Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

23 July, 2016

The purpose of metrics in a game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:49 PM

Years ago people stumbled across the idea of gathering data about players. A few MMO developers realized they could gather information about what players were actually doing. After all, all player activities had to be verified by the server, so recording that information and storing it for later was a direct process.

Then social network games sprang on the scene. Driven by web development which had been collecting metrics for years, this idea became a no-brainer. Measure everything and draw all sorts of conclusions about what the players really want, with an eye toward maximizing revenues.

So, what has happened to metrics in modern game design? Let’s take a look.
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20 July, 2016

The long road to success
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:01 PM

As a society, we tend to have a few specific narratives we apply to specific situations. As I wrote in the last post, we love the scrappy underdog that fights against all odds to succeed; the classic David vs. Goliath. We also love the “overnight success” story; however, most of the time the success did not happen overnight. This is especially true for games.

Let’s take a look at some “overnight” successes and how they actually took a while to develop.
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14 July, 2016

What makes a good roguelike?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:31 PM

Although I didn’t list it as one of my favorite genres, I do like roguelikes. They are pretty popular these days, too, with a ton of variations on the theme.

One of my friends said he was on a mission to own all the roguelikes and “roguelites” available on Steam. My good friend Dave Toulouse was looking at his recent game, March of the Living in the context of other roguelikes. We talked a bit about how fast you fail can make a difference in a good roguelike.

So, I figured I’d talk a bit about what elements make a good roguelike.
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10 July, 2016

What makes a good metroidvania?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:16 PM

As I said, I picked up a few metroidvanias from the recent Steam sale. As I love that genre of games, enough to list it as one of my favorites, I figured I’d take apart a few things I think make for a good metroidvania.
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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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Posts Copyright Brian Green, aka Psychochild. Comments belong to their authors.