Loot Quest: From Ruminations to Release

After nearly 2 years of development, my team at Uken Games soft-launched Loot Quest to Canadian iPads. With that milestone, it's interesting to look back at my old moleskine notebook with the 6 scribbled pages where Loot Quest was conceived in September 2012. 

I was driving from Toronto to Allentown Pennsylvania for a friend's wedding and got to thinking about what Uken's next mobile RPG could be. That weekend a bunch of the ideas swirling through my head began to take shape. Just before my drive back to Canada, while eating horrifyingly (see: deliciously) sugary pancakes at a Bob Evans, I began to jot down some notes....

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Albums of The Year: 2014

Best New Albums

Kimbra - The Golden Echo

No surprise here, I’m a humongous Kimbra fan. This was my most-anticipated album of the year. One of the things I love about Kimbra is her experimentation and refusal to pigeonhole her sound. The Golden Echo is incredibly varied, and totally different from her first album. It blows my mind that Miracle wasn't...

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Making My Virtual Dream

My Virtual Dream at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2013 will take place inside a spectacular 60-ft dome, awash with projected animations, powered directly by the participants’ brainwaves connected to The Virtual Brain.

Starting at 6:52 p.m. on October 5, groups of 20 participants at a time will enter the “Dreamery” – an intimate stage in the centre of the dome. The first half of each session is called “The Wake Cycle,” during which participants will learn to control and synchronize their brain waves by playing a cerebral video game. Using only their own powers of concentration and relaxation, participants will directly control the images and sounds projected on the dome, competing with other players to create spectacular fireworks.

To learn more about the virtual game’s creation, we spoke to Elliot Pinkus, a Game Designer at Uken Games and one of the central designers of the game used in My Virtual Dream...

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Tips for Designer Applications & Interviews

How many skilled designers have their applications overlooked because they’re not communicating their abilities?

Recently I had the opportunity to run the interview process as Uken Games expanded its “Design Department” from just myself to a 3-person team. After plenty of experience as an applicant, being on the opposite side of the process was quite the perspective change. After talking to many prospective designers, I noticed a few common mistakes popping up time and time again.

Nothing here is absolute or a deal breaker. There are always many factors involved, like who is receiving your application and the degree to which they adhere to a formal rubric. I tend to look at...

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Mass Effect 3: The Journey, The Destination, and Amateur Philosophy

"If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. Cause that's all there is. What we do. Now. Today."

This realization in Angel’s second season can be seen as a mission statement of sorts for the entire series. When confronted by the prospect of never being able to truly defeat evil in all its forms, Angel has an epiphany (Hey, what a coincidence the episode is titled Epiphany). Fighting evil, being “good”, is not about truly winning. It’s not about the rewards at the end, it’s about the actions taken everyday. One does good, not because they expect a reward, but because they can. Because being good is an end in itself.

In contrast to an “Ends justify the means” philosophy, Buffy, Angel, and Firefly continuously reinforce the idea that the ends are irrelevant. Rewards may not exist, but the heroes still...

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