Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

26 February, 2006

Change of URL
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:26 PM

I’ve moved my blog from the old location to the main page at on my site. My old home pages were neglected and frequently out of date; most people probably want to read this blog rather than my old pages anyway.

Anyway, I should have the old blog links forward to this page, but I’ll give people a few days to update their reader software so you don’t think I pulled a Jeff Freeman. :)

23 February, 2006

David Sirlin stepped in it
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:11 PM

Since I’m neither an executive at a large corporation with nothing better to do than post in my blog, nor have I just left my job and have nothing better to do than post in my blog, (just kidding, guys ;) so I’m a bit late to the party. What party? The party bashing on David Sirlin’s recent article on Gamasutra.

What was his sin? He passed harsh judgment on WoW (and, by extension, all online RPGs) and claimed it was teaching people bad lessons. Unfortunately, he misses the point in almost all his criticism.

So, here’s my bash against him.

22 February, 2006

Credits and titles and other details

As I’ve been talking to people about upcoming projects the issues of game credits, position titles, and related have come up repeatedly. I thought I’d discuss some of the problems I see with the industry in this specific area.

The basic question is: how standardized should things be? For example, in Hollywood if you said you were a Producer on a movie, people know pretty much what that means. If you say you were a Producer on a game at the GDC, that could mean quite a few things: Were you in charge of business issues? Of the budget? Of the schedule? Of the creative direction? All of the above?

Likewise, who gets included in the credits? Should people who leave before the end of the project get their name in the credits? What about people who have worked for 90% of the project then leave? What if the departure was involuntary?

Lots of interesting questions here that influence business decisions.

20 February, 2006

The element of risk
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:52 AM

Loyal Psychochild’s Blog reader Cael posted a bit on his blog about fun in response to some of the discussion on this blog. It’s always nice to see someone try to tackle the issue from their own point of view.

Cael mentioned that he thought risk was an important element of fun. I thought this was worthy of a quick post.

17 February, 2006

Short Story: Short Har’s character background
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:52 PM

Some people have said they enjoyed reading my short stories, so I figured I’d post this up.

I’ve created a character for an upcoming D&D campaign, a Dwarven Bard named “Short Har”. I wrote up a little story explaining his background, and I thought other people might like to read it.

Short Har, Bard of the College of the Shattered Sword

15 February, 2006

Is it really all gloom and doom?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:05 PM

I really enjoyed reading a recent article on by editor Kelly Heckman. She talked about how the DICE conference seemed fairly full of gloom and doom. Everyone was lamenting the fact that games sales were down, and the core audience seems to be less interested in games.

This leads me to ask, is it really all gloom and doom in the industry?

12 February, 2006

Fun (via Economics)
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:02 PM

In my previous post, Cael and I started a discussion about making things fun in the game, specifically as it relates to economics. This started with Cael discussing how inexperienced people can still contribute to a project, a sentiment I agree with completely.

Instead of letting the discussion languish on the comments, I thought I’d start a new post about it.

10 February, 2006

Project Experience
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:15 PM

This is a great time and a terrible time to be in online games. It seems the astounding success of WoW has loosed quite a bit of money into various online game projects. It’s great to be in the industry because there are a lot of projects looking for experienced people. It’s terrible, because a lot of those projects are doomed to failure.

I’ve been talking to quite a few people about these new projects. Some of my colleagues have talked about people approaching them. I’ve been approached myself by people wanting to hire me as an employee or a consultant. But, there seems to be an unfortunate thread through too many of these projects: management that is inexperienced with online games has already been hired and put in place.

Frankly this boggles my mind. How can you run a team when the people calling the shots don’t necessarily understand what is going on?

7 February, 2006

Who owns virtual property? Me
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:05 PM

Well, I own the virtual property in my own game, at least. :)

I was recently on a panel at the AIPLA Mid-Winter Meeting entitled, “Who Owns Virtual Property? Views from Industry Leaders.” Yes, I willingly associated with lawyers; I think my soul was already tainted before this happened, though. Greg Boyd from Kenyon & Kenyon was the moderator. The other panelists were Andy Zaffron from SOE and Bruce Boston, currently at C|net. (Bruce posted the notes from his initial presentation on his blog site.

I was too lazy to prepare notes, but I figured I’d write a bit about the position I took at the talk.

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.

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