Game Design

Articles or blogs about designing games of all kinds.
Snipehunter's picture

So many glass ceilings you can't see the sky

I've been kind of bitchy lately. So much so that I really didn't want to post anything because I knew how negative it would sound, if I did. I'm not going to talk about why I'm bitchy, but instead I'm gonna talk about something that occurred to me, because of it:

There's a lot of general crankiness and other assorted poison in the industry, right now. It expresses itself as a sort of general ennui, as if there's nothing surprising out there anymore.

I'm not the only cranky game dev out there, right now. In fact, some folks proudly claim their cynicism on their own blogs; a shtick to attract readers. That makes me think that maybe their audience (gamers and other devs) are bitchy and cynical, too.

This industry, no scratch that, this scene has lost its soul. Read more»

Snipehunter's picture

Of watches and chronometers...

Watch movement

Image via Wikipedia

I love my job. I know it's something I say a lot which, considering that I can't talk a lot about what I do, might seem a little circumspect, but it's true -- I really do love my job. By trade, I'm a game designer. I design the systems, mechanics, lore, levels, enemies and worlds of the games I work on. This time around, however (much like my time on Auto Assault) my focus is primarily on content. I'm a lore master, at the coarsest end of the granularity scale, but that's not really what I do...

You see, all of that lore, all of those stories, they have to work for the game -- they have to enable or support the game play of the world I'm a part of making. Even little choices, like what each geographical area of a world will look like, is a game play choice -- the concerns of game play supersede any aesthetic concern one might have. In other words, I am not a writer or an artist. Nor am I just a "quest designer" or some sort of glorified implementer. No, the truth is, I'm actually more like a watch maker.

My tools range from the course -- the broad strokes of the words I use to weave a history to bring a world to the fictional point where our game play fits the context -- to the fine: To the tiny gears, springs and levers that make the smallest critter behave believable or the townsfolk of a world comment on their day as they go through it.

This all sounds like an ego trip, I'm sure, and I suppose in a way it is, but I'm mentioning all of this for a reason. Give me a chance to explain, and then you can tell me I'm vain. Smiling Read more»

Snipehunter's picture

To hell with writers, what you need is an editor!

I've been wondering for awhile now, how I was going to talk about this, but I think I'm just going to say it. The last time I talked about story and writing in games, I stirred up a bit of trouble, so I've been wondering if I should share the realization I've had recently... but it's too good not to share. Read more»

Snipehunter's picture

Quests in MMOs suck -- and it's your fault.

If you've paid any attention to my twitters recently, you probably saw a few comments about "to-do lists." These were parts of a conversation I was having with another developer about how the quests in modern MMOs don't feel like "quests" at all, but rather as errands or chores -- literally glorified to-do lists. I've done a lot of thinking about this lately, focusing on how to fix it. Read more»

Snipehunter's picture

The More Things Change...

I've been playing a lot of WAR, lately. I'm enjoying it, but I'm also struck by how familiar it all is. Now, before you snort knowingly and mutter "Warcraft did it," let me explain - I don't mean it feels like Warcraft. It's really more about how... old... it feels. Read more»

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