Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

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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25 May, 2016

Listen to me on the Massively OP Podcast
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:49 PM

I’m neck-deep in some work right now, so this is going to be a brief post. But, if you’re dying for some of my wit and wisdom… well, just to hear me talk, you can listen to the Massively OP Podcast where Justin “Syp” Olivetti and I talk about all sorts of things related to gaming, RPGs, and MMOs.
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23 May, 2016

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 next month
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:12 PM

So, the big news I read today is that the Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI) is coming next month. That’s pretty exciting news, as I thing game blogging is a great thing, and having more bloggers is better!

Let’s talk about why you should join the festivities and start your own blog.
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21 May, 2016

“Why can’t you add just one more thing….”
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:59 PM

One of my pet peeves is people underestimating the work that goes into game development. For example, people ask, “Why can’t you add just this simple thing?” not realizing that this one thing has a lot of consequences.

I’ll go into some detail about why one simple thing is usually not a simple thing.
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18 May, 2016

Making the prototype
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:49 PM

In a recent comment, Tyrannodorkus (who plays in my weekend tabletop group!) asked: “I’m curious how you do your mock ups? Do you make a working model program, or create a pen and paper version to play around with?”

So, let me talk a bit about prototyping a new game mechanic.
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16 May, 2016

Designing away the economy
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:49 PM

A major focus of a lot of MMOs is the economy. People have written academic papers analyzing game economies, economists have drooled at the prospect of tinkering with game economies to test theories, and game companies have even hired economists to help with the design of the game.

But, here’s a radical idea: what if a game didn’t have an economy? What if the design didn’t have currency that people use to buy and sell items from NPCs and from each other?

Intrigued? Then, let me share my thoughts for such a design.
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14 May, 2016

Why it’s not all semantics because game design matters
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:14 PM

In my recent design challenge on doing away with hit points, the prolific bhagpuss left a comment saying, “I think this is semantics (although it has to be said that I’m a semiologist at heart so I believe everything is semantics).”

The argument, also shared by Jeromai, was that trying to replace hit points with some other game mechanic would still result in a substantially similar system. But, this is not the case, because game design is important. Let me go into why changing hit points into another system would fundamentally change the gameplay.
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13 May, 2016

When cooperating, don’t deny

A little bonus posting since I missed Monday.

One rule I read about improv that I really like is “don’t deny”. Thinking about it, it’s a pretty good rule in a lot of other situations, too, as denying can derail a situation and take precious time to put back on track. So, let’s take a look at what this means.
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11 May, 2016

Design Challenge: doing away with hit points

I’m still feeling a bit under the weather, so let’s do something a bit different. A weekend design challenge in the middle of the week.

So, here’s the challenge: design a combat system that isn’t the current standard “beat on a target until their bag of hit points is depleted.” I’ll post a few ideas, but get ready to share yours!
(more…)

10 May, 2016

Posting, interrupted
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:40 AM

Suffering from a cold currently. Posting will be a bit slow as I have to focus my limited energy on other things right now.

Thanks for your patience!

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Posts Copyright Brian Green, aka Psychochild. Comments belong to their authors.