard101, although an MMO, uses a similar collectible card mechanic with "elemental" magics of fire, ice, & storm, "spiritual" magics of life, death, & myth, along with a seventh "balance" magic. Imagine a dueling wizards' card game for Disney Infinity. Unlike Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, it would be a multi-player game and would not distinguish heroes from villains. Donning multiple instances of Yen Sid's magical hat (via Power Discs), Disney Infinity toys/players could participate in 2-player, 3-player, or 4-player online magical duels. Visually the toys could be seen throwing out cards like Marvel's Gambit, landing on some central area, with their 3D-projected faces lighting up as they are played. Play Set logo cards would be the "power cards". The collectible toy/figure cards could be attacking or defending cards requiring some specified amount of power, with some unlockable "props" used as a separate selection of enchantment cards. This would take some time in overall game balance, but would make for a fun, magical, collectible card game within the platform. If the card game was popular enough, Disney might consider publishing it as a genuine card deck (or perhaps "traditional" ones with Disney Infinity suits). They could be played separately and serve as a promotional vehicle for Disney Infinity gaming.

Mushu's Mahjong
With the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in 2015, with her appearances in the "Once Upon A Time" TV show, and the plans for a live-action Disney movie in the works, might Mulan make it to Disney Infinity? As far as Smash Bros games go, Mulan would be a great addition, and you simply can't have too many strong female characters in this game. Also, magical worlds need dragons. Yes, we'll probably see a nasty dragon arrive with the release of the live-action "Maleficent" movie in 2014. But it would be good to include a funny one as well, via Mushu. As far as game mechanics go, it would be cool to introduce Mahjong games through this Play Set. It could include the traditional multi-player game from the East and the single player game from the West. It could support the original arrangement of tiles and it could allow Toy Box editors to build their own designs. There could be the traditional set of tiles through this one Play Set, and a collectible Disney Infinity variant using multiple Play Sets. As with card games, billiards, and specialized power-ups, the Play Set logos would work well in these tiles, along with the Infinity logo as a wild one. There could be the traditional turn-based strategy game as well as an arcade style to see how many tiles could be cleared in a given amount of time. This would make a nicely themed Magic Cabinet addition too, not only for the China parks, but also the Chinese pavilion at Epcot.

What's In The Script?
What do these two Disney Infinity game ideas have in common? At face value, they're fairly distinct. However from a Toy Box standpoint, they're both probably better as stand-alone games. Hopefully the Toy Box editor could support general card game creation (if not in the first release, perhaps the second). That alone would involve the selection of unlocked trumps, random card selections, and establishing the rules of each card game (kids really don't mind games with rules, as long as they are the ones who get to decide those rules ). Certainly Disney Infinity will support the arrangement of a set of blocks - but the randomness of the Mahjong tiles is probably better done by the system, along with the knowledge of what to do when matching blocks are selected, or what happens when there are no valid moves remaining. The same thing might apply to billiards. The first YouTube videos are starting to emerge that reveal a little bit about the Toy Story editor. They only show the slightest hint of the logic system. There's mention of "Mastery Adventures" to explain various aspects of game mechanics, which is cool. Hopefully they show more soon. Will all of the logic scripts fit within the clean simplicity of the GUI editor? Will there be supporting documentation to explain all these gizmos? Clearly defined interfaces are really important (maybe various devices need to be unlocked first, but hopefully there's full explanations that get unlocked along with them). Many "young programmers" will be hands-on, let-me-try-this, while others will prefer to read up on "what are all my options?" Or they may run into "How would I do this?" A set of design templates or "Disney Infinity design patterns" might emerge, extending the Mastery Adventures, with sets of screen shots or YouTube videos. This platform is not really competing with any given console game, not even Skylanders. It's competing with a collection of games, and with game editors (especially mobile app editors). In order to appeal to the largest possible demographic, it's about the robustness of the editor and the ability to share a wide variety of games. There are going to be lots of games that can be built from scratch with Disney Infinity. Others probably fit better as "level builders". Plus, every release or so, a few ready-built games that fit into the toys' universe is probably a good thing too .
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:14 AM   #43
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Stitch's Greater Escape!!
If one were to go through a checklist of what makes for a great attraction at Walt Disney World, what might that checklist comprise? If one were to try out that checklist on Stitch's Tomorrowland attraction, how might that go?
- Consistent theme? Check.
- Entertaining pre-show? Check.
- Popular Disney character? Check.
- Amazing animatronics? Check.
- Sufficient crowd control ? Check.
- Fun? ...

