Hello Sifteo!

Posted March 7th, 2014 by under News

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Meet the quirky inhabitants of Hello Sifteo! the latest free download for Sifteo Cubes. Hello Sifteo! offers simple open ended play in which players can tilt, press, shake, and neighbor their cubes to puppet the whimsical characters on screen. It’s the perfect digi-toy for kitchen tables or back seats on road trips.

 

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At first you’ll meet a little party of sleeping faces. If you happen to have younger players new to Sifteo, they’ll pick up all they need to know while following the hints for how to wake everyone up.

 

Meet Em

 

Each of your new friends here has a different pesonality and mood, but the real fun starts when you get these little characters interacting with one another. What’ll happen when all these personalities collide? Can you find a way to make the blue cube cheer up?

Hello Sifteo! is a simple bit of fun for your Sifteo Cubes, just waiting for you to add your personality to the mix. We suggest pairing with cardboard boxes for puppet shows or nearby toys for more miniature heart to hearts!

Get it now in Sifteo Sync and enjoy!

 

Duel

 

Friends

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Calling All Storytellers! – For Arnaud De Bocks’s Tell A Tale

Posted January 8th, 2014 by under Games, News

 

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We’re excited here at Sifteo this week to announce the free beta release of artist Arnaud De Bock’s Tell A Tale for Sifteo Cubes. Tell A Tale began as Love Conspiracy, a finalist in the Sifteo Experimental Gameplay Project Competion and was a favorite among all the competition judges. It was loved for its fancicul  illustration style, inventive play concept, and for how it inspires new stories in the minds of players -which is just what the game is all about. We like it too because it’s reminiscent of the great physical game, Rory’s Story Cubes.

Need to jog your imagination in the middle of the day? Looking for the plot for that next best-seller? Tell A Tale is a collection of colorful and unique illustrations designed to awaken the storyteller in you.

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When you begin a round of Tell A Tale you are presented with the first line of a story. Our story above begins, as many have, with “Once upon a time…” From here, neighbor a cube to the story’s opening cube and see what comes next. Each time you add a cube, new images will appear on screen. How you interpret the images, and the connections you draw between them, is entirely up to you. You can choose to play short, medium, or long stories.

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To help you put your mark on the world of the story, you can even create your own character in Hero Maker mode. Press to save your cube-protagonist, and your newly created hero will appear in each of your stories.

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Tell A Tale is great to play on your own, but it’s even better with friends. Take turns telling short stories to your friends, or gather the whole family for a long tale and take turns saying what happens next.  Each time you complete a story, a new illustration will be unlocked for you to use in future tales.

So turn your Sifteo Cubes into storytelling machines and explore the world of Arnaud De Bock’s Tell A Tale!

To hear more about the art of Arnaud De Bock, follow him on Twitter @Arnaud_Debock

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Wildflower – A free, easy to use game creator for Sifteo from indie developer Frank Force

Posted October 17th, 2013 by under News

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Click here to download Wildflower and get started!

Indie game developer Frank Force built his own level editor to create the mind-bending platformer for Sifteo Cubes, Squaresville. Now he has turned his editor into an application for Windows based PCs that anyone can use to make their own games, and we are thrilled to be sharing the project with the Sifteo Community. If you’ve wanted to try your hand at making games for your cubes but you’re not a programmer, this is your chance to get started!

Wildflower is a 2D tile level editor in which you can quickly make levels by arranging the built-in art from Squaresville to create your own custom levels. To get started editing after installing the program, simply select a tile from the quick-pick box on the right side of the editor window then click within the game world to start drawing with that tile.

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Paint in solid tiles to stand on, stack towers to the sky, draw a moat and fill it in, but make sure you include a path for your character to make it to the other side!

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Draw in some modifications to the demo world and you’ll quickly be shaping your own unique version of this level. After working in some new changes, click Siftulator Test in the bottom left area of the Menu Bar to launch Siftulator. For those new to Siftulator, it is an application that allows you to simulate Sifteo Cube play on your computer without needing the actual cube hardware. It’s great for quick playtesting of your levels as you add more to them.

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Siftulator launches and the new additions to the Wildflower demo world can be seen in the game.

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To test the level modifications on your Sifteo Cube hardware turn on your Sifteo Cube base and connect it to the PC with the USB cable included with your cubes and click Sifteo Install. Your game will be sent to your cubes. Find Wildflower in the Sifteo Cube menu and press its icon to run your game.

 

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Keep making changes! Try building obstacles and paths to get your players thinking. When you’re happy with your creation run Sifteo Install again and hand your cubes and level off to a friend. See if they can make it through the peaks and perils of your creation. Ask ‘em how they like it. Think of how your game can be better, then head back to Wildflower on your PC to refine your world. Make it more challenging or a bit easier for a spell, it’s all up to you.

