Year: 2005

What is the critical mass necessary to create a major world culture in an online game?

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So World of Warcraft has reached five million accounts. Good for them. You have a population that is substantially larger than the size of the Netherlands during the Dutch Golden Age. Now there was a culture that gave us some great fruit paintings. (And wonderful droppe!) Will online games one day give us a meaningful world culture? This got me musing about how major cultures of the world formed and what it would mean for […]

Convergence: A great word to hate

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We are entering the mythical land of game consoles as convergence devices. The Xbox 360 can play music, movies and games. So can the PS3. So can the PSP and it even has a web browser. Nintendo might toss in a bit of DVD playback into the Revolution for a chuckle or two. The dream of big media conglomerates and technologists seems to finally be coming to fruition. Just imagine: a single box that does […]

Idly gathered game industry statistics of doom

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While I’ve been settling into the comfy moist goodness that is Seattle, I thought I’d jot down a few of my research notes. A blog is a remarkably nice method of recording information for later. It is searchable, automatically indexed by posting time, and has the surprising habit of collecting comments from people who are much better informed than the original poster. Without further ado let’s look at today’s game industry numbers American console adoption […]

Mini Game Design Reviews: Guitar Hero and Wierd Worlds

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I wanted to briefly mention two very different games that I’ve been spending time with recently. The first is Guitar Hero by Harmonix and the second is Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space by Digital Eel. Neither is a traditional game, and both have some good lessons about game design to share. Guitar Hero: The Importance of Setting Guitar Hero is a rhythm game at its core. The abstracted game mechanics are little different than […]

Off topic: Lessons from Starbucks

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The raw desolation of an empty Midwestern strip mall in the waning hours of the noon embodies the essence of the American suburbanite’s desperate existence. Outside the sun beats down on the endless empty parking lots, baking the soul out of both plants and people. Personality is eradicated. The neighborhood shops are generic big box chains. Another Walgreens. Another Pottery Barn. Another Kwiki Lube. This is not a landscape meant for people. You can’t even […]

Random Notes from Mr. Fever

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I’m sitting here in plaid bathrobe, drinking tea in my nearly empty house. Just imagine a somewhat scruffy Arthur Dent and you’ll get the picture. Due to a rather poorly timed illness, my move out to Seattle having been delayed by a week. I’m left with Civ IV, a web browser and handful of new home loan applications. Yes, I am a dangerous man for the next five days. Track backs has been mentioned […]

A five step program to move beyond the game geek culture

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Folks in general completely missed the point of the last little post on the culture of the game design community. I want to particularly thank Zoombapup and the other great commentators who pushed me to clarify. Kudos to Gamasutra and Elias for getting the gist of the article. The post wasn’t about lambasting programmer-designers. It was about pointing out a strong blind spot in our culture and practices. Instead what we got was a stream […]

The myth of programmer-designer greatness

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Here’s a phrase from an earlier post that harkens back to the ancient days when game developers beat their dinner dead with bone weapons. “The best game designers are also programmers.” (Apologies to Dylan Fitterer for taking this out of context.) In the distant past, only a programmer could make a game. You could fumble through the tasks typically done by an artist, a game designer or a sound guy. All game designs from this […]

Programmer Design: Sinistar graphics put to use

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You know, I could get a huge kick out of just dumping game graphics onto my site and seeing the sort of games people make with them. Maximilian from stopped by one of my older threads and posted a game he is making with my old Sinistar-clone graphics. Thanks Maximilian! Quite fun even in this early state. 🙂 Here’s his comment: It will not really resemble the old Sinistar, but be more like Freespace, […]

Article: “How to prototype a game in under 7 days” on Gamasutra

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Here’s a great little article on prototyping. It is rare that you see such a dedicated prototyping effort described in such detail. At times I feel like those who write about game design are anthropologists wandering deep in the Amazon looking for signs of some highly elusive tribe. Most activities are done in secret, under the cover of darkness. and when you actually get a chance to a design ritual in action, you should whip […]