Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

23 June, 2016

Multiple paths in MMOs
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:07 AM

One big lessons I’ve taken away from MMOs is having multiple paths of advancement. This is so fundamental that “have multiple paths of advancement” is one of the first of the Laws of Online World Design.

Let’s take a look at what this means in practical terms.
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15 June, 2016

It’s the marketing that kills your game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:53 PM

A lot of people have incorrect perceptions about making games. For example, people on the outside of the industry think that making games is like playing games. This is obviously pretty far from reality.

But, even indies have a lot of wrong ideas about game development. Let’s take a look at another recent example.
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11 June, 2016

What is a Technical Designer?

Interviewing takes up a lot of time, especially if you fly across the country for an interview. So, forgive me if I miss a post or two in the next few months.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that the title of “Technical Designer” has been showing up a lot more. As a game designer with a solid technical foundation, this is exciting. So, let me tell you a bit more about Technical Designers and why they are interesting.
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28 May, 2016

The multiple hierarchies of the game industry

The game industry is a strange place sometimes. I was musing about the nature of the industry the other day, thinking about this. Part of my motivation was to think about my own place in the industry, and another part was thinking about my slowly developing book Thinking Like a Game Designer. When I really thought about it, the one term I’d use to describe the game industry, particularly the triple-A side, is “hierarchies”.

Interested in a closer look?
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21 May, 2016

“Why can’t you add just one more thing….”
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:59 PM

One of my pet peeves is people underestimating the work that goes into game development. For example, people ask, “Why can’t you add just this simple thing?” not realizing that this one thing has a lot of consequences.

I’ll go into some detail about why one simple thing is usually not a simple thing.
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18 May, 2016

Making the prototype
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:49 PM

In a recent comment, Tyrannodorkus (who plays in my weekend tabletop group!) asked: “I’m curious how you do your mock ups? Do you make a working model program, or create a pen and paper version to play around with?”

So, let me talk a bit about prototyping a new game mechanic.
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14 May, 2016

Why it’s not all semantics because game design matters
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:14 PM

In my recent design challenge on doing away with hit points, the prolific bhagpuss left a comment saying, “I think this is semantics (although it has to be said that I’m a semiologist at heart so I believe everything is semantics).”

The argument, also shared by Jeromai, was that trying to replace hit points with some other game mechanic would still result in a substantially similar system. But, this is not the case, because game design is important. Let me go into why changing hit points into another system would fundamentally change the gameplay.
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13 May, 2016

When cooperating, don’t deny

A little bonus posting since I missed Monday.

One rule I read about improv that I really like is “don’t deny”. Thinking about it, it’s a pretty good rule in a lot of other situations, too, as denying can derail a situation and take precious time to put back on track. So, let’s take a look at what this means.
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11 May, 2016

Design Challenge: doing away with hit points

I’m still feeling a bit under the weather, so let’s do something a bit different. A weekend design challenge in the middle of the week.

So, here’s the challenge: design a combat system that isn’t the current standard “beat on a target until their bag of hit points is depleted.” I’ll post a few ideas, but get ready to share yours!
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4 May, 2016

The newbie tabletop gaming experience
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:25 PM

The new player experience is something that gets a lot of attention in computer gaming, particularly in MMO gaming. Recently, I’ve been initiating a fellow gamer into the deeper mysteries of a tabletop RPGs and have been helping her to create a character. Along the way, I’ve been taking a look at what it takes to get someone into tabletop gaming. And, by extension, how to apply these lessons to other games in the future.
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Posts Copyright Brian Green, aka Psychochild. Comments belong to their authors.