bogost.jpg Game designer Ian Bogost, famous for creating Cow Clicker, and not so famous for any of the other worthwhile things he's done, has taken to GDC to talk about a project he's working on with the goal creating a toolkit for integrating games into journalism. Here's the details:

He posited that "The idea of the infrastructure we use to make games, and the infrastructure for entertainment games might not work for other types of games.", and that tools like game maker are very mechanics and game design focussed, but he wants to make tools that anyone can use to make games to comunicate a message.

He said:
"The context I've been working on specifically for the last 5/6 years has been news. I've been thinking about how to integrate games into journalism".

Game-o-matic is the result. It's a set of tools for creating simple games, using simple concept maps, and assigning verbs to define the relationship between elements of a news story, Then Game-o-matic automatically assembles a game around that topic. Then you can add custom art, and tweak elements to fine-tune the end game.

As an example, in just a few minutes he threw together a game to discuss the recent Valve Steambox news story. He assembles a simple concept map containing "Valve", "Steambox", "The console market", "Games" and "Indie devs".

Then he creates vers bto connect the elements of the story, where Valve makes the steambox, The Steambox harms the console market, the console market needs games, and indie developers follow Valve.

The whole process takes about 30 seconds, just using a diagrammatic representation of all the elements of the game, and it instantly outputs a simple flash game where the different elements of the game interact in a way that communicates the news story to the player.

It seems like it would be fairly easy for anyone without any game design experience to make a game about currents events in not long at all, and still have plenty of time to share them on the internet whilst the news story is still relevant.

He said
"We're getting closer to the idea of a game camera, something that you just point it at the idea and get a game".

Game-o-matic is going to be getting a beta release soon, and a full release in Summer, and it will be open source.