Industry Leadership

Industry Leadership

I’ve struggled with sitting down to write this up. I’ve alternated between feeling like saying anything at the moment is inappropriate, and that my voice was not needed – as the victims are speaking for themselves. Other times, I’ve felt as if this was yet another event in my lifetime that if I stay silent I’ll end up looking back on ten, twenty years from now and be ashamed that I didn’t do anything. The discussion has permeated every aspect of my life lately. From late night discussions with my wife, to derailing meetings at work, and of course completely dominating social media. (At least my social media) To that end, I want to take a moment to speak to my fellow Games Industry leaders. As we have a responsibility, that I feel we have failed at for years. During last years Riot Games Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination discussions within the industry, I took a few moments to pull aside the few female team members I had working with me at inXile. I took time to speak to them, and let them know that their presence is valued – to tell them how I would be there to support...Read more

Coming Home

Last night I accidentally streamed. Well, not really – I intended to hit the Stream button in OBS, but it wasn’t really to stream as much as it was for me to check how my home internet would hold up to streaming during this COVID mess.I haven’t regularly streamed since 2013, and haven’t streamed at all since 2016 (Maybe 2017, I don’t recall?). I’m not really sure why I haven’t streamed. To be honest, looking back I’m not sure why I stopped streaming in 2013. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/48063242 Aside from the obvious – focusing on DayZ’s development. I suppose I had it in my head that proper public facing game developers didn’t stream. They were busy with serious stuff, maybe? Maybe I just didn’t want to deal with questions about DayZ. Either way, despite not streaming I maintained a very close connection with Twitch into 2016. Over the last three years I’ve had a lot of success career wise and in my personal life. Bought a house, got married, helped facilitate an acquisition. However, as the years have gone by – and especially after leaving Bohemia I suppose I’ve felt I lost a bitof who I was. Maybe its all in my...Read more

DayZ and the mastery problem

Disclaimer: It should be noted that these are my personal musings and reflections, and do not reflect the official stance on design for any project I am associated with, nor the official position of my employer. So last time I wrote I started to poke into the core game loop of DayZ, and some of the implications when looked at things through a more traditional game design perspective. One of the things we ended up touching on very briefly was the mastery problem. Now, while obviously there is a direct connection to the economy of DayZ and mastery – there are larger points here. Some of the oldest design struggles DayZ has had since the mod days were directly related to experienced players who “mastered” the progression path and essentially ran up against an issue with agency. As I had mentioned earlier, player to player interaction (of any degree honestly) is the great motivator – the main attraction when dealing with open world gameplay that leans heavily toward supporting emergent gameplay. The original economy within DayZ mod was significantly smaller in scope. While the world size was effectively the same, the majority of the space was more or less unused/open/dead...Read more

DayZ and the core gameplay loop

Disclaimer: It should be noted that these are my personal musings and reflections, and do not reflect the official stance on design for any project I am associated with, nor the official position of my employer. Over the last week or so I’ve been re-reading through one of my favorite books on game design (A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster) and thinking over how DayZ as a game looks through the lens of the systems and lessons within it. For a book written well over ten years ago, it still holds up incredibly well when applied to the modern video game industry, a testament to how spot on Raph was with a lot of his musings within. There are several areas of DayZ as a whole I’d like to cover – but initially I’d like to take a look at how the core game loop for DayZ is both brilliant, and in some cases very lazy. (Yes, I said it – but you’ll understand why later on) DayZ’s core gameplay loop is pretty simple straight out of the box – it is effectively unchanged from the DayZ Mod, or the launch of the Early Access build...Read more

Design vs Dollar

Disclaimer: It should be noted that these are my personal musings and reflections, and do not reflect the official stance on design for any project I am associated with, nor the official position of my employer. Years ago I had a gaming experience that has stuck with me to this day. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that said experience informs my decisions on an almost daily basis today, and probably accounts for at least half of the reasoning behind leaving Redmond and coming out to Prague. I know I talk about Ultima Online fairly often, so I’ll have to ask you to bear with me a little longer as I talk about it some more. While you could probably attribute a lot of the design decisions made early on to Ultima Online to a general lack of industry knowledge on how the then bleeding edge MMORPG space (Meridian 59 was just about the only other thing out there – unless you count The Realm of which I do not), I tend to look at a lot of them as bold and counter to the more commonly accepted norms of AAA design doctrine these days. While leading designers such...Read more
Early Access: The platforms missed opportunity

Early Access: The platforms missed opportunity

Disclaimer: It should be noted that these are my personal musings and reflections, and do not reflect the official stance on design for any project I am associated with, nor the official position of my employer. Full disclosure: I have used the Early Access model to distribute a title. Now, I do spend a lot of time playing – promoting – discussing other Early Access titles on Steam (eg: The Long Dark, Project Zomboid, Wasteland 2, etc). So take this tirade as having very little to do with the catalog of Early Access titles, and more specifically to do with the program and how it is managed by Valve. It was always my understanding that the intent of Early Access was to give consumers the option to gain access to your titles development as early as possible. Think something along the lines of your first submission to a publisher. In this way, the Early Access consumers play the role of the traditional publisher and gain access to your milestone submissions (or interim builds) as you progress through your development cycle. However, without any clear definition on what and how you enter the Early Access program, the consumers are left with...Read more