“If there’s a bathroom, there should be a toilet. And if there’s a toilet, it should flush. It’s these little pieces of seemingly pointless interactivity that maintain the illusion of being inside a functional other place, not just a place-shaped box.” - What virtual toilets can teach us about the art of game design
There are no straight women in RimWorld, as in, there are no women only attracted to men. Instead, every single non-gay woman in the game has some chance of being attracted to another woman. As for the men, it works a little differently. - RockPaperShotgun takes a look at the code for RimWorld and how it defines gender roles.
At the end of the process I ended up with a stack of 3.5” floppies, so I bought an external floppy drive to see if there was anything on them worth saving. Mostly they held back-ups of old manuscripts and story fragments from before I joined Valve, but on one disk I found several documents from the summer of 1998, late in Half-Life 1’s development, when I’d been working on the game for a year. - Novelist Marc Laidlaw unearths his notes from his time at the Lambda Complex, including an extensive piece on writing Half Life and afterthoughts on having shipped it.
"Autism is seen like some sort of mental superpower where we can see math in the air. In my experience, this isn’t really the case." - Dispelling some myths about the autistic wunderkind programmer. Also: Why you might not want to get TOO excited about autism employment initiatives. Autism FAQ
In the late ’70s and ’80s, the arrival of personal computers like the Commodore 64 gave rise to the first generation of kids fluent in computation. They learned to program in Basic, to write software that they swapped excitedly with their peers. It was a playful renaissance that eerily parallels the embrace of Minecraft by today’s youth - Inside the Minecraft Generation.
Onto the Land (yt) - the latest in a series of Grand Theft Auto V nature documentaries in the style of David Attenborough.
RockPaperShotgun asks the British game industry how they would make a game out of The Great British Bake Off.
The making of X-Com, Julian Gollop's squad based tactical game. Many subsequent games have taken the XCOM name, often of dubious qaulity, to the point when an XCOM FPS almost had Gollop crowdsourcing his own remake. Fortunately Firaxis did a "very very good" job with it's XCOM: Enemy Unknown" , though Gollop would have done a few things differently. A sequel, XCOM 2, is on the way, and will show "what happens when you lose Enemy Unknown.> [more inside]
The New Games Criticism - a response to Kieron Gillen's The New Games Journalism 10 years after the fact.
The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. - Tropes vs Women: Women as Reward. Tropes versus Women creator Anita Sarkeesian on the backlash to the series (Warning: GamerGate), Previously, previously.
Fenlason dubbed his clone Hack for two reasons: "One definition was 'a quick [computer] hack because I don't have access to Rogue'. The other was 'hack-n-slash', a reference to one of the styles of playing Dungeons and Dragons." - A chapter long excerpt from David Craddock's Dungeon Hacks, a new book on the history of the Roguelike RPG.
Diorama Club - a site where you can play interactive stories or use a simple tree syntax to create and share your own.
Gaming Your Brain - How to top the leaderboard of Clash of Clans, and how Freemium games rake in billions of dollars from their players.
You couldn’t control the camera, I mean. The Silent Hill video games were blunt and herky-jerky—you, backed into a corner, swinging a plywood board clumsily at two sets of mannequin hips bolted horrifically together, flailing at you. Clay-colored, faceless children grabbed at you in the dark as you tap-tap-jogged awkwardly in circles, desperate to regain some kind of control. The world fell silent for cutscenes, PlayStation glory-era wax-lipped women with empty eyes mouthing hollow dialogue at you from the mist and shadows.Why Silent Hill mattered.
It was all really bad and scary, and kind of broken, and everyone loved it, especially me.
Want to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle? Not possesed of a Scrroge McDuck style moneypit or willing to sell organs in order to buy figures? Kieron Gillen and Matthew Sheret are here to help with Hipsterhammer. Jump in with guides to building Dwarf, Empire or Vampire Count armies on the cheap! Doubles as a bit of a guide to the weirdo world of Warhammer Fantasy, as distinct from your more generic Tolkienesque efforts. They even have a manifesto!
