Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

30 January, 2007

Finally out of debt!
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:39 AM

I am usually loathe to post personal information out. I figure few people are really interested in hearing about my kitties (they are cute!) I posted up some of my fiction in the past, but always worried that this treads a bit outside the normal realm of discussing games.

But, I have some good news: I have finally paid off my credit card debt. I figured this would be a good time to give a bit of realistic discussion about what it takes to start and run an indie business funded out of pocket. I’m going to open the coat and flash a bit of personal finances here, so avert your eyes if you’re squeamish!
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27 January, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Art styles
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:50 AM

This design challenge, we’re going to go into an area I’m not an expert at: art.

This week’s challenge: Describe different types of art styles you could use in a game. A few of my thoughts after the break.
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23 January, 2007

Designing puzzles (and other content)

Finally, here come the answers to the most recent Weekend Design Challenge.

The puzzle was solved by Red, who posted, “It’s post 2^8 :)”

But, there’s some things we can learn from this, so time for another design lesson!
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22 January, 2007

Legitimacy issues from Horseshoe
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:20 AM

I’m not really a bastard, I just disowned my parents. ;) Er, wait, not that issue of legitimacy.

I mentioned previously about a gathering called Project Horseshoe, where some designers discussed various weighty issues. I brought up the issue of legitimacy in games and participated in a discussion about this topic. Well, our group’s initial report has been posted up on the web. (Along with some other great reports, including one on online issues that Raph mentions and contributed to.)

So, what new thoughts can you find on there?
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21 January, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Attention to detail

This week, we’ll see how well you pay attention. The challenge is this: Why is this post special? Post your answers in the comments below.
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19 January, 2007

What is a game designer?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:23 PM

On the current project I’m contracted to (sorry, no info, I’m under NDA), I’ve been given the opportunity to train a new designer in the ways of MMO design. It’s a big responsibility given that I will now have control of this person’s future. But, I’ve been thinking more about the nature of design and recording my philosophies, ideas, and methods down to be useful.

The nice thing about this arrangement is that I’m contracted, so I own the material I’ll be teaching this new designer. So, you might notice a new category “Design Lessons”. Yep, I’ll be writing more about MMO design and my take on things as I develop the lessons for this new designer.

So, let’s start with the first entry: What is a game designer?
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14 January, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Reader feedback
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:08 AM

It’s a new year, and I figured it’s time to see what you, the reader, are interested in.
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13 January, 2007

Evaluation of a development contract
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:28 PM

Gamasutra has a post with commentary on a development contract. This is really fascinating, because game contracts are usually very restricted affairs with confidentiality clauses and all that. Anyway, it looks to be a good review of a real contract relating to the Activision v. Spark suit. Highly recommended.

If you like this, then you should also check out Business & Legal Primer for Game Development as well. Greg Boyd wrote up a contract and made comments on it; Greg’s worked for publishers, so he lets you in on some dirty little secrets from the publisher’s point of view.
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11 January, 2007

Proper usage, or, recognizing games as a “real” media.
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:08 AM

Get ready to edit your dogeared copy of Strunk and White, because here’s a new rule for you: When writing out the names of games, treat them like you treat book or movie titles. On webpages, that means you put things in italics. Examples:

Business & Legal Primer for Game Development
Pan’s Labyrinth (Saw it last night, good movie.)
Meridian 59

You probably learned to underline book and movie titles, but that’s only in cases when you’re writing by hand and can’t do proper italics.

Why? Because it’s a subtle way of reminding people that games are valid works of art, just like books or movies. I know this is a lot to ask of some people who barely know where the shift key is when beginning sentences, but I know there are some people who take writing seriously that read this blog. If I can get a few of you to do this, and perhaps lecture the people you know, then it could be a nice subversive way to change minds on this. I think it’s important that we start focusing on details like this, especially when the legitimacy of our medium is continuously questioned.
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9 January, 2007

And now, for one reason why I keep reading Slashdot.
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:43 PM

No sooner do I post my previous entry when I come across this gem on Slashdot:

Herding cats is hard because you are using the wrong management technique. You herd cattle (and sheep and goats and pigs etc.), you do *not* herd cats. Cats, you put them in the general area of the mice and let them do what they are good at. Micromanagement of cats is a losing proposition.

Pure genius. And properly moderated to a +5, even.

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