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Old 04-15-2013, 08:19 PM   #46
goofyspaceranger
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Logical Puzzles
There were some early "reviews" of Disney Infinity wondering if Disney really could pull off a logic system for a 3D gaming environment that would actually be usable by a kid in elementary school. The YouTube previews now being released for the Toy Box reveal that yes, they could, and did . Since the last post took an odd tangent into the classic storytelling of text adventures, let's compare and contrast a few points (aside from the obviously amazing graphics). In an old text adventure, there was typically one and only one instance of any item. Often a requested action resulted in one or more of the following outputs:
- Find a new item (add)
- Transform one item into another (change)
- Lose an existing item (delete)
- Issue a message (describe)
Implementation was simple because all of the items were pre-initialized at the start of the game. An "add" could simply be an item taken out of some void location and placed into the player-character's spot. A "delete" could send an item to the void, and a "change" merely swapped one item in and the other out.

With Disney Infinity, in most cases, messages are completely unnecessary, since you can see & hear what has occurred (possible exception previously noted: NPC conversations). The item manipulation however is going to be really interesting. With Disney Infinity, there can be lots of instances of the same item (e.g. four ESPN goals for a 4-player soccer game). Mostly that's a great thing. Sometimes that's a tricky thing. Can the outcome of object interaction create a new instance of an item? Can multiple instances be dynamically created? Can a change be applicable to ANY or ALL instances of a given item, rather than a specific one? Can an instance of an item be dynamically removed? These aren't questions about the process of Toy Box editing, but rather the outputs of a Toy Box game that is subsequently played. Would everything reset when the game was done? One of the trickier outputs, ironically, may be the dynamic creation of an item. What if the game designer wanted to program all kinds of interactions on a given item instance, yet didn't want that instance to exist at the start of the game? You might have a magic portal that appears at the end of a puzzle or an NPC that appears in a puff of smoke. There are these pixie dust animations of objects appearing out of nowhere in some of the trailers - can they be programmed into a Toy Box game? It's somewhat of a Chicken & the Egg problem. Perhaps, like in old text adventures, there will be an option to "hide the egg", after all the interactions have been coded into it, then have it "appear" at the appropriate time?

Open Source Treasure Maps
Although this may be completely unnecessary regarding functionality, is anyone else wondering if all of these 3D GUI-driven Toy Box alterations could boil down into crisp programming scripts, where each type of item is its own object-oriented class, with its own corresponding set of methods? In the interest of education, it would be another way to show computer programming fundamentals. In the interest of sharing game design ideas, in some cases a concise script might be easier to explain concepts and possibilities. That wouldn't imply folks would opt for typing a bunch of script with a game controller but it could be useful for viewing, making minor adjustments, and be a viable alternative on the PC. Just wondering.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:27 AM   #47
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Why Schools Need Game Design Clubs
Have you ever watched any TED videos (the "Ideas worth spreading", not the feature film with the stuffed animal)? They comprise a wide variety of short informative videos on all kinds of topics. There are at least two in particular that are relevant to the topic of coding in schools.

<soap box on>
The first is by Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab: "Let's teach kids to code". With several examples of kids using MIT's Scratch software, he shows what kids are capable of creating and how games make it entertaining for them to do it. He makes the analogy of reading & writing, suggesting that the tech savvy kids today understand how to "read" technology yet not how to "write" it. They don't typically have the tools or the initiative to create technology, to innovate. And they should. He also points out that you don't need to grow up to be a professional computer programmer for coding to be useful. He mentions the value in collaboration, in creativity, and in design. Exactly.

Another TED talk is by Ken Robinson who says "schools kill creativity". Ironically he contrasts the emphasis of Math in school curriculums with that of Dance. And while it's certainly true that the Arts tend to suffer first from tightening school budgets, if you ask a Math teacher at any grade level, you'd still probably hear that there is too much standardized testing, too much "teaching to the test", and too little time for teaching fundamentals in sufficient depth, too little time for follow-on creative problem-solving. Rote learning is a problem that needs some problem-solving of its own.
<soap box off>

If coding was going to be introduced in a school, starting a club is a whole lot better than starting a class. First, a club sounds fun. Kids are more likely to actually dive in if something sounds fun. You don't need standardized testing. You don't need to convince some educational authority that the activity represents a core discipline vs. selling a product (when essentially, you actually are selling a product at the same time, just not in the form of textbooks like everyone else). Formal programming classes in languages like Java certainly have their place in high school to give kids a formal structure, but clubs can be started earlier, faster, and can produce a whole different set of outputs.

