Subscribe to posts by email
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 April 2013, 1:18 pm
I added the option to subscribe to posts via email. If you visit my site you can enter your email address at the top left side of the page to get new posts delivered straight to your email box. Someone requested this, saying it let them send the posts directly to their mobile phone. Figured it might be of interest to a few other people as well.

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Subscribe to posts by email




Exciting news: the mega-Kickstarter campaign!
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 April 2013, 4:43 am
I was busy during GDC last week, meeting with people and making contacts. After a week of hard work, I have a tremendous announcement to make: I'm running a new Kickstarter campaign! But wait! It's even more exciting than you might possibly imagine. This is the mega-Kickstarter game campaign! I've gathered every major developer who has run a game-focused Kickstarter campaign and I've gotten them to join force into one, ultimate campaign! Read the full article for information about the project and the tiers!

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Exciting news: the mega-Kickstarter campaign!




The old, spiced with the new
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 March 2013, 1:39 pm
What makes a game successful? Well, if I had the answer to that I'd be bottling it and selling it and buying a gold-plated sports car. The reality is that there are a ton of little parts and pieces that contribute to the whole. You have to figure out each of those little elements (and have a healthy dose of luck) to succeed Let's take a look at one particular aspect: how much of the game should be new, compared to how much should be familiar to your players.

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The old, spiced with the new




Ask me anything/open thread
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 March 2013, 4:17 am
I've got a post I want to write, but at this pace it might take me a few weeks. So, let me solicit questions from you all and have an open thread.

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Ask me anything/open thread




That moblin was wrong: it’s not really a secret
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 February 2013, 6:45 pm
I decided to sign up as a soldier in the hidden war. It was pretty appealing when The Secret World was only $10 after they dropped subscriptions. Cheapest entry into an exclusive club, ever! And, to answer the burning question: Dragon. You may congratulate or boo me in the comments. ;) A more substantial review in the full article.

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That moblin was wrong: it’s not really a secret




When fun becomes a grind
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 January 2013, 5:43 pm
One recurring complaint of MMO players is the "grind". It's interesting taking a look at the history of MMOs, because it becomes obvious that it's mostly player perception that determines what is a grind. Every mechanic that people deride as a grind started out as something fun. In fact, sometimes it is a particularly new or novel feature that eventually becomes the dreaded grind. Let's take a look at how something fun devolves into a grind.

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When fun becomes a grind




A look back, a look forward
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 January 2013, 4:13 pm
Well, 2012 is done, and the world didn't end. (Personally, I think it was Dr. Who's heroic actions that averted the apocalypse.) So, back to business as usual, I guess. So, since we're finally in 2013, let's take a look back and a look forward.

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A look back, a look forward




Happy Holidays to everyone
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 December 2012, 2:40 pm
Hope the holidays are treating you well. In game, I hope you're getting all the toys your MMO of choice is offering. In the offline world, I hope you're in contact with the people you care about. I'm going to be traveling to visit family over the next week, and won't be back until after [...]

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Happy Holidays to everyone




How to design a game economy
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 December 2012, 7:14 pm
Okay, I made a big deal about the economy of Guild Wars 2 and how I did not view it as a fun system supporting to the game. Given that there was a lot of discussion about this, and that I'm an MMO designer, I figured I should post something detailing what should go into the design of an MMO economy. What are the goals of economic design? What are the important factors? What should be avoided?

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How to design a game economy




A look at Guild Wars 2, continued
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 November 2012, 1:42 pm
This is a continuation of the last post about my experiences in Guild Wars 2: http://psychochild.org/?p=1172 I talked about the good and the bad, time to talk about the ugly, the things that make me weep in anguish that lessons from the past decades of MMO development have simply not been learned.

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A look at Guild Wars 2, continued




A look at Guild Wars 2
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 November 2012, 6:17 pm
For my birthday, a good friend of mine got me Guild Wars 2. Being the obsessive gamer, I decided to play it. :) What is GW2 like through the eyes of a game developer? Happily for you, dear reader, I'm here to share that with you.

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A look at Guild Wars 2




The anniversary of my birth
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 November 2012, 1:53 pm
It's the anniversary of my introduction to the outside world. Hooray being one year older! I'm usually an intensely private person. I don't like to share a whole lot about myself, even despite you reading my blog. I blame part of this on being from the Midwestern U.S., home of the "strong, silent" archetype. The [...]

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The anniversary of my birth




Game Design lessons from Tony and Tina’s Wedding
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 October 2012, 5:04 pm
I had occasion to go to Las Vegas recently. I'm not a big gambler (at least not when it comes to risking money), but I did go see a show. I went to see Tony and Tina's Wedding, a show I had wanted to see for a while. I particularly wanted to see this show because of the possible lessons one could learn as a game designer for stories in a multiplayer environment. Let me explain a bit more about this show and what I learned.

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Game Design lessons from Tony and Tina’s Wedding




Online behavior: trolls still trolling trolls
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 October 2012, 3:09 pm
There's been a lot of discussion lately about online behavior after a high-profile troll's name and information were exposed in an article. It's brought up a lot of interesting discussion about the role of online communities and free speech. Let's take a look at the complicated issues behind these hot-button topics.

