Category: Uncategorized

Video games vs books, or, how not to run a retail operation

As many will know, earlier this year the UK video game retailer GAME filed for administration, which to the uninitiated basically means it ran out of money. This is after a year that should have been great for such a retailer, given that we saw the release of Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, LA Noire, Deus…


Steam ‘Greenlight’ and the $100 fee controversy

Continuing on the Valve theme… Today’s controversial game development news is that Valve have decided to charge $100 to developers who wish to submit games for approval via their Greenlight system. This is not to cover costs, but to ‘cut down the noise in the system’, ie. people submitting other people’s games, unfinished games, or things…


Thoughts on Valve’s plans

Valve have made a profound impact on the PC gaming market since they launched Steam. They have roughly half the PC digital game distribution market, they offer more games for under £4 than my local branch of GAME offers at any price, and they have up to 4 million users online at peak times. But…


In defence of Metacritic scores

Back in March it was reported that Obsidian Entertainment missed out on a bonus payment from their publisher Bethesda when their game Fallout: New Vegas narrowly failed to score 85 points on the Metacritic scoring system, which aggregates game ratings from a variety of sources to form an overall score. There was some discussion over…


A quick thought about software usabililty

I wanted to install an update to some of my music software today, on Windows XP. Here’s the story. I found out about the update via email, because there is no single place to find out about updated software. Obviously Windows isn’t a closed ecosystem so a single update point might be an unreasonable thing…


Initial thoughts on Google Plus

I appear to be somewhat unusual among my professional colleagues in being a big Facebook user; I think this is mostly because most of my friends are younger than me, typically in the 18 to 25 age range, a demographic who never really knew an internet before social networking, and who rely on Facebook for…


Facebook

I play a lot of Football Manager 2005. On this game I bought a lesser-known player from Norway whose position is marked as a “Defender/Forward Left/Centre/Right”. So he seemed adaptable, but I never got good results, no matter where I played him on the pitch, so I turned to Google to get more information – maybe other FM2005 players had…


Understanding what facilitates meaningful strategy in games

Often we invent games by taking an existing game that works and adding a twist to it, or changing some aspect of its behaviour or theme to something different. But how would we create a game from nothing, without using an existing game as a framework? In particular, how do we make the game complex…


Crossover games and explaining them to the audience

There’s a post on Penny Arcade from a few weeks back which is complaining that a certain game Brütal Legend seems to masquerade as one type of game (ie. a Real Time Strategy game) while actually being something else (a third person action-RPG). The tone of the article is that games shouldn’t be mixing one…


Pitfalls of using wikis for game design documents

I recently made a post on this issue over at Gamedev.net, and thought I’d clean it up a bit to post over here, as I think it’s worth talking about. Designers are often looking for new and better ways both to create and present their design documents, and rightfully so. Just as programmers may try…