Incidentally, Disney Infinity has several advantages in being the product of choice for such a club. The characters are iconic. The collectibles are cool. The Toy Box editor has clean, simple controls that are usable at a very young age. But arguably the biggest advantage is the library of all the avatars and the supporting structures that it provides. Kids are less comfortable making a visual game when the resulting graphics don't look cool enough. The Toy Box has lots of building blocks to make lots of creativity possible, but a kid doesn't need to be a professional artist to create something that really does look professional.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:01 AM   #48
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3D Demographics
Consider three dimensions of marketing demographics for Disney: age, gender, and ethnicity. The brand excels at all three. Disney animations tell stories that apply to all kinds of age ranges, that increasingly include strong roles for girls and boys, and the variety of Disney princesses alone shows their interest to include all ethnic backgrounds. All three of these dimensions should help in promoting Disney Infinity with regard to the characters and the stories from which they originate. The other side of the coin is the gaming. How do demographics play into the creative possibilities of the Toy Box? Provided they keep making good choices in the Play Sets and the figures, the latter two dimensions are well covered. At the risk of grossly oversimplifying some complex marketing points, I think it will mostly be about the age.

Apparently early Toy Box testing has focused on the 6-12 year-old age range, and that makes perfect sense. That's likely to be the core group, and it's vital for the editor & logic system to work well for them. There may be a fair number of 30/40-somethings who tag along too: for moms & dads, even aunts & uncles, these 6-12 year-olds will provide a great excuse to spend time with the gaming. Some of the best toys and video games purchased "by the dads, for the kids" are as much for the dads in the first place . Grandparents may be part of the demographic too, especially if Friendship Circles are supported. Grandparents today did not have personal computers when they were kids. But there's probably no greater pull for them to become a little tech savvy than the chance to connect with their grandchildren, whether they live across the country or just across the street. Since it's a family-friendly game, with collectibles, it's possible that every member of a family (if not an extended family) will have at least one figure that is theirs. The kids of course would have many. Maybe some of the marketing could promote this - the new "family boardgame night", where you collectively design the game board, if not the games themselves.

Nintendo Typo?
Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that both the Wii and Wii U versions of Disney Infinity are advertised on the Nintendo site as supporting four players? How is that possible with only two figure spots on the base? Two bases? That would be awesome news if it's actually true (hopefully the second base could be sold separately from the traditional Starter Pack - ouch). Recall that there was an unexpected success when the Wii first came out, in that PS3 and Xbox 360 owners purchased the Wii system as a second console due to its unique experience. One could totally see a Toy Box game design happening on an Xbox 360, then being transferred to a Wii system through the Disney Infinity Cloud despite the weaker graphics capabilities, just to have four-player games. It could drive Wii U sales on its own for the HD variety. Imagine Toy Box-created Disney Infinity variants of Mario Kart, Super Mario Brothers, and Super Smash Bros, let alone Mario Party, all four-player. Worth repeating: that would be awesome news.

Teenage Toy Boxers
Returning to the demographic discussion, teenagers across the world will very likely determine whether Disney Infinity is a big success or a HUGE success. They are also likely to look at this gaming platform considerably differently than the rest of us. They may be too young to see the tribute in video gaming, and may be thinking that they are too old for Disney toys. And they are so connected. They have Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, ... the list goes on. They are accustomed to digital experiences being instantaneously shared. They will demand a Disney Infinity Cloud like no other age group. And of course they will want to play the games on their phones. They may occasionally go for the multi-player console game, they may even be convinced that it's cool to transform a console into a game design editor. Winning over teenagers will definitely entail the mobile support. The Disney Infinity Team hasn't released much information yet about the mobile side. I'm hoping there will be a free app off iTunes and Google Play that will essentially be a Disney Infinity app player, where the game files are separately downloaded off the Cloud. That way Disney can control the prerequisite Play Sets within any given game based on the player account. Friendship Circles could work for apps too. You maintain the big-TV screen for game designing via video game controllers, and keep the association of the collectible figures. Some of the interfacing designs might be different, and you might have some PC/Mac support to tether your phone for testing, but it would make for a good combo. Game Design Clubs could start up either way for teens, but they would be much cooler with a mobile element, especially when trying to extend these clubs past middle schools into high schools.