To start using your own custom art, open up one of the background tile sets in the image editor of your choice. In the screen shot below Tile Set 0 (background0.png) is being modified. You can find this file within the images folder of the Wildflower SDK. Edit the file in your preferred image editor, save it and it will automatically be updated in Wildflower and ready to use.

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Working with the built-in art you can make levels in no time. Working with custom art, you’ll soon find that your game world can take on nearly any look that you imagine. To go even further with Wildflower, create your own custom versions of in-game objects and NPCs (non-player characters). You can read about how to do all of these topics in Frank Force’s Wildflower wiki.

So go on, let your imagination run wild in Frank Force’s Wildflower game development kit. Click here to download a copy of Wildflower and get started!

We are also thrilled to announce the Wildflower Design & Art Contest, awarding Sifteo Cube sets to winners for best game art and best game design. For contest details please see the contest rules wiki.

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Of Plunder and Papercraft

Posted September 4th, 2013 by under News

This week Sifteo launched Island Hoppin’ Pirates, a new multiplayer adventure for Sifteo Cubes. Fondly abbreviated as IHoP during development, this game is all about celebrating the imaginative physical play brought to life by Sifteo Cubes.

It’s a cube+tabletop+game+imagination mashup that turns your living room table into a high seas adventure. Your cubes are pirate ships, the Sifteo Base is the dock awaiting your treasure-filled schooner, and as you play, your surroundings become the sea.

To take the game’s imaginative play a step further, we created Island Hoppin’ Papercraft so you can transform your cubes into pirate ships inside and out. To get started refitting your cubes as colorful schooners, download and print out a fleet of new paper hulls for your Sifteo Cubes from the link below. (For the young buccaneers out there, be sure to have a parent help out.)

Island Hoppin’ Pirates Ship-Cube Printout

With your cubes shipshape, you’ll be ready to set sail for adventure on the far flung seas of your tables and countertops. For even more papercraft fun, build a model paper ship from the world of Island Hoppin’ Pirates with these printouts!

Patch’s Ship
Croc’s Ship
Thetis’ Ship
Rusty’s Ship

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Sifteo celebrates the end of the school year with free shipping!

Posted May 28th, 2013 by under News

School's out and we're celebrating with free shipping!

 

Score your Sifteo Cubes during our free shipping promotion between now and June 21, 2013. Keep in touch and stay cool this summer!

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Sifteo Showcase at Maker Faire

Posted May 24th, 2013 by under News

Sifteo had an awesome turnout at Maker Faire Bay Area last weekend. The family-friendly festival celebrated invention, creativity and resourcefulness, so Sifteo fit right in with all the hacking, crafting and fun. Makers from California and beyond flocked to Sifteo’s booth in the Expo hall to play all the newest games.

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Can you spot Suli the Cube Buddy in this crowd of makers?

Sifteo’s hackable hardware really resonated with the DIY spirit of Maker Faire. Developers of all ages were eager to learn more about how the free Sifteo SDK would allow them to create their own games. And Daniel Plemmons, Developer Evangelist for Sifteo, helped those interested get set up with the files and information needed to get started.

Bernie Lin, Director of Games, shows off Ice Palace

Bernie Lin, Director of Games Production, shows off Ice Palace

Maker Faire also marked the release of Ice Palace, the second game in the popular Sandwich Kingdom series. In this game of mazes and traps, players guide the young pirate Cobb Saade through the perilous paths of the Great Glazed Glacier. Ice Palace highlights Sifteo’s focus on Intelligent Play, as players use their short-term memory and spatial awareness skills to find their way to the legendary Ice Cream Sandwich.

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Kids couldn’t take their hands off Sifteo Cubes!

All weekend long, screens and eyes were lit up by the magical fun of Sifteo. Kids and creators played together face to face, engaging in collaborative puzzle solving and imaginative play. Those present were empowered to offer their feedback, thereby shaping the future of games with their own creativity.

Sifteo is truly thankful for all the support from Bay Area makers!

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Try the latest Sifteo games at Maker Faire Bay Area, May 18th & 19th

Posted May 13th, 2013 by under News

Cuddly Cube Buddy says Hello at a past Sifteo event

Cuddly Cube Buddy says hello at a past Sifteo event



Sifteo will be in booth 452 in the Expo hall at Maker Faire this weekend.
Maker Faire is the the world’s most diverse showcase of creativity and innovation in technology, craft, science, fashion, art, food and more! And it’s located near the Sifteo headquarters, in the Bay Area. Join us!

