Category Archives: game design


Question: Can high drama be produced from a wide-open simulation?

Creating a game that tells a story is one thing. Creating a game that tells a dramatic, moving story is quite another.

Can you really get a dramatic, moving experience from a game that is not tightly scripted or linear? Can high drama truly emerge from an open, unbounded simulation-style game?

Everyday life is a wide-open sandbox. Clearly, there is high drama in real life. But, as mentioned a while back on, “Most people’s lives are not filled with high drama all the time. Some events will be dramatic, but creating a dramatic story from those requires editing out all the mundane parts.” (greg)

That editing, in game terms, is what I imagine [More...] Read the rest

Also posted in interactive fiction, story in games | 3 Responses

Touché, aaronius

Occasionally I surf around the IFDB looking for goodies. I really like the way it is set up, as it takes a number of cues from other community sites that encourage engagement and social interaction. Often I’ll find myself weaving my way through games, reviews, and lists before realizing how much time has passed, and typically I’ll come out with a couple of new games to add to the play list. I also absolutely love how it is so smoothly integrated with Zoom (and others, like iPhone Frotz), which so effectively feeds the immediate gratification beast. Anyway, I digress.

I was flipping through some IFDB pages the other day, looking for some choice information on this year’s IFComp winner, Rover’s Day Out, when [More...] Read the rest

Also posted in 3D/if, interactive fiction, Vespers | 2 Responses

Indie, Part-Time

As I was cruising around GDC Austin from one session to the next, I began to gain a greater appreciation of how much of the conference was geared toward the business side of game development. This isn’t surprising, of course, given that game development is an entertainment business, and GDC is all about how developers can do all parts of their jobs better. But whether it’s because of the tough economic times, or the rapid saturation of the iPhone game market, or the wide proliferation of MMOs and social games, or the plummeting price point for online and mobile games, it just seemed like there was a greater emphasis on economics than I experienced last year, unless I’m just forgetting.

There were many sessions at [More...] Read the rest

Also posted in indie game business, indie games | 2 Responses

Wrapping Up At the GDC Austin

I’m finally getting some time to put some thoughts together on this year’s GDC Austin, as I sit in the airport waiting for my flight back. Luckily, it’s still possible to put some thoughts together, after dumping half a beer on (and in) my laptop last night. I thought for sure that was the end of the line for the MacBook Pro, but it seems to have survived the scare.

It was an impressive amount of beer dumped directly over the power button and right half of the keyboard, and I wasn’t exactly the swiftest to respond. But after giving it some time to dry upside down, it did start up the first time I tried. After that, though, on subsequent power-ups it would only [More...] Read the rest

Also posted in characters in games, interactive fiction, text in games, Vespers | 3 Responses

A Moment To Pause and Catch My Breath

Well, that was a bit longer hiatus than I was expecting, but there you have it. It was quite a July and August. Mixed in with an impossible workload, particularly in August, was a couple of vacations (including an awesome backpacking trip to Yosemite National Park, which required more preparation than I had expected) and a big deadline. Yeah, that deadline. It’s amazing, particularly without having children, how easily free time can get sucked away before you realize it. So just about every spare minute I could find was spent working on my presentation, which has left very little time for any Vespers work recently.

I’ve given a lot of scientific talks and lectures before, and it’s pretty rare to have to prepare my [More...] Read the rest

Also posted in interactive fiction | 4 Responses