Magic Cabinet Aside
Briefly circling back to park showcasing and retro cabinets, with all the discussion of consoles and smartphones, one might ask the question of how retro arcade cabinets have relevance. Because they're timeless. Because a park investment needs to last. It needs to endure both physically and emotionally. For the wider audience, Disney Infinity can easily be promoted as a tribute to gaming and these arcade boxes are largely where it all started. They would be purposely retro, so they would never go obsolete. The quality of the graphics would be much better than an old arcade machine, and the games could change over time. Game design contests at home that are showcased at the parks become an attraction "by the kids, for the kids". There's also a polarizing element to MagicBand technology, and this would bring in a new element of fun to the tech. It would all be part of the immersion. It would all be part of the magic.
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Old 04-21-2013, 01:24 PM   #49
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Multiplayer Mixup
Ack. Misread the Nintendo description. It was referring to the 4-player co-op, which is cool in its own right, but a local 4-player option for Wii or Wii U would have been cool too. That may seem strange coming from this little brainstorming blog, given the emphasis on clouds, leaderboards, wiki worlds, friendship circles, and user-generated content. But collaboration tech is largely created out of necessity. Whether it's gaming entertainment or "real-world" work, it's about connecting those who would otherwise feel disconnected. You can never completely replace the "face-to-face" experience. That's a big part of Nintendo's success; they focus on that experience. Plus they have a set of iconic family-friendly characters of their own. When you actually have four players in the same room enjoying the experience together, it's multiplicatively more fun. Disney will be competing against the platform that has enjoyed that for years. The Wii might not be able to handle that much processing anyway - but the Wii U might. Maybe next release

Landmark Decision
The big question still remains - how will user registration work? Will there be just one user account per Disney Infinity Base, or might there be many, where each Player Account is tied to one or more Disney Infinity Figures? The latter would drive action figure sales, user-generated content, leaderboards, the works. It would facilitate clubs, camps, and mobile apps. But there would be one small catch. If a particular toy's memory, an action figure's progress, is completely independent of what Disney Infinity Base it plays on (and whatever Landmark piece is available for that base), then it would be possible to circumvent the separate purchase of a Play Set. For example, Bobby purchases the Mater action figure and brings him over to a friend's house. His friend Jake has the Cars Play Set, complete with Landmark token. Bobby unlocks everything possible for Mater on his Player Account. Bobby returns home, and without ever purchasing the Cars Play Set, can use Mater in his Toy Box with all the associated unlockables.

Personally, I must admit that the Landmark pieces have always seemed extraneous. It makes perfect sense for the toys of a given Play Set to stick to that Play Set for themed quests and unlocking Toy Box tools. But why couldn't any separately purchased figure just go to the respective Play Set? It's a fun gimmick to denote the mode of the Disney Infinity session, but the vast majority of the time spent on Disney Infinity will be in the Toy Box anyway. That said, the price of a Play Set is roughly the cost of the two toys that come with it, and at least one is a main character. How many Cars fans would go without Lightning McQueen? So it's a minor trade-off. Figure-based Player Accounts would be better received, and would arguably make Disney a lot more money. The "landmark decision" probably needs to be made very soon. Hopefully it's in favor of the players
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:10 PM   #50
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When A Game Lacks Depth (On Purpose)
Quick review of an earlier post: 2D unlockables would be great for designing illustrated stories, perhaps even endless quest stories. This would promote more storytelling, and the more figures and Play Sets you collected, the larger the variety of items you'd have to tell the story. What if the 2D unlockables could also be used for making traditional video games? Remember the popularity of "Paper Mario" when it came out for the Gamecube? After all the ongoing emphasis on high-performance, 3D-rendered video games, it presented a fresh style in 2D, a turn-based RPG no less, that was extremely popular. The Wii sequel was very popular too. What if a Toy Box world could be chosen up-front to be 2D or 3D, whether or not you were telling a story, designing a video game, or both? As you designed portals to move a character into a different world, that character could morph back and forth between two and three dimensions according to the world he or she was entering. These "paper-like" 2D characters, structures, & props, could have their own set of physics built into them, unique to the 2D worlds. Anticipating mobile support, some apps might have a better look and feel with 2D, given the smaller real estate of a smartphone's screen. This would ironically add more depth (!) at least, to the collective, creative, anything-goes nature of game design in Disney Infinity. They could actually follow through on that Facebook April Fool's joke: "Disney Infinity supports Paper"

"I've Got No Strings..."
On the flip side, (and simpler in the short term), imagine how these 3D avatars might be used to design endless quest stories. They could be treated like puppets. There could be an option to hide health meters and a separate button to cause a toy to collapse. The players could agree ahead of time how each scene is going to go and act it out. There could be a recording button to toggle on and off. Multiple camera angles could be used (perhaps even after the scene was "recorded"). The Disney Infinity Base already allows you to pop the figures in and out on the fly. A variety of scenes could be pieced together to form a storyline that involved lots of different characters. The movie could be seamless, and ported to YouTube, or quest questions could connect them together, determining which scene went next. If the designer used that "mad lib" approach to characters & props, he or she could be the next contest winner to a virtual refurb at a corresponding Endless Quest Adventure at Epcot .

