Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

28 February, 2008

Out of the country for a bit
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:39 PM

I’m starting a new contract with a company in the U.K., so I’m going to be out of the country for the next two weeks. Expect posts to be slow; yeah, I know, any slower and it’d be dead. So, don’t write me off quite yet.
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24 February, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Influencing player behavior
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:54 PM

One of the interesting discussions about game design is how much we can influence players. On one hand, some people claim that video games can corrupt people and make them do bad things; a claim we like to refute. However, as Raph Koster is fond of pointing out, claiming that games can’t influence people takes away what could be one of the medium’s greatest strengths. After all, games can be used to teach, which is influencing the player on a significant level.

So, this weekend design challenge is to consider this: how can we influence player behaviors? Some thoughts after the break.
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18 February, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Deliver the bad news
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:31 PM

I’m going to go a bit off the beaten track for this design challenge. Instead of being a designer, put yourself in a community manager’s shoes.

Your challenge: deliver some bad news to the community.
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16 February, 2008

Designing an attribute system
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:37 AM

I’ve talked quite a bit about attribute systems in the last few posts. So, let me step through the initial steps I would to create an attribute system in a game.

I’ll only cover the basics, since after this point a lot of the decisions would be different for different games. I’ll also make comparisons to WoW’s system for comparison and to show the different design philosophies.
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12 February, 2008

Ah, the GDC
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:07 AM

Once again, I’m not going to be attending the GDC. I have enough contracts to keep me fed and too little time as it is.

However, I’m in the area and will probably head up to San Francisco to catch up with some friends. If you’d like to see me in person, drop me an email. I’m currently planning on coming up for Wednesday the 20th and Thursday the 21st. But, I can head up other days if people contact me and make arrangements.

10 February, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: A list of attributes
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:49 PM

So, after going on about how attribute systems suck, your challenge is to come up with an attribute system that doesn’t suck.

Some thoughts after the break.
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7 February, 2008

Attributes in RPGs
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:36 PM

Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma. I can recite them without looking at a list. Playing D&D for several years will do that to you.

But, what do they mean? Okay, as a D&D geek I know what most of those do. But, I still have to look up some stuff, especially for the earlier editions. I don’t have memorized what system shock percent a 14 Con score gives me in 2nd Edition D&D. (A quick lookup shows that it’s 88%, but a 92% chance to survive resurrection.)

What does Dex do? It gives a bonus to-hit, right? Well, only for ranged weapons. It’s Str that gives a bonus to-hit for melee attacks in D&D. Yet, in other systems it’s usually a Dex-type stat that gives a bonus to-hit. (Or a special ‘Aim’ stat as in M59.)

A bit confusing, isn’t it? So, why do so many online RPGs rely on stats?
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3 February, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Burnout
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:49 PM

This week, let’s look at the issue of player burnout. Eventually the player gets tired of playing your game, but what can you do about it (if anything)? Can you avoid player burnout? Or, can we plan for this eventuality better than we have so far?
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