Stitch's Great Escape! probably gets more criticism than any other attraction in any Disney theme park anywhere. Yet it includes everything from the Imagineers' formula for greatness except that intangible category of "Fun". Many online reviewers have requested that the attraction be completely removed. Some want the earlier ExtraTERRORestial Alien Encounter to return, while most recognize that the earlier attraction was too dark of an attraction for the Magic Kingdom.

I just don't see how you can let that cool of an animatronic go to waste. But how do you find the fun? Imagine this... What if Stitch doesn't escape into the "real" park? What if he escapes into a virtual one? What if you give the animatronic some mock-up VR goggles and a MagicBand, and have his captors claim he's wreaking havoc there? What if park guests were not put on intergalactic guard duty, but rather a special-virtual-agent mission? Imagine each guest donning those Oculus Rift goggles (which have begun shipping to developers, by the way) and entering into a 3D labyrinth care of Disney Infinity. The avatars might be selected from a Lilo & Stitch Play Set or be completely open-ended from the Infinity collection. There probably wouldn't be sufficient computer processing horsepower to connect everyone together, but dividing into groups of four lends itself to an easier leaderboard "best-in-squad" level. This could be explained with the "real" Stitch splitting himself into multiple avatars, and the agents needing to catch them all. Every special agent would be given a Stitch-style cosmic blaster (note: Stitch would have four of them). There could be lots of different maze types, from Tron levels to Death Star corridors to topiary-filled hedge mazes to Dwarf mine tunnels. It could be another contest category. Stitch's original captors might admit in the pre-show that it's actually unlikely that Stitch could cause any real harm in the virtual maze; they just don't want their prisoner to have any fun . The mission would be to subdue him with multiple stun shots from those cosmic blasters. Guests could then choose to be good "agents", trying to pursue Stitch, or "double-agents", trying to pursue each other. It essentially would become a Disney-themed, Infinity-sponsored, Oculus Rift-3D virtual laser tag game.

There could be three distinct leaderboards: top agent (most stuns on Stitch), top double-agent (most stuns on everybody else), and top evader (least stuns sustained). There could be gear scattered through the maze: riding vehicles, steeds, and flying equipment. Stun shots would of course knock the gear off for another agent (or Stitch) to steal. As with real laser tag games, a stun shot would temporarily make you immune to additional stuns. Leaderboard levels could include best-in-squad, best-in-mission (the whole room of that particular show), best of the hour, day, & week. As with earlier MagicBand appends, the leaderboards could be available on the MyMagic+ app for everyone to enjoy, with entries that include a guest's first name and their Disney resort, e.g. "Joey from Port Orleans Riverside". Another fun element of the MagicBands on these multi-player Infinity games would be to include their names in the game itself. Instead of seeing the number 1 or 2 above their Disney Infinity avatar head, they could have "Joey" and "Sally". This could be true of any VR attractions added to DisneyQuest as well.

Stitch's Greater Escape!! would find the fun. Incorporating Disney Infinity, MagicBands, and Oculus Rift into multiple attractions would bring a strong tech element to the parks. Folks are often in need of an escape. Stitch could provide one.
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:22 AM   #44
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A Rose By Any Other Name
There are a lot of inconsistent terms within this pseudo-blog, some due to inconsistencies in early internet articles and YouTube videos, and others due to attempting many of these posts so early in the morning . Resisting the urge to rework every post over & over again, let's plough ahead and focus some energy on a few of the terms I've been making up as I go along..

- Disney Infinity Cloud: the central distribution of user-submitted content, providing cross-platform compatibility to the Toy Box, with the potential of increasing the value of Disney Infinity gaming exponentially.

- Player Account: the registration that any given player needs to submit content, presumably done with an email address, name & snail-mail address information. For privacy protection, it would also be associated with some Disney mash-up name, e.g. Bashful Pirate Pete, Polynesian Polly, All-Star Cast Member Joe, Incredible Steve. The question is whether there will be just a single account per Disney Infinity Base, some arbitrary number, or even an unlimited number that is completely separate from the associated purchases.

- Friendship Circle: for any given player, the list of known email accounts registered to Disney Infinity, allowing family & friends to enjoy leaderboards for any number of Disney Infinity game that they play, to collaborate in a turn-based fashion on Toy Box creations, and possibly... to localize shared content from the Disney Infinity Cloud.