Portal Possibilities
On a side-note, for "Once Upon A Time" fans, perhaps this TV series mash-up could get some nods of its own in Disney Infinity. There appears to be a need for portals. Whether it's to simply jump between separate worlds to explore, to connect a series of games, or to advance to subsequent levels of a single game, the player-characters will need a visual means to move from point A to point B. What about beanstalks, magic wells, whirlpools, or the Mad Hatter's Hat? And while they're at it (side-note to the side-note ), what about a purple smoke animation? If some logic gizmo can be used to cause an object to appear or disappear, that sparkling pixie dust would be great for the good magic... how about some purple smoke for the curses?
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:13 AM   #51
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Brainstorm Brewing
Some brainstorms begin as a slow, drizzly rain. Others are torrential downpours. And some come with a thunderclap or two. Yesterday it struck me. Not sure why it took this long. There's a certain Disney character that would be perfect to symbolize Disney Infinity showcasing at the parks. It wouldn't be a mouse, or a space ranger, or even a pair of gadget-building boys. It would be a dragon. Not a red dragon. A purple one. Unlike his Skylanders counterpart, he has no breath weapon, as he is not restricted to a single platformer. He only has and only needs his imagination! Figment. He's perfect. He could be the one and only toy of Disney Infinity that belongs to no Play Set. He would live in the Toy Box. He might come with readily-available "unlockables", and he might not. He wouldn't need them. Park enthusiasts wouldn't care. He would fly off the shelves.

A brainstorm needs to come to Epcot, specifically, to "Journey Into Imagination with Figment". Its refurb is overdue anyway. Bring back the Dreamfinder. Bring back his crazy contraption and his timeless tune. It's time to catch some Disney Infinity dreams amidst a brainstorm. How do you create something in a 5 minute ride you may ask. You probably couldn't design much of a game, true, or even an endless quest story. But you could design a really cool postcard. Consider your favorite Omnimovers - the ones from Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Toy Story Midway Mania!, the Doom Buggies from the Haunted Mansion, and the newer ones in Spaceship Earth. They're the interactive ones. There needs to be more interaction at Figment's attraction - guests don't get to use their imagination that much (yet). If they can put Disney Infinity into a mobile device, and they can put a kiosk onto an Omnimover, then it follows that they can put Disney Infinity on a 2-person Omnimover. Make the back of the vehicle a green screen, and take the guests' picture at the beginning of the ride instead of the end. Use MagicBands to include their names. Guests choose their avatars. As they're dreamily journeying along, they look over to the side where widescreen "sky walls" depict their chosen avatars in virtual Omnimovers journeying alongside them. Figment flies about (and sometimes "into" the kiosk) as the Dreamweaver pulls in unlockables for the postcard design according to the avatars' Play Sets. When the ride is done, they have a great photo souvenir. If they want a re-do, they go enjoy the ride again . And with the return of the Dreamfinder, maybe he could be added to Disney Infinity as well (perhaps there could be two Toy Box only characters - it would be fun to design games with both of them).

Incidentally, has everyone seen the Disney Attractions+ option that was added to the PhotoPass system last year? It's essentially one flat price for all of the fun photos you get from the thrill rides throughout the parks (I've been waiting for them to do that for years). Figment's journey might not be an E-ticket attraction, but Disney Infinity family photos would fit right in here. And DisneyPhotoPass.com does have a mobile site . You could design your postcard, download it to your phone, and either email or post it online.

Imagine how Epcot could be transformed by Disney Infinity. Recap:
- Disney Infinity Imagineers Academy for game design, hosted by Phineas & Ferb
- Wilderness Explorer's Choose Your Own Adventure for storytelling, hosted by Russell
- Figment's Brainstorm for card design, hosted by Figment & the Dreamfinder
- Magic Cabinet showcasing at Innoventions, with themed cabinets by Soarin' (hang glider racing), Test Track (Tron classics), China Pavilion (Mahjong), & Mission: Space (Mars Lander)
- Sum Of All Thrills "refurb" with Disney Infinity Play Set theming, perhaps Infinity Cloud log-in & contest-winner coaster options

