Making purchases present

Over the past year and a half as a monetization design consultant, one of my core tenets is to make purchasing present. Perhaps the biggest missteps I see in games with IAP is that the developer appears like they are doing everything possible to obscure the fact that a player can spend money within the game. When I get in front of audiences at GDC and other events, I coach that IAP are like banner ads: one must […]

Failing fast and hard

It’s the Jewish New Year and I’ve taken a brief break from the two week old Enhanced Wars Kickstarter campaign to attend services. I check the time on my phone and see the notification that we have had two new backers. Despite my best intentions, I cannot help but open up my email to check the details. I recognize both names. At that moment, I know that Quarter Spiral is finished. We’ve crawled over the […]

7 lessons I wish I learned before starting my first games internship

It is rapidly approaching 11 years between my entry into the tech industry interning at Pandemic Studios and founding an indie game development studio to build Enhanced Wars. Although it is still early days in my career, I think I have at least gained a modicum of insight worth sharing. When one of my mentors asked me to speak at the college course I credit for setting me on the path from enthusiast to professional, I […]

So you’re a manager now

You’re good at your job. You’re a leader within your discipline and your job title may or may not say it. You’re one of the more senior members on the team. And one day you are told that you are in charge of other people. These people are probably your friends. You play games with them during lunch and go grab drinks after work on Fridays. Now you’re their boss. Back before I went indie […]

The value of bad publicity

Yesterday morning during the Enhanced Wars stand up we realized something fishy was going on. It was 9am on the west coast and already we had 10x the normal amount of email sign-ups for early access to our game. I have been in charge of outreach efforts on Enhanced Wars as we have built up an early audience in preparation for our Kickstarter campaign, and we were already having one of our best days yet. And I […]

On Game Design with Greg Kasavin

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Greg Kasavin, Creative Director at Supergiant Games, makers of indie blockbuster Bastion and the upcoming Transistor. Before helping found Supergiant Games, Greg worked as a producer at EA on Command & Conquer  and served as the editor-in-chief for Gamespot. This conversation originally took place in May of 2012.  EL: What is game design? GK: Game design is the art of making games, put broadly. It’s coming up […]

On Game Design with Richard Vorodi

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Richard Vorodi, Senior Game Designer at Crytek. Richard’s’s hit games include classics like Wave Race, 1080° Avalanche, Mario vs Donkey Kong, Metroid Prime, and more recently, Darksiders II. This conversation originally took place in April of last year. EL: The question I start everybody off with is, what is game design? RV: That’s the big question. And I think that you’re going to get a different answer […]

On Game Design with Rich Hilleman (Part 3)

Rich Hilleman is the Chief Creative Director of EA. He is one of EA’s earliest employees and is best known for helping to build the juggernaut EA Sports business as the original producer of games including John Madden Football, NHL Hockey and Tiger Woods PGA Tour. This is the third part of an interview that took place in April, 2012. Part 1 and part 2 were previously posted to this blog. EL: For the young designers you coach and help […]

On Game Design with Rich Hilleman (Part 2)

Rich Hilleman is the Chief Creative Director of EA. He is one of EA’s earliest employees and is best known for helping to build the juggernaut EA Sports business as the original producer of games including John Madden Football, NHL Hockey and Tiger Woods PGA Tour. This is the second part of an interview took place in April, 2012. You can read the first part here. EL: What do you think is the biggest challenge […]

Design Tutorial – How to write a feature brief

The simple truth of game development is that a finished game will never be all that you imagine it to be. Even the best managed game development processes result in a game that represents 5 to 10 percent of the initial ambition. Ideas are cheap, implementation is expensive and at a certain point games must be shipped. For instance, even if my team’s current game Enhanced Wars is a runaway success and we continuously improve it for […]