Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

14 September, 2016

“Pray I don’t alter it any further”
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:18 PM

If you don’t follow game industry news, you might have missed that Valve changed how they use reviews. The short version is that only if you’ve bought a game directly from steam does your review count by default.

This has some pretty tremendous consequences for game developers, and probably for game players. Let’s take a look at what this means in a bit more detail, shall we?
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12 September, 2016

Should game developers be gamers?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:48 PM

It’s a common refrain. People grow older and they get busier. Between jobs, friends, kids, and other responsibilities, games sometimes get left by the wayside. People just don’t have the time to dedicate in order to sit down and immerse themselves in a game like they did before.

But, what happens when that busy person is a game developer? If you work in the game industry, does it make sense that you should be a gamer, too?
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5 September, 2016

The importance of group culture
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:40 PM

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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22 August, 2016

How to sunset a game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:59 PM

What does it take to sunset a game? This went from academic MMO exercise a decade ago to pressing issue for today’s mobile games with a strong online component in an increasingly overcrowded market where games don’t necessarily last that long.

So, how do you gracefully close down a game during what is a time fraught with emotional loss for the players?
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20 August, 2016

Ask me (almost) anything
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:17 PM

Today in honor of passing the midpoint of Blaugust 2016, I’ll do an “ask me (almost) anything” thread.

Read the guidelines, and then post a comment!
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17 August, 2016

Cargo cult game development

Theoretical physics Richard Feynman popularized the phrase, “cargo cult science”, referring to “cargo cults” on some Pacific islands that sought to bring material wealth by performing rituals and building elements that seemed to attract it before. In particular, they built airplane runways, hoping to attract the airplanes that carried cargo to them before. The connotation is that the islanders (and scientists practicing “cargo cult science”) were going through motions they didn’t understand to get a result.

As an aside, modern scholars think the islanders weren’t ignorant of technology, but rather performing an elaborate ritual. But, the term has remained and used in the original sense and I’ll use it here without rendering judgement on those Pacific islanders.

We can just as easily point to “cargo cult game development”, where game developers of all stripes copy something they don’t understand in order to get result they want. They blindly copy rather than understand. So, let’s take a look at how this work across different disciplines.
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15 August, 2016

Toxic, passionate fans
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:37 PM

We’ve seen a more people being abusive to game developers recently. The most recent example is No Man’s Sky, where people are angry for a number of reasons.

The stated reasons don’t matter, but the actual reasons might be useful for knowing how to handle this as a developer.
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13 August, 2016

Weekend Design Challenge: Explaining your game

So, let me dust off this old thing and let’s talk about explaining your game. This is a vital part of game development on multiple levels.

Let’s take a look at why it’s so important, with a little challenge for you to ponder.
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10 August, 2016

“There’s a philistine and an aesthete in all of us”
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:16 PM

My friend Jay Gischer shared a link on Google plus entitled A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art. An artist who just spent a few years creating lovingly hand-crafted pixel art gives up hope and accepts people are cultural philistines while bending over backwards to forgive them.

Now, I’m a fan of pixel art, so I have a few things to say on this. Buckle in…
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3 August, 2016

Negativity and its effect on indie developers
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:19 PM

Let me tell you a story about my good friend Dave. He’s a smart guy and an indie game developer. He’s stuck with game development for many years. He finally had a success big enough that he’s working on making games full time.

Dave wants to work on a new game. He’s trying a lot of things. He’s trying some 3D this time instead of going with 2D as he has before. He’s working on some AI-driven stuff, instead of heavily scripted and content-heavy games before.

Dave showed the game to some fellow indie developers. But, you know what he found? Negativity.

And negativity doesn’t help.
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