Making a Game With TV Elements



It seems like it has been a while since my last real post.  I pretty much took last week of to play video games and this week I started work.  However when I am not doing boring stuff at work I spend my time thinking about this game I am currently working on making.  The development has been slow because of other stuff going on, but its about to pick up this month.  I just need to get a solid background in Unity and Javascript so I am not a total noob when it comes to making the game.

I came across an idea a while back about why TV is so popular and what makes games popular.  How to create some sort of synergistic approach to this that would make people want to play games more, for reasons they love TV.

I realise that this new Microsoft “SmartScreen” idea about having a tablet while gaming/watching TV shoes is a pretty interesting idea that tries to combine the two in a decent way, but its putting to much emphasis on the TV side.  Here are some of my Notes.



  • Using TV characteristics while making a game
    • TV is Scheduled, broadcast and passive
    • Games are dynamic user defined experiences
  • Combine the scheduled broadcast of TV with the dynamic real-time elements of a game?
  • Turn on the TV and colours blast in your face with the dynamic real-time elements of a game?
  • The game is running when you are not playing, when you are playing your are advancing the story, like an MMO?
  • Different things happen in the game when you play at different times
    • Prime time: Big bosses come out
    • Midnight: rare and weird stuff happens

Advantages of TV

  • Advantages of TV: Passive
    • People can watch the program and it requires no use input from the player.
  • Advantages of TV: Scheduled
    • You know when something will happen, but you don’t know what will happen.
  • Advantages of TV: Broadcast
    • This information is not only shown to you, its not personal.  It is a public broadcast.

Advantages of Games

  • Advantages of Games: Dynamic
    • The game state is always changing depending on your input.  It varies from person to person.
  • Advantages of Games: Personal
    • Your user experience is different from some other person, what you do is entirely up to you during the game.

Combining Both Elements to Create a Game

The best part about TV is having some realization of what will happen.  You know on some channels what will happen, but you can also flip through channels and find something random that you like.  The other advantage is the sheer number of people TV has access to and the variety of content.  The broadcast might be similar to an MMO, but initializing a broadcast is as simple as turning on the TV but initializing an MMO requires turning on the game, downloading an update and so on.  People of the 2012’th generation are to damn impatient to wait.  At least the common consumer is.  We want information and our entertainment fast, the more manual set-up required the likelihood of them using that product goes down.

The best part about games is their dynamic and personal experiences.  Games would be boring if they were so linear that every player had the same experience while playing, then it would fail to entertain you in the way a game should.  On a side note, it is impossible to generalize about all the games in the industry because of the sheer number of games out there and there are thousands of different types that make an exception for each rule.  An assumption going fourth is that games are a system of play where the outcome is decided by the player, the system may have rules.  The aesthetic would be end desired emotional response from the Mechanics and Dynamics of the game.  The mechanics are the base components of the game that are needed to make the game played (game algorithms, game engine, game bits and parts, rules).  Dynamics are the mechanics in motion, the result of the player interacting with the mechanics.

While I love TV shows, this medium can never fully entertain me.  Sure I love Game Of Thrones, Battle Star Gallactica, Firefly, Mad Men and laughing with the cast of Community.  What if during the commercial break I could play as a warrior in a Game Of Thrones battle episode? Or if I could fly a viper ship in a Cylon attack during an episode of Battlestar Gallactica.  What if you could download an official application on your phone that gets updated at the beginning of every episode that will allow you to play mini-games that relate to that episode?


I saw an interesting statistic the other day, “111 million people watched the Superbowl, we share gaming experiences but the scale on which we do is infinitesimally small compared to TV.”  Granted that I doubt 111million are going to be playing a video game at the same time, and getting around 2-3 million (Average view count for viewers on major TV shows) players on a game would be the next step for this industry.  Lets just hope its not another COD clone.

There used to be a great game 1vs100 on Xbox live, which was a brodcast fun game that allowed you to play with tonnes of people for free.  I’d like to see more games like that pop up on the next gen consoles.

The one thing I wanted to take away from this “brainstorm” was the idea of making a game run 24/7 regardless of user input, however when the user decided to enter the “game” they would be engrossed in an ever moving and changing world.  Sounds a lot like an MMO, but I am trying to look at more ways to make them seem more different.

Thanks for reading
– Moose OUT

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