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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.


The Panic Status Board

Did you see Panic’s status board?

Panic Status Board

The idea quickly grew beyond “Project Status”, and has become a hub of all sorts of internal Panic information. What you’re actually looking at is an internal-only webpage that updates frequently using AJAX which shows:


On Achievements

After reading Michaël Samyn's post on achievements I realised that more and more games are implementing this, though not always calling it achievements.