Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

30 January, 2006

Applying “What is a game?” to online games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:33 AM

Building upon my previous post, “What is a game?“, let’s now focus on what we can learn about online games from this line of reasoning. How does thinking in academic terms help us with “real” game design?

Get ready for more thinking!

28 January, 2006

What is a game?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:55 PM

Raph’s recent presentation at PARC got me thinking about what games are. I figured some of you might find the topic interesting as well.

I begin with the question, “what is a game?”

26 January, 2006

Networking into games
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:26 AM

Dom asked about networking (the social kind ;) on my page about breaking into games:

I’m always curious about the networking aspect. I see it mentioned in every article on breaking into the industry, but it seems a fairly nebulous recommendation. What are good ways of networking, and with who, and how much is ‘enough’? Does wriggling your way into the blog circuit constitute networking, or are we talking almost solely about exchanging business-cards at the GDC?

I figured other people might have similar questions, so I’ll make a blog post out of it.

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.

New blog: Jeff Tunnell
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:19 AM

Just a quick note, Jeff Tunnell of GarageGames and Dynamix fame has started a professional blog. I respect and admire Jeff for being one of the few people who was willing to take a risk and see if indie gaming could work out. I really want GarageGames to succeed, and they’ve done a pretty good job so far.

I expect the blog to be a great business resource for game developers, so I recommend that people who enjoy reading my blog keep an eye on Jeff’s blog.

22 January, 2006

Feedback and suggestion thread
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:42 PM

I want to write here a bit more often than I have, but I’ve been having trouble coming up with topic. I’ve covered most of what I feel are the important topics over the past year or so, and don’t want to just repeat myself.

So, I’m asking for a bit of feedback here. Keep in mind that the goal is for this to be a professional blog, something for people interested in game development to come read. I’m not fond of the idea of writing too much personal stuff, unless it relates to something about game development.

So, what topics would you like to see covered? Anything you’d like more information on? Perhaps you’re disappointed I haven’t posted any more short stories lately? Or are you just burning to hear me talk about my four black cats? :)

Leave your feedback in the comments section of this entry!

20 January, 2006

Non-career game development
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:03 PM

I often get emails asking about breaking into the games industry. It has happened so often that I finally put up a page about breaking into games. Lots of people want to get into game development, it seems.

But, there is another option to consider. A new reader to my blog (Hi, Sheridan!) wrote to ask me more about getting into the industry, and I recommended he consider the possibility of making games while not getting a job in the industry.

18 January, 2006

Maintaining code
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:09 PM

The least sexy part of developing games has to be documentation and maintenance. It’s fun when the project is young and there seems to be endless possibilities. People are eager to “make a game”, and the focus is on getting stuff done instead of worrying about silly things like documentation.

Of course, when it comes time to maintain that code, the lack of documentation because a real frustration. “plre” seemed like a reasonable variable name back when you were coding, but try figuring out what that means a year later. Or, pity the poor bastard that has to decipher it years down the line. This is especially important in online games, because the goal is to have them last as long as possible. I can tell from experience that code is not “self-documenting” a decade later.

11 January, 2006

Evolution and niches
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:40 AM

Raph posted another interesting screed over on his site talking about evolution and how we have to adapt or die as game developers. It’s worth a read, so I recommend heading over there and reading it.

Of course, I thought I’d provide some of my own commentary, so read on for my take on things.

10 January, 2006

Tales of crap customer service; part 1,283,293 in a series
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:21 AM

Every once in a while it seems that people think online RPGs have a monopoly on terrible customer service. Unfortunately, this is not so. Let me recount a tale of what happened when I called my credit card company.

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