"Last April, I began working on a game. In October, I released it. This is the story of Eldritch." David Pitman tells the story of developing and selling the roguelike/FPS Eldritch, described as equal parts Lovecraft and Minecraft. Includes lots of lovely sales figures.
Time-sink alert: The Cutting Room Floor is a site dedicated to unearthing and researching unused and cut content from video games. From debug menus, to unused music, graphics, enemies, or levels, many games have content never meant to be seen by anybody but the developers — or even meant for everybody, but cut due to time/budget constraints.
Untold Riches: An Analysis Of Portal’s Level Design, from RPS, who have been looking at level design in their Level With Me series of interviews. Meanwhile Valve will be announcing something Monday morning - probably not Half Life 3.
EA is setting it's hopes for the future on Plant's Vs Zombies 2's "freemium" model, hoping they've done it "the PopCap way". Here's how to play it without paying to win.
Alternate Reality Game puzzle design - Adam Foster of Valve talks about the design of the Portal 2 ARG, (previously) and do's and don'ts for future ARGs.
Realm of Chaos 80s - an 80s Games Workshop blog.
There’s an old dream in game design. It drives the design of games like SimCity, Dwarf Fortress, Tropico, The Sims, and Prison Architect. I like to call it the Simulation Dream. - Bioshock Infinite designer Tynan Sylvester on games, complexity, stories and simulation.
Microsoft has unveiled their new console, and it wants to dominate your living room. How Xbox One plans to fight Sony, Steam, and everything else.
What does the crowdfunding landscape look like for game developers one year after Kickstarter exploded onto the scene?
Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
Both characters remained fully clothed and there were no genital shots. But this was still the most explicit sexual content Wildenborg had seen in a video game. “It was at this point I decided to release the patch to the public,” he says. “I tossed the name 'Hot Coffee' on the file, based on the fact that the girlfriends would ask CJ in for some 'coffee' as a euphemism for sex. Hot Coffee was the first modification for San Andreas.” - The history of Grand Theft Auto's infamous "Hot Coffee" mod.
Gaming made me - RPS writer Patricia Hernandez on how Fallout 2 shaped her world view, her politics and her sexuality.
Gambling For Kids: A How To Guide - a discussion of claw games, Panini sticker books, and in-app purchases in free-to-play games for kids.
I’m about to tell you a story about videogames, kitchens, and internet forums that has a happy ending. Stop laughing, I’m serious. - A woman gamer declares Gaslamp Games's Dungeons of Dredmor forums awesome.
Fans of flora versus undead violence rejoice! Plants versus Zombies 2 has been announced for Spring 2013. However all is not well at PopCap games, with a recent layoff of 50 employees, or 10% of its staff, citing the increased popularity of Free-to-play, social and mobile games. Somewhat stickily amongst those reported laid off was Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan.
Sony is closing its Liverpool Studio, previously known as Psygnosis, developer of the WipeEout and Lemmings games (DHTML version, previously). The studio created games for 28 years, first gaining attention in the Amiga era for it's high production values and stunning box art (more, more ).
Both inside and outside the walls of Facebook, the story of social games has become one of dead geese and golden eggs, flatlined growth, formulaic games and shady practises. Many warned that the sector was slowing down, but sometimes giants need to fall. It needs to get bad enough before people start to really consider what's next... So what comes next?
Having previously been disappointed by the information available on the topic, this is my attempt at categorizing different ways to implement 2D platform games, list their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss some implementation details.
There’s no nice way to say this, but it needs to be said: video games, with very few exceptions, are dumb. And they’re not just dumb in the gleeful, winking way that a big Hollywood movie is dumb; they’re dumb in the puerile, excruciatingly serious way that a grown man in latex elf ears reciting an epic poem about Gandalf is dumb. Aside from a handful of truly smart games, tentpole titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Black Ops tend to be so silly and so poorly written that they make Michael Bay movies look like the Godfather series. Taylor Clark's Atlantic profile of Braid creator Jonathan Blow has prompted some strong reactions. Are videogames dumb? Is hard to make them not dumb? Are most things dumb anyway?
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