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Kevin Gliner's Blog   Expert Blogs

Kevin Gliner has been developing games since 1991 for publishers such as Microsoft, Activision and Electronic Arts, among others. He's built three videogame startups in addition to managing internal studios at Activision and Maxis. He's also personally designed over 15 titles for pc, console, web and mobile platforms and managed dozens more.  In addition, Kevin was one of the founding directors of the IGDA and sat on the advisory board for the Austin Game Conference.  Various writing on the subject of game design, startups and the industry in general can be found on his blog at

Expert Blogs

There are only two parts of the content value chain you cannot remove: the content creator and content consumer.

Emergence lets us use the underlying mechanics of the game itself to drive discovery, increase player life expectancy, and reduce development expense.

Posted by Kevin Gliner on Sun, 09 Feb 2014 11:02:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Making greater use of emergence in games is a non-trivial problem in terms of execution. Developers face a few challenges if they go down this path.

Posted by Kevin Gliner on Thu, 06 Feb 2014 07:51:00 EST in Design
The more emergent a game gets, the more it benefits from shortening the build-try-fail loop.

Posted by Kevin Gliner on Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:57:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design
Games compete for attention with other games, other media and interruptions from friends, family and work. To address this problem we have to start at the bottom: with the game's underlying mechanics.

Posted by Kevin Gliner on Thu, 07 Mar 2013 03:35:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Design, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Mid-core games, the industry's latest trend, fails to address the attention and engagement issues associated with casual and hardcore games.

Kevin Gliner's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 02/14/2014 - 12:30]

Mastery is a problem, except ...

Mastery is a problem, except in the most temporary sense. It leads to boredom and causes players to move on to another game. Linear games require a heavy dose of new content to keep filling the void after a player has mastered previously authored levels/puzzles/etc. And new content isn 't ...

Comment In: [Blog - 02/06/2014 - 07:51]

To the extent skill reduces ...

To the extent skill reduces the number of fails, it probably builds more tolerance for longer build and try phases. Not that you 'd want to make those phases longer, particularly in zero sum pvp situations.

Comment In: [Blog - 02/09/2014 - 11:02]

Other games that are deeply ...

Other games that are deeply emergent include Magic: The Gathering, Go, Chess, etc, which are light on UGC. Sim City and The Sims, which fall in between, are also very emergent. A large possibility space can be generated a number of ways, of which user generated content is but one ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/19/2013 - 12:57]

@Darren Tomlyn: You are correct ...

@Darren Tomlyn: You are correct that emergence is a property of all games as noted in the original post . My point, however, was not its presence but its prevalence. We tend to build games that are minimally emergent due to the way we design the underlying mechanics, or when ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/07/2013 - 03:35]

Matt Agnello: that 's a ...

Matt Agnello: that 's a great summary of the point I 'm trying to make, although I 'd say that midcore exists in this context only as an arbitrary assessment of engagement somewhere between casual and hardcore. And it becomes equally irrelevant as we develop, as you say, more flexible ...