On the morning of 14 November 2008, a 15 year-old boy was rushed to hospital in Laholm, Sweden. He was suffering from an apparent epileptic fit, brought on by exhaustion and dehydration. Investigating doctors discovered that the cause of his illness was self-inflicted. The boy had been playing Wrath of the Lich King, an expansion of […]Read more "The Three Fundamentals of Powerful Interactive Communications"
We all know conversation is a game. Sometimes it’s a game with a very definite prize, like getting someone to think you’re interesting enough that they’ll give you their phone number, or getting someone to trust you enough that they’ll consider your business proposal. Whatever the goal is, conversation is challenging, scalable, and interactive – […]Read more "Conversation: the Rules"
This is a transcript (sort of)of an Ignite session I just delivered at the Melcrum Digital Communications Summit in London.Read more "Kill it With Fire: why Gamification sucks and Game Dynamics rule"
My self-taught, practical course in level design continues. After a weekend of obsessive forging, I present another multiplayer map for Halo: Reach. Here’s the Beta version of Boulevard of Broken Dreams. This one’s a $10,000 map – I used every cent of Reach’s complexity allowance. It’s built for team slayer or capture the flag, a […]Read more "Lessons in Level Design: Boulevard"
My thoughts about game design have been stirred lately by the creative opportunities afforded by Bungie’s Halo: Reach. As well as being an excellent game in its own right, Reach includes a very powerful level editor with quite easy controls. The learning curve is steep but very short, and it’s entirely possible to be creating […]Read more "Level Building in Halo: Reach"
I’m a big fan of games without a built-in story. For my money, the best thing about games is that they can let players create and experience a story for themselves, rather than smacking them down into a linear narrative someone else has dreamt up. I’m not against linear storytellng at all, mind. I just […]Read more "Civilization: A Game in Three Acts"
Adrian has been writing a fascinating series of posts on Civilization over at mssv. I’m a massive Civ fan myself. I installed the very first version of the game from floppy disks onto my mom’s computer back in 1992. It was a beige IBM desktop, whose processing power would seem puny next to a lot […]Read more "Scale and Storytelling in Civilization"
Why are really good games fun? Here’s an attempt to deconstruct one in detail. PopCap’s Peggle: a Masterpiece of game design. I tend to like a certain kind of game. Half-Life, Call of Duty, Halo . . . See a pattern there? A lot of my friends play similar games. You know – hard-core gamer […]Read more "Anatomy of Fun: Why Peggle is a Masterpiece"
Saturday night I was at a house party in Brixton. I only knew the host, so between nacho-scoops of guacamole, I found myself repeating the opening gambit of ‘The Party Conversation’ (TM) several times. “Hi, I’m Philip,” I’d say, extending my hand. Handshake. “I’m Melanie. Hi.” “Nice to meet you.” “So, Philip, what do you […]Read more "I’m a Game Designer, Dammit."
Ever find yourself checking your Facebook feed absent-mindedly, on the off chance that there might be something new and interesting there? Ever follow an eBay auction obsessively, or get a burst of happiness when someone gives you a high seller rating? Ever spend a day in anticipation, wondering how many views your YouTube video will […]Read more "Irresistible Online Journalism in One Diagram"