Game design

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Too Expensive to Develop?

John Lanchester argues in this essay that the production of games has become so expensive, the democratic effect is vanishing – quite in contrast to the rest of media, where the internet made it simpler and cheaper to produce for.


Quest Design in World of Warcraft

Jeffrey Kaplan about the Quest Design in World of Warcraft:

With a scant 40 minutes to address the gathered masses, former World of Warcraft director Jeffery Kaplan had a lot to cover in his “The Cruise Director of Azeroth” lecture.

The presentation saw an extremely candid Kaplan, now working on Blizzard’s next-gen MMO, recognize and address the nine major problems with World of Warcraft.


Caught Again: Avatars Are Just Humans, Too

Or as Raph Koster puts it: Avatars aren’t tokens. They are not just playing pieces, they – just because they look human – are being read and interpreted as human. And with that comes all the prejudicial crust we so heavily rely on.


Take the Train

Just another game for Oskar Freysinger who claims that games can’t convey philosphical ideas:

Train by Brenda Brathwaite. A board game, it seems, with a mean twist.


The Architecture of Evil

Jim Rossignol, who also posts for Offworld, in a guest post on BLDGBLOG about the architecture of evil in games:


Super Better

I’m either going to kill myself, or I’m going to turn this into a game. After the four most miserable weeks of my life, those seemed like the only two options left.

Jane McGonigal, of recent TED fame, got herself a concussion – and afterwards a bad case of post-concussion syndrome. Which sounds like Alzheimer’s on steroids. Which … is bad.


"Why Would I Do That?"

Robert Yang designed a Half-Life 2 mod – and sneaked in a gay couple. Oh, my.


Realtime Art Manifesto

Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn are new media artists who have embraced realtime 3D game technology as their artistic medium of choice. Realtime 3D is the most remarkable new creative technology since oil on canvas. It is much too important to be wasted on computer games alone. This manifesto is a call-to-arms for creative people (including, but not limited to, video game designers and fine artists) to embrace this new medium and start realizing its enormous potential. As well as a set of guidelines that express our own ideas and ideals about using the technology.


More Rock

Also, there is Less Talk, More Rock over at, urging designers to do less intellectual talk and more innovative design.

Very good. I need to take that by heart.

Just wait for me until I have conceptualised that.


Notes on Designing Games

Some blogposts that have been piling up recently. First Chris Dahlen who argues that games are more like music than film:

There’s an assumption in the game industry that games will get better the more they take after film. […]

And yet, every time we compare games to movies, the fit is awkward. Aren’t cutscenes static and dull? Don’t rigid plots get in the way of gameplay? If we need to give games a frame of reference and a yardstick for their development, maybe movies aren’t the one. So here’s a modest proposal: let’s try something else for a while. Instead of movies, let’s study music. […]

[M]usic doesn’t come to life without performance. […] [T]o most of us, we don’t experience music unless someone’s playing it. And the performer doesn’t even have to be a pro. Some games are easy and still plenty of fun; they’re like the two-chord folk songs of the interactive world. Other games demand, as Tracy Fullerton has called it, “masterful play” – the top kids at the arcade playing Street Fighter IV are akin to Lang Lang woodshedding on Beethoven. The performers master the piece, and their interpretation brings out its greatness.

I’m not quite sure whether that is entirely true – or that he just wants to compare today’s pop music shallowness with the shallowness of today’s games …

Second, after the cut, there is Danc, turning Microsoft Office into a game – using achievements.


TED Talk by Jane McGonigal

Before I forget: Jane McGonigal about gaming that can make a better world:


Breaking the Fourth Wall in Games


Why Is Voice Acting in Video Games Still So Bad?

The Guardian about the problem with voice acting in games.


More on Game and Money

More on the monetization of games, following up yesterday’s post: Apparently Jesse Schell made some annotations to his famous speech about achviements. He sees different types of game designers:

  • the persuaders
  • the fulfillers
  • the artists
  • the humanitarians

All of those have different goals when creating games. And the persuader is the one that tries to get money out of it. More over at Play This Thing.