Year: 2008

Fishing Girl Prototype results

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Here is a story about a fellow named Andre, who created a Lostgarden game prototype, sold it for $4000 and started down the path to a new career in game development. Andre lives down in a rural section of Australia. Due to the limited infrastructure in the region, he makes due with a gimpy modem that sputters along, randomly disconnecting at the worst possible moment. There aren’t very many tech jobs in the area, but […]

Post-it note design docs

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I happen to fall into the artist-designer skill set, so I often find myself trying to prototype ideas on teams rich with programmers. As such, I’m always looking for better game development techniques that work well for this particular team mix. Here is a very lightweight prototyping process using Post-it notes that I quite enjoy. Initial idea: I sit down with an available programmer (and artist/UI designer depending on the system) and we chat about […]

Tidbits from the garden

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A few odds and ends have collected in my inbox lately. Video of the Princess Saving Application is up! All the videos from the night are posted up on OfficeLabs.com. My talk starts 10 minutes into the first video and lasts approximately 30 minutes. There’s also a bit of Q &A after all the talks finish up. You can get the original slides here. http://images.video.msn.com/flash/soapbox1_1.swf<a href=”http://www.msn.com/en-us/video?mkt=en-US&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:d0cabdcc-97bc-4799-a579-4da3b73f865b&showPlaylist=true&from=msnvideo” target=”_new” title=”Microsoft Office Labs & Engineering Excellence IxDA Event […]

Project Horseshoe 2008: There and back again

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I’m writing this on the long flight back from Project Horseshoe 2008. The last bittersweet night, we stayed up till five AM playing games and talking about games. The conversation shifted from the slow death of games as we knew them, to fresh games that will change the world, to the little tips we use to thrive each day. There is something distinctly surreal about chatting quietly with such an intimate knowledgeable group during the […]

Fishing Girl: Game Prototyping Challenge

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Earlier this summer, I mentioned that I was starting up a Mystery Project for local Seattle weekend coders. Summer has turned into Fall and the Mystery Project is still going strong. So we decided to kick off a Winter session of the Mystery Project!In this post, I wanted to do two things: Extend an invitation to any Seattle developers who would like to participate directly in the Mystery Project. Share some Mystery Project graphics that […]

Lostgarden Podcasts

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Ryan Wiancko over at IndustryBroadcast.com has started recording selected Lostgarden essays. If you find yourself regularly sharing a few spare moments with your tank-like Zune, why not download an essay or two? Ryan’s dulcet tones reading riveting game design minutia make for a perfect panacea to downtime boredom.Or perhaps you know a friend. You know…the sort that never reads any of the mind-boggling important links that you send him (or her) on a Friday afternoon. […]

The Princess Rescuing Application: Slides

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Last Thursday, I gave a talk on game design to the local Seattle chapter of the IxDA, an interaction design group. About 100 folks were in attendance and the catered finger food was downright delicious. Other speakers included George Amaya, who spoke about recent research on social/party games, and Mark Long, CEO of Zombie. Mark gave a lovely presentation on how narrative and storytelling immerse players. His new game looks gorgeous. My talk was on […]

Theme and game design

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Recently I was chatting with some friends about the role of ‘theme’ in game design. Theme, in this discussion, was the setting of the game, be it fantasy, sci-fi, military, etc. At first blush, the typical game designer’s use of theme appears a bit primitive. Limited range compared to the wide variety of themes in movies or books. Games recycle a half dozen major themes or in some cases invent their own surrealist themes that […]

Rules of Productivity Presentation

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How do we get more work done? It is a question that every manager and every passionate worker faces. Yet, for the most part, teams operate on gut instinct and habit. The results are less than optimal. Over the years I’ve been collecting small pieces of research on various factors that actually seem to improve productivity. I’ve assembled eight of these experiments into a PowerPoint presentation. Feel free to use the graphs and data within […]

Shade: Prototyping Challenge results

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It is time to give out awards to the Shade Prototyping challenge! Every prototyping challenge I release is a grand exploration of a particular gaming system. The concept often sounds coherent on paper, but in reality it is composed of a series of small experiments involving movement, pacing, emergence and more. After every prototype, it is worth sorting through the experiments and seeing which ones are worth investing in further and which ones should be […]