Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

29 August, 2007

In Austin next week
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:43 PM

I’m speaking with Jessica Mulligan at the Austin GDC next week. Our session is “Emerging Business Models Worldwide” on Wednesday at 11:00 AM. Unfortunately, there’s not much of a description on the site, but the talk will cover the major business models that we’ve seen for online games over the past few years. It’s mostly an analytical look at the business models, and the goal is to have lots of time for Q&A. Should be a fun session if you’re interested in how to make money without having to have WoW-sized subscriptions.

Note that updates to this blog might be a bit slow. Depends on how much I have to rant about after seeing various sessions, and how much cheap internet connectivity I can get. ;)
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26 August, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Alternatives to Itemization
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:00 PM

Over at the, uh, lovingly named I Maek Gaemz blog (run by Patrick Rogers), there’s a post about devaluing items. It touches upon the issue of items, how equipment determines a lot of PvP fights and how the high end “raiding” game usually degenerates into getting incremental improvements. Patrick, a Meridian 59 player, mentions M59 fondly as a game that didn’t have this type of system given the limited selection of gear.

I figured it might be interesting to see what you all think of this issue, and how you would design around it. What game designs would you propose to eliminate some of the problems with equipment-dominated gameplay, as explained in the blog entry above?
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21 August, 2007

Why bugs don’t get fixed

It’s frustrating that some bug never gets fixed. Endless amounts of seemingly useless content is added, but that bug that really irritates you still taunts you, unsquashed since before launch! Why does that happen?

I recently read a fascinating article about the “Cool Cam” in the game European Air War. I think this article is a great example of why bugs sometimes go without being fixed. Go read the article, it’s also quite humorous, too.
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19 August, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Ninjas!
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:52 AM

Okay, let’s go crazy this week: your job is to make a game about Ninjas!

(Or pirates, or cowboys, or robots, if those float your boat.)

A few guildlines below the jump.
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15 August, 2007

Lessons from slot machines
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:01 PM

I came across an interesting article about slot machines a while back. It was interesting to see not only what went into the machine, but also how the casinos position slot machines to make them the most profitable. Now, there’s always some worry about trying to point out similarities between gambling and online games, but I thought this is an interesting thing to consider, even if it’s in order to avoid preying upon people with less willpower.
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12 August, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: An online RPG innovation
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:30 PM

So, let’s think big this time around: present your innovative idea to add to online RPGs.

The goal here is to think of something truly groundbreaking. Don’t just add something on to an existing type of gameplay, or restrict yourself based on how many people may or may not like the idea. Let’s see some ideas that are unlikely to be seen in major online RPGs in the near future.

I’ll talk about one of my examples after the break to give you some inspiration.
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9 August, 2007

Announcing too early
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:08 PM

There’s been a lot of discussion about the new Death Knight “hero class” in the upcoming WoW expansion. I’ve been reading it with a bit more interest, since my “friends” have suckered me back into WoW. (Fuck you again, Bob.)

Now, the proposed design is not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about one of the reasons why the hero class is a hot topic right now: overhype from announcing something too early.
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6 August, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Bad game ideas
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:56 AM

One of the grim realities of game design is that you will have to be creative on demand. It’s sometimes very daunting to be face with the same document you’ve been working on for the past two weeks. Sometimes you want to work on something else, but the true mark of a professional is the ability to stick with the task to completion.

A lot of times work goes on even when you’re not directly concentrating on the task at hand. Sometimes good ideas come to you when you’re not expecting them. Most designers I know have had inspiration strike in the middle of the night, or in the shower, etc. So, sometimes it can be helpful to do a silly, yet still related, task to get the creative juices flowing.

So, we’ll do one of those exercises this weekend. Your challenge: come up with a truly bad game design. Mine is after the jump.
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2 August, 2007

Playing the review game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:38 AM

I wanted to some of you a glimpse into the inner workings of the game industry. I’ll warn you, this is almost exactly like making sausages; you probably really don’t want to see this, but your morbid fascination will make you look anyway.

Let’s say you’ve worked your ass off to make a game. You put the final few touches on the game and now you’ve submitted your gold master and ready to ship. What now? Well, time to get some good reviews, of course! But, even assuming you made a wonderful game, you might run into a little problem: You’re giving your code to the reviewers too late.

Wait, what…?
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