360 Achievers Widget
I had to prototype a Dashboard widget for Janet Murray’s “Designing the Medium” class. Since I’m an achievement whore constantly trying to justify to others the value I see in achievements as a new, generalizable reward structure in games and as a meta-game, I hacked together something that would host the kind of discussion around achievements that I’ve been looking for.
The only existant 360-related widgets on Apple right now are Gamercard widgets (pretty simple, usually it just sets up a dummy Live account to redirect requests through and then shows you your Gamercard) and the 1337pwn Friends List widget (does about the same, a dummy account looks up information on Friends you enter into the widget and then shows you if they’re online and what they’re playing). This is what I came up with (oh and it actually works, if I’d just designed the layout in Illustrator it would’ve been a lot prettier, but it was my first venture into J-script):
Everything from “Achievement Comments” down is a wiki. The back end isn’t fully implemented, because I’m not a hardcore coder. On the back there are some RSS feeds and a place to input your Gamertag to pull up your Gamercard. The basic idea is that the widget would read your Tag to see the games you’ve played, which would then grant you access to the wikis for the games you actually know something about.
My basic valuation of achievements is that they both parse games into meaningful units while also highlighting modes of play that might otherwise go ignored by players if they didn’t have an explicit, displayable reason to do so (the achievement). A good example of this notion is the 99 achievements for the Orange Box, which focused me toward playing numerous encounters in the games in ways that I wouldn’t have thought of myself.