Computer Game History Analysed

I really am too busy to blog much right now, on the account of having to put together a rough test version of Karta Machiton. But I do have the time for a short observation, inspired by Ville Vuorela, who graciously gave me some rather interesting pointers on computer game types as a comment on my earlier post about the games I consider significant. He outlines a solid model of how conforming to audience expectations is a key to commercial success in computer games. (Perhaps not the only key, but I’m ready to believe that it is a commonly followed and routinely successful principle in making games that sell.) The idea of tug-of-war between the publisher’s and designer’s intents is outright fascinating, I’ll have to think about that in more depth; as both principles A and B are obviously important, there might be some merit to having both defended separatively, even if I’m usually suspicious of compromise as a design tool. Read the rest of this entry »

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Of Professional Jealousy

I think I’m not ready to let the blog-whining thing go just yet. I myself like reading about other people’s lives when I’ve met them or am otherwise interested in their work, so perhaps others are similarly interested in mine. Depends on how entertaining you can get about your own foibles, I guess.

As the reader remembers, my understanding of game culture and design primarily comes from roleplaying. While I wouldn’t presume to any great, expert knowledge in matters of, say, computer game design, I certainly will take that risk when it comes to roleplaying, of which I know a thing or two.

Keeping that in mind, I’d like to say a few words about the idea of game design as a profession. I feel that the roleplaying background matters here a great deal, because where I come from, game design is not usually considered a profession. Roleplaying is simply too small of a hobby nowadays for anybody to plan for a career in roleplaying. Not that we don’t try, mind, but even in the best cases the end-result is more reminiscent of a gentleman’s vocational pastime, perhaps spanning decades, but still not something that’d be recognized as a profitable enterprise if all the expenses were lined up in view.

Thus, it is somewhat accurate to say that a significant part of the roleplaying game designer community does it as a hobby, or focuses on game design in discrete bursts of activity when the situation allows. The more successful designers move on to other industries with valuable experience, the less successful ones with little to show for it. My story today therefore concerns itself with jealousy felt by those who can not devote themselves to their passion full-time. Read the rest of this entry »

More Computer Game History

OK, of course I couldn’t let it lie (actually, Jari couldn’t; there’s a guy who can’t leave a job unfinished). Now that I’ve expanded my list of “essential games” to an unwieldy length, I can perhaps forget the whole thing, secure in the knowledge that I’ve probably caught most games in my target segment. Certainly there’s some obvious additions like the excellent Star Control space opera games, as well as some not so obvious ones, like 4D Sports Boxing, one of the first playable 3d fighting games. I also got a couple more recommendations for my list of games to play in the future! Of course, now I have to put that list on a separate page of it’s own if I ever want to add anything else in the blogroll.

(My) Computer Game History

I’ve said several times that I’m not exactly experienced about electronic gamer culture. I’ve never played a modern MMOG, for example, and I don’t hang out on any computer gamer forums or such. I’ve read some computer gaming web comics, but even those seem a bit like outsider stuff to me – I’m sure that if I were 15, the PvP stuff, jokes about shared multiplayer game space, stories about ultra-long game sessions, control pads getting melted on the thumbs and so on would feel relevant, but as it is, I can only appreciate that culture in a patronizing manner. Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Game Studio Maintenance

This is the post where I tell you more about the game studio we’re starting. There’s much I still don’t know about the project, but I can at least discuss the things that are important to me about it. The whole project is still to coalesce in terms of actual people having concrete roles in a specific game project (although it seems pretty probable that we’ll be doing Theomachy in some form, what with me doing actual write-ups and outlines about it and all), but we’re getting there. Meanwhile, I’ve been putting down some principles that I want to emphasize, and having a little bit of design done for the project’s imago. I even have a logo… Read the rest of this entry »

Concepting Karta Machiton

I got a logo, that makes my game cool:

Karta Machiton logo

Next, I’ll proceed to write an abstract of the game and it’s relationship to Theomachia. I have a Finnish-language concept document for this one as well, but Jarkko Vuori told me that he actually got some points from the Theomachia abstract that he’d missed in the Finnish version, so I figure that it’s better if I write this one from my head as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Blogging plan

Hee hee, my blog got positive attention from Ville Vuorela (who’s apparenty becoming a strange raving gnosis-gnome mascot for my blog, based on how I end up referring to him constantly; I probably should get his picture in the sidebar or something), which has interesting results for blog visibility. One of the good parts in being hosted by WordPress are the pretty powerful usage statistics the software keeps for me. These tell me that while I’ve been writing my blog for the last couple of weeks, I haven’t had any significant traffic. This isn’t really such a surprise, considering that I haven’t told practically anybody about the blog yet. I told Ville a bit ago because I’d love to hear what he thinks about our developing game project, and I linked the Acts of Evil playtest report I made earlier to the Ashcan Front forums. The latter brought in around ten people during the last five days, WordPress tells me. Ville’s blog seems to have brough 17 visitors as of this writing, and it’s only been a couple of hours since he made the posting, I understand. Pretty interesting, the day is my best yet with 55 views total at this point, and it’s not even finished yet. Not that I have any use for views per se. Read the rest of this entry »