There's a brainstorm of infinite possibilities brewing, and I don't think it's a figment of my imagination!
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:40 AM   #52
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Jedi Training Not Just For Young Padawans Anymore?
With the discussion of Star Wars Lands from WDW surveys, it's somewhat surprising that there are no recent references to an old rumor of expanding the Jedi Training Academy from the closed "Sounds Dangerous" attraction. Admittedly, I only found it recently myself. Bringing this academy indoors would allow for better light & sound controls, and the rumor includes an animatronic, lightsaber-wielding Yoda (!) If the attraction is meant to include adults as well, Yoda could be heard mumbling, "He is too old. Yes, too old to begin the training." The big question is - how do you train a relatively large group of park guests to swing around a glowing stick, indoors? What if that question was turned around and became part of the attraction? What if the Jedi Council has need to accelerate Padawan training due to some new threat from the Sith and are discussing with Yoda how to go about this? They could even give the attraction's location a nod and say "Sounds dangerous" along with the never-gets-old tag line of "I've got a bad feeling about this" . They could resolve to use a simulation tool developed by the Rebel Alliance, retrofit for Jedi training (removing crude weapons such as blasters). To Yoda's initial consternation, he could discover that the program is a collection of virtual toys, to emphasize its safety protocols. The program of course is named "Disney Infinity". Can you imagine an animatronic Yoda using the phrase "To Infinity & Beyond"? Now take the earlier post in this blog regarding DisneyQuest's saber simulation, refurbed with Oculus Rift goggles and wireless lightsaber wiimote-like controls, and place them here (dream up something different for DisneyQuest of course). As with the Stitch's Greater Escape!! post, determine how many guests you can have linked together in each group. As with the double-agent angle there, you might even allow for guests to turn over to the dark side with the attraction. You could also have the simulation world redesigned as a contest for Disney Infinity, and mention this with the attraction itself: "Designed by the Padawans for the Padawans". Post results on MyMagic+ Leaderboards. It could be a fully immersive Star Wars experience. It would promote Disney Infinity while providing a unique experience to enjoy at the parks.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:14 AM   #53
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Disney Infinity Racing in Cars Land
With the success of Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure, many are certainly hoping to see it arrive at Hollywood Studios. For both locations, as noted in an earlier post, it would be great to see some sit-down racer cabinets for 4-player-or-more synched Cars racing games. Having a steering wheel, optional stick shift, and pedals, would bring more retro arcade feel while making it a different experience from playing the Cars Play Set at home. Track design is likely to be one of the more intuitive creative aspects to Disney Infinity, so all of the virtual race tracks could be contest-winning designs by kids. There could be the option for traditional racing as well as the armed-spy-car battle racing. Guest racers could choose whichever car they wanted, but without Play Set crossover - Cars Land has such great theming, you want the video gaming to fit in too. This virtual racer souvenir shop combo could feature all of those Cars figures along with the regular assortment of T-shirts, pins, and actual toy cars with moving wheels .

Magic of 3D Disney Animation
The Magic of Disney Animation focuses on the wonderful history of Disney's 2D animation. But what about Pixar? Why isn't there a short film documentary on how 3D technology changed the nature of animation, while still focusing on the story (ever see The Pixar Story)? What if there was even a 3D modeling class? The 2D drawing class is a lot of fun. And of course there are time constraints. But it would fit so well with this area of this park. As Disney animation is officially moving away from 2D, perhaps this area of the park could get a corresponding refurb. There are so many, young & old, who love all the Pixar films for the fantastic visuals that accompany the great stories, yet have NO IDEA on the fundamentals of 3D graphics. If they did, they would marvel more. This isn't a Disney Infinity idea per se, but it would be fun to see there. And it would be fun to see the making of Disney Infinity as well, with the inclusion of the inspiring kid videos.

Hollywood Studios Recap:
- Cars Land with Disney Infinity racing
- Muppet Vision 3D refurb, with muppets wearing VR goggles & Disney Infinity avatars in a Bunsen & Beaker tech accident
- Jedi Training Academy expansion, with actual VR goggles and VR lightsaber dueling after animatronic Yoda show
- Souvenir shop gaming for Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania!, & Muppet Vision 3D
- Sorcerers of Disney Infinity - both an arcade game & collectible card game, with park-exclusive Sorcerer Mickey figure & Yen Sid hat Power Discs
- Magic of Disney Animation inclusion of 3D

