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Old 05-11-2013, 04:26 AM   #61
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Geri's Game
Disney Infinity Chess? Check . If the Disney Infinity Team will entertain a set of ready-made games to be thrown into the Toy Box, and if they agree that different sets of gear for these figures would provide a certain extra "visual value", then the game of chess should make the short list. Just like a deck of virtual cards, each Play Set could be used for a "side" or "color" of chess pieces. Disney has actually done this multiple times before with physical chess sets: heroes & villains, Mickey & friends, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Fantasia. In most of these, they don't have towers for the rooks or even crowns for the king & queen, but hopefully they'd entertain this for Disney Infinity. That doesn't mean folks would want a mitre or a cross with the bishop pieces - it's probably best to stay away from religious preferences there. If you have a tower for the rooks, a steed for the knights, crowns for the king & queen, and an abstract sculpture for the pawns, then the remaining two pieces would be understood to be the bishops. The pawn could have the Play Set icon on a short pedestal. The rook wouldn't need a figure either; it could just be a tower. It would look cool to have a scepter for the queen to highlight the Play Set icon further, and perhaps an orb for the king (that would look strikingly similar to a Play Set themed bowling ball ). Each set could have its own color scheme to help distinguish sides. You could have red with yellow highlights for the Incredibles, black with silver highlights for the Pirates, blue & green for Monsters, etc. Like the physical Disney chess sets, the same character could be used for the pair of knights and another for the pair of bishops. This would still encourage the collection of multiple figures - they would likely include the same playing card suit characters used for king, queen, & jack (the latter probably for the knight), plus one more for the bishop. Wikipedia lists all sorts of chess variants, including a few "solitaire" single-player chess games, like Queen's Quadrille and Hippodrome. There's 3D chess, including the one made up in the original Star Trek series. Kids might be allowed to design their own chess boards & starting positions for the pieces in an Infinity level-builder. The pieces might move in traditional fashion, or they might have their own attack moves like the chess set in the original Harry Potter movie. Although computerized chess typically provides a nice tutorial feature of highlighting possible moves for a selected piece, aside from the gear and perhaps a tiled board, the only real need for a "ready-made" chess game in Disney Infinity is the ability to play the computer in a traditional game. That's where the platform could have a fun perk: we'd get to play Geri. He wouldn't necessarily need to be a collectible figure (or maybe he would, "unlocking" the chess AI). Either way, this great character from the classic, award-winning Pixar Short could be "the computer opponent" in Disney Infinity Chess. Whether it would be a full-blown animation of Geri picking up the various pieces and moving them across the board, or as simple as a picture of his face with all kinds of facial expressions as the game progressed, that would be fun (and this time, he can keep his teeth).
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:10 AM   #62
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The Compatibility Conundrum
Among all of the requests in this blog for enhancements that would need to wait until Disney Infinity's second release, this one trumps them all: compatibility. If there's anything worse than imagining a cloudless sky over the Software Pirate's hilltop, it's envisioning a set of shiny new rails that wouldn't allow kids to ride with their original carts and their original creations. The Disney Infinity Team can completely redesign the Toy Box GUI, they can re-render all of the avatars, they can overhaul their entire hosting website, but hopefully they would leave the format of the game files intact. These game files are going to contain kids' code. This code will be like Java bytecodes for the virtual machine that is the Toy Box. Consider what it's like to deal with incompatible features in the software industry, then imagine that happening to an elementary school kid, or a teenager, or worse, his or her parents . They could have spent weeks, even months on this awesome Toy Box creation, and now it's unusable with the newest release. It wouldn't matter if it's as simple as a postcard. It's awesome to them, because they made it. Now imagine that happening a million times. Understatement: that would be bad. The conundrum with compatibility is that in order for it to work, you usually need to plan for it in the prior release. A file migration tool might mitigate some of the angst, but it's far better for the files to be compatible in the first place. This second-release request is really a request for the first, and is probably already planned for, but it's vital, so I'll ask anyway, regarding current "kitchen sink" activity - please plan for compatibility.

Someone posted a compatibility request about seven hours ago on Infinity's Facebook page regarding the next generation of consoles. Granted, it was a console compatibility comment, but it boils down to the same thing. I've been scooped!
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:15 AM   #63
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Tron Streams
For anyone else who hadn't heard of Tron: Uprising until it had already been cancelled, it's now available on Netflix streaming. This is the best animated series since Avatar: The Last Airbender. The animation style is fantastic, with the storyline to back it up. It has a great cast for voiceovers and a cool soundtrack too. It has some edge to it; this is not Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse, but it's not meant to be. Maybe increased popularity via streaming could reboot the series . Regardless, this would make a great full-fledged Play Set. Disney Infinity teasers have included a Light Runner, a Recognizer, as well as Identity Discs for player-characters. Let's hope for something that's eventually more immersive. Maybe there could be a Tron skin, turning an entire Disney Infinity world into a kid's personalized Grid. Maybe there could be Mouse Gear or even a general-purpose Power Disc to gear up any Disney Infinity character as a Grid program. Instead of a busted toy animation, an avatar could have a de-res animation (although unlike the TV/movie storylines, it wouldn't be permanent - the avatar/program would just re-initialize). The multi-colored Light Cycles would make for great 2-4 player battle-racing games, with the Cars Play Set providing the means to customize the tracks. Combine this with the option for Disc battles and this would make for a great Magic Cabinet option for the parks. You could play as Beck, Tron, Mara, Zed, or alternately General Tesler, Paige or Pavel. These characters might not be as recognizable as Pixar movie characters, but they look great, would fit into the Disney Infinity universe well, and the Tron franchise overall is well known. Alternately, you could play as Mickey, Goofy, Minney, Donald, Chip, or Dale in full Tron gear. In addition to the souvenir shop by Test Track, a Tron cabinet would fit well at the Space Mountain arcade/souvenir shop (as well as the resorts & DisneyQuest).

