Sunday, March 20, 2011

Maria's design studio- Cake marathon

For my design studio this week I created a game level on and I called it "Cake marathon". Atmosphir is a game design platform that allows users to create their own game levels and share them with the online community. I find the particular kind of media to be a wonderful tool for creative expression. Designers (users) can create whatever they want, can provide whatever experiences they like and design different difficulty features for their audiences. Creativity is for me a major characteristic of good digital media. The affordances of the particular medium fascinated me because I could manipulate everything in ways that other media had not afforded so far. For example, I could easily lay out the blocks with just one click or by dragging my cursor around the grid. I could easily add and remove objects, an action that would be difficult to obtain unless someone had advanced programming skills.

Screenshot from my cake marathon. Click on it to access and play the game (also at:

For my example, I created a level through which players must jump across several cake pieces, cookies, orange and kiwi slices, as well as a candy bridge in order to reach the final flag. It seems very easy, but when I tested it, even I had trouble getting across! I think the role of the arts and creativity is major in media for the 21st Century. It is not only colors and graphics that make digital media so much better and attractive, but also the opportunities for expression they provide. Creativity in the particular context does not mean colors and graphics, indeed. Creativity seems to be measured through the difficulty levels and the designed experiences users come up with. I find this to be a very powerful property because it comes to redefine the ways we perceive creativity in online spaces.


  1. Thanks Maria! I'm surprised to hear how easy to use Atmosphir is -- that's exciting! How does it compare to your game design experiences with Quest Atlantis? Are there narrative possibilities in Atmosphir as well?

  2. Maria,
    Samantha played this several times since you introduced it. It sounds very similar to Little Big Planet 2 - have you played LBP2? LBP2 has all of the components you mentioned above - I wonder if they are more similar than different? I'll have to check out Atmosphir to do a closer analysis -

    BTW, did you find anything that you did not like about Atmosphir?

  3. It was very easy to design, apart from a couple of times that I had to coordinate my moves on the mac mousepad... The whole thing is a lot different from any designs we do in Quest Atlantis. Whereas atmosphis is more heavy on the actual design of the world and level, QA gives a lot of emphasis on the narrative and it is a lot more flexible in terms of game rules. In atmosphir, if you do something wrong, you lose a life... in QA, there is no such thing. Of course, the narrative possibilities in atmosphir are a lot more limited, but sometimes you can see an overarching theme in a game level (e.g cake in the one i created). Of course, one can create their own story through those designs, that is not told, but experienced.

    It is very similar to LBP, and in both afford opportunities for creative expression. I really like them both, but the thing i like more in atmosphir is the 3D feeling while designing and while playing as well. The only thing about atmosphir that i didn't like was that at the beginning it was hard for me to coordinate actions like zoom in, perspective, etc, on my mac mouse pad, but I guess that was because of my machine and was a matter of getting used to it.

  4. This is very cool. I'll have to check out the link.

  5. I have to try this sometime!! I need to set a playdate time with Samantha so she can teach me! :) Kate