Zen Of Design

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

Month: November 2014 (page 1 of 2)

“Framed” Design Review (and the concept of Design Space)

“Framed” is a brilliant experimental iPhone game, built on one incredibly genius design idea, but appears to run out of room quickly.

First off, I love the look and the style of this game.  The character design is strong, given the room for detail is so light given their art style.  The character animation is incredibly well-done.  The music is incredibly appropriate, and often queues off of game events – play this one with the sound on if you can.  The art style is fresh, with cool pastels that are totally appropriate for the game and make every screenshot identifiable at a glance. Continue reading

That Stephen Seagal Moment

About a year ago, I decided to lose some weight with the Rock Band Exercise program.  In short, Rock Band on Expert Drums will totally and completely kick your ass.  Along the way to losing about 40 pounds, I gold starred 400 songs.  Yay, me.

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Well, most of those pounds found their way back on me, and I have some time to kill while I seek out funding and/or jobs, so I’ve been picking the drums back up.  I decided a good place to start would be to re-gold star the songs I’d gold-starred in the past (gold-star is above ‘5-stars’ and means ‘near perfect’ on most songs).  So far my hit rate is… not good.  About 40% of the songs, I’m able to gold star again.  The other 40% will take me getting back into fighting shape.  Some percentage of that, I have no idea how I beat it the first time through. Continue reading

In The Process of Trying to Find a More Comment-Friendly Theme

I’ve changed the theme to be more readable than the previous, particularly in the reply chains.  I’m still looking for potentially better layouts, particularly for comment threads.  If you have feedback, or better ideas on WordPress templates (keep in mind, I am disinclined to do more than hit the ‘install’ button on one), then the comment thread here is where to give feedback.  Once I find something that I (and or whoever comments) likes, I’ll then replace whatever key art is in the template.

Also, I’ve been importing my old blog posts from my old blog into this one.  I am now up to late 2007, otherwise known as ‘the last round of console wars have entered full flame’.  Also, it was right before the first round of post-WoW MMOs came out, so you can still taste the optimism.

It seems like there’s a lot more to go, but my blogging really slowed down in around 2010 or so, so I’m pretty sure I’m through the worst of it.

Sarkeesian Effect Duo Reanimates Defeated Corpse of Jack Thompson

Dear GamerGate,

I know that you guys are starting to think about the Holidays, and what Black Friday stunt you can pull.  I know, in particular, game developer outreach is top of mind right now with Operation Rebuild, where you attempt to send nice letters to game developers to let them know that YOU ARE ON THEIR SIDE. And that’s a tough deal for you guys, because in the past you have slutshamed them, brigaded them when they outreachharassed them out of their home, released their hacked financial datafinancially attacked their primary industry journaltried to organize boycotts of their games if they disagree with you,and tried to get them fired if they tried to stop the constant slew of rape and death threats thrown at them on twitter.  And many female devs still feel silenced by the very existence of Gamergate. It’s really no wonder that devs who aren’t too cowardly to hide their names have definitely broken in one direction on the subject.  I guess what I’m saying is, ‘good luck with that’.

Continue reading

The Lost Gamergate Episode of Seinfeld

One of the more annoying things about #GamerGate is trying to explain how it definitely started as a harassment campaign, but has long since migrated past that.  It really sounds like the plot of a terrible sitcom episode.  Based on that, I wrote the following.


George suspects that his girlfriend is cheating on him with a games journalist.  So he writes a shitpost about the guy, starting a protest of a bullshit ethics complaint.  The movement takes off, as people who legitimately care about ethics in games journalism and progressive games writing pick up banners.  It starts to steamroll out of control, as George’s dad takes up the cause like a religion.

Frank: I refuse to live in a world where I can’t kill the hookers in GTA after they have sex with me!
George: But… you don’t even have a Playstation, dad.

Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Gaters Gonna Gate

For those who view #GamerGate as a Macabre Theatre, this week was far less spectacular than last week. But that’s to be expected, I guess.  Last week was a masterpiece of the surreal – it was GG’s Red Wedding.  And let’s face it – you just can’t keep that up week to week.  The audience would be exhausted.

In all honesty, Red Wedding Week was good for those Gamergaters who actually have noble ideals about ethics in games journalism, in that it did actually expel or minimize some of GamerGaters worst agents who were driving some of the stuff that riles up opposition and makes Gamergate look very bad.  Enthusiasm on both sides has been waning.  As such, events were much more subdued in the last week than previous weeks.  Which manifested itself in a lot less horrible stuff happening.

But no shortage of very silly stuff. Continue reading

Don’t Let #Shirtstorm Ruin an Amazing Scientific Achievement

This week, humanity did something pretty cool.  The European Space Agency landed a drone lander on a comet.  It was a monumentally incredible and fantastic scientific achievement, and everyone associated with it should be very proud.  Instead, we’re talking about a shirt.

View image on Twitter

This is Matt Taylor.  He was part of the team that did it.  This is awesome.  He also made the decision to wear this shirt, which made a lot of people upset.  The response to it resulted in the guy giving a ‘teary, heartfelt apology’ for his decision. Continue reading

WAM is Merely a Patch for Twitter, Which is Broken

Update: interested parties may also like this article by Sarah Jeong that talks about some other initiatives being developed by Twitter to improve the state of things


Andrew Sullivan is one of my favorite bloggers of all time.  I’ve always loved his stuff, his infamous article on Obama converted me to the ways of hope and change, and the way that he wades fearlessly into any topic.  But I fear on GamerGate, him and I see things in a different light, both with his initial entry , and even moreso with his most current alarmist coverage of WAM providing help to Twitter in getting rid of sexist assholes.

Let’s talk about the latter.  There are a couple of things here that are overlooked. Continue reading

The Best Game Reviews of All Time

Nobody asked, but: here are, in my opinion, the best game reviews of all time.

3) “Chess”, by Greg Kasavin.
2) “World War II Online” by Lum the Mad.
1) “Anne McCaffrey’s Freedom First” by Old Man Murray.

Anyone have any better candidates?

You Know Your Game is in Trouble When….

If you liked yesterday’s post (“Why Did a Designer Put This Terrible Feature in This Game?”), then you might like these two old chestnuts:

How old are these?  Hint: I made some submissions to these myself while working on this old fossil.  You kids don’t know how easy you have it with your Unity and your Twine.

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