Power Disc Prerequisites?
Whether it's avatar gear, world skins, or special vehicles, how might Power Discs work in game design? The "no rules" style of play works well with the add-or-remove style of the Power Discs. But what about a structured game? If someone wants to design a game for a certain look, require certain gear, or certain vehicles, can the Power Discs be programmed in as prerequisites? It would mean that these discs would need to be on the Infinity Base before the game could be played, and would cause the game to abort if the discs were removed. This would be very helpful. As much as kids will enjoy "no rules" for unstructured play in Disney Infinity, they'll probably want to be "in charge of the rules" for games they design (let alone the parents' games; parents just love rules ). Plus, it would provide another incentive for Power Disc collection.

Player Character Prerequisites?
Along that same Casey Jr. train of thought, could a Disney Infinity game require a certain character, or category of characters? What if a kid wants to design a swashbuckling game where only pirates are allowed, or a Tron game for only Tron characters (essentially a Toy Box creation that maintains a Play Set theme)? What if the game is designed for certain character attributes, like turning invisible (e.g. Randy Boggs or Violet Parr)? How might the game be programmed for those attributes? Will the Toy Box editor be able to optionally include the avatar in the object relationships, conditionally triggering actions based on the state of those attributes? This relates back to the similarities with old-style Text Adventures. It wasn't just the combination of certain items, but sometimes the state of those items, and who took the action. The attempt of "Put the box in the cloud" might fail with a default error message like "The box belongs to the pirate.", whereas the line "Ask the pirate to put the box in the cloud" just might succeed . With Disney Infinity however, it's not so much the abilities of the NPCs; it's the wide variety of player-character choices. Game design that accounts for characters' various strengths and weaknesses, as well categorizing characters by Play Set for some added variation, would make these Toy Box games more interesting. Games could be initially tailored for a specific character, and later updated to include more. Playing these tailored games could be more fun, as the player-character choice would make a noticeable difference. The Lego video games are always providing different side-quests that only certain characters can do. This would essentially aid the design of replay value. And just as Power Disc prerequisites would encourage Power Disc collection, Player Character prerequisites would encourage Disney Infinity figure collection .
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:38 PM   #64
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Free Education at Epcot Innoventions
Many days after the "Nickels & Dimes" post, I just realized that I failed to heed my own advice in my very first post in this blog . In an effort to remedy this sad hypocrisy, here's some further brainstorming for a Disney Infinity Imagineering Academy... the initial issue is the figure. It can be forgotten after the session is done. It can be stolen. It can certainly slow down the transition from one session to another. Since the idea of an actual figure was abandoned in earlier posts regarding Magic Cabinets, perhaps it should be abandoned for the academy as well. Just as Magic Cabinets would need a separate "front-end" interface for accepting tokens via MagicBands and choosing avatars for specific games, perhaps the academy could get a separate front-end interface as well. It could be a row of kiosks built into each table, or at least recessed monitors wired into separately locked consoles, with separately built in controls. From a theme perspective, after the Phineas & Ferb pre-show (see earlier append for lyrics ), walking into this lab there could be some giant-sized toy figures of the following characters: Phineas (of course), Ferb (glad he was spotted in earlier trailers by the way), Isabella (the "princess", maybe with a famous "Whatcha doin'?" in the pre-show), & Baljeet (rounding the set out to two on each side). These giant-sized figures would be set on mock base-lit stands as if the entire lab is wired for Disney Infinity creativity (which in fact, it would be). These would be the four choices of avatars, without need of actual figures. Candace would not be included in the list because she's always trying to bust her brothers for their crazy innovations, and there's opportunity for a funny ending to each session through the sound system as 10 & 5 minute warnings of "Phineas, what have you and all of your new friends been up to? You are SO BUSTED!" Then as the lights dim and the consoles reset with each ending, you hear Candace's Mom chastising her followed by a "B-B-B-But.."

Graduating from the Academy
The Disney Infinity Team's idea of "Mastery quests" in the Toy Box with regard to various gaming concepts is really cool; perhaps it would translate well into the academy's "curriculum". There could be schedules posted for the lab, perhaps alternating two concepts one day and covering two other concepts the next. Without having any knowledge of what these actually entail perhaps some variant could be accomplished in a 25-minute session? "You now hold a Disney Infinity Master's Degree in Logic". That would be fun. Different degrees could be made up specifically for Epcot too, that wouldn't be part of the actual game. Perhaps there could be specially made Imagineering Power Discs for each degree - they wouldn't need to be huge avatar boosts, but they could be stackable with the regular ones, and could add a medal or a graduation hat with a colored tassel to any of your avatars.

The Ultimate Toy Box
Some time slots could be reserved for open play, designed for kids who are already familiar with the Disney Infinity interface. As time goes on, more and more of the time slots could be used this way (or for more complex instruction). Whereas the Mastery exercises might emphasize a handful of Play Sets, the open play would feature the Ultimate Toy Box, where "everything" is unlocked (as far as staged Play Set delivery is concerned). Experienced Toy Boxers could experiment with the latest & greatest Play Set gadgets & gizmos. No Play Set quests, and no separate figures as with other Infinity elements throughout the parks, just Phineas & friends. The theming of the lab would stay the same, but the content in the Ultimate Toy Box would keep expanding.

