“What is Game Design?” with Paul Barnett

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Paul Barnett, Senior Creative Director at BioWare/Mythic.  Paul currently oversees a number of projects in the BioWare family, including Warhammer: Wrath of Heroes and BioWare Social.  EL: To start with, what is game design? PB: Oh, dear, crikey. If I knew that, then I’d be rich. I’m with Stephen King. It’s probably telepathy. I thought that was the greatest answer to what is story writing is telepathy. […]

“What is Game Design?” with Michael John

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Michael John, Senior Creative Director at Electronic Arts, where he works to build and grow a community of strong, passionate game designers and creative directors. MJ’s long career as a game designer includes hits like the Spyro the Dragon series, Daxter and God of War: Chains of Olympus. EL: To start with, what is game design? MJ: Right, what is game design… you asked me that question […]

Soren Johnson on game design

The following are excerpts from a discussion with Soren Johnson, Design Director for Zynga. Previously, Soren was the Co-Lead Designer of Civilization 3, Lead Designer of Civilization 4, Designer/Programmer on Spore and Lead Designer of Dragon Age Legends. Check out his blog Designer Notes. EL: To start with, what is game design? SJ: Well, it’s a broad question so you’re going to get a broad answer. The simplest way of putting it is, game design […]

Flash Development Life 2012

Click the play button to listen to audio of the talk Slides and audio from the Flash Games Summit 2012 panel I moderated with Andrew Sega, Dan Stradwick and Sean McGee.  Inside we discuss the many issues that face Flash games developers in 2012, including funding, distribution, platforms and technology.

Deathblow!

or, Ben Cousins was Too Gentle On Wednesday of GDC, Ben Cousins of ngmoco delivered easily one of my top talks of the show, “When the Consoles Die, What Comes Next?”  This succinct talk painted a clear picture of the collapse of the Cinema relative to TV and a similar collapse of Arcade relative to Console.  Cousins’ hypothesis stated that a transition is already underway; Console is rapidly giving way to Mobile, and in the […]

No One’s Better than Cloning

On the first day of GDC, I was introduced to a designer from a venture funded, Bay Area mobile/social start-up interested in BioWare Social.  I recognized the studio name from one of the dueling sets of recruiting billboards adorning the 101-N, and its top performing iPhone App.  When I asked why she wanted to change companies, she said “All we do is make clones, and I’m better than that.” “No one’s better than cloning,” I […]

Game Production Hotline

On Sunday, I moderated a panel at the 2012 Flash Games Summit on the life of flash developers.  I was joined by some of my favorite developers: Andrew Sega (Mytheria/Armor Wars), Dan Stradwick (Monsters’ Den) and Sean McGee (Thing Thing Arena/Endless Zombie Rampage).  During the panel, and in discussions throughout the day, feature creep, difficulty finishing games and not knowing when a game was complete were frequent topics.  For instance, Dan has been working on […]

Dragon Age Legends Road to 100k Likes

Here are the slides from my GDC Online 2011 talk, “Dragon Age Legends Road to 100k Likes”. Talk description from the the program guide: We live in a new world where borders between game developers and their players have broken down, where a Like can be more valuable then an ad campaign and where your fans can literally reach you 24 hours a day. In this metrics driven talk, Dragon Age Legends’ producer Ethan Levy […]

I Made a Song with Scrum

When I was 15, I received a free copy of Acid Music Studio while skipping out on Third Eye Blind at an alternative music festival in Chicago.  I spent weekends in the basement with my friends, arranging pre-made loops with delusions of being the next Chemical Brothers.  For my 16th birthday, I convinced my grandmother to buy me a Roland MC-505, leading to hours spent with the Groovebox sequencing bass lines and tweaking filters.  I […]

Scrumification of Music – Day 5

Day 5 began with my second trip to Guitar Center of the week.  I picked up a Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 usb audio interface and rushed home to record vocals.  Setup was quick and easy, multiplying my regret at wasting most of the previous day trying to set up my outdated Mbox 2. I closed the door on my bedroom and slightly embarrassedly began to record the vocal takes for “One of Us”.  Listening to the […]