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Anthony Hart-Jones's Blog


I am a casualty of publisher-led development, having spent over four years doing games design and writing before being cast adrift in a round of redundancies in mid 2010. I tried going back, but my casual projects designed to keep me in practice and improve my portfolio slowly took over until I was starting to think of myself as an indie and feeling curiously relieved that I had broken free of the cycles of crunch.

One of the curious parts of my last job was writing for a training course on design, trying to teach people how to write design documents, etc. My parts tended to focus on storytelling and I even presented a few lectures on the topic, but it was a little odd to be moving from making games to talking about making games.

My time as an indie and a freelancer has taught me a great many things, not least of all being that working as a designer has left me ill-equipped to make games. I spent just a little too long writing documents and sending them to someone else to implement, so it took a while to a) scale back my ideas now I don't have half a dozen artists and almost as many programmers and b) remember how to do what I once considered simple things like 3D geometry and messing with matrices.

These days, I work as a writer, creating stories for games and writing training materials for game-design and game-writing students.


Member Blogs

Posted by Anthony Hart-Jones on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 06:14:00 EST in Business/Marketing
I have long argued that marketing teams within video-game publishers are a necessary evil. They know what sells, how to sell it and can often tell you with curious accuracy whether a game's worth making. And yet, I am starting to reconsider my position…

Posted by Anthony Hart-Jones on Thu, 03 May 2012 05:00:00 EDT in Audio, Business/Marketing, Art, Indie
In recent years, a number of pre-packaged 'low barrier to entry' engines have gained a certain amount of acceptance; people will happily use UDK and Unity for their games. This is a good start. But what about game-assets?

Posted by Anthony Hart-Jones on Fri, 19 Aug 2011 05:05:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Indie
So how much is the game worth? The answer may seem controversial, but I think it is simple… Any game is worth only what the buyer / player is willing to pay for it, even if they happen to be a pirate.

Posted by Anthony Hart-Jones on Thu, 07 Jul 2011 07:08:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Indie
Piracy is about as old as copyright; it's possible that the first time some caveman poet said 'no copying my work', someone would have gone home and tried to write a particularly pleasant poem in pictures. Denying it exists is just naive.

Posted by Anthony Hart-Jones on Mon, 26 Jul 2010 01:04:00 EDT in Business/Marketing
Cut loose from big-business, I suppose I am free to consider myself a freelancer or an indie, but the last thing I want to be is a bum. Unemployment does not suit me, but working on my own projects while I find gainful employment is enough for now.

Posted by Anthony Hart-Jones on Thu, 17 Dec 2009 05:35:00 EST in Design
True authorial control... Now there is a scary phrase to use in front of your producer... True authorial control is like taking your player and asking them what they want to do today, rather than telling them what they are allowed to do. Is that wise?

Anthony Hart-Jones's Comments

Comment In: [News - 07/06/2011 - 03:36]

Knowing what they went through ...

Knowing what they went through prior to developing Torchlight, I think they deserve their success.

Comment In: [Blog - 07/07/2011 - 07:08]

I would suggest that GamaSutra ...

I would suggest that GamaSutra saw a trend and featured all three posts, but it might also be that piracy is a big issue for both developers and consumers these days. I think the legitimate end-user is via DRM and high prices as much a victim of piracy as the ...

Comment In: [News - 03/17/2011 - 05:43]

Some of this logic could ...

Some of this logic could be used to condemn some point systems and conversations in table top role playing games and LARPing. I think the issue is more that the player says one thing to one 'trusted NPC' and something else to another, rather than taking on a character. Manipulating ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/26/2010 - 01:04]

Thanks I have a feeling ...

Thanks I have a feeling that I'll need it...

Comment In: [News - 07/26/2010 - 09:22]

I know that feeling. I ...

I know that feeling. I have been there, creating dialogue that players might never see because they might choose one path over another, might skip the text even if they choose the correct path. I agree that the trick is to make sure that the player knows there was a ...

Comment In: [News - 01/25/2010 - 05:58]

@Joe I am not sure ...

@Joe I am not sure that I agree with the whole attitude that games are so different from film in terms of the new technology. We have Epic and the Crytek pushing the envelope and matching what Weta and Pixar do for film, but the average games studio is using ...