Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

20 February, 2014

Interview at over at Massively
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:04 PM

Just in case you missed it, I did an interview with Shawn Schuster over at Massively: http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/02/20/talking-the-past-and-present-of-mmos-with-brian-psychochild-gr/

I talk about the past, present, and future of MMOs.
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10 February, 2014

Moving on, looking for new opportunities
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:00 PM

Let’s get right to the point: I’m no longer with Storybricks. My work with Storybricks has come to a natural conclusion, and I wish the team every success.

This means that I’m looking for new employment opportunities. If you’re looking for an experienced technical game designer with a wealth of experience, let’s talk, shall we? You can reach me at psychochild@gmail.com

Read on for a few more details and what sort of work I’m looking for.
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11 January, 2014

Python: PartialMatchDict
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:15 PM

I wrote a class for some Python code I’m working on, and I figured there might be others out there who would find it interesting. The class lets you set up a typical dictionary data structure (where hashable items are used as keys to look up values stored in the structure), but will allow you to do partial and case-insensitive matches.

A bit more details, and the code, after the break
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31 December, 2013

2013 in review
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:51 PM

So, we dodged the bullet on that pesky Mayan apocalypse last year, and so we had to suffer through 2013. Okay, maybe “suffer” is a bit strong. Let’s go with “tolerate”.

So, what happened this last year?
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4 December, 2013

The meaning of holidays
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:31 AM

Here in the U.S., we celebrated Thanksgiving last week. The modern traditional celebration involves eating way too much, awkward time spent with family members, and usually some sort of traditional recreation like watching football or a parade. As a kid, I was told the holiday was to celebrate the generosity the Native Americans showed to struggling colonists; in recent years, however, the origin of the holiday has been reported to be much darker.

But, if you look at the name of the holiday, “Thanksgiving”, the core of what I celebrate is: giving thanks.

As a warning: this post is going to be a tiny bit more meta than usual. There’s some game design value here, but I thought taking a look at holidays and the meanings behind them might be interesting.
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6 November, 2013

Superstition ain’t the way
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:36 PM

Superstition is an interesting thing. As a kid, I remember playing Dragon Warrior on my NES and being impatient, I’d often tap the button to get through combat messages as quickly as possible. I made a little game of it, trying to time my taps in rhythm so that I’d get through the combat as fast as possible. Of course, sometimes it seemed that I’d get critical hits more often when I did that, so eventually I started tapping the button rhythmically to get more critical hits. (In reality, it was probably survivorship bias, where I noticed the critical hits more when I was doing the tapping than when I wasn’t. Also interesting to note that the later Super Mario RPG games would require you to tap the button during combat for extra damage/defense/etc.) But, in my mind a superstition was born.

Of course, MMO players have superstitions as well. And plenty of them.
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15 October, 2013

Return of the Newbie Blogger Initiative
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:06 PM

In grand Psychochild’s Blog tradition, I’m here to tell you news waaaaaaay after the fact. Anyway, this post is about the return of the Newbie Blogger Initiative! Do you write about game stuff, particularly MMOs, and want to get some attention to your writing? Want some experienced bloggers to lend some guidance while you explore the crazy world of blogging? Then this is the initiative for you!

Anyway, I signed up to be a mentor, so I should probably post something, right?
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16 September, 2013

Frustrated while trying to play with friends
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:24 PM

My MMO poison of choice these days is Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO). It’s a great game and I love it a lot. These days, I mostly play with a few fixed, or “static”, groups; however, I have played some solo characters on other servers when the fancy strikes me. But, for the most part, if I play the game I’m playing a character that plays with others.

Sometimes, however, the strain one has to go through to play with friends makes you wonder if other MMO developers actually play. Let’s take a look at a recent frustration.
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21 August, 2013

Interesting Mechanics: Reincarnation
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:59 PM

I hit a major milestone in with my main characters: I true reincarnated one of my characters. To those of you who haven’t played the game before, that might seem like an odd idea, but I think it’s actually a rather interesting and old idea.

Let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?
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13 August, 2013

The Standard Disclaimer
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:20 AM

As you might have heard, there was a little announcement last weekend about a game called EverQuest Next. They’re doing some particularly exciting things, and one of those things is emergent AI. There’s a little company called Storybricks who is working on that emergent AI. You might have heard of the company. (Protip: I work at Storybricks.)

On the bright side, it’s very exciting to be working on a groundbreaking title. On the other hand, I know from experience that I’m going to be watched a lot more closely and people will try to read into my words. An offhand phrase is interpreted as a solemn vow. (You old-school MMO people will remember the hilarity around Necromancy in Ultima Online.) So, let me post this disclaimer:

The opinions and points of view expressed in the posts on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or any company I am working with.

Further, unless I explicitly state so, nothing I post should be construed as a hint about EverQuest Next‘s design or content. (I don’t get the privilege of saying “just kidding” after making a controversial statement.) So, if I write an article supporting permadeath in Storybricks development, you should already know that EQN won’t have permadeath in it.

I know most of you are reasonable people, but I’m just trying to avoid any uncomfortable situations involving my words and a very talented team trying to blaze new territory. They already have a hard job, so I don’t want someone taking my words and making that job even harder.

Just stay tuned for something that will continue to amaze you.
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