Game Design

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

He said, she said - the interplay between gamers and devs

So, there I was reading Massively, when I come across an op-ed piece entitled Digital Continuum: Sci-fi, Looking back. Being, as I'm sure I've mentioned, a huge Sci-Fi fan, and dying - as I'm sure I've mentioned - as I am for a sci-fi MMO, I of course immediately clicked over to read the article... Read more»

Snipehunter's picture

Story and writing in games...

I thought I'd throw this link out there since it was a good read:

GameSetWatch's HDR Knowledge - Telling Stories and Realizing Worlds

One of the things the author mentions is the layered storytelling often used in games like Halo 3 or Metroid Prime. He questions, at one point (and to be fair he questions for effect), why they would hide such amazing writing the way they do. He posits his own thought (it keeps the story out of the way of those who don't want it, essentially), which is dead on accurate in my experience, but he fails to mention the other reason this can and does happen:

Sometimes, you're not hiding the story from your audience, but rather from your co-workers. Read more»

Snipehunter's picture

Designer ramblings - Why you're wrong if you think you're right (even if you're right)

In my last blog I mentioned some of the frustration I feel over the fact that I can't really make games for me - that the market segment I represent is too small to finance games of the size and scope said segment prefers. Interestingly enough, something similar to that thought came up at work recently and I was delighted to find out that some of the folks I work with and for don't agree that that's true. I can't and won't go into details, but it was refreshing. Let explain why... Read more»

Snipehunter's picture

Designer Ramblings - From gating to filling niches

One of the topics that come up often when game devs get around and talk about what they like in games is the topic of "open world" versus "gated world" game experiences. These conversations often boil down to devs distilling why they play games and what they're looking for, but really the question is a simple one:

Is it better to gate the player, so that pacing and narrative can be assured (As in a movie, say), or is it better to leave the world entirely open and allow the player to do as she pleases (as in a park, say)? Read more»

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Trapped in the box - What it means to be a game creator

I'm a regular reader of Game Politics, a blog focusing specifically on the political and social issues surrounding the game industry. It's a great site and I've used it as the source inspiration for many of my blogs here on game related censorship issues. Today, Game Politics actually pointed me to this blog by Newsweek's N'Gai Croal. Here, Mr. Croal discusses the dangers of the common game myth/stereotype "games are just for kids." It's a great write up that succinctly points out the issue and its downside, but it includes an interesting quote that I wanted to use as a spring board. It's in reference to the removal of the Super Columbine Massacre RPG from the Slamdance Film Festival. Here's the quote:

Slamdance's cowardice, then, is of a piece with the controversies that greeted the "Hot Coffee" mod in Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as well as the company's more recent title, Bully. Simply put, the average person believes that videogames are solely intended for kids; that the content of all games is suitable for kids; and if it isn't, it darned well should be, even if it has an M-rating. This creates a double-edged sword for game creators and publishers. Because videogames have the revenues of Hollywood's box office but a cultural (in)visibility that's much more similar to that of comic books, creators can work freely, in relative obscurity compared to artists in other fields, while still earning a good deal of money. That is, until a game is perceived to have crossed a line or pushed a hot button, at which point, all hell breaks loose. This is a recipe for the continued infantilizing of a young medium whose potential, for all of the compelling works already released, still remains largely untapped.

I've emphasized the sentence in the quote that I found most interesting. It fascinates me that in one breath we can be discussing how games are hamstrung by the preconception that they are only for children and then seamless segue to the idea that game's obscurity allows us game creators to be free. I'm here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth... Read more»

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