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Time Warner Shutting Off Austin Accounts For Heavy Usage

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Time Warner Shutting Off Austin Accounts For Heavy Usage - mariushm writes "After deciding to shelve metered broadband plans, it looks like Time Warner is cutting off, with no warning, the accounts of customers whom they deem to have used too much bandwidth. 'Austin Stop The Cap reader reader Ryan Howard reports that his Road Runner service was cut off yesterday without warning. According to Ryan, it took four calls to technical support, two visits to the cable store to try two new cable modems (all to no avail), before someone at Time Warner finally told him to call the company's "Security and Abuse" center. "I called the number and had to leave a voice mail, and about an hour later a Time Warner technician called me back and lectured me for using 44 gigabytes in one week," Howard wrote. Howard was then "educated" about his usage. "According to her, that is more than most people use in a year," Howard said.'"

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Whew! Thank god Time Warner got the message and bowed to consumer desires like they swore they did. Am I the only one who sees this as a 3 year old's tantrum? "Fine then! I'll just turn it off completely! I'll show you who's boss!"

*sigh* Seriously, why don't they get that this is untenable? If you couldn't deliver unlimited transfers at the rate you promised, why did you sell it that way, Time Warner? It's because you couldn't have sold it any other way, right? Consider what that means before you decide to play "screw the consumer" again. Read more»

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News: City of Heroes user content surpasses dev's in 24 hours

News: City of Heroes user content surpasses dev's in 24 hours - 'Mission Architect' system generates 3,800 game scenarios in first day [ news]

Wow. Great statistic. That's like saying, "It takes an hour of work to build a bicycle and 24 hours of work to build a car. Since we can produce more bicycles in a day than cars, bicycles are clearly better than cars."

Some bicycles are better than cars, in ways, but are bicycles better than cars? Not really. I would like to think that if they were, there would be a lot fewer cars on the highway, when I go to work. Read more»

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Writing in the Game Industry

I was asked today to speak at a conference on a panel discussing writing curriculum in game design schools. I couldn't make it due to a scheduling conflict, which is really too bad. As you are likely aware, I have a pretty well documented, if misunderstood, stance on writing in the industry: I don't think you should hire a writer, if a designer who can write is also available.

I can imagine that some people might interpret that to mean you shouldn't teach writing to new designers, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I think there are few more important skills you can teach a game designer. Learning how to write well enhances your ability to think critically and allows you to more easily convey your thoughts to others. Everything else a designer does hinges upon those skills. Really, why wouldn't you teach aspiring game designers to write? Read more»

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French Design - Interesting Questing Using Only Questing Structure

Along the same lines as the concept of a limited set of basic tools is the often muttered MMO adage that there are less than a dozen quest objective types. I actually think it's a lot less than 12. In fact, most of the folks I know who are making MMOs think there are only 7, just like my basic tools:

  1. Kill Things
  2. Acquire objects
  3. Talk to NPCs
  4. Give objects to an NPC
  5. Interact with Objects in the World
  6. Travel to Locations/Waypoints
  7. Protect or Defend something

You could probably argue that some of those object types are really just embellishments of others as well, so maybe it's more like 5:

  1. Kill something/prevent something from dying
  2. Acquire Objects
  3. Talk to NPCs/Deliver objects to NPCs
  4. Interact with Objects in the World
  5. Travel to locations/waypoints

In either case, that's a pretty restrictive collection of things a player can do, right? There are only so many combinations of those objectives you can string together before a player has essentially done every quest you can imagine, mechanically. In other words, if you've played an MMO with questing, there's a good chance you've already played every type of quest you could possibly think of. Even on a small game, this is true: there were thousands of quests in Auto Assault across the three factions, but all of them used objective types listed above and pretty much nothing else. So how does a designer use these simple quest types to make interesting content?

The answer is context. Read more»

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French Design - A Technique For Eliciting Lifelike Behavior Using Simple Tools

I wanted to print an old design doc I'd written a few years ago, but sadly I haven't heard back from the studio I wrote it for, so I can't do that. Instead, I suppose I'll just talk about an idea I worked on once. Using the parlance of junk patents, let's call this installment of French Design - "A technique for eliciting lifelike behavior using simple tools." Read more»

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