Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

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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2 May, 2016

My development of my leadership skills
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:28 PM

Over the past few years, I’ve taken a keen interest in the topic of leadership. Part of it comes from my time running Near Death Studios; I think having more leadership training could have helped me grow the business better. I would like to start my own company again in the future, and so I’m looking to build my leadership skills for the next company I start.

Let me share a bit of what I’ve been looking at, and perhaps you’ll have a few suggestions of your own.
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30 April, 2016

When to balance a game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:14 PM

On Google+, Paul Gestwicki suggested a topic: “How about a post on the relative merits of different balancing schedules during incremental development: balancing each feature as it is added, balancing periodically, balancing continuously.”

This seems interesting like an interesting topic, so let me go into some of my personal observations on game balance and when to balance a game.
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29 April, 2016

Creative ownership and its associated weirdness
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:52 PM

Game development is mostly about creativity, about how to harness and manage creativity to create these wonderful fun works of art. But, there’s often some weirdness that comes along with that. The “ownership” of creative ideas tends to be a bit strange when it comes to some people, and this is even before we might start delving into the legal aspects!

So, allow me to take a look at creative ownership in game development.
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28 April, 2016

A call for more diversity of games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:20 PM

Another reader-suggested topic today:

Imperien Cypher suggested:

With the notable exception of Eve-Online, every new MMO I’ve played since the late 90s has felt like a glorified tutorial meant to teach players the ropes before the competition actually begins… Which, sadly, never seems to happen.

On that basis: Are gamers today too “soft” to handle an MMO with the kind of PvP which was the norm in the M59/UOL era? By that I primarily mean tangible death consequences in the form of “exp death” and/or “full looting” appropriate to a given game’s mechanics.

TLDR Version: Is the MMO genre doomed to remain a “Sacred Haven” until the end of time?

I think there’s two answers to this question, although they are related.
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