Zen Of Design

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

Month: September 2005 (page 1 of 2)

Doing Everything a Spider Can

Bought Ultimate Spider-man last weekend, been playing it since then. Kudos to those that worked on it, it’s a visual treat and a lot of fun to websling through to boot.

My one complaint is that all the fights are either way too easy or way too hard. I’m hoping things converge on the correct difficulty as I get better at the webslinging controls and the difficulty ramps up.

Did I mention that I love the art? I lurves me that tasty stylized art.

Beating The Dead Horse Till It Comes Apart

I keep thinking I’m out of material, but every time I look there’s another horrifying quote somewhere about Katrina. Anyway, for those who aren’t sick to death of ‘em, Scott and I just put new cards up.

As an added bonus, someone sent Scott a picture of K:TG being played. Yep, turns out the game is playable. Not, I suspect, balanced, but apparently fairly hilarious. Continue reading

The Point

This gets back to game design eventually, I promise.

If anyone has paid any attention to television this fall, as the new season kicks in, you’ll have noted that it’s been a little wierd. After a seeming eternity of every show being a bad Law and Order ripoff, with half of them being cancelled before midseason, for the first time, the networks are taking crazy chances. Continue reading

You Make Me Feel So Small

A lot has been made of the fact that other games are quickly adding elements of MMOs to their games, such as persistence and content updates. Of course, the fun flip side of this is that they are also inheriting MMO-style problems. Such as a roster update for Madden ‘06 that made a Jets linebacker seven inches tall.

Be sure to scroll halfway down the page to see the good pics.

The WoW Plague

Now, I’ve screwed up in the past. Many times. In the MMO space, screwing up is almost inevitable, and the real question is how you respond. But I haven’t yet screwed up enough to get the attention of the mainstream media. In this case, BBC reports on the WoW plague, in an article that’s made more amusing as the BBC reporter grapples with how to explain the wierdness that is already inherent to MMOs to an audience that wouldn’t know them from a game of Q-Bert.


Katrina: the Gathering Card Submissions

While I suspect the wildfire pace of the spread of Katrina: the Gathering has slowed and overall we’ve jumped the shark, there was enough enthusiasm about new cards that I decided to throw this thread here in case anyone here has an idea. We’re not going to be adding a lot more cards at this point (we added 40 or so over the weekend, and bandwidth is now killing us), so new additions will be reserved for really bone-headed quotes or really compelling images that capture the zeitgeist of what’s going on.

That being said, if you got card ideas, especially images and quotes but also names and pics, post ‘em here and maybe the good ones will join the ranks of lame Internet joke linkage. Feel free to post anonymously if you fear your reputation being destroyed by being attached to such shenanigans.

As a sidenote, Blogpulse says that we’re number 1! Truly, everyone needs more taste.


Original comment thread is here.


The Challenges of Guilds Design

The other reason I haven’t been blogging: I wrote a long article about the next generation of Guild Design for Escapist Magazine. They wanted an article about guilds from the designer’s perspective, so I tried to come up with the top 5 challenges for designers to think about. Unfortunately, they trimmed out my german cannibal references. At any rate, feel free to let me know what you think.


The original comments thread is here.

I’ve Been Metafiltered

Okay, the real reason I haven’t been blogging is because I’ve been devoting way too much time to my pet project, Katrina: the Gathering. People have many unique ways to express grief. Mine is game design. Go figure.

Our pet project has now exceeded the 100 card mark, and work on it will likely slow. If anyone can think of other inane quotes that have been made, or other parts of this ignoble saga that deserve commemorating, feel free to comment below.

We have been noticed by the outside world, too. Metafilter has been highly complementary in their comments but, to be fair, they’re a bunch of communist tree-huggers (like me). If we get a complementary nod from Freep, then I’ll know I’ve done my job.

A Football Grievance

Last weekend, the New Orleans Saints football team won a gripping and uplifting victory, kicking a field goal with 3 seconds on the clock. It was a bitterly fought contest, and while the overall platitudes about the resiliency of the human spirit became somewhat tedious before long, the Saints played harder than anyone expected them to given the turmoil in their lives, for the most part dominating a Carolina team many had picked to reach the superbowl.

The Saints inspiring victory earned them the cover of Sports Illustrated. Some call th15em ‘America’s new team’. Many called the victory ‘uplifting’, ‘invigorating’, and ‘a ray of sunshine for hundreds of thousands of displaced Cajuns’. Continue reading

Amazing Political Hypocrisy

AP says thusly.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments’ response to Hurricane Katrina.

The New York Democrat’s bid to establish the panel — which would have also made recommendations on how to improve the government’s disaster response apparatus — failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to overcome procedural hurdles. Clinton got only 44 votes, all from Democrats and independent Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont. Fifty-four Republicans all voted no….In a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll taken Sept. 8-11, 70 percent of those surveyed supported an independent panel to investigate the government’s response to Katrina.

Continue reading

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