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Online behavior: trolls still trolling trolls




How a guild dies
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 October 2012, 2:03 pm
Earlier this year I was on EQ2, checking out the dungeon creator for the new expansion. I dusted off my old character, once near the apex of power but now sporting old gear and wondering about the strange locations on the world map. While I was playing catch-up, someone broadcast over general chat that they were starting a new guild with a novel idea: progress through the content and impose rules to make that content actually challenging. I feared that I didn't have enough time, but I got sucked in anyway. It was a lot of fun because it initially drew a group of people with similar goals. But, good things don't always last, and the guild died a victim of many circumstances. Time has passed and the wounds aren't so fresh, so join me as I turn a developer's critical eye to what happened.

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How a guild dies




The misunderstood role of community management
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 September 2012, 1:10 pm
In my analysis of Steam's Greenlight project (http://psychochild.org/?p=1157), many of the solutions I suggested centered around community management. Unfortunately, community management is sorely misunderstood, so I think some people didn't understand how this could help the situation. Let's take a look at what community management is, what it should be, and how it is treated these days.

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The misunderstood role of community management




Why Steam’s Greenlight is a failure
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 September 2012, 10:54 pm
With much fanfare and enthusiasm, Steam announced Greenlight a way for the community to give feedback on what they would like to see. If you've been following the news lately, you might have learned that things didn't go over as well as might be hoped. To the point that Valve has been scrambling to control the damage. But, I see this as a sign of failure. Perhaps not terminal failure, but let's take a look at what this rocky start means at least in the short term.

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Why Steam’s Greenlight is a failure




I’m not dead, merely tired
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 August 2012, 3:30 am
Yeah, it's been quiet around here. A few things have been conspiring to keep me quiet. Some good, some blah. But, I have been busy. Read on for a little glimpse of what my life is kinda like right now.

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I’m not dead, merely tired




Delving into Grimrock
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 July 2012, 7:40 pm
Hooray Steam sales! It gives me a convenient excuse to buy a game I've had my eye on for a while: Legend of Grimrock. My Storybricks co-conspirator Stéphane Bura had gotten the game near when it launched, and I made up my mind to take a look at the game when I got a chance. The Steam sale was that chance. I'm a big fan of older RPGs, especially the ones based on grid movement. So, this last weekend I played through the entire game. Twice. So, yeah, I enjoyed it. Let's take a look at some of the interesting design lessons we can take from this?

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Delving into Grimrock




You can copy the steps and still not copy the success
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 July 2012, 3:59 am
There's a tendency for people to want to boil things down to the very essence. We don't want to deeply analyze an issue and figure out all the complexity, we want to find the one magic element that we can use to understand and/or fix the issue. When facing a problem, we want a magic bullet or miracle pill that solves the problem. When analyzing success, we tend to want to believe that it was something simple that we can copy to duplicate that success. As any experienced game designer knows, humans are terrific at matching patterns. Unfortunately, that also means that humans are terrific at creating false matches for patterns as well. Often the patterns we find, especially when analyzing something as complex as success in game development and business, tend to not be as simple as we first think. Trying to analyze success often results in more confusion than enlightenment.

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You can copy the steps and still not copy the success




Open Thread
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 June 2012, 4:04 am
As you might be able to tell from my last posting and the utter lack of posts this month, I haven't been terribly inspired or had time to dig for inspiration for posts on here. So, I'm going to do an open thread. Post what you want. I'll probably even respond. On the Storybricks front, [...]

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Open Thread




It's been hard for me to remember a more dispiriting week than the previous one. It's been hard to muster a positive attitude as the hits keep coming. Let's take a look at why we may be seeing the end of MMOs as we know them.

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I can see a darkness. There are shapes moving in it, but what they are I cannot tell.




Storybricks contest and project updates
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 May 2012, 7:25 pm
A quick update. You can play the current Alpha version of Storybricks. We have a contest going on. And, our Kickstarter project is still going. And I'll make an impassioned plea for your support. Please visit our Kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/storybricks/storybricks-the-mmorpg-storytelling-toolset/

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Storybricks contest and project updates




NBI: What makes your blog special
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 May 2012, 4:53 pm
I'm going to claim that I'm fashionably late to the Newbie Blogger Initiative (http://nbihq.freeforums.org/). To be fair, I've been busy. So, I'm going to cheat a bit, ignore the rules, and jump right into offering advice. :)

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NBI: What makes your blog special




The defining moment for Storybricks
Posted by Psychochild's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 May 2012, 12:22 pm
Sometimes it astounds me to think about my development history. Most of my career I've just worked to make or maintain what I feel are cool games. Part of the reason I still blog even though most people have moved on to other forms of social media is that previous blog entries remind me a lot of where I've come from, what I've learned, and what I've considered important over the years. It's a bit like keeping a diary and using it to reminisce, without the fear of a sibling finding it to use as blackmail. (Although I guess prospective employers could try to hold something I've posted against me in the future.) But, usually when I post on a topic I like to do a quick search to see if I've posted about the topic and see how my perspectives might have changed over time. So, I hope you understand this next line is said without intending to be cliché and without intending to be hyperbole: it has felt as if my career has build up to this singular point in time. We're taking Storybricks to Kickstarter. (http://kck.st/K0iOqP) Okay, hopefully that alone excites you, but read the full article for more information.

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The defining moment for Storybricks




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