While Epcot would be the center of Disney Infinity immersion in the parks, there are great ways for Hollywood Studios to include it too. Only Disney amusement parks could attempt something like this. Disney Infinity provides a unique tech-related entertainment opportunity, where the attractions and the merchandising complement each other, and kids are credited with providing much of the content.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:06 PM   #54
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Would You Hit A Jedi With Glasses?
The leap from a game design session or a retro arcade cabinet to a VR goggles attraction is a big one, especially when the queue is so long . Oculus Rift goggles would clearly be lighter and less cumbersome than the VR equipment currently used at DisneyQuest, but they would still take some time to put on. Whether you're receiving instruction from a Jedi Master or witnessing an alien escape attempt, how do you transition from the animatronic "pre-show" to the VR game without delay? Obviously you don't. But if the setting of the VR gaming is sealed off from the pre-show, maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe if you're led to one of several VR rooms which are subsequently closed off, then the next wave of park guests can begin the next pre-show. If the assisting cast members are dressed like Jedi (or Galactic Federation representatives in the case of Stitch), the preparation would become part of the attraction. You wouldn't want to use an Omnimover on a VR attraction; it's typically built for a pair and you're likely to bonk goggles, lightsaber-motes, or blasters before you're through. More importantly, you don't need to move in a VR attraction. That's done virtually anyway. That's part of what would make this kind of attraction cool, and it would also make good use of actual space in designing multiple VR rooms to the one pre-show. When the game is over, you would take off your goggles, the exit doors would open on the opposite side, and you would walk out. Realistically, you probably wouldn't get queues to move as quickly as those of Star Tours for example, but the time could be manageable. And it would be worthwhile to have such a completely different "dark-ride" attraction. Side-note: the Oculus Rift goggles are reported to fit around most glasses.

Avoiding Obsolete Tech: Unique Away From It
On the flip side, should VR equipment eventually become mainstream, there could be the concern that the investment of VR park attractions would be wasted as the novelty wore off. However there's something to be said for the immersion qualities of an animatronic, lights & sounds, MagicBand identification of name, resort home, & score, with costumed cast members, and enjoying the whole experience in a large group. Plus, if computing power behind the attractions was "refurbed" to handle it, the size of the group acting together in a given world instance of Disney Infinity could be a big differentiator as well. Even if there would eventually be VR goggles and a Disney Infinity system in every home (and really, would that be considered bad news?), these park attractions would still be unique and would still be a lot of fun.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:32 PM   #55
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Nickels & Dimes
Has anyone seen the paperback "Disney Infinity: Infinite Possibilities" advertised for pre-order at Barnes & Noble and Amazon? I am so confused. Here we've seen hints of in-game "Mastery" tutorials for various aspects of game design. That's fun. The Disney Infinity Team has promoted the value of each and every collectible figure, whether it's gameplay, different Toy Box unlockables, or both. That's fun. Power Discs are to be purchased "blind" and are meant for trading. That's fun. This entire product line is being promoted as a platform of play, with a logic system simple enough for kids to design their own games. There's great potential for both gaming & learning here, and to expand on the Disney Infinity universe with whatever Play Sets and corresponding figures that the Disney Infinity team decides. There's the possibility of bringing this entirely new entertainment element to all of the Disney parks and have these two divisions of the company complement each other. There's already at least one fan site built online, ready to post all kinds of design ideas and walkthroughs. They'll probably post a YouTube Play Set walkthrough for every single figure, and detailed instructions in constructing every category of game. Meanwhile, "official instructions are sold separately". In paperback. Not an ebook option, not even a PDF? What about staged Play Set delivery? Will this hardcopy instruction manual be obsolete in a month? The book's price has already dropped to be under $4. It's less than a packet of Power Discs. It's understood that it's optional. But still, why risk that damage in perception? Disney Infinity may see hundreds of thousands of families spend a couple hundred dollars apiece on this platform by Christmas this year alone. And arguably the ultimate success of this entire endeavor relies on user-generated content. In the business of software, the programmers are always the most expensive piece of the equation. This platform provides an actual learning experience for kids, that's fun, which will produce content, for free! Why wouldn't they want to facilitate that in any way possible? Why wouldn't all supplementary gaming ideas be posted online, on a website, in an ebook, in a supplementary app, wherever, for free?

