My UAH talk: Digital Bards
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 October 2016, 11:17 am
Game talk
I just posted up the slides and a video of my talk at the University of Alabama Huntsville, called “Digital Bards: Interactive Media and the Evolution of Storytelling.” The video is an audio recording plus the slides; something I suppose I ought to do more often. It’s also two hours long, because there is a [...]

A fish tank game interview with Markee Dragon
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 September 2016, 11:59 am
Game talk
I recently had the chance to sit down with Markee Dragon, during AGC. It was at the offices where they are making Crowfall, but we didn’t really talk about Crowfall. Instead, we talked about… fish tanks. Or more exactly, about game design in general, and then about how there are systems in the world around [...]

My AGC talk on Retention and Systems Math
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 September 2016, 4:49 pm
Game talk
Here it is, in all its mathy glory: Gritty Systems Design for Retention. I barely pulled off getting this one done in time. I knew what I wanted the shape of it to be, largely prompted by some of the design choices I saw in Pokemon Go. But I also knew it would involve an [...]

The Sunday Song: World Trade Center
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 September 2016, 2:22 pm
I wrote this in the days immediately after 9/11. I recorded it onto a 4 track cassette recorder, basically live, then overdubbed some harmony vocals I was hearing in my head. It’s a sketch. It’s way way long. It’s tentative. Pretty sure the whole thing is all sped up slightly, so if I sound a [...]

Upcoming talk: Systems Design for Retention
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 August 2016, 2:02 pm
Game talk
I’ve mentioned it a fair amount of Twitter and Facebook, but I wanted to call attention to it here again, for those who still follow such antiquated things as blogs! I’ll be speaking at the newly revived Austin Game Conference, taking place in Austin of course, on Sept. 21 and 22. For those of you [...]

A Poke-roundup
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 July 2016, 2:02 pm
Game talk
My piece on how “AR is an MMO” traveled far and wide this week. Among the appearances: I wrote a follow-up entitled “I Really Did Mean MMO” that anyone who liked the first post would probably like. New World Notes asked me a few questions via Twitter DM, and the result was a little piece [...]

I really did mean “MMO”
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 July 2016, 9:26 pm
Game talk
A lot of people, as I expected, have focused on the semantics of whether or not “AR is an MMO.” Mostly, they say “well, you really mean ‘it’s like an MMO.'” It isn’t really “like.” It actually “is.” I think people fall into the trap of thinking that the physical trumps the virtual, but that’s [...]

AR is an MMO
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 July 2016, 4:54 pm
Game talk
I’ve said this before, but in the wake of the viral success of Pokémon GO, it needs to be said again. Augmented reality is just a virtual world, an MMO, a MUD even, with all of the same design issues, plus a few new ones. The goggles fallacy To some, particularly vets of online worlds [...]

The Limits of Formalism, my talk from BIRS
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 May 2016, 5:32 pm
Game talk
I spent last week up in the mountains around Banff, Canada, with a spectacular group of people, as we talked about “computational modeling of games.” This was a workshop held at the Banff International Research Station, or BIRS, and organized by Andy Nealen of NYU and Michael Mateas of UC Santa Cruz. As you may [...]

My Cycle of Life talk from Helsinki
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 May 2016, 3:21 pm
Game talk
I just got back from a week in Helsinki, Finland. I was there to run some game design workshops at Next Games, and do a lecture for them as part of an event they were hosting. The request was for a talk of a similar shape to the one I gave at GDC: looking back [...]

Slides for my GDC Flashbackward segment
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 March 2016, 9:18 pm
Game talk
I hear video will be up in a few weeks, but in the meantime, here are the slides and the text for the little five minute talk I gave at GDC as part of the FlashBackward keynote. For some reason, I felt the pressure on this talk much more than usual. Five minutes is not [...]

Books on writing
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 March 2016, 6:37 pm
Game talkMailbagReading
Hello! I watched the recording of your lecture “Teaching to fish.” At the end you recommend books for the different subjects, and you said that a lot of people start with Joseph Campbell, but that there are a lot more, interesting books, out there. Do you have any books to recommend about creative writing?  — [...]

GDC and Flash Backward
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 March 2016, 8:32 pm
Game talk
GDC is fast approaching! I am only doing a five minute talk this year (much like last year!). But boy, I have a big stage for it. Instead of a regular keynote, GDC is doing a Flash Backward “keynote” where a bunch of veteran devs will share the stage giving a history of the last [...]