The Playroom
Today I also realized a bad terminology blunder throughout this blog. "Cloud" refers to infrastructure. It doesn't fit the Disney Infinity naming conventions at all. They are selling Play Sets, action Figures, and a Toy Box. What I hope they additionally provide is a "Playroom". The Playroom would be where you have your Toy Box and play with all of your friends. There's even Circle Time . There are Game Shelves where you store your games. Ready-made games of Mahjong, Chess, and all kinds of card games could be available here, along with any kid-created games they want to share. This could be the name for Disney Infinity's social media. Accounts would be set up with unique emails, Infinity IDs & icons, and passwords. Privacy controls could be set up for outgoing & incoming content - exclusive (private), shared-with-friends (known email/IDs), and shared-with-everyone. Pending the "Landmark Decision", perhaps the academy would allow content to be saved when someone already has an account - and this Disney Infinity account could have been previously registered through the MagicBand before the academy session starts. Since the academy could use this separate front-end for efficiency anyway, why not utilize MagicBand info here to streamline it further? There would be the possibility that a group just uses the open play session to play ready-made games using Phineas & friends (especially with a Toy Box that's unlocked everything), but there's no real harm in that either. It's about open play.


Instructor's "Blackboard"
Ideally all of the machines in the lab would be wired together and centrally controlled. The instructor would be able to demonstrate on a large widescreen TV, either from his or her console, or switch over to demo from any console in the room. The instructor could also reset all of the machines for the next session (and ensure everyone's logged out of the Playroom too).

There's lots of ways to run a much less expensive pilot with "regular" Infinity Bases out of Epcot for early showcasing, but if I was signing up for a Disney Imagineering Academy, that's how I would imagine it.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:47 PM   #65
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Doofenshmirtz's Procrastinators!
Here's a fun way to incorporate that evil villain and his machinations into the Disney Infinity Imagineering Academy... instead of having a Magic Cabinet in the Disney Infinity souvenir shop at the exit of the lab, make multiple Magic Cabinets be part of the pre-show. Whether or not kids are actually playing this retro-style game (ahem, i.e. it does not need to be free), have Dr. Doofenshmirtz appear in the animated footage prior to the academy jingle. He wants to keep kids of all ages OUT of the academy. You never know when some collaborative, innovative activity like the academy might spark the self-discovery of some unknown genius, and he must maintain his status quo as the greatest (albeit-evil) genius in the entire Tri-State Area! "Oh, we're nowhere near the Tri-State Area? No matter"... his solution was to devise not one, not two, but half a dozen arcade machines which execute the most addictive, mind-numbing, attention-stealing game known to Disney Infinity! No kids will ever want to consider "problem-solving". That sounds too much like homework. Kids will delay for so long, they won't think to enter the academy at all. And he calls these machines, "The Procrastinators!" The scene cuts to Phineas with a short introductory dialogue, followed by the expected "Where's Perry?" line. Agent P is seen on the pre-show screen, then on each of the game consoles, unplugging electrical circuits "from the inside". After he ducks "underneath" from each one, each Magic Cabinet's screen fades to black, one after the other, with a corny power-down sound effect (if kids were actually playing at the time, their MagicBands are refunded the virtual token, perhaps with an extra token, with a special apologetic message from Major Monogram via MyMagic+). Smoke might even issue from the machines. "Curse you, Perry the Platypus!" is the Doofenshmirtz quote that leads into the academy jingle, as the doors open up to the academy session. A video game that leads into a session on video game design, a Doofenshmirtz plan foiled on the way to a Phineas & friends attraction: that would be fun.

