Archive for November, 2009

30
Nov
09

The inverse power of praise

This is a rather unusual article to link here on gmzzz, but please bear with me.

I don’t really stomach most of the books, articles or papers that theorize game design, mainly because they come across as pretentious attempts to make our “craft” look more artsy, just for the sake of it. But there are some books on the subject that are genuinely interesting, like A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster. Part of this book’s success is the fact that it’s main focus is not on game design, but rather on the psychology behind learning and playing (in it’s larger sense), with gaming as a natural medium where you can evolve some of these theories.

There’s something similar about this article I’m linking here. It’s not about games. It focuses on the way parents talk to their kids, and reaches some interesting conclusions about how misplaced praises can affect a kid’s self esteem and openness to effort. It’s a pretty eye opening read but, again, not about games.

So where’s the link?

First of all, here is the same logic (as the one behind the article) applied to RPGs – Awesome By Proxy: Addicted to Fake Achievement. Go have a read (and while you’re at it, check out the other articles as well, as they are all pretty interesting). The conclusion is pretty grim: some game mechanics work just like those misplaced praises, which in turn have a negative effect on us, the players.

Second: Facebook. I’ve been trying many of the games that the uber social network has to offer and I’m more than pissed off about the cheap (but oh so effective) game mechanics that they all use. Don’t get me wrong, these are some of the most basic, beautiful, clean and effective game mechanics but they are used to promote games that are devoid of content and purpose. The only gain that come out of them are the huge financial gains for the developers. Again, I’m happy for those guys but (especially in light of the previous 2 articles) I think we should start thinking about the implications of the games we’re developing. Implications that go way beyond paychecks and popularity.

Ok. Rant mode off. Enjoy the articles!

30
Nov
09

The Forest Temple

The Forest Temple (Flash)

29
Nov
09

Design Fundamentals of Stealth Gameplay in the Thief Series

This dates back to 2002, with Ion Storm’s then-Project Director Randy Smith discussing stealth gameplay fundamentals in the Thief series at Game Developers Conference. The lecture provided what was then an early glimpse at the mechanics of the third entry in the series, Thief: Deadly Shadows.

download MP3 lecture (link)

download Powerpoint presentation (link)

Also, every game designer should take note of the following quote:

Don’t create “scripts”
Don’t plan the player’s experiences for them.
Create “possibility spaces”
Populate the world with challenges.
Populate the world with things that interact with the player’s tools, the simulations, manipulate the data flow.
Avoid absolutes, embrace gradients.”

29
Nov
09

IWWHIIWWHITOMIROTPG: The Game!

IWWHIIWWHITOMIROTPG: The Game!

This is a super awesome fan game of a fan video of a licensed game series based on characters created in an original game series from the ’90s.
Based around the “I Wonder What Happens…” video series by Majus and Co., IWWHIIWWHITOMIROTPG: The Game! takes a (hopefully) humorous look at some of the zany things that Majus might decide to put Guybrush through whilst delving into the mysteries of what will actually take place in the Tales of Monkey Island.

26
Nov
09

10 questions: Daniel Thron

Out of the Shadows – interview with Daniel Thron

I’m guessing that everyone here already knows who Daniel Thron is. We all loved his cutscene art and animation in Thief I and II. Beside these, Daniel also created the box art, the maps, the particle system effects and he even did some voices for all three Thief games. The man behind the unique art of the beloved games had the opportunity to answer a few questions submitted by TTLG.com members about working on Thief.

18
Nov
09

Devil’s Tuning Fork

Devil’s Tuning Fork – LSD, anyone?

18
Nov
09

All Around

iPhone/iPod Touch




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