A Sunday Poems update
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 December 2015, 3:01 pm
The Sunday PoemWriting
As hopefully you know, I released a little book of the poems that I have been posting here on the blog on Sundays. Today Motherboard did a little piece on it: I think next time I should make a game that has the poems in it, and I bet it would be seen by a [...]

Video: Teaching to Fish (Sweden Game Conference)
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 November 2015, 11:42 am
Game talk
I posted up the slides to my talk at SGC earlier; now the conference has released video of the session. This talk was a joint keynote for both the Sweden Game Conference, which was a typical industry conference, and the smaller VS-Games conference for serious games academics. So I tried to straddle the line by [...]

My new book: Sunday Poems
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 November 2015, 6:52 pm
The Sunday PoemWriting
Starting in 2005, game designer Raph Koster decided to post a poem to his popular blog every Sunday. Ten years later, this is a selection of eighty of those poems, accompanied by gorgeous pen-and-ink illustrations and illuminating endnotes. These are verses written to an audience that didn’t necessarily care about poetry; verses about whatever was [...]

Teaching to Fish: Sweden Game Conference
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 September 2015, 8:14 pm
Game talk
I had a great time in Sweden, despite the fact that there did not seem to be a canonical way to pronounce the city was in (Skövde — sort of hghuheffdduh-ish, but depending where I was in the country, it was also hgheffduh, hghuffda, and a few others). The talk I gave, put together after [...]

PAXDev Game Grammar talk
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 September 2015, 5:03 pm
Game talk
At PAXDev I gave a talk on Game Grammar. It’s an overview of my current understanding of how all the parts of games fit together. I don’t touch on how every part works — that would have taken far too long for the time allotted — but I do provide the overview, what I have [...]

Off to PAX
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 August 2015, 1:15 pm
Game talk
I fly off to Seattle in a few hours, barring rain. It will be my first time ever at PAX, and I am looking forward to seeing what the hubbub is about. I will be carting some of my tabletop games with me, so if you run into me, ask about them and you may [...] interview
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 July 2015, 1:31 pm
Game talk
Wherein I whine in a most entitled way about people who want me to make games for them: Something like 95% of the games I’ve done over the last 20 years has never been seen by the public at all. Puzzle games have been a key part of what I’ve done for a decade and [...]

Games affecting people
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 June 2015, 3:35 pm
Game talk
This comes up, especially in relation to questions about free speech. It comes up, in terms of working with compulsion loops some might term addictive. It comes, in terms of whether or not game designers worry about what they do. The most common answer is “no,” likely because it’s an uncomfortable question people would rather [...]

Game design vs UX design
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 June 2015, 1:39 pm
Game talk
Short form: UX design is about removing problems from the user. Game design is about giving problems to the user. In both cases you look at users’ cognitive reasoning and process capacity. And these days, we have UX designers on game teams, and they are incredibly valuable. But they are in a different discipline from [...]

Games vs Sports
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2015, 2:24 pm
Game talk
From a game design “formalist” point of view, they are not different. A rules-centric view of games doesn’t care whether the interface is computerized, mediated via apparatus, or physical, so it makes no distinction between computer chess and physical chess; similarly, it makes no distinction between the rules of, say, baseball, implemented within a computer [...]

Some thoughts on recent industry events
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 June 2015, 3:40 pm
Game talk
The FTC imposes a fine on a board game creator who failed to deliver their Kickstarter. Developers publicly wring their hands about the reports of high refund rates on Steam. Everyone looks to VR, but there’s already people asking whether it is a bubble. What’s going on? There are two business models: sell something in [...]

Online Game Pioneers at Work
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 June 2015, 2:13 pm
Game talk
If you are interested in online game history, you probably want to check out Online Game Pioneers at Work. Morgan Ramsay managed to corner a whole bunch of people who were key figures in online game development over the last several decades, and interviewed all of us at great length. It’s a follow-up to his [...]

· Older Entries >>


Updated Today:
A Green Mushroom [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Bioware TOR Dev Blog [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Engadget Gaming [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Eve Bloggers [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
GamesRadar [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Massively Overpowered [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
No Prisoners, No Mercy [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Rock Paper Shotun [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Updated this Week:
Updated this Month:
I Have a Dream [HTML] [XML] [FULL] [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
PC Gamer Podcast [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Raph Koster [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
The Instance [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Wolfshead Online [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
World of Warcast [HTML] [XML] [FULL]