More Love More Pong More Metaphor More More

Continued doing some work with my face-recognising, Pong-revitalising, love-energising game, ♥Pong. At this point I’ve mostly been wasting time on collision detection and putting in some pixelly graphics to make it look a bit more intriguing. There’s much more to go in terms of the actual dynamics of the game.

The one dynamic I have now is that the longer you can bounce the little heart (instead of ball), the bigger it gets, and consequently the easier it is to keep bouncing, in theory.

What I’m finding intriguing about this process is the forced-metaphor approach. I saw a talk at a conference a couple of years ago about using metaphors as a design principle in making games, and I’m enjoying going about it entirely the wrong way (I think, it’s been a while). Here we grab “love” and “Pong“, smash them together, and then think about how that game would work to communicate “love”.

It’s interesting to think about this in the context of something like The Marriage, which is essentially based on a highly abstract level of metaphoric relationships between shapes/colours/movements and the concept of marriage. In that instance, the creator (Rod Humble), is quite genuinely and honestly trying to come up with an abstract game system that conveys marriage. That is, as far as I can tell, he starts purely with the idea of marriage, and sets about coming up with an appropriate system.

By forcing the basic dynamics of Pong onto love (and vice versa), you end up having to do something else. And, beautifully enough, the human mind is more than flexible enough to do this. Metaphorical entailments are a dime a dozen and I suspect that any game system could serve as a metaphor for anything. Love is passed back and forth. Love is cooperative. Love shouldn’t be thrown away heedlessly. And so on. Bing bang boom, game mechanics.

It remains to solidify the basic engine (too lofty a word, but oh well) so that I can layer on some dynamics, but I think it’s fun and interesting enough to continue on with for now. It’ll be a little hard to “release”, though, since it relies on the OpenCV framework and is a bit of a processor gobbler and on and on.

Nonetheless, proof of metaphorical concept.

6 March 2011
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