Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

20 February, 2007

PvP lessons from multiple games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:34 AM

Scott has an article on PvP over on his site where he talks about PvP in terms of “gang warfare”. An interesting topic where he pulls examples from multiple games.

Yeah, it’s a PvP article, so I have to respond. Don’t I?

26 October, 2006

Useless features
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:08 PM

Ryan Shwayder wrote a bit on his blog about WYSIWYGn’t Loot. He argues that if you see it on a monster, it should drop in the loot when the monster dies. It’s rewarding and fun, after all.

Of course, he realizes that there are some problems with this. So, he talks about how to make it so that tons of loot that would likely drop won’t bog down the economy, primarily by making most items worthless. Of course, he doesn’t consider the impact of this behavior on the technical side.

So, let’s talk about why some ideas, like this one, aren’t implemented in current games.

27 September, 2006

Meridian 59 turns 10, still not legally able to drink
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:09 PM

But that doesn’t stop the developers.

Mr. Schubert pointed it out before I did. Appropriate, since he broke, er, I mean, worked on the game before I did. ;) But, 10 years ago today Meridian 59 was launched on an unsuspecting public by an unsuspecting publisher, 3DO. Unfortunately, the public remained mostly unsuspecting due to some really terrible advertising.

Say what you will about the old girl, she has a place in history. She was the first online game for many people, she set the standard for the flat monthly fee (for which the original developers heartily apologize), and she has influenced many developers to get into online game development. Her developers have gone on to become influential in the industry. All this from a game developed from a group of relatively inexperienced game developers working out of the basement. Nothing short of amazing, really.

So, go ahead and give it a try. Try a piece of history.

22 July, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: Older games

This isn’t so much a large design challenge as a discussion. If you have an older game, say over 3 years old, and your subscriptions are starting to decline, what can you do to retain players or even attract new ones? What are acceptable actions and unacceptable actions you could take?

My thoughts below.

19 July, 2006

System design for online games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:55 PM

Online games last a long time. Meridian 59 was launched commercially in 1996, and it’s still kicking. This is quite different when compared to traditional games, where a game has a shelf-life measured in single-digit months in most cases. Because of this, most game systems need to be designed to be extensible and easily maintainable.

What really goes into designing and implementing major systems in an online game? I figured I would talk a bit about this so that people understand why games are designed and implemented the way they are. All decisions are a trade off, and I’ll describe some of the more common ones. I’ll also show some bits of Meridian 59′s code as well. :)

7 February, 2006

Interview with the Escapist
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:55 AM

An interview I did with Joe Blancato is up on the newest issue of The Escapist. Joe asked me about playing my own game and the benefits of doing so. It turned out to be an interesting article.

I don’t have much more commentary to add to it, but feel free to ask questions here if you want.

24 January, 2006

Other new blog: FattyMoo
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:41 PM

Another blogging star is born: FattyMoo, aka Mike Emmons. Mike is one of the employees at Near Death Studios, Inc., and he has been taking over primary responsibility for administrating, maintaining, and expanding Meridian 59. A lot of work, I should know.

Anyway, I set him up with one of these here blog thingies on my domain. While his blog is on, his blog is independent of mine. Although, I could delete it if he gets too surly. ;)

Check it out, see what he has to say. What do you have to lose? ;)

EDIT: Updated the URL for the newer version of the blog.

21 October, 2005

What it takes to do online RPG customer service
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:46 PM

One thing I don’t think people really understand is what a typical CS representative goes through. People are quick to damn game administrators for not caring about customers, but we often take a lot of steps to make sure we do our jobs to the best of our ability. However, we are still a business and we need to make money.

I wanted to post this log to give people an idea of what it’s like to be on the CS side of things.. This is a recent CS conversation that took place in Meridian 59 between a CS representative (referred to as “Help”, since that’s the character name we often use) and a few players. Usually we don’t like publishing things like this, but I think it gives some insight into the process that people say “sucks”. Keep in mind that this is probably one of the more mild scenarios I’ve encountered. For example, there were no threats on anyone’s life.

1 June, 2005

Free Trial for Meridian 59
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:45 AM

We’re offering a free trial of Meridian 59 again for the month of June.

What are you waiting for? Go signup today! Just enter your email address and we’ll send you your account information.

More info below.

8 May, 2005

Off to E3
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:43 PM

I’m off to E3 next week. If you want to reach me, send an email to and we can potentially meet up. I’m particularly intersted in talking to anyone intersted in international opportunities for Meridian 59 and the new client.

Still waiting to get my new system up and running….

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