Special events at our booth:

SATURDAY, May 18th
10am-12pm: Ice Palace Unveil. Be the first to play our Sandwich Kingdom sequel.
12pm-2pm: Design Your Own Game Level. Featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
2pm-4pm: Photos with our Cuddly Cube Buddy.
5pm-7pm: Developer Tools Q&A.

SUNDAY, May 19th
10am-12pm: Developer Tools Q&A.
12pm-2pm: Build a Paper Pirate Ship. And sail the oceans in our game Pesky Pirates.
2pm-4pm: Photos with Our Cuddly Cube Buddy.

Come play with us!

Click on this map for help finding out booth (#452 in the Expo hall):
Expo Hall Map

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Supporting Women in Game Development

Posted May 7th, 2013 by under News

Sifteo is running a 48-hour game jam to support women in game development May 10th to 12th in the San Francisco Bay Area that we call home. We’d like to share a bit about what we’re doing and why. If you’re interested in joining us, even if its just to pop-in, check out the eventbrite! Both the Friday kickoff and Sunday showoff are great times for interested folk to come see what everyone is up to. If you can’t come, please help us share the event with others so we can reach as many people as possible.

Sifteo Women in Games Jam
2475 3rd Street
#252
San Francisco, CA 94107
Friday, May 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM – Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM (PDT)

The team members that have built and continue to build Sifteo come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Artists, designers, engineers, producers, marketers, managers, and more. Some come from hobbyist hacking, others have been making commercial games for years. Some of us are self taught, some have PhDs. Some of us build puzzles, others are FPS-action lovers. Some have been making games and hardware their whole lives, for others this is their first job in the industry. We’d like to think ourselves a pretty diverse group with a lot of perspectives, if only by our backgrounds and the paths that led us here. But as our producer Robin Yang (@robinyang) reminded us all recently, we can always do better, especially in an industry that sorely needs to improve in diversity, acceptance, and accessibility.

At a recent team roundtable, Robin gave us a great presentation on how we can become better advocates for gender diversity right now. So often it is easy to say you support diversity and simply never do anything, having checked off that box and moved on. She challenged us to take action to support others and to be more cognizant of how our actions might be influenced by unnoticed biases or simply by ignorance of others needs. Here’s a link to a slightly abridged version of her deck

Gender Diversity and Advocacy at Sifteo in 2013 from Robin Yang

In an effort to be more active in the community we decided to pivot our next major public event, a local community game jam, to focus it on supporting women in game development. There’s a lot of people at Sifteo passionate about making games a more inviting industry for women so it seemed a natural fit. We’ve put a lot of thought into how to best pull this off and I think we’re all pretty excited to see it happen this weekend. Inspired by the recent conference in New York, the theme of the jam will be Different Games. Getting away from the status quo and creating new kinds of experiences is something that what always been important at Sifteo, and its something that happens naturally in a more diverse industry.

We’ll be hosting a #1ReasonToBe open mic at the Friday kickoff, a chance for women and their supporters in the industry to share their #1ReasonToBe in the technology/games industry. If you haven’t seen it, the magnificent #1ReasonToBe panel from this year’s GDC is free in the vault. It is our hope this will lead to some great connections and discussions throughout the weekend. Both women and men from Sifteo will also be presenting on how to design and build games on the cubes and will be around throughout the weekend to work alongside jammers and to help them build their games. Sunday evening we’ll have a show-off where jammers can present and celebrate what they’ve built.

But we know we can’t just run a single event and call it a day. We’ve started helping out with the Girl Scouts “When I Grow Up” program, where a few Sifteons got to go out and teach Girl Scouts to build and deploy levels in a game. In an effort to improve our workplace, we’ve made sure to be explicit that if someone is uncomfortable about actions here, even if they’re ostensibly benign, that they will be supported if they speak up. We’ve even starting looking at how things like the size/shapes of team t-shirts we order may address unconscious biases about our team. We’re also looking at how we can rework our future events to make them more accessible to all comers (stay tuned, I’m very excited about some news coming up in June), planning other diversity focused events, and are a member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Entrepreneurial Alliance.

There are a lot of ways to improve our industry. Industry-wide change is hard and takes time, but there is good momentum these days. We hope that with events like this, along with changing the day-to-day expectations in our small part of the world, we can help make things better. As people spread from workplaces and communities where diversity is the expectation and not the exception they’ll spread their expectations along with them. That has the power to change our industry at a grassroots level for the better.

