Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

15 October, 2013

Return of the Newbie Blogger Initiative
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:06 PM
(This post has been viewed 4387 times.)

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
(This post has been viewed 5520 times.)

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
(This post has been viewed 6621 times.)

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
(This post has been viewed 14055 times.)

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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29 July, 2013

Memory and Loot
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:06 AM
(This post has been viewed 6036 times.)

It's been a busy few weeks. I'm chugging along on a project I'm not quite ready to talk about yet. During my free time, I've been indulging in Borderlands 2. Of course, I'll try to pretend that playing the game is an important reason for doing a blog post. ;) As I've been playing, two things have stuck out: how unreliable memory is and what makes a good loot system.

Let's take a look at these two elements in more detail.
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3 July, 2013

Double Fine stuck in the publisher mindset
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:42 PM
(This post has been viewed 3621 times.)

I've been super-busy with work, but I was putting together a more design-focused blog post. However,recent news has cried out for a response. It's a tale of woe in the business of game development, when a company ignores the business realities in the tumultuous reality of game development.

Let's see what happens when a developer used to working with publishers instead tries goes indie.
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6 June, 2013

The other online community: where did MMO bloggers go?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:37 PM
(This post has been viewed 16345 times.)

I've written a lot about the importance of in-game community lately. But, allow me to write a bit about the type of community that isn't in a game or owned by a particular company. Maybe we can get draw some lessons that might come back around to game design.

So, let's talk about blogging, and the community around that. As the title asks: where did the bloggers go?
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20 May, 2013

Fun vs. satisfaction
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:32 AM
(This post has been viewed 9352 times.)

Games are supposed to be fun, duh. It seems to be a regular comment that if something isn't fun, it should be removed from a game. Why are game developers so stupid to leave in systems that nobody finds fun? Or, just look at those EEEEEVIL free-to-play games with their "pay to win" strategies, forcing people to pay money to avoid the parts that aren't fun, amirite?

Except, there's a good reason why games have parts that don't seem fun on the surface, but that build a long-term feeling of satisfaction. Let's take a look at satisfaction and why it matters in games.
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1 May, 2013

We all need Camelot Unchained to succeed
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:21 AM
(This post has been viewed 5084 times.)

So, Camelot Unchained is on the cusp of meeting its goal. As I write this, it needs just over $150,000 in 23 hours right now.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13861848/camelot-unchained

The success of this campaign will have tremendous ramifications on future MMO projects. I encourage you to support it.
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21 April, 2013

M is for multiplayer
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:38 PM
(This post has been viewed 15813 times.)

I'm probably not going to shock anyone here by saying that MMOs aren't living up to their potential. I've said before that there's something missing our games. I think that while games are offering a little more of that spirit of adventure I mentioned in the previous blog topic, we developers still have a ways to go to realize the full potential of MMOs.

One of the biggest problems is how we design the game to allow interaction with other people.
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