Zen Of Design

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

Month: August 2007 (page 1 of 2)

Next Week, China Bans Unregulated Griffin Flight Paths

True story: once upon a time, I pitched a game idea to China that revolved heavily on player created content. Their response was to reject it, because the game leaned heavily on players voting on good content vs. bad content. China doesn’t like games that espouse democracy.

Cut forward to this article: China bans real-life reincarnation (thanks Amber). Continue reading

In Other News, People Who Go To Singles Bars Like Sex

Turns out, people who like to play MMOs like to socialize!

Looking at nearly 1,000 online gamers from around the world, researchers found that three quarters of gamers make good friends with the people they meet online. Almost half have met in real-life situations, and one in ten went on to develop physical relationships…

The study also determined that more than 30 per cent of gamers found themselves attracted to another player, and that 40 per cent chose to discuss sensitive issues with online friends rather than real-life friends.

“As well as making good friends online, 81 per cent of gamers play with real-life friends and family, suggesting MMORPGs are by no means an asocial activity, nor are the players socially introverted,” said Griffiths.

Continue reading

World of Cryingcraft

This has been sitting in my mailbox for a while. (Audio required)

Back to the Horserace

As a followup to a story I posted a couple of weeks ago, I feel I should note that the Wii has now surpassed the XBox, at least according to these guys.

 

Stuff, Stuff and More Stuff

So, Patrick’s had a chance to think about it for a little bit, and he’s decided that he doesn’t like items very much. In fact, ’suck’ is the word that he used. I used to be one of those ‘items are unimportant’ guys. In fact, the Meridian 59 item system he designed so lovingly was designed by me. Confession: our low item count was caused more by a lack of art assets than any desire to make a spartan experience.

There are some very good reasons to have items in your game. Brian covers the obvious, which is that it gives Blizzard a way to keep the game going. Continue reading

Put On Your Tinfoil Hat

This guy claims to be an ex-Arena.net employee, and he’s decided to burn some bridges to the ground. Among his unusual assertions:

1) Some enterprising lower level employees of Arena.net has forged an ‘unofficial’ partnership with gold farming organizations (’GFCs’), who they feel are providing a valuable service to the goldbuying public. This partnership is, shall we say, not a corporate mandate. Continue reading

Zero Punctuation

This is utterly sublime (movies, some spicy language):

 

Conan’s Aspirational Fantasies

It’s long been acknowledged that one of the cornerstones of WoW’s success has been relatively girlfriend/wife friendly gameplay. Unlike many MMOs in the past, WoW has an inviting art style and a happy-go-lucky feel to the game that gamers aren’t ashamed to nudge their geek-loving girlfriends into giving it a good college try.

Compare this to Conan, where according to this old movie, you start as a sex slave (youtube link- fast forward to 1:15 or so). Developer quote:

“If you’re a male, you start rowing, and if you’re a female, you’re chained to the back performing other services… regardless, you have to do work.”

The only confirmation I could find was in this interview from 2006:

The male characters are attached to the oars, and the female characters are chained to the wall, slightly removed from the males, as their duties fall less under the category of propulsion than, shall we say, “crew recreation.”

Conan is gunning hard for the ‘M’ rating, and trying to do everything they can to embrace it. That being said, the initial proposition is an odd one, that really highlights the difference between passive and interactive media. In, say, Thelma and Louise, the audience is asked to root for women who were recently abused for sexual purposes. In this game design, you’re asked to become one.

Does anyone in a recent beta know if this design element exists in Conan as it sits now? Is it clearly apparent what’s going on? If so, it will be very interesting to see if they ship with that feature, and what effect it has on the wifeometer.

 

Original comments thread is here.

The Lead Singer of Cannibal Corpse Plays WoW

For your Friday pleasure, this is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time.

Unsurprisingly, he really doesn’t like elves.

 

Orc Shrinkage and Heroic Asses

There exists now in WoW a bug so insidious, so horrifying, that hundreds are threatening to quit, due largely to feelings of emasculation. Long threads debate whether the bug is a bug at all, and whether or not this is an insidious stealth nerf of the highest order, further cementing the notion that Blizzard hates the Horde.

I am, of course, referring to the great shoulderpocalypse. Continue reading

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