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“When I grow up…”

Posted April 25th, 2013 by under Events, Game development, Interviews, News, Sifteo Life

Robin Yang, Games Producer

Robin Yang, Games Producer at Sifteo

Robin Yang, Games Producer at Sifteo, gave a career talk at the Girl Scouts “When I Grow Up” career exploration we attended a couple weekends ago. We were blown away by how she inspired a whole room of girls to get psyched about STEM subjects, technology, and game development, so we wanted to share her thoughts on the experience with others: 

“Getting to know the Girl Scouts at the “When I Grow Up” event was inspiring to me — it baffles me that people still assume that girls aren’t interested in technology when in a single day I met dozens of curious young women excited to learn more about what we do as game developers. Seeing them understand the games, and then start to understand how they could become game developers themselves, reminded me how important it is for our industry to keep pushing and dedicating time to this issue. We have to continue to tell our #1reasontobe to aspiring generations as well as to each other — the only way we’ll create a more diverse (and therefore more creative, inclusive, profitable, innovative) industry is if we actively prioritize doing so. Sharing our stories and helping young girls visualize their path into technology/games is an important first step.”

Want to help Sifteo and Robin inspire girls to become game developers? Share this post on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word and encouragement!

Sifteo's honorary Girl Scout badge

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Flirtation, enemies, and revenge: talking about games with developer Josh Lee

Posted April 23rd, 2013 by under Game development, Games, Interviews, News

Flirtation, enemies, and revenge–sound like themes from your favorite Shakespearean drama? Sure, but they’re also major players in the plot of social games!

Meet Josh Lee, game developer of Floor Is Lava and creator of Low Rollr, Sifteo’s new (semi-)massive mulitplayer* game. See what he has to say about bluffing, flirting, and the psychology of competition in Low Rollr and many other games with related mechanics.

Josh Lee of Floor Is Lava

What games inspired you while making Low Rollr? What about them sparked your interest?

I was initially inspired by dice games like Yahtzee and Farkle. I particularly like the game Pass the Pigs and the way it builds its rules around the pig-shaped dice.

An example of a roll in the game Pass the Pigs, which influenced the development of Low Rollr.

Mostly, though, I was inspired by the thought of people chucking their cubes in a blatantly unsafe manner. I was really excited about that. Eventually, though, I calmed down and made a game that you could play just by shaking, with less risk of permanent damage to your cubes.

What did you learn about group and social dynamics while making (and playing!) Low Rollr? Have you noticed any trends in how people negotiate their relationships to luck and other players?

When I was designing Low Rollr, I had a very game-designery idea of how it would be played: players would keep track of low rolls, see who’s been getting hit with actions, try to guess what their opponents’ scores were, and use their Low Rollr actions to go after whoever they thought had the high score. All very tidy, logical, and strategic.

In reality, people target their actions based on revenge, not logic. You tag me with a Lose Points action, I tag you back with a Halve Score. Never mind that we’re both driving down each others’ scores while everyone else’s scores keep going up. For some reason, people don’t play Low Rollr to win — they play to take their enemies down with them. I had no idea this game would end up as an example of man’s inhumanity to man, but there you go.

Also, if a group of players includes a couple, the couple will always go after each other. I have no idea why–in-game flirting, maybe?

 

Kaleidoscopic triangles, oh my! Tell us about the art style for the game.

Low Rollr’s visual style came out of an experiment in trying to make cube-friendly graphics with as few elements as possible. Most of the game’s graphics — the animated text, the background textures, etc. — are made out of little right triangles (or two right triangles stuck together to make a square).

While messing around with different ways of animating things, I discovered that with a little bit of bad math, you could create some pretty psychedelic patterns, which led to the demo that graces the main menu in the game.

 Low Rollr, multiplayer game for on Sifteo Cubes

Do you have any tips on best bluffing practices or keeping a straight face when you have the high score? What works best?

The most effective strategy is to be very quiet and not draw any attention to yourself. Let the other players antagonize each other and fall into a vicious cycle of Steal actions while you quietly rack up points.

But what fun is it to play a game like this silently? The actual most awesome strategy is to actively sow seeds of doubt and paranoia in your opponents’ minds. Insinuate that a player *may* be rolling a lot of 7s. Suggest that another player doesn’t *seem* to have been the Low Rollr in a while, and must have a lot of points by now. Just don’t be too obvious, or you’ll draw attention to yourself. A few simple nudges is all it takes to turn the table into a pile of halved scores, with you at the top of the heap.

 

Are there any Easter eggs in your game? What is it and how can we find it?

There is, actually! In the main menu screen, hold the crazy pattern cube upside down and press its screen. I won’t say what it is–you’ll have to find out for yourself!

*Play Low Rollr with up to 12 players!

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