The Software Pirate and the Bashful Dwarf
A pirate sits upon a hill, gazing upon a small treasure chest. At the base of this hill, a finely crafted portal has been constructed, with a set of bright red rails winding around the hill and through the portal, descending down into the darkness like some dimly lit roller coaster. In fact there are carts here, and some children have already climbed in to enjoy this E-ticket attraction. But some have not. Some think they're too old to enjoy this ride. Others have been told by their parents that the ride is not worth the time & money. Neither perception is reality, but no one has told them any different. The pirate seems to take no notice, still focused on his small treasure chest. He's actually not a pirate at all. He merely holds that perception to some. He owns all of these lands, and has sold tools to the children and has promised them great rewards, to those who create some special treasure for him using the raw materials to which he's granted them access. The pirate seems mollified, for this small treasure chest in his hands already presents more gains than he has seen from this section of his land in a long time. A Dwarf has wandered by, his interest piqued by the look of the rails, by the infinite possibilities that he imagines past the open portal. He is Happy for the children to get this chance to begin to learn this trade, so early, and in such a fun way. He is Grumpy and Sad for the children who might not get the chance, for his name changes with his mood (he is not Sneezy for this treasure trove is nothing to sneeze at). He wonders however who else understands where the greatest treasures can be found. The Bashful Dwarf looks up to the pirate and respectfully asks, "Captain, don't you know that you're sitting on a gold mine?"
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:22 PM   #56
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May The Fourth Be With You
That phrase never gets old. Despite several Star Wars ideas posted in this blog already, today warrants another (or at least, a slight variant). With regard to Star Tours (as well as Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Toy Story Midway Mania! for that matter), there's a possible snag in introducing a Disney Infinity Arcade Game in a nearby Souvenir Shop: what if it's too similar to the original attraction? With Star Tours at least, the attraction is not a shooter, and the spacecraft has a lot of seats. Considering the idea of racer cabinets for Cars Land, a similar overall cabinet structure could be used for Star Wars dogfighting. The cabinets could similarly be linked together in sets of four or more. Each player could choose their pilot and their ship. The cabinets could support synched co-op play as well as a free-for-all combat. The cabinets would have a flight sim joystick rather than a wheel of course, providing a similar retro feel that would be unique for the parks. Plus there's the opportunity to try out "Mouse Geared" Mickey & friends to promote more park exclusive purchases. There's a lot of excitement behind the rumors of a larger Star Wars footprint in Hollywood Studios. These dogfighter cabinets could help with that immersion. And like all the other cabinet variations, there's the option of distributing them to all of the resort arcades, and DisneyQuest too. Earlier posts had proposed showcasing the seemingly-inevitable Star Wars Play Set at DisneyQuest. Second thought: it fits even better at Hollywood Studios. Will it really happen? "Difficult to see, always in motion is the future"
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #57
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Wow...4 pages, mostly from the same person. It's like one giant blog post...
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:00 PM   #58
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Quote:
Wow...4 pages, mostly from the same person. It's like one giant blog post...
Exactly. Not my original intention of course, but it's fun. I have a lot of ideas. Somebody keeps reading them anyway. Hopefully not 7,000+ separate people clicking on the first page then saying, "Ack, that's not a real rumor". But in all fairness, that was made clear in my very first post which can be seen with a mouseover without clicking
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:45 PM   #59
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Toon Hero
For those following GeekDad's YouTube reports on Disney Infinity, who has happened to see the recent review of the Toon Hero iPad app? This is very similar to what I suggested back in early February regarding Cutscenes and pop-up books (and later YouTube movies, "Paper-style" arcade games, and photo souvenir backgrounds designed off an Omnimover - which would not be nearly as crazy as it sounds). Kids would love this. Parents would love this. It's creative. It could encourage reading & writing. Or, like Toon Hero, it could support voice-overs (or both). Within Disney Infinity, your backgrounds & props would be unlocked from Play Sets and your characters from your figures. Disclaimer: no affiliation with Toon Hero's "Trigger Happy" company either. It just makes sense. The more functionality that a figure unlocks, the more value can be seen in each purchase. And if the platform is open, the possibilities are truly infinite!

Toon Sidekick
Similar title, very different topic: the sidekick. If you've ever witnessed a gamer vs. gamer competition for any given video game, it can be intense, and rather entertaining. If you've ever witnessed a non-gamer vs. non-gamer competition, it can also be entertaining accompanied by hilarious laughter by said players. If you've ever witnessed a gamer vs. non-gamer competition, the results are not usually pretty. Possibilities include:
- Non-gamer is completely beaten and can be rather dejected
- Gamer fakes a draw or defeat, non-gamer realizes this, and still feels dejected
- Gamer fakes a draw or defeat, non-gamer is none the wiser, gamer has mixed emotions
- Non-gamer actually wins. Gamer considers whether particular game is too random, or re-evaluates "non-gamer" status

Enter the co-op game. This is what makes the Lego video games so great. It's not just the Lego versions of the famous film characters & settings. It's not just the funny way how the Legos fall apart and re-assemble automatically. It's the co-op. There's no pressure. A gamer can enjoy a game with a non-gamer very easily. They're friends. They want to enjoy the experience together. It widens the gaming demographic. This is part of what make "New" Super Mario Brothers for the Wii one of the best Nintendo offerings out there (and I'm sure the same can be said of the newer Wii U version). Disney Infinity is clearly tapping into this co-op idea with regard to world creation - but will its game design system enable co-op games to be developed?

