Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — game development

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FIRST TIME? PART 2 (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design, game development, gameplay

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FIRST TIME? PART 2 (by Tom Russell)

So last time I wrote about how a bad first impression with a game can make folks unlikely to try it a second time. There might be great and hidden depths that reveal themselves after x number of plays, but many folks aren't going to ever get to x. Or, as John Brieger put it, "you have a problem if it requires weeks of playing constantly for players to achieve the level of knowledge to make the game balanced." The thing is, I don't know if that really is a problem. I mean, yes, it is a problem, in the...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FIRST TIME? PART 1 (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, game development, gameplay

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FIRST TIME? PART 1 (by Tom Russell)

Years and years ago, I was talking with a fellow - we'll call him Henry - who had seen a film that Mary and I had directed and was, shall we say, underwhelmed. Which was fine, as far as that goes; not every film is for everybody, and that goes double for the weird sorts of comedies we were making. But Henry and I had a rather cordial and pleasant conversation about the film and some of the choices Mary and I had made with it, which he found too subtle for his tastes. I said something to the effect...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: DOUBTS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, game development

FROM THE ARCHIVES: DOUBTS (by Tom Russell)

When my first few games were published, I wasn't very sure of myself, my abilities, or my judgment. I was constantly afraid that a game would come out and gamers would immediately discover some glaring and obvious hole in the rules that had somehow gotten overlooked. Then I'd be the guy who had designed a broken game. But you do enough of these things and you'll start to build up your confidence. After six years of working in the games industry, I have worked on nearly fifty games in some capacity or another, mostly as a designer or as a...


FORGOTTEN RULES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, game development, This Guilty Land

FORGOTTEN RULES (by Tom Russell)

I remember listening to a commentary track that the director Paul Thomas Anderson did about his film Boogie Nights, in which he explained why a scene was cut from the final film. He was watching a cut of the film, and as one scene was wrapping up, he was giddily anticipating the next scene, which was one of his favorites. But when that first scene had ended, it wasn't followed by the scene he was anticipating - it was followed by another scene that he had seemingly forgot was in the film. And I'm paraphrasing here - it's been maybe...


THE BALANCE BINARY (by Tom Russell)

THE BALANCE BINARY (by Tom Russell)

I have a strong preference - as a player, as a designer, and as one-half of a publisher - for dynamic games, by which I mean games where the balance is highly mutable and prone to distortion based on player actions. One of the ways I try to achieve this in my own work is through the use of feedback loops, in which succeeding makes it easier to succeed, and failing makes it easier to fail. The winners keep winning and the losers keep losing. The balance of the game is in flux, capable of being tilted in one direction...