Zen Of Design

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

Month: March 2008

My Call of Duty 4 Experience

So far, it has some of the most spectacular scripted events I’ve ever seen in a video game, visually.

That being said, so far the actual gameplay seems to consist of not quite killing anyone before my squadmates do, followed by being blown up by unavoidable grenades.

The Opposite of RMT

Magic: the Gathering has had, over the years, a debate over the use of what they call proxy cards, or the use of stand-in cards to represent more expensive, harder to find cards. Often times, these proxy cards are little more than writing the words ‘Black Lotus’ over a worthless land card, but in today’s day of low-cost color printers, many players attempt to make more ‘perfect’ ones, by downloading the art and pasting it to the back of a cheap common. Continue reading

Dear Burnout: Paradise Team…

The whole GTA-like open city thing…. did it ever occur to you that someone might want to run the same race twice in a row?

Please, find the designer/producer that foisted this horrible decision on an otherwise great game, and bop him on the back of the head once for me. Kthx…

That Libertarian RMT Argument


“When you criminalize free trade, only…criminals engage in free trade. That’s why you see the thuggish behaviour you do.Legalize the trade, as some games and worlds have, and you have harnessed legitimate and normal human activity, and then can more easily identify and prosecute the criminals, i.e. those who use fraud, spamming.” Continue reading

Arcane Election Rules

My experience with the Texas Primary was not unlike Scott’s, only we were attempting to fit about 500 people into a 35-man classroom on a college campus. We ended up forming two lines, going down the hall each way, each supporting a different candidate. Somehow, I was drafted into actually playing traffic cop for these two lines. Fortunately, I had the foresight to put the Obama line down the long hall.

My coworker, who is from France, is completely baffled and befuddled by stories such as these, especially when you get to the part where Obama lost the primary but (probably) won the caucus in Texas. Continue reading

The Longest, Geekiest Quiz I’ve Taken In a While

From this quiz:

I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Sorcerer (4th Level)

Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Mao and Magic

In the previous thread on hiding numbers, Raph argues that showing the numbers is bad if

[You have] some other sort of game where figuring out the mystery is part of the point…

The king of these games is, arguably, Mao. The game is a crazy-eights clone, with a whole bunch of Uno-style rules, but with the catch being that the players are not told the rules. The dealer makes up his ruleset in his head, and enforces the rules on the fly, forcing players to deduce the ruleset along the way. Continue reading

WoW Class PvP Metrics

My wife pointed these out to me – MMO designers who like metrics will probably find themselves mesmerised as well.

This blog runs metrics on the Armory to determine the class makeup of teams at different Arena ratings. (For the uninitiated, 1500 is an average, starter rating, whereas 1800 is considered good and 2200 is considered wtfpwnage). As an example, you can see that Druids and Warlocks own in 2v2, whereas locks are average in 5v5 and druids are considered kinda crappy. Continue reading

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