Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Month: October 2004

Interactivity is Scary

Interactivity scares people.

This story from Grimwell’s, detailing an ATITD Event in which women were treated as chattel, has caught the interest of virtually every wannabe talking head with even the tiniest interest in virtual worlds. So far, almost everyone is missing the point. Continue reading

The Delicious Collapse of the Yankees

I watch baseball once a year. It starts about midway through the divisional series, and continues through the ALCS. Then, whether or not I watch the World Series depends on who is in it. As a former Ohioan, I still harbor a deep love for the Cincinnati Reds, and since the only way I see them is opening the paper to watch them slide southwards in the standings, I just don’t pay attention until the year’s almost over.

I hate the Yankees for a simple reason: they broke baseball. As the lead designer of a massively multiplayer game, nothing ticks me off more than a guy who exploits – except a guy who doesn’t stop. Baseball needs a patch. Last year, I didn’t watch a single inning of the World Series. Even if the Yanks ended up going down, it’s so tiring to watch the evil empire claim the crown year after year.

Last night, of course, we were reminded of why its worth hating the Yankees. A-Rod swatting the ball out of Arroyo’s hands with a girlish jab, prompting the everclassy Yankee’s fans to debris on the field until the riot police came out will be emblazoned in my memory for all time.

In the last four years, it’s been even more intolerable. I had a Yankees fan living with me. Every time the Yankees would stumble, he’d remind me, “We have 26 world series victories.” What can wipe that away?

I think that the most humiliating collapse in baseball history will do.

An Intensely Interesting Article on Ketchup

No, really.

Speaks to me as a game designer looking for too many niches.  Why are so many other people trying to reinvent mustard, while accepting that we all just want Heinz ketchup?

Nick Yee Looks at the Raid

Caught this on Terranova. Nick Yee has updated his site with four new articles. The good ones are the two about raids: an overview and some testimonials. Nick finds many common themes among the raid experiences of these games, even as these games are as different as they are. Continue reading

Shadowbane Update

Shadowbane: Expansion # 2 (Throne of Oblivion) is starting to get the press that comes with a launch. MMORPG.com has a nice preview with some nice screenshots that shows off how we use our normal mapping technology. RPGVault has a nice rundown as well. HomeLanFed has a interview with my Producer. RPGVault was also nice enough to call us one of the potential sleeper hits of the fall season. Continue reading

In the Sausage Factory of City of Heroes

Too much politics. Let’s talk games. The eggheads at Terranova (Hi, Guys!) have been discussing this Forbes article about City of Heroes, which Forbes terms an ‘out of nowhere hit’. Fair enough. The most interesting part of the article, at least to me, was this:

Lewis spent $2.5 million of his own money, plus loans of $4.5 million from his distributor, the U.S. arm of South Korea game company NCsoft, to create City of Heroes. NCsoft is spending another $18 million a year to market and operate the game and provide customer support.

Continue reading

Fix the election, it’s broken!

Speaking as a game designer, it sure is embarrassing when you design a game and then a really stupid loophole is left in, and people exploit the hell out of it. Bush and co. must know what it feels like now, as his plans to introduce democracy to Iraq by Saddam Hussein declaring his interest in running for president of Iraq in January’s elections.

Stefano [Saddam’s laywer] said that there was no law that prevented Saddam from appearing on the ballot. He added that Saddam hopes to regain his presidency and palaces via the democratic process

Saddam’s lawyer defends that the ambiguity in Iraq will favor Saddam at the polls. Stefano remarked that a recent Gallup poll indicates that 42 percent of the Iraqi people want their former leader back.

I’ve no doubt that the Iraqi constitution will be patched with an emergency hotfix to close this little loophole. Edit: looks like we were already planning on fixing the elections but not in the way you thought.

The Bush administration has been forced to scale back a plan proposing a covert CIA operation to aid candidates, favoured by Washington, in the Iraq elections after lawmakers raised questions about the idea when it was sent to Capitol Hill.

But lawmakers, from both parties, raised questions about the idea when it was sent to Capitol Hill. In particular, house minority leader Nancy Pelosi “came unglued” when she learned about what a source described as a plan for “the CIA to put an operation in place to affect the outcome of the elections,” said Time magazine.

Expect more chaos around that election to arise as the chaos around our own grows.


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