Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

28 April, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: A dice game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:02 AM

We’re going to get a bit higher level here than most of the challenges have been so far. This will probably be the most challenging entry yet.

Your task: create a simple dice game. Something with few rules that can be taught in a few minutes.

Bonus points for:
Uses only d6 (six-sided dice for you polyhedra-illiterate out there)
You can write a simple A.I. to play the game
Playtesting a bit and posting something balanced

An example of such a game is Pig. However, your game should be relatively unique and not based on this game.

26 April, 2006

Consulting services

Having completed the most recent round of legal expert work (they settled so no more digging through source code for me!), I am once again looking for consulting work. You can find more information on my Consulting Services information page. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

I am also interested in hearing any other proposals which will help keep me fed. ;)

22 April, 2006

The indie revolution is coming! Probably…
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:19 AM

Raph posted on his blog about the next next gen. The summary: indie developers are the mammals running between the traditional industry’s soon-to-be-extinct dinosaur legs. Welcome to the other side, Raph. ;)

Of course, most of this is what I’ve been saying for a while now. Scott Jennings points out that Raph’s “future” is actually now. We’re starting to see the very beginnings of all this happening.

Now, for the bad news: there will likely be a few snags along the way to gaming Nirvana, as Raph describes it. What are they?

21 April, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: Choosing a genre
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:32 AM

This design challenge will be a bit higher level than usual. Your challenge is this: pick a genre for a new game. Explain why you think this is a good genre for a new game.

Consider this these factors:

Your game will probably take about 2 years to make, so any current fads should be avoided.
Assume you have a “normal” budget. Hiring a billion live actors isn’t a realistic expectation, for example.
Extra points for thinking “outside” the box.

My ideas below….

19 April, 2006

Making games for grown-ups
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:20 PM

I’ve been playing the Lego Star Wars console game a bit recently. I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with it. As I’ve been playing through, I realize that the game contains all the aspects that are supposed to be in a game: it’s easy to play, you don’t have to read any complex instructions, it doesn’t punish the player for failure, and so on and so forth. It seems to have all the things that designers claim are important to having a successful, mass-market game.

Then I realized something: this game is intended for kids.

Not to say that it isn’t fun, but it made me ask the question: Why can’t we make games for grown-ups, too?

14 April, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: Random Numbers
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:55 PM

A bit late today, due to some other deadlines in my life.

This challenge deals with random numbers, something I’ve talked about before. Here’s the challenge: Give specific examples of mechanics where it is better to use rolling with replacement or rolling without replacement. How can you use random numbers (with or without replacement) to avoid making the game feel arbitrary?

Read the more for definitions of rolling with/without replacement and my thoughts.

12 April, 2006

Meeting (incorrect) expectations
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:44 PM

I’ve been playing a few games lately to take my mind off the pain inflicted while we were moving. A few events in the games made me thinking about something important in most creative circles: the expectation of the audience, even if they are incorrect.

The problem is that not everyone knows everything. So, when you create something, often you have to meet the expectations of the audience even if they are completely incorrect.

How do you accomplish this?

7 April, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: Consequences
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:00 AM

Today’s challenge will be short, but it should require a lot of good thinking. I might re-use the format of this challenge in the future if it proves interesting enough.

Assume you have a typical fantasy swords-and-sorcery RPG. You can reference whatever game you’re familiar with.

You are the designer on the game, and are charge with balancing the game. Your idea is to not allow any single class (or group of skills) be used by more than a relative portion of the player population. For example, if you have 4 classes, no more than 30% of the characters can be from one specific class.

Discuss the consequences from this design decision. First order consequences are obvious, so don’t focus on those. (For example: players can’t choose the class they want, so they might not want to play the game.) Focus on second order and beyond considerations. (For example: the game system might assume that a class will have a low percent of users, such as a “rogue” class with very situation-specific abilities.)

For bonus points, discuss the problems of doing this before launch as opposed to making this type of change when the game is live.

6 April, 2006

Why games will still matter
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:16 PM

Over on his blog, Raph posted a bunch of quotes trying to show how games will become less important in the future of online spaces. His argument boils down to the fact that non-game online spaces are getting more attention (particularly more investment money). The rise of places like has shown that these spaces can be hugely popular. Does this really spell the doom of games?

Not really. There are some important reasons why non-game online spaces won’t dominate all.

4 April, 2006

Moving sucks
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:30 PM

But at least my DSL is up and running. I’ll try to post more tomorrow.

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