The Collaboration Compromise
The hot topic of shared content keeps coming up in the YouTube interview videos. How do you encourage collaboration while protecting the Disney brand? How do you prevent a little kid from downloading a Disney Infinity game with inappropriate material without Disney reviewing it first, when you know nothing about the person who submitted that material? Maybe the solution could be solved by recalling how kids share "ordinary" action figures. Make no mistake - they own them. They might bring them over to a friend's house for a collective mash-up. Siblings might be given a variety of them to share. But each and every figure has a specific owner. Sometimes siblings have copies of the exact same action figure because they want one that is theirs. Imagine each player registering one or more Disney Infinity figures to his or her email account. Each toy figure could actually remember that registration. This could even add a little property protection with these mobile toys - there could be an optional password that pops up when a figure is placed in a new Disney Infinity Base. Multiple figures could easily map to the same account. Player accounts would be completely separate from a Disney Infinity Base. This could make Disney executives happy in a number of ways. It makes tech camps possible (including Imagineering Academies at the parks). It makes Game Design Clubs possible. Clubs would not start up out of schools if every new member had to purchase their own Disney Infinity Base. But requiring the purchase of a single figure - that would absolutely work. And that purchase would very likely drive more purchases back at home. Back to the original issue, the Friendship Circle could arguably safely share un-moderated content through the Cloud. The Disney Infinity Cloud could have filters set up so that content submitted by any given registered player could be downloaded by any other player including him or her in their Friendship Circle. Player accounts and associated circles could be verified through parents' emails as necessary (just like other kids' game downloads work today; parents wouldn't necessarily need to purchase their own action figures - unless they wanted to anyway ). It's not fool-proof. But it's pretty tight. The advantages would far outweigh the disadvantages. Leaderboards, tech camps, Toy Box showcasing at the parks, Game Design Clubs, and overall collaboration... just by making a few friends. That sounds like it fits in with the overall goals of Disney Infinity really well .
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:10 AM   #45
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The Logic of Non-Player Characters
Kids' Logic: When a kid sits down to play with action figures, it's not with only one. It's more like ten. When a couple kids play with them together, the amount stays about the same, but there are two main characters instead of one. When the kids get older, their stories fit into the mechanics of a role playing game and the secondary figures are termed "Non-Player Characters" .

Merchandising Logic: When a Disney executive puts money down to make a play with action figures, it's not to sell just one either. It's hopefully a lot more than ten. The best way to sell lots of action figures of any given Play Set is to allow kids to incorporate a bunch of the avatars all at one time. You may only fit two physical figures on the Disney Infinity Base, you may only have four player characters online together at one time, but you could still have lots of NPCs. Otherwise, you're likely to have folks just collecting Play Sets and Power Discs. They might purchase an occasional favorite outside of the pair that comes with each Play Set, but that may be about it. Having Toy Box unlockables that are specific to certain characters helps, but it's not the same thing. Kids (of all ages) will relate to a handful of these characters and will tend to use the same figures again and again. But if you allow NPCs, then they still get to "play out" their favorite, and use the others to improve the story.

Storytelling Logic: the Disney Infinity platform is going to offer an excellent tribute to gaming. But to what extent will it also offer a tribute to storytelling, to actually mimic how kids play with action figures? Most of the time, there's just one kid playing. How do you tell a story with one character? You're in for a lot of monologuing, even for Syndrome

Gaming Logic: the logic system for Disney Infinity looks really great. It looks simple and powerful, exactly what you'd want in a programming tool appealing to a wide age range. The sprites, the physics, the collision detection, etc. are all wrapped up into any given item. It boils everything down to the simple formula of object A interacts with object B to produce output X. It actually resembles the basic mechanics of the classic text adventure game. No gaming discussion would be complete without a Zork reference . Before the advent of personal computer graphics, gaming was all in text and these adventures were most certainly about telling stories. Each turn your character could move to a new location or interact with one or more objects. NPCs were a big part of the game, and really weren't programmed much differently than an inanimate object. It just took more gaming logic to simulate a person. With arcade-style gaming, it would probably be a tricky business to program some NPC villain's movements and attacks in some finale of a platformer level (although I hope this is still an option). A simple way to incorporate NPCs into Disney Infinity gaming would be with "conversation". The YouTube videos on the Play Set gameplay shows exactly what one would hope for in traditional quests - the player character approaches the NPC (denoted by the floating question mark), presses the button to talk, and a 2D cutout appears on the bottom of the screen with a text bubble. After a quest is completed, the player character can return and claim some reward for the trouble (and in many cases, the reward is another quest). Each Disney Infinity figure could unlock its own NPC. The floating question mark and associated 2D cutout could be included. Typing out the actual text might get a little tedious with a game controller, but the results would be worth it. Kids would really enjoy designing their own quest games. And the number of different NPCs that you can include in any given game is only limited by your imagination and the number of figures registered under your player account (or, in the case of co-op design, perhaps the total number of figures registered under all the player accounts).
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