Year: 2009

Happy Holidays 2009!

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First, here is a holiday picture I painted for everyone. The creature to the left is a Hairy Elephantosaurus. His prehensile mustache and beard are well suited to both the winding of fine pocket watches and the adjusting of crystalline monocles. As the last few moments of 2009 draw to a close, I look back with great delight on what has unfolded so far. I started the year at GDC and was struck by the […]

Game design as government

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(Apologies to Aldous Huxley) For many years, I’ve been thinking about game design as a form of governance. Game mechanics, rules and systems are comparable to laws Players are comparable to citizens The code and moderators that enforce game mechanics are comparable to executive activities. The act of game design is the equivalent of drafting new laws, legislative activities. Issue escalation and customer service are comparable to judicial activities. Each of these topics provides years […]

Three False Constraints

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Once again, a call goes out to make games more culturally meaningful. I agree very much with the sentiment, but I’ve always been frustrated with how designers set themselves up for failure due to the constraints placed on the problem. In mathematics, computer science, and physics there is a the concept of a ‘hard’ problem. What does the inside of a black hole look like? How do you identify an NP complete problem? How can […]

Testosterone and Competitive Play

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Lately I’ve been digging into research on testosterone. Over the past decade, scientists have been placing players in competitive situations and then measuring how their testosterone fluctuations predict future behavior. What you find from looking at the studies is that both winners and losers will leave your game if they are placed in a set of predictable situations involving dominance, luck, and friendship. There are four points that have experimental support: How playing with friends […]

Flash Love Letter: The Music Video?

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Nathan Germick is a brilliant fellow. He recently performed at a social games meetup in San Francisco. Apparently, he had been reading the Flash Love Letters. This is the result. I take away the following: Flash games are incredibly sexy. Don’t let your wife see this or you may lose her forever to this floppy maned Flash engineer siren. Or there may be some transferal of sex appeal and the ladies will see your work […]

Speaking at GDC Austin

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Just a quick note. I’ll be speaking at GDC Austin this Wednesday. Premium Flash Games: Indie Business Rant: I’ll be in Austin all week, so if you are in the area and you’d like to chat, drop me a note at danc [at] Update: Here are a couple of links reporting on the talks take care Danc.

Flash Love Letter (2009) Part 2

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        In the previous post, we covered:  Chapter 1 – The Potential of Flash: The great potential of Flash as a platform and the big question: Why are there so few great Flash games? Chapter 2 – Making money:  How do Flash developers currently make money. In this post I’ll cover:  Chapter 3 – Generating value: How Flash developers currently create ‘valuable’ game for their players? Chapter 3 – Generating Value Okay, so […]

Bunni Beta and Casual Connect

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You should play Bunni here   Two small announcements:  Bunni: How we first met is now in public beta. There’s still a bunch of work left to do. Right now we are stabilizing so that we can turn on the more interesting monetization and distribution features without creating an angry mob.  I will be at Casual Connect in Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll be attending talks, but if you want to meet up, drop […]

Flash Love Letter (2009) Part 1

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Flash Love Letter (2009) Part 1 Chapter 1: Introduction Hello Flash game developer, Over the past couple months, I’ve spent a bit of time looking at Flash gaming on web portals like Kongregate and Newgrounds.  There are over 14,000 games spread across 30,000 portals with hundreds of new games coming out every month.  The output alone is amazing.  Let me cut to the chase.  I think that you, Flash game developers, are some of the most talented […]

My top secret reading list

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I figured that it was time to share with my secret stash. I’ve been using Google Reader to tag interesting articles and publish them all to a single location. Occasionally, I’ve added snarky comments. You can find the entire treasure trove here: This list is updated a bit more regularly than my blog, but since I don’t believe in covering Lost Garden with link fests, I’ll keep it as a hidden secretive thing. So […]