Simple whack-a-mole type Android game made with MIT App Inventor

Here’s the simple Android game made with MIT App Inventor.

Game is based on Mole Mash tutorial and was made in few hours during and after Android Noobs Toruń meeting.

To play the game you have to download .apk file to your Android phone or tablet and install it. Eventually you will have to enable Unknown sources on your device.

Download from Google Play.

Download .apk file Mole Mash 2 v1.3.1 (Android .apk file)

Android Noobs Toruń – is a group of Android enthusiast from Toruń, Poland who meet every two weeks to help each other learn Android app development. Find them on Facebook: Android Noobs Toruń fanpage.

MIT App Inventor is cloud-based tool to learn Android app development without having to write code hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. Checkout MIT App Inventor website.

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Digital Frontier game creators course Day 3

Digital Frontier – is a course for people trying to get into game industry. Course is organized by Revolver Interactive and was invented by Artur Kurasiński (enterpreneuer, investor and bloger).
Course is hosted in Warsaw, and will continue for 9 months with meetings every two weeks.

Second meeting took place at 20-21 of October 2012.

First session was hosted by Daniel Kleczyński (audio specialist) who introduced Technical means of content creation.

Daniel Kleczyński on Technical means of content creation

Daniel Kleczyński on Technical means of content creation

Daniel briefly overviewed history of photography, movie, television and sound recording. Next to that he introduced foundations of physics of sound and image perception.

During second session Marcin Blacha (game and story designer from CD Projekt) described Schemes of gameplay.

Marcin Blacha Schemes of gameplay

Marcin Blacha Schemes of gameplay

Types of rules

  • Operational rules – as described in game instructions
  • Constitutive rules – mathematical rules “under the hood” of a game
  • Nondirect rules – for example fair play rules in football

Important thing that should be considered while game design process is elegance of rules which consists of:

  • simplicity
  • clarity
  • effectivness

Perfect rules should be easy to play and hard to master.

Books on game design – list of lists

Building a list of lists is a great way when I want to get a grasp of some new area of knowledge. Just googling a given phrase (for example: game design) and adding phrases like best of, how to, best books on etc, gives plenty of interesting resources.

If the field is broad enough there are lots of lists, so you have to choose wisely. My rule of thumb is:

  • 3 lists from google from highest search results
  • list of books from wikipedia definition of a given phrase
  • first 10 results from Amazon
  • 1 list from GoodReads

For game design it would be:

Google -search phrase: best books on game design:

List of books about video games on Wikipedia

10 books from Amazon (phrase: game design):

List from GoodReads:

Next step is to find within all this results books that aremost common and start with them. For mentioned above lists there are five books that appeared more the twice:

Theory of fun for game designers by Raph Koster

Games are fun! That seems obvious. Problems arise when you try to make your own game.

How to make it fun? Why other games are fun and mine’s not? What makes them fun?
Are there different types of fun? How to use them in my own design?

When I started thinking about becoming a game designer I looked for best books on the topic.
I searched for book rankings, bestseler lists and reccommendations. There were 2 books,
that were present at almost every list:

I bought both of them and started reading. (I recommend to start read Koster’s book first.)

A Theory of Fun for Game Designers by Raph Koster

A Theory of Fun for Game Designers by Raph Koster

Ralph “Raph” Koster is an American game designer and enterpreneuer.
He was lead designer of Ultima Online and the creative director behind Star Wars Galaxies.
Check out Koster’s website which is full of greate gamedev articles.

In his book Koster analyses fun wich comes with games from many different perspectives, mostly using psychology and theory of art.

Most imprtant things I remembered after reading it for the first time:

  1. Games are about solving problems (on different levels of abstraction).
  2. Fun appears during solving the problem and climax after it is solved.
  3. Problems should be matched to players skills and balance between boredome and frustration.
  4. Player learns while playing game.

Of course there’s lot more so you should start reading!
You can try some of Koster’s style and way of thinking with his presentation
on Theory of fun (pdf).

Book is a worthwile reading because Koster wraps your head around an idea of fun in games in a way that comes very handy in further game design readings.