Lose Your Marbles
What might this addictive Disney Infinity game be? And might it be downloaded for home use? Well, it would take at least seven Play Sets . Consider the game of Bejeweled Blitz. There are so many variants to this addictive game from PopCap (especially after they added the arcade "Blitz" version). I didn't think that style of game could be topped. Then "Candy Crush" arrived to mobile devices & Facebook. It has its own theme, with 2D "pop-up" style cutscenes, and a level map, and in addition to combos, it has combos of combos. It alternates between puzzle mode & "arcade-style" timed mode. It has different boards and different game devices to increase the difficulty. It's not a knock-off; it's its own game, arguably a better game. So that's inspiring. How might Disney Infinity have its own matching game? How about marbles? Every Playroom should have a collection of marbles. You'd need to have a separate Play Set for each colored marble, and at least seven different colors to play. With so many marbles on the screen, you wouldn't want all of them to have the Play Set icons, but the combo marbles could. Maybe the arrangement of the marbles could be different, instead of a square set of rows & columns. If you offset every other row half-way, then each marble would be adjacent to six others. A triangle of three could be the typical match. An Disney Infinity marble could blast out a given color across the board, and line-levelers could either take a row, one of two diagonals, or all three. There could be a "tilt" that rotates the board so that the marbles fill back in differently. Double-combos could create split-color marbles that explode either color. Double-combos of the same color could create jumbo marbles. With this game, it could be required that you switch Infinity figures at certain checkpoints. With each board, you'd need to clear some amount of marbles matching the Play Set of the figure, and after so many boards, the stage switches and a new Play Set and figure are used. For the park version, the switch would be automatic, with gender matching based on MagicBand info. The avatar could be seen on the side of the board with a background matching his or her Play Set, and a decreasing meter showing marble loss. A marble-match might not be required on a move, but points could be deducted from the score if the move didn't make a match. Maybe every other multiplier could be negative, starting with -1, then going to 2, then -3, etc (every other one is truly odd ). With a negative multiplier, moving marbles without a match would be a double-negative for positive points . Doofenshmirtz could be featured in some of the cutscenes, with corny lines like "A game so diabolical it can result in a negative score!" and "This game will drive you crazy! The goal is to lose your marbles!" It fits the theme. It would be unique. It would probably take some game-balance tweaking, but it would be fun, a stand-alone favorite for the park Leaderboards (and a nice downloadable reward for the devoted Disney Infinity Play Set collector).
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:34 PM   #66
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Fear Is The Mind-Killer
There's another interesting TED presentation, this one by Tim Brown, titled "Tales of creativity and play". So of course it made me think of Disney Infinity and I watched it. Sadly, no Infinity reference in the video (then again, it was recorded in 2008 ), and there was mention of Pixar . It's a little longer than most TED videos; I thought the drug reference was completely unnecessary, and really the topic of the first ten minutes was the best part. Its ice-breaker: grab a pen & paper and draw the person sitting next to you in the next 30 seconds. For adults, there's all kinds of laughter & apologies. "We fear the judgment of our peers" Tim observes and he explains that this drives us toward conservative thinking. Young kids don't have the problem at all; they want to show off their work, and the kids that felt the most secure were the most likely to share their crazy ideas. Friendship has the kind of trust that allows more creativity, and a relaxed atmosphere also helps to promote that kind of security. The conclusion was for businesses that rely on creativity to encourage friendship, trust, and a relaxed working environment. Oddly enough, it made me think of Tumblr. Young kids may want to share all of their creations with the world, but teenagers? Perhaps not. There's all kinds of chatter that occurs on public Facebook pages, but arguably not a lot of creativity. If a teenager has an interest in some particular topic, whether it's quotes, poetry, artwork, or whatever, he or she can start a Tumblr blog for free. Free, and anonymous. Wait and see if others like your material. Check to see how many followers you have. Follow others that interest you. They have no idea who you are. It's risk-free. It's a little like posting a rumor on the DIS boards - for some, it's a safeguard, for others, it's a game . So this made me think of the Disney Infinity Playroom. All of these prior blog entries promoting anonymous avatar names to protect pre-teen game designers are valid - but perhaps it's an even better solution for teens. Have no forum support, no written reviews. Akin to Facebook's thumbs-up (no thumbs-down) policy, have a 1-3 star rating system and a download count (and make the first star required on the download). Friendship circles allow more collaboration with trusted friends, and anonymity serves everything else. Parental controls can restrict usage to Friendship circles if they want it that way. Eliminate the fear and invite the creativity. Teenagers across the country can take an interest in game design with these iconic Disney characters and post their games, risk-free. Watch the Playroom's game count soar to Infinity & beyond.
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:00 PM   #67
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Marble Minutia
Just a few more ideas on the "Lose Your Marbles" pre-show/game idea... not to be confused with all those bubble games out there (although fun in their own right), the marbles in this game wouldn't be so close as to touch each other, and they'd be offset columns, not offset rows. And of course the marbles on the edge of the board, whatever shape it might be, would be adjacent to fewer than six other marbles (ack, how embarassing, feel that judgment ). From a tilt, the board could rotate over 360 degrees so that one of the diagonals becomes the new vertical, determining how the marbles drop through the bottom and fill back from the adjusted top (the board frame could have adjusting panels that slide closed before the tilt where others open up after it's complete, to Doofenshmirtz's delight). Perhaps some boards would have some locations blocking marble movement, making the tilts a necessary part of the game. The traditional row of three or four would probably work better than a triangle for shifting the arrangement of the board with each play. The order of Play Set figures would not need to be pre-set at the start of the game. Maybe each displayed avatar would have a special move whenever a combo play was made on marbles matching the Play Set. So a Monsters University character could scare a bunch of marbles off the board. A Pirates character could look at the "broken" compass for what he or she really wanted, and have a bunch of marbles magically turn into gold Mickey Coins. There could be different reactions from different Incredibles' Supers, and from the characters of all the other Play Sets. Maybe the goal of each board is simply to eliminate some number of marbles, regardless of color, and the Play Set specials just help you get you there. Side-note: there could be several good reasons to keep the Magic Cabinet scoring separate from the associated gold Mickey Coins. In this particular game, where the score really could go negative, kids wouldn't want their virtual coins "stolen" if they've been saving up for some Disney Infinity park trinket. Normalizing points to virtual coins could be the easiest way to incorporate DisneyQuest gaming - at a flat cost, those games would simply translate to a lower ratio of virtual coins. Plus, it's a fun perk for pirate characters to gain some nominal amount of bonus gold as part of any of the games. So there are quite a few ways in which this game would be significantly different than other match-up games out there. Maybe the first Magic Cabinet to hit Disney Parks would not be in a souvenir shop after all, but instead be part of the pre-show .
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:55 PM   #68
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No Silver Bullet (Not Even In Frontierland)
Today most people associate silver bullets with werewolves. Television shows and movies have perhaps become a little too Grimm. I'll stick to "Once Upon a Time", even if it has a few as well . For those who know of Fred Brooks and the history of the IBM mainframe, silver bullets are also associated with myths in software engineering advances. But for those who remember the Lone Ranger TV show (and maybe even the radio series), the silver bullet is a symbol of justice, law, and order. The Lone Ranger never shot to kill and never wasted bullets, just as life should not be wasted. The return of the Lone Ranger has been a long time coming, and it's great that Disney took up the reins of Silver. The characters have depth, a sense of morality, and the film is bound to be a success. The trailers show some great chase scenes and show hints of the depth, too. Plus, there's the "Disney magic" of Johnny Depp. How many Disney Infinity figures might portray him? Maybe they should add in Alice in Wonderland characters after all to make it a quick triple - maybe in addition to Mouse Gear, there could be park-exclusive "Depp Gear" . The Disney Infinity Lone Ranger could make for a cool refurbishment to Frontierland. Has anyone ever paid the extra price for target practice at the "Frontierland Shootin' Arcade"? I can't imagine the parks make much money on this. Is it possibly the only separately priced attraction in all of the Magic Kingdom? With no leaderboard, and no prizes? Doesn't seem to make much cents . What if they incorporated Lone Ranger theming, kept most of the physical targets, and added in a combination of 3D projected targets from Disney Infinity? Make it one big MagicBand-activated Magic Cabinet that's included in the set of MyMagic+ Disney park leaderboards, qualifying for Mickey Coins used to claim Disney Infinity trinkets, randomly awarded FastPass+, the works. Change the Shootin' attraction from "number of shots" to a set 3-4 minutes of time for the crowd control, and put enough obscure moving targets to manage a wide distribution of scoring. Distribute the scoring further with the "no bullets wasted" theme and subtract some points on a miss (although don't have negative scoring like in the Marbles game above). The combination of the virtual Disney Infinity elements and the physical ones, set in the location of Frontierland, would help make this a unique park experience. And if parents could purchase a set of virtual video game tokens that applied to a variety of attractions across the parks and resorts, where the results of the games could persist throughout the stay, where tokens and tickets could not be lost, and an actual souvenir could be won, they'd be much more likely to purchase a large set of tokens. It wouldn't just be a one-shot deal. It would be immersive. There's no silver bullet. It would be an Imagineering investment that would include alternate front-ends to Disney Infinity software, where MagicBand technology would enable quick & easy usage of virtual tokens for Disney Infinity Gaming At The Parks!
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:20 PM   #69
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It's A Small World After All
