Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

23 June, 2016

Multiple paths in MMOs
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:07 AM

One big lessons I’ve taken away from MMOs is having multiple paths of advancement. This is so fundamental that “have multiple paths of advancement” is one of the first of the Laws of Online World Design.

Let’s take a look at what this means in practical terms.
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20 June, 2016

Management vs. Leadership
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:43 PM

First, some news: I finished the bulk of the work on the DLC writing for March of the Living. It still needs to be debugged and playtested, but the majority of my work is done. I had hoped to get this done sooner, but the writing took longer than anticipated and interviewing took a chunk of time out of my schedule. Keep in mind that Dave has his own schedule for releases, so you probably won’t see the DLC released tomorrow.

But, I skipped my Saturday post in order to finish the writing over the weekend.

Anyway, today I want to look a bit more at leadership and compare it to a very similar, but distinct, concept of “management”.
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15 June, 2016

It’s the marketing that kills your game
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:53 PM

A lot of people have incorrect perceptions about making games. For example, people on the outside of the industry think that making games is like playing games. This is obviously pretty far from reality.

But, even indies have a lot of wrong ideas about game development. Let’s take a look at another recent example.
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13 June, 2016

“I’m not sure I understand”
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:03 PM

Something a little different tonight. I hope you’ll humor me.

Here’s a bit of creative writing dealing with the things bouncing in my head for a while.
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11 June, 2016

What is a Technical Designer?

Interviewing takes up a lot of time, especially if you fly across the country for an interview. So, forgive me if I miss a post or two in the next few months.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that the title of “Technical Designer” has been showing up a lot more. As a game designer with a solid technical foundation, this is exciting. So, let me tell you a bit more about Technical Designers and why they are interesting.
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6 June, 2016

Should leaders do hands-on work?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:23 PM

I’m currently reading Team Leadership in the Game Industry by Seth Spaulding II. This isn’t a full review, but I read something that got me thinking: in the book he advocates that leaders should not do work tasks in addition to leadership tasks. In other words, lead programmers shouldn’t be doing programming, rather they should be leading: working out schedules, assigning tasks, and so forth.

I thought this was interesting, so let me share some of my thoughts on this.
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4 June, 2016

Persuasion and game design
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:20 PM

Leadership has many dimensions. While the naive view is that leaders give orders and subordinates follow them, the reality is much different in many situations. Particularly in the game industry, where you have many employees who could be making more money in another industry or field of work. Barking orders at game developers is likely to have the experienced ones running for other companies.

This has interesting consequences for game design. Sometimes it’s not the objectively best game design that wins (even if you could objectively measure design to compare them), but rather the game design from the person who is the most convincing. So, persuasion becomes an important element in how to deal with others as a game designer and as a leader. Let’s take a look at one view of persuasion and how it affects leadership.
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1 June, 2016

Yes, you too can be a game blogger!
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:06 PM

As threatened before, this June is the month for the Newbie Blogger Initiative!

Let’s look at what you need to start being a game blogger.
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30 May, 2016

Review: It’s Your Ship
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:12 PM


When I mentioned an interest in leadership, one of the super-cool people I follow on Google+ recommended this book. He suggested it might be interesting because I the military is likely quite different than the game industry. (That’s actually a fairly deep topic, something that I might write about in the future. Let’s just say that there were two former military people at my last job, and they fit in just fine.)

Anyway, I ordered the book on Amazon and read it. I’ll give it a review on here for those who are interested. As an aside, this is one of the first books I’ve read about leadership, so I’m judging it based on my personal experience rather than how it stacks up to other books.

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28 May, 2016

The multiple hierarchies of the game industry

The game industry is a strange place sometimes. I was musing about the nature of the industry the other day, thinking about this. Part of my motivation was to think about my own place in the industry, and another part was thinking about my slowly developing book Thinking Like a Game Designer. When I really thought about it, the one term I’d use to describe the game industry, particularly the triple-A side, is “hierarchies”.

Interested in a closer look?
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