Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 9

Monday, October 21, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 7.44.18 PMOver the weekend, I sign up for IGN Prime. Prime was once a way for IGN to charge for insider information, and hopefully still will be during E3 2014, but appears to have evolved into a version of Microsoft’s Games with Gold program, offering beta access and free Steam games every month (this month, The Inner World – $14.99.)  Prime also lets me turn off ads, so watching Naomi Kyle’s Daily Fix five days a week is two minutes and thirty seconds faster! Over one year, I can reinvest almost two hours into watching paid product placement on Cheap, Cool, Crazy.


I also begin an online Project Management Professional course from Simplilearn.  A live four day workshop takes place locally November 19 – 22 for $1,800.  PMP focuses on “initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing” phases of project management.  It makes sense to start accruing hours now.


With Fall break over, it is time to start our third rapid prototypes!  While the actual selection process is more or less random, we as Producers were privileged to select our teams this time from Artists and Engineers who 1) we have not worked with previously and 2) have not worked with each other.

My new team consists of Mark Jarman (Artist), Sherry Lin (Engineer), Dayna Stevenson (Engineer), Brenton Walker (Producer), and myself (Producer).  Our working title is Adriana Jones and the Kiss of Death, The Kiss of Death for short.


prince-philip_1117711iIn Jose’s class, we discuss the New Games Movement and Game Theory according to John Nash, subject of Best Picture film A Beautiful Mind (2001).  I wonder if John Nash and Mother Teresa were to play chess, who would win?  Would Nash win because he follows the rules to a checkmate or would Mother Teresa win because she makes him feel good about himself?  We discuss the Prisoner’s Dilemma, why it is really a dilemma, the importance of being masters of probability and balance as game designers, and the overly hippie New Games Movement theme, “Play hard. Play fair. Nobody hurt.”  What fun is that?! 🙂  On break, we play the Lap Game and discuss other games more fit for a Ropes course than a console.


We present our initial ideas to the class.  Brenton and I present a brief PowerPoint about Adriana Jones and the Kiss of Death on an 80 inch TV. The mechanics are still to be settled upon, but by the end of class we have some pretty solid direction and a very creative concept.  Mark has already completed original character art for Adriana and is starting on The Kiss of Death.  See Week Ten for both images!

Dayna wants to experiment with Flash Builder.  That is not the right platform for commercial release, but will be fine for the prototype.

After class, I stick around for a Games for Health committee meeting.  I present research done by JenJen and myself, including news that health apps may soon be regulated by the FDA.


The highest first place award currently offered in a health games competition is $525,000, offered by Nokia Sensing XChallenge in collaboration with While the University may not find sponsors at that level in the short time we have available, I suggest finding non-monetary ways to support participating projects to increase the value we provide to everyone, over and beyond cash.  The cash prize ought to be enough to help the winning projects take their apps and games to the next level.  Otherwise, we encourage creativity but do not make an impact.

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