Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

29 July, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Game analysis, part 2
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:32 PM

Here’s another chance for you to do something that most designers do on a regular basis: play and evaluate a game.

This week’s game is Treasure Tower. It’s a fun little game where you play a little guy trying to collect gems while going through different rooms in a tower. It’s a rather action-orientated game, but has a good share of puzzles. It’s a reasonable-sized download (4.5 MB). Always be smart and run anti-virus and spyware checkers, even though I’ve had no problems. Controls are simple: arrow keys to move, shift key to jump.

Some questions to consider below the jump.
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27 July, 2007

Participation inequality
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:08 PM

Most games have forums to support the game. Some developers think that forums are a good source to get a feel for the attitudes of the community. Therefore, some players feel that the forums are the best place to bring up a complaint or give feedback. Unfortunately, this may not be the case; it’s conventional wisdom that only a fraction of the people playing the game participate on the forums.

This can present problems to the developer, and is related to the recent challenge on collecting feedback.
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24 July, 2007

Article on RPG Vault: Taking Games Seriously
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:50 PM

I have an article up on the RPG Vault entitled “Taking Games Seriously”. It’s a article describing legitimacy, and an argument for players to take steps to help the cause.

Not much new for people who read this blog, except the writing has had an actual editor go through it a few times. :)

Go read it and pass it along to your friends! Comments for me welcomed here.
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23 July, 2007

Thoughts on designing for Sci-Fi
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:40 PM

Over in the thread about design, there was a really interesting question in a comment. I had written about science fiction as a setting for games, and someone asked a very interesting question.

n.n wrote:
Sorry if this is drifting back to already-explored territory, but I’m curious as to what exactly you consider to be the most crucial issues with designing an SF MMO…

I thought this was worthy of a full blog post. (Well, it was also almost too long too be “just” a comment, too. ;)
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21 July, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Collecting feedback
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:38 PM

This weekend’s challenge is once again reader-submitted. Mike Rozak wrote in with an idea about getting feedback from users.

Mike has been working on a game of his own called CircumReality. He has opened it up to the public in the past and tried to get user feedback. However, it has been difficult for him to get really good feedback.

So, think about that as a challenge: How can you get useful user feedback?

Mike’s thoughts and specific challenge after the jump.
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19 July, 2007

I am not just a video game designer
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:41 AM

Why, I’m a programmer and business person, too! Sometimes people seem to forget those bits. I mostly post about design because that’s what people want to read about. Give the people what they want!

But, that’s not the real issue here. No, the larger point is that I am a game designer, and I am not just limited to video games, or to games where you have to beat people up to succeed. I can design all sorts of games because I chose not to limit myself.

Yet, people are eager to pigeonhole others. So, to some people I’m “only” a video game designer. But, never say that to my face.
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17 July, 2007

Update: Richard Bartle is still my hero
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:57 PM

Seen on Matt Mihaly’s site, an interview with Dr. Richard Bartle.

Richard has once again affirmed his place as one of my personal heroes. As Lum also says, why isn’t this man in charge of more things? Seriously, that interview is required reading. Oh, and add Richard’s blog to your daily list of required reading. Supreme insight in convenient daily form.
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14 July, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Advertising
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:11 PM

Every artist wishes they could create art for the sake of art. Unfortunately, in the real world we often have to worry about mundane things like income and staying in business.

This week’s challenge puts you in an interesting position: You are the designer on an online RPG/virtual world/etc. Your boss has announced that the game will be advertising-supported. Your two choices are: make informed decisions about where to place ads to support the design, or let marketing have complete control over the process.

Choose wisely. More information after the jump.
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8 July, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Naming
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:09 PM

One of the most important, and for many people the hardest, part of a creative project is naming. You want something that fits a lot of criteria: meaningful, easy to remember, interesting, etc. A great product can be held back with a terrible name.

So, let’s think about naming in this challenge. My thoughts after the jump.
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6 July, 2007

Defining the middlecore
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:40 PM

As I said in the previous weekend design challenge, I’ll discuss the middlecore audience. Who are in this category and why is it important to understand this group?
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