As brick & mortar businesses go, Barnes & Noble is a great place to buy a board game. You can find classic games, puzzle games, strategy games, and even a hint of RPG games. Purchased "Settlers of Catan" a year or so ago after playing with family one holiday. It's a great game for theme, mechanics, & replay value. The game board itself is rebuilt in each game via randomly placed six-sided terrain pieces. Cards matching that terrain are collected throughout the game and combined to build new settlements, roads, etc. to achieve enough victory points to win. Recently on another trip to B&N, I noticed another game that sounds promising: "Small World" with a darkly humorous subtitle "It's a world of slaughter". Reading various reviews, there's no gore there - it's a family-friendly, somewhat-slapstick fantasy-genre wargame similar to Risk. Armies of dwarves, elves, wizards, orcs, trolls, etc. strategically battle it out to take control of a "world" that is "too small" to hold them all. The separate font on the "S" next to "laughter" is certainly a nod to the classic Disney park ride. As board game puns go, one good turn deserves another . What about a Disney Infinity "Wonderboard"? (Small World was created by a company named "Days of Wonder"). What if Disney Infinity could be used to design all kinds of different board games, both virtual ones and physical ones? If you ever designed your own board games as a kid, you probably ran into at least some of the following dilemmas: creating a game board with replay value, creating game tokens that were solid enough to endure that replay, and creating game cards with truly identical backs so that you didn't know their face value ahead of time in the game. A separate dilemma that somewhat-obscure strategy games run into is the price point when they need lots of pieces - if the pieces aren't high enough quality, the game seems cheesy, but too high, and the game is too expensive to sell. With Disney Infinity, you've purchased the high-quality tokens already. You could use the landmark pieces too, either as destination points, strongholds, victory points, whatever. What if kids could purchase actual Play Set suits of Disney Infinity cards, as well as an alterable game board with Play Set themed hex tiles? The starter board could match up with the three Play Sets of the Starter Pack - three types of terrain and three types of colored discs that could serve as anything from checkers to troop markers. Expansion packs are very common for strategy games - have Play Set expansion packs for this too. It wouldn't be just one game. It would be an infinite number of board games that kids could design. They could purchase cards independently simply for card games. They could purchase the board game equipment independently too. They could purchase both for board games that implement the cards in lots of different ways. As noted in an earlier append, the cards could have the typical 2-10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, plus independent figure cards, Play Set icon "trump/power" cards, Infinity wildcards, possibly even equipment cards for power-ups. If all of these cards have the same Disney Infinity back design, then kids can arrange them in any combination for different games. There's little legal risk here - there are no rules. The kids need to define them. Like the Disney Infinity Toy Box, it's a set of tools. With some functional enhancement, the Toy Box could be used to design virtual versions of these board games, just as it could be used to design virtual versions of card games. Lots of physical games, classic, puzzle, & strategy, have virtual mobile versions. There are even some game apps that have gone the other direction to make physical games after-the-fact. Disney Infinity could allow kids to design both. It would present further value in those high-quality figures, and both board game and card game accessories would promote the Disney Infinity platform. The physical materials would actually help kids design these kinds of games in the first place. It would be fun. Fun inspired by a pun. Disney Infinity gaming inspired by a park ride nod
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:01 AM   #70
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Discarded Cards, Powerless Discs, and a Throw-Away Game Board
Trying to remember the first game I ever played with a hex-tile game board, a single google search helped me recall that it was Magic Realm. This game is perhaps more like an RPG than any other board game, with all of its different characters, all with a separate set of quests, and a new "map" every time the game is played. It was published by Avalon Hill which has since gone out of business, and yet there is an online version of the game written in Java called RealmSpeak. Makes one wonder what miniscule percentage of board games don't have an online version . If Disney Infinity would release Play Set themed hex tiles for game design, perhaps the tiles could be two-sided so that one side could have the meandering paths and circular locations like Magic Realm. The fact that every Disney Infinity figure will have the same circular base in order to fit onto the Disney Infinity Base makes them ideal game tokens. True, they're significantly larger than traditional tokens, but that contributes to a larger-than-life feel, as if they're part of some deluxe version of a game (which they are). Kids could certainly make all kinds of game boards on their own for their figures. They could get poster board or a big easel pad and draw out grids, squared off paths, meandering paths, anything they want. They could color them with watercolors, markers, or crayons - be as creative as possible to give their personally designed games their own themes. Kids could design a game board on their laptop or tablet, printing out one page at a time and then taping it all together. If Disney Infinity eventually supports unlockable 2D figures & props, it could support the design of game board layouts as easily as it could support artwork collages. Or kids could change up their game design and use premade arrangeable tiles courtesy of the Disney Infinity team as separate accessories. There could even be separately purchases electronic game boards that interact with some if not all Disney Infinity figures; the Disney Infinity Base need not be the only device that can interact with them. But encouraging kids to design their own board games, then providing the tools to create virtual, Playroom-shareable versions would be very cool. As mentioned in the previous append, a Play Set themed set of circular tokens would be useful too, ideally stackable ones. Hmm... sounds like a powerless Power Disc . Without needing to interact electronically, tokens of this same size would be convenient for the game design. In addition to checkers & troops, they could also represent coinage, or power-levels to the player-character (they might even be stacked underneath the player token). They could represent various spots claimed on the board for whatever reason the kid-designed rules specify. Playing cards though would definitely be the best game design accessory, hands down. They can't easily be constructed by a kid with a high level of quality. Designed, sure, but constructed, that would difficult. Nowadays you could design front and backs with that laptop, print them double-sided on sturdy card stock purchased from your nearby craft store, and even laminate them, but after all that work it would still be a tricky business to cut them identically to avoid getting a ready-made deck of marked cards. Purchasable Play Set "suits" could include all kinds of themed cards, and kids would simply choose which ones would pertain to the game they're currently designing and discard the rest for some other time. In addition to the card ideas in the previous append, there could be themed treasure cards that could be collected for points, rewarded as quests, used as a separate mechanism to purchase something in a game, or sought after as being stolen. There could be location cards designating board positions where the character could move, or purchase, or whatever. There could be a separate set of numbered cards, say 1-12, where some or all could be used for board movement or combat resolution. That's technically redundant with the traditional 2-10 and face cards, but they'd provide a different look & feel for the games. Plus, that would make for good packaging in selling a single suit at a time; the card box wouldn't be too small. Some folks might even purchase two copies of a given Play Set Suit for playing the memory card game, or pinochle, or to augment their overall deck for games of their own. There could even be blind Play Set crossover packs that expanded the decks further. And every specialty card, whether it's a character, weapon, treasure, or location, could be found in the Disney Infinity universe. The cards would constitute an independently infinite number of card games, be combined with figures and possibly discs and tiles for an infinite number of board games, and yet advertise the Disney Infinity platform at the same time. They would all contribute to the artistry, creativity, and "collectability" of the gaming platform that is Disney Infinity.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:57 AM   #71
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Hat Trick
This will be the third post in a row with requests for Disney Infinity Play Set Suits. Perhaps it should include a request for a magic hat or two, whether it's from Wonderland (where a three-time Johny Depp Infinity appearance would mean a hat trick of its own) or from the Pixar short, Presto. Both include the possibility of including a white rabbit, too. As far as magic cards go, consider how Disney Infinity character cards might be used in RPG-style card games. One challenge in the design of general-purpose cards is the fact that game cards usually have some stats on them to help the flow of the game. Kids could design all kinds of these card games, but if you need to keep referencing a separate rules sheet with character stats, that can slow things down. The trick is to create a balanced set of numbers that could work for different variants, and some fun categories to give the games a little more depth. Every Disney Infinity character card could have a value ranging from say 1-10 in each of these 4 attributes: melee, missiles, telepathy, and tech. The first two are physical powers and the second two are mental powers. There could be supporting power-up cards for each of these four attributes, and perhaps rarer cards that powered up either of two sub-categories, "might" for melee/missiles, "brain power" for telepathy/tech. This would be potentially augmented by trump cards matching up the Play Set suit, and Disney Infinity wild cards. The 4 attributes would be printed on the 4 corners of each player card with corresponding icons of swords, pistol/bow/blaster, swirling atoms, and a gear. The Play Set icon could be in the background of each character, or implied. Some or all of these stats could be completely ignored for various kid-designed card games, but would provide the option for a good "Sorcerers of Disney Infinity" game requested in an earlier post. Eventually there could be a ready-made virtual game, but initially the base rules could be posted online, where kids can feel free to create all kinds of "home rules". Opting to match up the same attributes could designate an attack with counterattack. Opting to use an "opposing" attribute like missiles vs. melee or telepathy vs. tech could designate a stronger defensive play. Animatronic cards would be key (& fun) to provide characters with high tech scores (in addition to characters like Phineas & Ferb). Violet Parr, Sorcerer Mickey, & Figment are some examples for high telepathy scores. Maybe even the Monsters characters' scaring ability would fall under this "mental attack". Swashbuckling pirates would all have high melee scores. Different pistols/bow/blaster-wielding characters such as Buzz, Stitch, the Lone Ranger, and maybe eventually Merida would have high missile scores. There's a trade-off with establishing the categories and stats in terms of open design, but they would help game flow and would provide a lot of visual interest to the cards too. Park-exclusive blind packs could in fact provide all kinds of Mickey & friends variants, depending on which Play Set they were associated with. It would make for a fun stand-alone, collectible card game, possibly many different stand-alone card games. And eventually they could all translate to games that could be designed virtually within Disney Infinity itself.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:18 PM   #72
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Best Card Trick
The "For Your Consideration" Disney Infinity trailer is the best yet. I don't have a favorite game category. It's a toss-up among the Roll-Playing Game, TPL, and the Topiary Moose . The Wonderland playing card was a very nice touch. It warrants a few more ideas for a Sorcerers of Disney Infinity card game...

