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A member registered Aug 05, 2014

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I'm fairly certain people who play bit jam games will be reading the descriptions on the pages and/or any readme files packed with the game.

Regaring the second question: as long as there are only two states, that should be fine, right? Daniel himself has stated a few times now that it's more about the bit than the pixel representation.

As long as the game never modifies that file itself, I guess.

What, for multiple files or something?

No, the mouse isn't, but I'd still say the visible mouse pointer + corresponding to an overlapping in-game position is.

Maybe make it clearer that the bit is the important part, and not the pixel form? I've thought of it as the bit unconsciously, but in the rules the pixel definitely felt more important.

Mouse position with the mouse pointer visible over the screen influencing the bit counts into "look" for you, right? I'd say it's less about the factors you mentioned, and more about whether the visible mouse pointer represents an object in the game.

I'd probably be okay with paying that price if the game was fun and/or interesting. Bit on the low end even, actually.

Most likely the mouse position will directly correspond to an in-game location, though.

This view you're speaking about kind of opens up weird venues, though. If I write a program separate from the game, and I have it read the game's memory and draw dots over the game window where objects are, would that then be okay since it's not technically part of the game?

I think the mouse pointer deliberation is also affected by the fact that it is on the exact same output device as your bit. Not only that, but also often in a way where it's indistinguishable from the case where your bit area would actually have explicitly and directly output the pointer graphic.

I still kinda think it is, though. Moreso than seeing a key being pressed down. After all, it's on the screen, made of several pixels, overlapping the single-color screen. It (probably) directly represents an object in the game, which although the display of it isn't a part of the games code still is a form of very clear visual feedback.

I'm getting excited! 😁 There should totally be an IRC channel, too, to let the bitjammers talk while bitting. Uh, I mean, jamming.

Isn't pretty much everything an accessibility issue, then? After all, that the game only ever shows you one bit of information at a time is a huge accessibility problem.

The "precise typer" thing is more a difficulty than anything else, isn't it? Some people will of course find it harder to type without seeing the results than others. Plus, is there really a difference between you pressing the up arrow and you've got a character moving upwards, and you pressing the J key and a J appearing on screen? It's still a form of clear visual feedback on exactly what you pressed and what it did.

Your finger is the input, though! That's a clever way to let the user be the feedback. The finger is more like the mouse than the mouse pointer. Cool!

I can't speak with authority (since only Daniel can), but I'd say mouse position as input is completely within the rules and spirit of the jam, but the mouse cursor isn't. After all, if you can see the mouse cursor, you've got a display of the position of an object in the game, so to be 100% compliant it'd have to be hidden.

Hahah, that's a bit fun, actually! A mouse maze you can't see, basically.

But... isn't the mouse pointer technically an extra form of feedback? Which means the game breaks the jam rules? 😁

That text input is a form of extra feedback, isn't it? The rules also specifically include "this includes text popups[...]" and while this isn't a popup as such, it's still a form of text feedback.

Ah, and colors with less contrast to each other could remedy that. I see.

I'd go as far as to say I think it's almost required! Especially for puzzley games. Having the player take notes or take time to reason about the bit isn't feedback; it's a form of gameplay and difficulty, basically. Sounds completely within not only the rules, but within the spirit of the jam itself.

Not that I think it should be disallowed, but... would it really "help with accessibility"? In what case would a black/white game be less/more accessible than a red/blue one? Or a pastel pink/pastel yellow one?

If so, only in exact conjunction with the display, though, right? The rules specifically mention controller vibration as a disallowed extra channel of feedback

Having it be mandatory feels a bit odd, since then it'd automatically be an "audio-focused" jam. Audio isn't the norm - visual display is the "standard" mode of feedback. "bit jam" would no longer feel as descriptive as something like, say, "beep jam".

I'm glad it's an option, though!

Yup; I have a few ideas that mostly fit into the "puzzle" niche. I've also got a number of ideas that'd fit into the mystery or ARG genre, but I feel a couple of those (especially ones more toward ARG) wouldn't be in the spirit of the jam.

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I'd love it to take on an ARG spin. It would make the mail-in factor more impactful, I'm pretty sure, as you're no longer "just playing a game" by mail (though that would no doubt be fun too), you're instead taking part in something bigger, something "real" by sending your letters.

I don't think it would be very limiting either, except in the area of setting the player's role. It's way harder to give the player a backstory (like "you left your country"), since each player will of course have their real memories. It can still be done, however, with some memory loss thing or maybe a backstory the player wouldn't know about ("when you were a baby you were moved..."). Except that one point, though, an ARG format would probably not be especially limiting.

That pretty much makes it an ARG just by itself. I dig it! 😀

I think you might be a bit confused as to what an ARG is...

