Chapter Four
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 May 2015, 12:58 am
Following a few months of convalescing after the big layoff, I now begin the next phase of my career. I have accepted a position at Blizzard Entertainment working on World of Warcraft. This is a very exciting step for me. Blizzard has a proven track record of shipping quality products, and as a longtime lover … Continue reading Chapter Four

Backing (Away From?) the Crowd
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 March 2015, 1:46 pm
When I first heard of Kickstarter, the proposition seemed straightforward and awesome. A smaller developer has a great idea and huge passion but can’t find a publisher willing to front their modest budget, so they fire off a campaign and let the market decide whether it’s worth backing. The developer has a team in place […]

Farewell to an Icon
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 5:58 pm
With the news of Leonard Nimoy’s passing, I feel as though a tangible piece of my childhood is gone. The deaths of DeForest Kelley and James Doohan were tough, but Kirk and Spock were the heart of my favorite show. Nothing else, not even Star Wars, had as profound an impact on my life as […]

Quests As Kindling
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 February 2015, 12:55 pm
Keen (hopeless EverQuest sentimentalist that he is!) wrote up a nice piece on how quests should inspire player-driven stories. I think it’s dubious to hold up EQ as a model for how quests should work. While certain of them can be romanticized, long would be the parade of people who quit the game over the […]

The Right Amount of Story
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 February 2015, 9:13 pm
Sometimes people assume that, because I specialize in narrative design, I think every game needs to be saturated with story. But in fact, I look at it from the opposite point of view: What is the minimum amount of story needed for the game being made? Excess story is a waste of resources and potentially […]

Similar, But Different
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 February 2015, 3:27 pm
When 38 collapsed, I was deeply depressed. In addition to the usual stresses–finding a job, providing for your family, the self-doubt–I was plagued by the nagging sense of work left unfinished. Sure there was a game still in progress, but even more than that was this rich universe of stories that, aside from Reckoning, were [...]

The Too-Familiar Road
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 February 2015, 7:17 pm
Today I was released from Daybreak Game Company, which is to say the entity that was Sony Online Entertainment. I’d been back for about two-and-a-half years following 38 Studios’ collapse, and they were very kind to offer me a position on Landmark and EverQuest Next. I had a great time and worked with fantastic people, [...]

My Favorite Music of 2014
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 December 2014, 9:14 pm
In last year’s post, I admitted that I was finally buying more music digitally than on CD. Unsurprisingly, that trend has only escalated in 2014. I bought digital music exclusively except in three cases: 1) it’s an artist I have a particular fondness for, and I consider their music to be an artifact I wish [...]

That Time of Year
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 August 2014, 12:52 am
I’ll soon be heading up to Vegas for yet another SOE Live. I’m pretty excited, as we’ve got some great panels on fiction and the content of EQNext. I’m also terrified, because I’ll be on stage in front of several thousand people to talk during a small portion of the keynote speech. I love doing [...]

Into the Sunset: Eulogy and Tribute
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 August 2014, 5:13 pm
A look back at my time on Vanguard, and my feelings now that the game has gone dark.

My Favorite Music of 2013
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 December 2013, 1:52 am
Back when I worked in record stores, my boss Daryl used to tell me that as long as there was something among Tuesday’s new releases that he could fall in love with, he knew he hadn’t overstayed his time on the job. I can’t say that I find a new record to love every week, [...]

Safe Harbor
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 August 2013, 2:40 am
There were layoffs today at SOE. I was not among them, but it was a shitty day anyway. It’s something that happens way too often in our industry. My personal scars are still fresh, and the events of today have made old wounds ache once more. Some of the layoffs hit very close to home–many [...]

Sin City Revelation
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 July 2013, 12:10 am
Later this week I’ll be participating in SOE Live 2013 (the event once known as Fan Faire) in lovely Las Vegas. It’s at Planet Hollywood this year, so it will be interesting to be in a new venue. This will be the biggest SOE fan gathering in a number of years, no doubt in large [...]

One Year Later
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 May 2013, 3:45 am
There are various dates one can identify with the death of 38 Studios. You could cite the day the company failed to pay its employees. You could choose the date the company declared bankruptcy. For me, 38 Studios was about the team and the friendships we shared, so I mark May 24 as the point [...]

So, What Have You Been Playing Lately, Steve?
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 April 2013, 10:01 pm
After playing some Guild Wars 2 for a while, I finally decided to fire up Mists of Pandaria and see what WoW has been up to. Although I had a higher-level death knight, I decided to yank my good-old level 70 arms warrior from retirement (the undead fellow who still decorates the banner of this [...]

Satisfying Psychological Needs
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 April 2013, 3:20 pm
I was reading an article called “The Psychological Appeal of Violent Shooters” and thought it had some interesting correlations to MMOs. Here’s a quote: In their book, Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound, Rigby and Ryan describe “self-determination theory,” a fairly well established framework that aims to describe [...]

My Favorite Music of 2012 (So Far)
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 January 2013, 2:38 am
About the only thing you can rely on me to blog about these days is my annual favorite music post. But for the first time, this post has been in danger–not due to my laziness, but because of my pocketbook. As anyone reading this knows, 2012 was not the kindest of years to me or [...]

Taking It on the Chin
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 December 2012, 3:54 am
Working in the games industry is awesome. It’s a creative field in which, if you work hard and are very lucky, you get to make fun stuff that entertains people. If you’re very, very lucky, you even get paid to do so. This year, that last point was not something to be taken for granted. [...]

Back in the Saddle
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 October 2012, 1:07 am
Looks like it’s been a while since I posted anything that wasn’t mopey. A rough few months will do that to you. I’m pleased to be able to deliver happier news: I am once again gainfully employed, at the place where my career in games began: Sony Online Entertainment. I lead the design team as [...]

A Few More Glimpses
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 August 2012, 3:34 pm
Former 38 team members have been posting more work-in-progress assets, and I wanted to honor the team’s efforts by passing them along. It should be noted that I’m only linking this material–some of the coverage of my last post made it sound like I’m the one releasing them, which is not the case. The first [...]

The Game That Could Have Been
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 August 2012, 12:44 pm
Yes, internet news, Kingdoms of Amalur would have been free to play. The idea was to have no cost for the client and no monthly fee–as few barriers to adoption as possible. Curt’s “atom bomb” comment was referring to how we planned to market the title. We would have revealed the game, teased its ongoing [...]

KoA Teaser Context
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 July 2012, 6:24 pm
I wanted to post a few points of clarification about the Copernicus (Kingdoms of Amalur) teaser that was recently leaked to Kotaku. After we released the environment fly-through video in the last days of 38 Studios, there were a lot of misconceptions about what the video was intended to be, and I don’t want the [...]

The Hamlet of Game Development
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2012, 4:34 pm
In which Danuser makes his only public comment about Curt Schilling.

Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 June 2012, 12:01 pm
I have started and abandoned several posts over the past few weeks. I knew I needed to write something… but what story did I want to tell? An angry tirade about being screwed over? A scathing tell-all about what really happened inside 38? A self-pitying plea for a job? So many emotions inside me, a [...]

What Dreams May Come
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 May 2012, 5:52 pm
As of today, everyone at 38 Studios Providence and Baltimore has been laid off. It’s a very sad end to nearly six years of great work. Despite the odds, I believed in the dream we all shared. I believed with all my heart. I’m not sure the public will ever know the beauty of what [...]

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