"Psyche" is a better term than "Telepathy" in the previous append - it fits the Monsters' scares better so that the attribute is a strength for that Play Set Suit. "Tech" could also apply to Cars, given their James Bond style gear in Cars 2 (already shown in earlier trailers), which could also apply to missile or melee attributes, depending on the type of gear. The Incredibles cards provide a good mix of attributes depending on the characters, including Tech for Syndrome, Edna Mode and even Rick Dicker. Side-note: the Tech icon could possibly be three gears like Epcot's Mouse Gear sign. Trump cards should probably be used to power up character card attacks & defenses instead of providing further bonuses. Attributes could instead run 1-5 each, so that you wouldn't need to wait too long to play one. This would require a lot of these Play Set-icon "trump cards", which would be fine - it's another way to ensure a sufficient size to boxes of these collectible suits, and would provide more design options for both card games and card-assisted board games. Originally had imagined an optional home rule of adding a traditional 6-sided die roll for randomness, but these smaller attribute numbers could just be doubled first, so that game strategy wouldn't be overpowered by luck. Counterattacks probably make more sense with opposing attributes, with say a -1 modifier, so that counterattacking is more difficult to win. There could be two-card combos of "Hero & Sidekick", "Prince & Princess", "Villain & Minion", provided there's enough trump card buildup to combine the points of a given attribute (the combos would need to be a matching suit of course).