Toon Villain
Another similar title, another different topic: the game villain, the boss (and for that matter, the minions, too). The demos on "free play" within Disney Infinity look very cool. It's a short hop to a 2-player, or even 3-player or 4-player competition, whether it's a traditional Cars race, kart race, obstacle course, sword fight, or multi-goal game of soccer. There are no NPCs. The "creative movements", the "creative actions" are all done by players. Before one can consider designing a 2-player co-op game, how is Disney Infinity's logic system going to work with a single-player game? How will NPC minions & bosses react? Will there be built-in movement guides based on the surrounding terrain? Would the actions be different for different characters? Circling back to the nature of "Toon Hero", could the game designer trace the triggered movements of any given NPC? Might there be priorities of reactions when different triggers conflict? Side-note: it's great to see Randy Boggs added to the list of Monsters figures. Every Play Set, at a minimum, should include a Hero, a Sidekick, a Princess, and a Villain. "Princess" is not mutually exclusive with any of the three other titles, and could serve as a "Queen" in a Play Set card suit, as previously posted. But every Play Set needs a villain, especially for anything-goes mashups like Party/Boardgames, Kart racing, Multi-player battling, etc. Sometimes kids like to play with the toys with the "black hats" instead of those with the "white hats", just for the contrast. Every hero needs a nemesis.

Random Thoughts
Within the Disney Infinity Toy Box, hopefully there's a randomizer tool. Elements of randomness are often the deciding factor in edging out another player in the high score of a one-player game. Should a minion's movement upon hitting some barrier be random in turning left, right, backwards, or even up or down? How about the movement of some prop? As an ongoing game timer ticks down, should a random Play Set boost appear in one of a dozen different places at some specific (or random) interval of seconds? In the case of a multi-player game, could that Play Set boost automatically be chosen among the Play Sets represented by those players, and in rare cases, be a wild-card Infinity boost? Hopefully a given trigger can be used for a combination of game actions, and combined with a game timer there could be a complex pattern that seems random. But if kids are going to be truly able to design one-player games to be showcased at the parks, they need a little randomness - kids' fun should always include a little chaos .
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:06 PM   #60
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Making Infinity Epic
No, this is not another post on social media, the teenage demographic, and the explosive impact of a Disney Infinity Cloud - that's been sufficiently covered in earlier posts, at least for now (except for a quick side-note that a certain Omnimover proposal could mention said cloud while a certain purple dragon flies through a brainstorm, just for fun ). This post is a Play Set request for Epic Mickey. It's not for the magic paintbrush, although that might be an interesting visual substitute for the Toy Box's magic wand, and it would be very interesting to see if the anything-goes creation & destruction of objects would work inside of a structured game. The request is mostly because of the story. Whatever gameplay issues there may be with the camera, we need to give Warren Spector credit for creating some great visuals and telling a great video game story. Plus, he incorporated Oswald, who comes with a story of his own, a great tribute to Walt Disney's perseverance and the backstory of Mickey Mouse. The sequel to Epic Mickey didn't quite pan out. Another go via Disney Infinity would be excellent, because it's a platform and the gameplay mechanics (including the camera) have already been worked out. The Shadow Blot presents a great villain, and both the Beetleworx and the Slobbers would make good minions. Ortensia the cat would be Oswald's princess, and Gremlin Gus could be the Sidekick. Mickey would not be included; although he's the main character of the Epic Mickey game (and responsible for much of the conflict), he was a visitor to this world (just as he could theoretically be a visitor to any Disney Infinity Play Set). Play Set questing would be with these other characters. The Wasteland would lend itself well to park immersion, as it is purported to be the creation of sorcerer Yen Sid, and depicts a lot of park locations in a bizarre style; with this Play Set you could unlock variants of these locations almost like a "hardened" Power Disc skin. You could create a Toy Box world with "mirror" structures of both styles. In Epic Mickey's storyline the Mad Doctor has created a bunch of semi-functional animatronics of Mickey's friends. That could be one of the best features of this Play Set. If the Disney Infinity Team would entertain figure variations like Topiaries and 2D Toons, what about Animatronics? What if the Wasteland Play Set unlocked a Mad Doctor gadget to create a Wasteland-style Animatronic of any owned figure in the Toy Box? That would be fun. One of the better Tower of Defense games out there is PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies. What if Disney Infinity offered Topiaries vs. 'Tronics (or if you prefer, Steampunks vs. Eco-Friendlies)? What if players wanted to actually "gear up" either way, maybe in a 2v2 game? What if they played animatronics in some gear-themed puzzle game? What if kids wanted to use the animatronics to tell a story like Kingdom Keepers? Animatronic versions of Disney Infinity figures could open up a lot of fun possibilities, both for games and for stories.
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