I know Droqen's talked a bit about a desire for a sense of discovery. I think that sounds like a wonderful point to focus on! I absolutely love uncovering information, being surprised and interested, and thinking like crazy to find out or formulate theories on new things. The way I'm thinking this could work is through some sort of mystery. Something that needs to be dug into, to be dissected and investigated.

Or maybe the game could start normal, with nothing too out of the ordinary going on, with strange and engrossing things popping up and growing over time? A bit lonelygirl15-esque, I guess, if that helps (not that I've ever seen it or anything; only read about it and thought the concept and execution sounded interesting).

A point of discussion these two thoughts also raises is one of a goal - should there be a goal you're (at least initially) working toward? When I think about it, there kind of doesn't have to be. Maybe discovery is enough.

Either way, it's got to be kind of ARG-ey, right? Or maybe not? It feels like a mail-based game with a story has to be by definition, but maybe I'm missing something.

Of course, the game is currently very abstract and undefined. However, as this community seems to be a bit about defining it, I'd like to talk a bit about what the theme and the story of the game are going to be! The story concept kind of dictates the gameplay, too (or the other way around, I suppose: a story could also be written to fit a gameplay concept), so there probably isn't much point to keeping them separate - at least initially.

So how about it? What will / can the theme be? The concept? It's going to be interesting to see where this goes!

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Hahah, I'm thinking of all the weird things you could do with that. Imagine writing in "WATCH OUT FOR THE GROUNDSKEEPER'S DAUGHTER" or something like that, when there in fact is no groundskeeper. Or a daughter.

Ooh, and a variation on the "limited characters" thing could be limited space. Having just 5x4cm to write / draw on, or something - it'd lead to some interesting compressed messages.

International mail for letters is fairly fast, though, isn't it? 4-5 days from Sweden, 6-7 from the UK - I'd assume Europe is pretty much all in that range. Asia is probably worse off, but can't be entirely terrible.

Getting geocaching Travel Bug vibes, a bit.

Last year I participated in a fairly elaborate puzzle ARG, where players competed but half convened and discussed over reddit and IRC. I was ridiculously excited during pretty much all of that - had a sense of discovery, suspense, and wonder for the entire three or four days it was on. Put a lot of work and thought into it, too, so it stuck with me and was a really impactful experience.

I'm starting to get the same feeling here! Secrets, surprises, discoveries... so excited!

Uh, I was writing this post to relate it like... surprise letters / breaks in schedule -> EXCITEMENT WHOA, but I think it kind of mostly came of as me gushing. You get it, though.

Metacommunication could be done in something like a #sealed IRC channel (where addresses could be shared or something, I don't know), depending on how you'd like to see that be done, and still allow for some sort of game communication via mail. Hmm.

Perhaps it's also worth considering how fixed these intervals should be, then. Is it fixed from the players' perspective, where they get to feel "Oh, today's Sealed day!" once every X weeks, or is it only planned from your point of view where it's a surprise when the next letter comes?

Oh, ah, of course. I thought "improvving" was a typo of "improving" initially, now I get it.

I guess that depends on how the game works. You're the one with the plans there! It doesn't have to be black-and-white, either - once again, depending on game design, some letters could be completely dependent on having a prior reply, while some might not.

"Seed"? :O

People are kind of busy, and sitting down to write a letter is something that takes way more active choice and perceived work than doing... well, anything online. Once every week might be too often (or maybe not? Maybe it's perfect, and lets people play a lot - depends on how fun and interesting it is), and a month is probably too seldom - I think I'd forget about the game in between "turns", even. Once every two weeks sounds nice, but I suppose the frequency kind of has to be iterated on depending on how people play, how into it people are, and those kinds of things.

Then there's the problem of mail arrival times. A letter from me to Canada takes 4-5 days, and I imagine it can take even longer from other parts of the world. That's kinda got to be in the equation for letter frequency and game design.

One of the coolest things of the game-through-physical-mail concept is that it's very conducive to the surprise, secret, and discovery elements. I'd love to see that being embraced! Some sort of mystery, perhaps, even.

You're pioneering a genre here! Well, kind of. So do something cool, interesting and engaging with it! 😁

Doesn't it cost money to exchange currency?

If sending mail to each other was part of the gameplay experience, I think that could be really cool. Creates a sense of being part of something bigger, of a community, of discovery (depending on game theme) and sharing. Don't know how it would be done, though!

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Sounds mostly lovely, the only thing I'm a bit :/ over is the "no online payments" part. Not even because it's hard for the players - just fun and different, mostly - but because it'll be difficult for you to handle. Imagine getting letters with bills in 47 different currencies...

EDIT: This is a bit weird, how this post is presented through the forums - as an indented reply of some sort... This'll take a bit getting used to!