Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

14 June, 2017

Overflow stats, or what to do about Accuracy
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:52 AM

The big Stormblood expansion for FFXIV is almost upon us. Lots of changes in store, which is interesting and scary both as a developer and a player. Will my favorite class still be my favorite class afterward? Will everyone just be playing the new classes? Will this be a turning point, where the game gets streamlined and the game no longer appeals to me like WoW did?

One mechanic that is going away is Accuracy. This was a secondary stat that increased your chance to hit monsters, particularly important for raid bosses. In fact, it was vitally important to be “accuracy capped” if you wanted to do the hardest raids in FFXIV.

But, the stat had some problems. Let’s take a look at those problems and the problems with other stats like it, as well as some solutions.
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10 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 4
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:13 AM

Last time on this blog, I talked about why it’s futile to try to remove online privacy and anonymity, and why enforcement is nigh impossible in reality. This time, let’s take a look at what we designers can do to address some of the issues that are caused by privacy and anonymity since they are generally worth keeping.

I strongly recommend you go read the previous posts before this one to get the necessary background. Although, it may not be strictly necessary if you’re already a fan of anonymity and privacy.
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9 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 3
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:32 AM

In my last post, I talked a bit about the harm in removing anonymity and privacy. This post, let’s take a look at why it’s futile to try to remove it, and why enforcement is nigh impossible in reality.

The previous posts provide a lot of context and background for this one, so I recommend you read those first.
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8 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 2
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:14 AM

In my previous post, I took a closer look at what anonymity is and posed a few questions to think about as we discuss this topic further. In this post, I want to talk a bit about U.S. cultural assumptions about privacy and anonymity. Then look at what general harm is done when we remove it from online spaces.
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7 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 1
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:56 AM

Harassment, bullying, abuse. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape these horrible things as we created online spaces. Some people simply aren’t very considerate of others. And because the internet is a communication medium, we see these vile behaviors more frequently since many messages are broadcast to a wide audience.

It makes sense that designers would look for answers to this problem. Since issues like harassment, bullying, and abuse seem to be less frequent in the offline world, people look for ways to make online more like offline One frequent proposal is to remove online anonymity, since this is a feature easily available online but much harder to do offline. The reasoning is that if people can’t hide behind anonymity, they would behave better.

I’m going to take the controversial perspective that anonymity, and it’s related cousin privacy, are too valuable to give up in the futile pursuit of eliminating bad behavior online. This is a series of blog posts that will look into anonymity and privacy in online spaces.
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22 January, 2017

The real endgame? Appearance.
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:17 PM

I made a very good friend in FFXIV last month. She started playing the game with a few friends and happened to see my showy, yet simple, tank glamour. We started talking and she admitted she was a big fan of setting her appearance in MMOs. She was very fond of her WoW transmogs.

Since I’m a crafter, that meant I got a lot of new requests for crafting stuff. Which is fine, as I really like helping out my friends. But, it also got me thinking a bit about appearance systems in games. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
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8 December, 2016

Socialism in MMOs
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:44 PM

I’ve run into an interesting situation with some people in FFXIV. Many times people have needed items which I have gladly been able to provide (or acquire easily), but people feel bad taking the items from me. They insist on paying for the items somehow, or they want to trade. One friend said she felt bad always asking me for stuff, even if I offer on a regular basis.

I wanted to take a look at this, and look at why it really didn’t bother me to offer these items or services to others. Why I’m a big-hearted socialist in MMOs.
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28 September, 2016

The blank page and the distilled essence
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:55 PM

For creative people, sometimes the most daunting thing is the blank page. Sometimes you simply have no clue where to begin when working on a new idea; the idea can be so large that working from any particular perspective threatens to block out something else. Focusing on expressing one perspective could drive others out of your head, diminishing the work as a whole. Creative people usually come up with some solution for this. For me, I like to write down concepts and then organize them into a structure, usually an outline, that guides me as I work on other parts.

Sometimes that blank page can appear unconquerable. For less experienced people, it’s sometimes easier to borrow some structure from another source. In writing, a novice might borrow a universe they like and create “fanfic”. Or an experienced creator might want to take something they’ve seen and give it their own spin. An artist might take familiar characters from other media and create something new; conventions usually have art halls full of familiar comic characters in humorous or sexy situations they wouldn’t normally be found in.

So, let’s look at the use of other works as structure for your own.
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5 September, 2016

The importance of group culture

One of the most overlooked aspects of the company is it’s culture. It’s easy to ignore culture when a company is small, as people tend to be more like-minded. But as a company grows you bring on more people, and a company culture will form whether you intend it to or not.

Especially in creative areas, the culture can be vitally important for how well a company does. Let’s take a look at how culture of a workplace or a group can affect creative effort.
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24 August, 2016

Creativity requires a healthy ego
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:16 PM

A friend of mine started a Google+ discussion talking about creativity. He talked about how a successful software developer had been called “a dick” and speculated how that could be true.

That got me to thinking about what it takes to be creative and how creative people are perceptive. You might be able to guess my thoughts if you read the title of this post, but let me go into a bit more detail.
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