Also check out Koster’s keynote on games-as-a-service:


If you would like to buy the book on Amazon you can use this link:

Digital Frontier – game creators course – day 2

Digital Frontier – is a course for people trying to get into game industry I decided to give it a try. Course is organized by Revolver Interactive and was invented by Artur Kurasiński (enterpreneuer, investor and bloger).
Course is hosted in Warsaw, and will continue for 9 months with meetings every two weeks.

Second day of the course took place at 7th of October. After Digital Frontier day one presentations about video games history and contemporary condition, participants were eager to listen to game industry insiders.

Maciej Miąsik (producer at one2tribe, game developer, designer, programmer, artist, producer, sound designer, businessman) overviewed game production as seen from the perspective of person who spent over 20 years in video games business.

Maciej Miąsik Introduction to games production

Maciej Miąsik Introduction to games production

Below you will find Maciej’s answers for questions asked by gamedev noobs 😉

What’s important in making games? Team, bitch!

Recipe for a good game?
Shipping/release is the most important feature!
Game finished in 99% is a game unfinished in 100%.
There is no good game without this feature.

What comes handy?

  • Ability to throw out.
  • Ability to avoid dead ends.
  • Always having a plan B.
  • Sorting things by priority.

What are some of biggest risks?

  • Lack of leader with vision of the game
  • Feature creep
  • Unrealistic plan

Polish version of Maciej Miąsik’s presentation can be found hear: http://www.slideshare.net/tosiabunio/wprowadzenie-do-produkcji-gier

Artur Ganszyniec (game designer at Ars Thanea Games, The Witcher’s game&story designer) hosted second session – “Foundations of game design. Designers workshop. Impact of design on whole product. Specfic needs of game genres. Prototyping and verification of assumptions, dynamic design, balancing, target groups – players classification. Core gameplay loop. Case studies. Examples of good games of different genres and production scale.”

Foundations of game design by Artur Ganszyniec

Foundations of game design by Artur Ganszyniec

Artur gave a good primer on what game designers role is. Some examples below:

Stereotypes and half-truths about game designers job:

  • Anyone can be a designer
  • Your idea is always the best one
  • Programmers and artists, at least, have real profession
  • You can make a game without designers
Designers toolbox:
  • Paper sheets, markers and scissors
  • Whiteboard, post-it notes and digital camera (my favourite!)
  • Spreadsheet
  • Word processor
  • Powerpoint
  • Playable prototype of your game

IMHO it was the best session at Digital Frontier so far (maybe it’s just beacause I want to become a game designer too? ;)).

Check out what happened at first day of Game creators course – Digital Frontier.

Game creators course Digital Frontier – day 1

Idea of becoming game designer was with me for some time, so when I heard about Digital Frontier – is a course for people trying to get into game industry I decided to give it a try. Course is organized by Revolver Interactive and was invented by Artur Kurasiński (enterpreneuer, investor and bloger).
Course is hosted in Warsaw, and will continue for 9 months with meetings every two weeks.

First meeting started at 6th of October. Getting there from Toruń to arrive at 9:30 caused me to wake at 4:30, but happily polish train wasn’t deleyed (as it frequently happens) so I managed to be on time. About 50 other people came too.

Digital Frontier is a multidisciplinary course.
Maciej Miąsik – course programme director said that he was trying to give participants  broad knowledge of video games creation needed for anyone working in game dev business.

First session held by Piotr Mańskowski was about history of video games (official title: History of video games from beginnings to present times. Overview of key platforms, companies and titles. Key personalities of game industry).

Piotr Mańkowski

Video Games History by Piotr Mańkowski

Piotr presented video games history in 3 parts:

  • 70ties,
  • 80ties
  • 90ties (first half of).

Piotr said that evolution of games stopped at half of 90ties, and nothing new happened from that time.

Second session was about contemporary video games: genres, platforms, industry etc. Session was hosted by Michał “Mielu” Mielcarek (console games journalist at Neo Plus).

Michał Mielcarek - Contemporary Video Games

Contemporary Video Games by Michał Mielcarek

Check out what happened at second day of Game creators course – Digital Frontier.