Many traditional card games count the number of tricks taken. RPG-style card games tend to lean toward "monochromatic decks" (one suit) to maximize "trumps". What if this card game required a certain number of tricks taken in multiple suits? Since the numbered cards wouldn't be used otherwise, arrange them in ascending order to count the points as tricks are won. Say the game was to win 10 tricks in 4 suits: Incredibles, Pirates, Monsters, & Cars. Each player would have four small piles of counting cards to keep a tally (the counting cards show the Play Set icon, making it relatively easy to track all suit points). After winning 10 tricks of say Monsters, then subsequent tricks taken with Monsters cards don't help any further in winning the game. The player needs 10 tricks from all 4 suits. This would encourage more balanced decks. The game could go something like this: each player always uses cards from his or her own deck. They never mix. Each starts with seven cards from their respective draw pile. At the start of each turn, up to 3 cards may be discarded, where at least one card must be discarded. The hand is replenished up to 7 cards. Next, any number of trump cards of a given suit can be laid face up for "power" (where Infinity cards are wild, usable for any suit). An attack may be made, or the player can pass. An attack would entail a face-up character card, with optional paired and/or power-up combos, and declaring one of the four attributes. The defending player must lay a character card if available, any number of trump cards, with optional paired and/or power-up combos, choosing to strictly defend with the same attribute or optionally counter-attack with the opposing attribute (Tech vs. Psyche, Missiles vs. Melee). Numbers are doubled and dice are rolled if the random element is added in. All cards involved (including trump) are discarded to their respective piles. 1 point is awarded for a successful attack, or 1 point for the other player's counter-attack, or no points to either player on a successful defense. Side-note: on a successful attack from a Hero against a nemesis Villain or vice versa, 2 points are awarded. If the defending player doesn't have enough trump to power the character card's defense, it is discarded for an automatic loss (without loss of residual trump). If the defending player doesn't have any character card at all, only the attacking player discards, again for an automatic win of 1 point. Attacking turns alternate between players. When either player has discarded all cards, the respective deck is reshuffled and play continues until someone reaches 10 tricks in all 4 suits. Variants could include more than two players, fewer suits, more suits, specifying specific decks, and anything else kids could think up. Each player could have a representative Disney Infinity figure for the game, granting a bonus to that Play Set suit and a double-bonus for that particular character. If Figment or the Dreamfinder are used (assuming these cards actually appear in physical or virtual form some day, but hey, one can dream ), they belong to no Play Set and can draw power from any suit. It's a variant to the classic card game of war, without mixing different kids' decks, and a little RPG mix. It would relate to the corresponding Disney characters and provide some fun strategy & mechanics. Since it's a tally of points from tricks in multiple suits, it wouldn't really be about the best card trick at all. It would be about the collection .
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:31 AM   #73
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The Next CLU
There have been lots of DISboard posts for both Hollywood Studios and Epcot to get new E-ticket attractions. It's certainly true that Epcot crowds split between Soarin' and Test Track. While it would be very cool to see a Phineas & Ferb game design academy, a Choose Your Own Adventure interactive show with Russell, the return of the Dreamfinder in a Disney Infinity quick-design omnimover ride, some arcade showcasing, as well as "refurbed" virtual coaster rides, some might argue that none of these qualify as "E". If a VR attraction featuring Star Wars could be built for the Studios, another featuring Stitch in the Magic Kingdom, and yet another featuring Avatars in the Animal Kingdom, what might fit in Epcot? Consider its name: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Now consider Tron. The Grid is an experimental prototype virtual community of tomorrow. What if the Grid was purportedly refactored by a new team of software engineers, into a community that was not so dangerous. Programs could enjoy the games when deresolution is not permanent (as requested in an earlier post, but now it would be part of the attraction's theme). Upon derez, a new instance of the program is simply created using data saved in auxiliary storage . In fact all programs are rendered as toys to emphasize the new feature of this Refactored Grid B (the RGB). Conflict, without danger of real harm, can be entertaining - that could be a "design point" explained as part of the pre-show. The RGB could be "powered" by The Playroom, emphasizing Disney Infinity's social media and integrating that into the theme as well. The actual computing power could even be showcased at Epcot. Yet the designers of the RGB could be having difficulty encouraging programs to play the "bad guys". The plot line of Tron: Uprising is to train Beck to become the next Tron. In the Tron: Infinity attraction, guests could elect to try to become the next Tron or the next CLU. Similar to a Star Wars VR experience with Jedi & Sith, guests could choose between the "good & bad colors" of blue & red, or the "neutral" color of green (the "G" of the RGB ). The Tron Toys could compete in a sequence of games including Light Cycles, Discs, and Tank Battles. Group VR play would include a similar set of Leaderboards propagated by MyMagic+. There might even be some artificially intelligent ISOs, created by the RGB itself, to make the games more challenging. Pre-show highlights could feature any number of voices and images from the movies or the animated series, commenting on the redesign, the nature of the conflict, and warnings to watch out for those unpredictable ISOs. Nothing fits a VR Disney attraction better than Tron. Nothing. Sometimes the simplest game ideas are best .
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:13 PM   #74
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ISO Mickey and RGB Tron Gear
An important element that keeps MMORPGs fresh is the gear. Player characters level up, and along with better stats, they get better gear and look completely different. Disney Infinity skins have shown that the worlds can quickly get a completely different look. But can the characters in the Toy Box eventually be geared up to match that overall theme?

