Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

29 July, 2005

Clever marketing
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:18 AM

One of the toughest things any small company has to do is to market itself. As much as we’d like to believe “If you build it, they will come,” the hard reality is that people don’t come unless you tell them that you built it.

Often you have to be clever with your marketing, even if you’re a big company. A while ago Google showed off Google Maps which shows locations to the user from satellite photographs. Well, Microsoft (through MSN) was working on a similar application and launched later than Google. Google got a lot of the press coverage and most people wrote off MSN’s maps as a copycat application.

What did Microsoft do to get some press for their map application? They wiped Apple off the Earth. Of course people are going to notice the “snub” and they are going to talk about it. Slashdot covered it, and I even saw a story in a local (Silicon Valley) newspaper talking about it. They got a lot of free publicity just by using older photographs in one area. People will want to look at a screenshot of this and it gets people to take a look at the features they have to offer.

This is the type of thing you have to consider when you’re marketing your product. You have to gain attention and get people to take a look at you and your product. I’m sure a lot more people are aware of MSN maps now because this story got a lot of coverage.

27 July, 2005

Free speech and video games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:21 AM

Yeah, the “Hot Coffee” issue has been making the rounds. I’ve specifically avoided talking about it because everyone else has posted about it and I’m sure everyone is tired of reading about it. But, I wanted to discuss something related to this: free speech. Specifically how free speech should apply to video games.
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22 July, 2005

Why IP is still valuable
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:19 PM

Every once in a while someone with a libertarian bent comes out of the woodwork to tell us that IP is outdated and destined to fall by the wayside. They argue that the digital medium has made copying and duplication so easy and painless that it doesn’t make sense to charge for copies. On a more practical level, they argue that large companies can’t stop individuals from making copies.

However, I will assert IP and laws protecting it are still very important, especially to the games industry.
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13 July, 2005

Short Story: New Toy
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:06 PM

I’ve been quoted as saying that I develop games because I have to. I am a creative soul, and I want to express my creativity. I think that games have the potential to be a wonderful creative medium. Seeing this potential wasted is what motivates me to write most of the entries in this blog.

This doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t enjoy being creative in other media. Oh, don’t worry, you won’t have to listen to my singing voice. No, my other preferred creative medium is writing. The observant might have seen that there’s a “Writing/Reading” category on this blog. I’ve written a few book reviews, so that covers the reading part. Now it’s time to introduce the writing part.

The story was originally to be published on a cyberpunk-themed site some friends of mine were working on. Unfortunately, that site never got up and running. But, I thought it might be cool to share the story on here as the first story published on my blog.

I hope you enjoy it. :)

NEW TOY
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11 July, 2005

How much is that worth to you?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:01 PM

Damion Schubert has been talking about pricing recently. I contributed a few thoughts, but I figured I have my own blog so I might as well post something about the topic.

So, how does pricing and games work?
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9 July, 2005

Bruce Sterling on game design
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:34 PM

A while back I found this wonderful rant by Bruce Sterling. He spoke at the GDC about game development, and I found his talk to be absolutely fascinating for many reasons.

You can find one copy at [url]http://lib.ru/STERLINGB/story.txt[/url] so go read it. Don’t worry, this entry will be here when you get back.
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6 July, 2005

News Recap
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:03 PM

Here’s a recap of news for those that might have missed it.

The M59 free trial has been extended into July. Go sign up and play already!

My GLS Conference presentation is online. It’s the “Innovation in Game Design” one. I’m the first speaker. (Or you can use the tiny url to distribute!)

Hope everyone from the U.S. had a good fourth!

5 July, 2005

The darker side of online RPG play
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:19 PM

So, now, let’s look at the more sinister side of the coin. There were a couple of excellent presentations at the GLS conference which covered this aspect of online RPGs.

Yep, we’re going to talk about the dreaded “addiction” aspect as well as social responsibility.
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1 July, 2005

The benefits of online RPG play
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:55 PM

Sitting around smacking foozles hoping to get next level. This is what most people think of when they think of playing online RPGs. Can it really be good for you?

Stephen Gillett, a Senior Director at Yahoo! Inc., gave an excellent presentation at the GLS conference entitled Guild Building is Skill Building where he argues that you can learn important skills from playing online games. In his case, he says he learned important management skills from leading a guild.
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