Zen Of Design

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

Month: June 2006

June 2006 Quick Hits

A lot of blogworthy news in a short amount of time, and no time to give them the full writeup they deserve.

The Frag Dolls are protesting the Miss World Series Video Games beauty contest. Next week, I hear David Caruso will be protesting ridiculous overacting. Continue reading

Help Out Steven Spielberg!

There is an unsubstantiated rumor that Steven Spielberg is considering making a World of Warcraft movie. And by unsubstantiated, I mean completely so. All the same, we must consider the possibility that Mr. Spielberg is being coy.

Now I was thinking: Mr. Spielberg probably isn’t a hardcore MMO-head. How about we help him out, and suggest some key plot points that must be in a WoW film for it to be true to the original franchise?


Original comments thread is here.

Verdict on Heroes V: Spooky

I’ve installed Heroes V on three machines now. 4 disks. In none of the installations did it ever ask for disk 2.

It’s kind of creeping me out.



I was a toddler when The Omen came out and changed my life forever. I wouldn’t actually see the film for another decade.

According to The Baby Name Wizard, a whole bunch of people chose to name their kids Damion/Damien/Damian in the 1970s. Interestingly, Damian-with-an-a was more popular than the movie-sanctioned and obviously more evil looking Damien-with-an-e. My parent’s choice, Damion-with-an-o, has always come in last place. Continue reading

Creating the Wrong Experience

Rampant Coyote has an excellent blurb discussing his view hopping through meadows and picking flowers — as an assassin.

My character class, determined early in the game from my tendency to hide when bad guys show up and strike from behind, is an ASSASSIN. That’s right, a bloodthirsty, amoral killer assassin. One of his key skills, which needs to be increased through in-game practice, is alchemy. For making all those vile poisons to coat his arrows and knives with, of course. To get enough materials together for constant alchemy practice, I take the ’scenic route’ from place to place so I can take time to … pick flowers.

Another of the assassin’s key abilities is Acrobatics, which is increased over time by hitting the jump key. So long as endurance doesn’t run out, I find myself hopping around as I go from place to place to increase that ability. Which means that as the vile, evil, bloodthirsty assassin, I am spending MUCH of my time hopping and skipping through meadows picking flowers.

Continue reading

Pandemic Trains US Youth To Invade Venezuela

So my new company is in the news… thanks to Hugo Chavez. According to him, Pandemic (which is owned by the same company that owns Bioware) is making a simulator designed to, I dunno, give the US youth practice for an upcoming invasion. Continue reading

Raph on Measuring MMOs

Raph has chimed in on the problems with comparing MMO populations to each other. It’s excellent, and touches (and improves upon) many things I was thinking about posting, so I’ll just thank him for saving my time.

Incidentally, this was all instigated by Sir Bruce’s latest update, and a stray comment on Slashdot that this chart shows WoW has surpassed 50% market dominance worldwide. And even though there’s a lot of reasons to doubt the accuracy of the numbers (for reasons detailed in Raph’s post, which Bruce freely admits in the Slashdot thread), it’s pretty staggering to be close enough to be able to have that conversation at all.

Al Lowe: “Where are the Comedies?”

From this Gamasutra article about his return to the industry, Al Lowe (creator of the original Leisure Suit Larry) challenges us thusly:

Let me put this way, the shelf is full of racing games and shooters, RPGs and action games. Where are the comedies? Look at Blockbuster in the video section and compare it to Blockbuster’s game rentals section. There’s a huge hole on that shelf, and we’re not going to try to fill it so much as try to start it, and I hope that at some point comedy games will be as common as comedy movies are in the movie section.

Continue reading

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