Year: 2011

Plagiarism as a moral choice

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Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the “wrongful appropriation,” “close imitation,” or “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries. The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement, while in the previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged […]

Panda Poet: My most social design

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Way back in 2010, Spry Fox put out a single player word game for the Kindle called Panda Poet.  I had always had some vague ideas for a multiplayer variation so when an opportunity came up to create an original HTML 5 game, I pitched play-by-mail Panda Poet.  As David says over on his blog, this is our third release this month so things have been a wee bit hectic.  Reminder to self: do not […]

Steambirds: Survival Mobile

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Today, we are launching Steambirds Survival for iOS. The layout has been rejiggered to work nicely on the iPhone. And there’s a wonderfully expansive HD version for the iPad that it easily my favorite way to play Steambirds. The Android version will follow shortly.  All of them are free, so give it a go and let me know what you think. Though this new mobile version of Steambirds Survival shares the same name as web-based […]

Triple Town Beta (Now with Bears)

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Exciting times.  You can now play our puzzle game Triple Town in your web browser.  We are releasing it as a beta and the game should evolve quite substantially over time. Huge kudos to Cristian Soulos for making this project blossom after a long winter. You can play it here. Triple Town is a special game. It has the highest user rating of any of the games I’ve designed (94%). It is also the only one of […]

Shadow Emotions and Primary Emotions

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Not all emotions are created equal. Consider: It is a distinctly different thing to feel sad while reading about a dying mother than to actually feel sad because your mother is dying. The former is a shadowy reflection that we intuitively understand is not immediately threatening. The later is raw, primary and life changing. I’ve yet to see existing terminology for this phenomena, so at the risk of stepping on existing toes, let’s use the […]

Realm of the Mad God Released!

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A little over a year ago, Alex Carobus and Rob Shillingsburg from WildShadow created a prototype of a re-imagined MMO for the TIGSource Assemblee game jam. David and I started working with them a few months later through Spry Fox, helping flesh out with the monetization, interface and cooperative mechanics. The game has been in public beta for a year, rigorously tested by thousands of passionate players. The metrics look good. The tech is in […]

A blunt critique of game criticism

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Note:  This essay has gone through a couple drafts based off extensive feedback (which you can read below in the comments). I’m aiming for a version of this essay that is less likely to violently misinterpreted by a majority of readers. Apologies for altering the context of any of the comments below…an unfortunate peril of live editing.  Again, let me know where I’m wrong.  Let me know which portions makes sense.  I read Ben Abraham’s […]

Game Design Logs

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If you still practice or encourage the outdated practice of writing long design documents, you are doing your team and your business a grave disfavor. Long design docs embody and promote an insidious world view: They make the false claim that the most effective way to make a game is to create a fixed engineering specification and then hand that off to developers to implement feature by bullet-pointed feature. Great game development is actively harmed […]

What the heck happened to Clippy? Ribbon Hero 2 released

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Last year, Ribbon Hero, a game that teaches people how to use Microsoft Office came out.  It was one of the few gamification projects that tried to be an actual game instead of being just lame slathering of points and achievements.  Now comes the sequel. David Edery and I have been helping the team over at Office Labs take that initial experiment and fulfill its fascinating potential.  I’m super proud of what Jen and crew made.  You […]

GDC 2011: The Game of Platform Power

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Here are the slides and notes to my GDC presentation, “The Game of Platform Power”.   In our industry, history repeats itself again and again, but each new generation of developers often fails to learn past lessons.  Platforms in particular have a well established life cycle and their relationship with a developer changes as they mature.    Yet, I regularly see developers completely caught off guards as their new favorite platform suddenly stops being their […]