Specifically, consider how a Tron Play Set might tie into a better theme for a Tron: Infinity attraction at Epcot. The storyline could be that the RGB is not a complete rewrite of the original Grid, but it is a separate parallel instance with infinite possibilities. A person is not so crudely digitized into the RGB as with the earlier virtual world. Only his or her consciousness is, while the corporeal form sits safely in the real world. Their Tron Toy identity is known as a "Persona" with their mind safely stored within their identity disc. There are many I/O portals, with improved security controls for getting both in and out. There are physical security measures as well, for the persona chairs are all contained within a large-than-life "Toy Box" room (actually, regarding queue control, multiple Toy Box rooms).

Regarding the in-game "programs", significant attempts have been made to refactor the "reds", maintaining their artificial tendencies for order while commenting out the flawed subroutines that confused power for perfection. The "blues" (while primarily lined with white, with blue highlights) received little adjustment, just a few tweaks so that their algorithms for freedom avoided any intermittent moments of chaos. The "greens" were introduced as a neutral force of programs, coded to be a go-between, for the RGB was designed to be a virtual world of both self-learning and entertainment. Personas entering the RGB are intended to enjoy the games, and with their human unpredictability, help the programs to learn. However there was a rogue programmer among the design team who injected a virus to restore the original nature of the "reds", such that they attempt to refactor all other programs to red, or else derez them (and in the case of personas, always derez, even the "simulated reds"). The self-learning neutral "greens" then adapt, looking out only for themselves, becoming little more than mercenaries in the games, with no strict allegiance. The "blues" find themselves back in the loop of the original Grid.

Then the ISOs emerge from the geodesic sphere that is the RGB's center (i.e. virtual Spaceship Earth). They were created by the RGB itself. Their lines are all white, for they reflect all the colors and perceptions of light. These "park-exclusives" are Tron Mickey & Friends (figures sold separately ). They help tell the story in the cut scenes between the various games of the attraction. They caution that only one ISO is truly untrustworthy: Pete (side-note: the clear Villain from a Mickey & Friends Play Set). As it turns out, Pete is a "red" with an altered identity disc, has hacked all security controls, and attempts to block all I/O near the end of the attraction to trap all of the personas in the RGB forever. The true ISOs help everyone escape.

Not all the Disney Infinity characters need be retrofitted with Tron Gear (although it would be cool if they did). Disney villains would be red, most others would be blue, while all pirates would be green (the true neutrals, the true mercenaries). Guests at the Tron: Infinity attraction would choose their persona and get the corresponding color. Leaderboards at the end of the attraction would have separate lists for Reds, Greens, and Blues of the RGB .
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Old 06-16-2013, 04:44 AM   #75
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Sabres & Psyche, Targets & Tech
Here are a few more terminology tidbits for this terrific tangent - among other reasons, they have better alliteration . "Sabres" is more fun than "Melee", and fits the Pirates card suit better (as well as a Star Wars card suit, to synch up with the much-anticipated arrival of a Star Wars Play Set). "Targets" is more fun for these Toy Box characters than "Missiles", when bull's eye targets (real targets, not the horse) are a common mechanic for range weapons. These four attributes could be used for a variety of kid-designed card games, especially the "Sorcerers" game described in earlier posts. Has everyone noticed that every Play Set is getting its own Infinity logo, in addition to the Play Set logo? It's probably not intentional, but all of these icons are perfect for a card game design set. The Infinity "wild card" would fit with the theme of each card suit deck, and provide more opportunity for better game mechanics. In the Sorcerers game for example, the wild card is used to provide a power point in activating a character card from any Play Set suit. But knowing which Play Set in which the wild card belongs, it could mean two power points available for that matching suit. Kids could use them to design their own variants of Crazy 8s, Spoons, Rummy, or whatever other card game they could imagine. Once they've worked out all the mechanics, they could program it into a Disney Infinity video game. Card games are a big part of mobile play. And from an RPG card game perspective, Wizard101, one of the most successful family-oriented online games out there, was designed with real cards before it was implemented by its software developers.

Anecdotal Evidence
In considering this tangent collectible for the Disney Infinity platform, I'm reminded of a Disney World trip our family took several years ago. Early into the trip, I purchased a deck of cards at the resort's souvenir shop. I thought it would be a good family activity while in our room resting in between park hopping, or in case of rain. I was certain that there would be a King Mickey and Queen Minney across all four suits, and was hoping for some Goofy Jesters. The card back had a Mickey picture, but the face cards were a standard design. With all of the efforts that Disney invests in its merchandising, it was rather disappointing. Thankfully that has been remedied. Today you can get decks tailored for Mickey & friends, Pooh & friends, Cars, Disney Princesses, even Star Wars Mickey & friends. Side-note: it doesn't look like there will be a true princess/queen card candidate in the upcoming Monsters University movie, as it focuses on Sulley & Mike's friendship - but if it's also about college pranks, maybe Randy could be made the queen in the Monsters suit . Since there's already perceived value in merchandising multiple Disney films in playing cards, Disney Infinity card suits would be a natural follow-up. The suits themselves would fit a Disney theme, where new suits would mean a new collectible, as well as a new advertising gimmick for Disney Infinity figures. Blind packs for rare cards would add to the mix. The combination of "standard" cards and "gaming" cards would make it possible to design & play lots of games. The overall toy theme would carry over into the artwork of all these suits, and coincide with the physical collectible figures & power discs, blurring the line between traditional family gaming & video gaming. They'd be a good addition to the Playroom.
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