Here's an interesting one for you:
How do you tell a personally meaningful story with rich detailed characters in an MMO?
I have to admit, it's a trick question... Read more»
In my time as a game designer, I've lead a few sub-teams and design teams (8 total). Each team has included at least one brand new, junior designer with no experience. I think this is kind of important - I think new designers bring something to the mix of designers in a team that you can't get any way else: Passion unmitigated and not yet beat down by experience.
We love to talk about how much experience matters in this industry, and it does, but what we fail to mention when we talk like that is that all the years of working in this industry, they wear you down. You start to censor your own ideas before you ever air them out for people to hear, because you think to yourself, "That didn't work on project X" or "No way engineering can pull that off" or "There's no way we'll get the art for that."
When you're the new guy, those concerns don't exist. It's a huge open world of "All it takes is a little effort and we can do anything!" and that can lead to the type of breakthroughs in your game that can be downright brilliant... Read more»
I've been playing some Age of Conan this weekend, as I'm sure many of you can imagine. You know, despite not having a machine that can play the game at any sort of frame-rate a normal human being would call playable, I've been enjoying it... Enjoying it, that is, until now.
The problem is, as it often is in MMOs, death penalties... Read more»
As an aside, I'll mention that a fellow designer once called me an anarchist. It was mostly unrelated to work in that it was a conversation about censorship and personal responsibility. My stance was that, while people should be accountable for what they do and say, they shouldn't be penalized for the way other people react to what they've said. The example at the time was of someone saying, "I hate you, you really ought to go off yourself" and then watching in horror as the person being spoken to acted on the suggestion. The stance I took was that it was the suicide's responsibility to not kill himself - after all, how can the speaker be held responsible for what goes on in the mind of another person?
I think that the moment we begin to regulate speech, we risk shutting down the exchange of ideas - and that society as a whole suffers for the sake of the thin-skinned or those lacking the self control to police their own reactions. My colleague couldn't disagree more, stating that it was irresponsible to speak when you know it might offend someone and shame on me for saying otherwise. To tell you the truth - I didn't mind the label. I don't believe for a moment that I'm an anarchist, but gods know this world could use a little revolution in thought, so maybe this designer wasn't so far from the mark, in labeling me.
Fast forward a year or so and here I am, the latest in a long line of people whose opinions have inspired a wave of invective from the thin-skinned and those lacking the self control to police their own reactions. I find myself still feeling as I did before... and yet, simultaneously an instigator of what amounts to internet anarchy, at the same time. I guess my colleague and I were both right... You know, in this industry that happens more often than not.... Read more»
In response to Kelly's Piece:
Kelly! Damn man! Mass minsunderstanding of the year! I never said working with you was a problem. In fact, I thought we had a really good process that worked - something I mentioned in my original blog, that I guess got edited out in the reprint. Ah well. You're a damned good writer - one of the few I've worked with in the last 13 years who really understands the role of writing in games, even if the requirements of the project we worked together on really didn't let either of us explore that, all that well.
Despite the respect I have for you, I do think you've got some misconceptions of your own that I hope you don't mind if I address: Read more»