Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

21 April, 2015

Mobile game adventures: Fantasica
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:40 AM

About a year and a half ago, I got my first smartphone: a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition. I really enjoy it, even if it did come at a hefty price tag.

Of course, one of the first things I did with it was install some games. :) By now I’ve played a number of games, but I wanted to write a bit about one game I’ve played for quite a while now: a game called Fantasica.

Let’s me share a little about it in this analysis/review.
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21 March, 2015

Defending Peter Molyneux
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:38 PM

“Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?”

Imagine someone coming up to you and saying that. About the only context where I don’t think the person is the world’s biggest asshole is if this were a good friend giving me some friendly teasing. As the opening to an interview? Yeah, that’s probably the world’s biggest asshole on the other end.

Let’s look at why this phrase is garbage.
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9 December, 2014

Bloggy XMAS 9: How to grow a community
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:00 AM

This post is part of Bloggy XMAS with the theme of “gaming and community”. #bloggyxmas

“Gaming and community”, there’s a topic to cover. Perhaps one of the most vitally important topics in our modern lives; community is the foundation of the internet as we know it. The internet has given us connections with other people far beyond what we could imagine, bringing together people who want to share with each other. So, yeah, community is pretty important.

Since I’m a developer, let’s make this post practical, as my holiday gift to you. What does it take to turn a bunch of unruly people into a community?
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8 May, 2014

The importance of community
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:54 AM

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who helped me out with the vet bills for Susano. I appreciate every gift, help in spreading my request, and kind word of support. It means a lot to me that people were willing to help.

I wrote personal emails to everyone who sent a gift. In many of these notes, I mentioned the importance of community. I often talk about how important community is on this blog, and it was a nice reminder about how community affects me personally in ways beyond the theory I share on here.

Let me share some thoughts about community.
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26 February, 2014

Extreme Makeover: Random grouping
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:42 PM

I did a phone interview recently where I discussed ideas on how to improve random grouping. What I’m calling “random grouping” is perhaps best known from WoW’s Dungeon Finder (Looking for Dungeon or LFD) and Raid Finder (Looking for Raid or LFR) systems, where you indicate you want to run a dungeon and you are randomly matched up with other people. I share the common lament that random grouping systems don’t help players form social bonds within the game even if they would like to do so.

So, let me put my designer hat on and describe a system to allow for more socialization opportunities.
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16 September, 2013

Frustrated while trying to play with friends
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:24 PM

My MMO poison of choice these days is Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO). It’s a great game and I love it a lot. These days, I mostly play with a few fixed, or “static”, groups; however, I have played some solo characters on other servers when the fancy strikes me. But, for the most part, if I play the game I’m playing a character that plays with others.

Sometimes, however, the strain one has to go through to play with friends makes you wonder if other MMO developers actually play. Let’s take a look at a recent frustration.
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20 May, 2013

Fun vs. satisfaction
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:32 AM

Games are supposed to be fun, duh. It seems to be a regular comment that if something isn’t fun, it should be removed from a game. Why are game developers so stupid to leave in systems that nobody finds fun? Or, just look at those EEEEEVIL free-to-play games with their “pay to win” strategies, forcing people to pay money to avoid the parts that aren’t fun, amirite?

Except, there’s a good reason why games have parts that don’t seem fun on the surface, but that build a long-term feeling of satisfaction. Let’s take a look at satisfaction and why it matters in games.
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18 March, 2013

The old, spiced with the new
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:39 AM

What makes a game successful? Well, if I had the answer to that, I’d be bottling it and selling it and buying a gold-plated sports car. The reality is that there are a ton of little parts and pieces that contribute to the whole. You have to figure out each of those little elements (and have a healthy dose of luck) to succeed

Let’s take a look at one particular aspect: how much of the game should be new, compared to how much should be familiar to your players.
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20 January, 2013

When fun becomes a grind
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:43 PM

One recurring complaint of MMO players is the “grind”. It’s interesting taking a look at the history of MMOs, because it becomes obvious that it’s mostly player perception that determines what is a grind. Every mechanic that people deride as a grind started out as something fun. In fact, sometimes it is a particularly new or novel feature that eventually becomes the dreaded grind.

Let’s take a look at how something fun devolves into a grind.
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9 December, 2012

How to design a game economy
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:14 PM

Okay, I made a big deal about the economy of Guild Wars 2 and how I did not view it as a fun system supporting to the game. Given that there was a lot of discussion about this, and that I’m an MMO designer, I figured I should post something detailing what should go into the design of an MMO economy.

What are the goals of economic design? What are the important factors? What should be avoided?
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