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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16 July, 2016

Even indies need work/life balance
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:12 AM

When I ran my own game company, I’ll admit that I threw much of myself into the work. I spent nearly every waking hour for the first several years working on the business. If it wasn’t adding features to Meridian 59, it was filing tax paperwork, or mentoring one of my employees.

But, the important thing here is that I chose to work long hours. I owned about half the company, and if the company had seen great success I stood to profit from it. Plus, I truly enjoyed the work; it didn’t feel like a burden to bear, it was something I was happy to do.

But, what if I didn’t want to live my life entirely for work? What if I wanted to stop and smell the roses? Is there a reason why I couldn’t do so?
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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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12 July, 2016

MMOs are everywhere, they’re just not called MMOs
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:08 PM

One thing that has struck me lately is how MMOs are everywhere. The trick is that people don’t call them “MMOs” anymore. MMOs have silently slipped into other games, some even very popular. But perhaps we have a hard time recognizing anything that isn’t a Diku clone.

Let’s take a look at where MMOs have gone to now that the spotlight is off of the traditional MMORPGs. You might be surprised where MMOs are popping up these days.
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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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6 July, 2016

Questions about types of games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:31 PM

A few questions for you to ponder. I’ll post my answer later as to not pollute answers:

When I say “types” of games, I mean setting, gameplay, whatever you want. I’m mostly interested in PC and/or mobile gaming, but you can include consoles if you want.

1. What would you say is your favorite type (or top 3 favorite types) of games?

2. What types of games do you wish they would make more of right now?

3. What types of games do you think they make too many of right now?

I’ll post my answers sometime tomorrow in a comment to this post.

4 July, 2016

Steam sale goodies
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:05 PM

So, the Steam summer sale has come and gone. As I sit in limbo, waiting to hear back from various opportunities, I bought a few games that were on serious discounts. My wish list got a little lighter, but my backlog got a bit heavier.

Anyway, I figured I might talk a bit about the games I picked up and why they interested me.
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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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