Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we look at designer-programmers, turn-based tensions, and 'walkering'.
- New to Blogged Out this week is Lost Garden
, the weblog of middleware-making Anark's Dan Cook. Cook regularly features all kinds of game development cogitations, and produces some insightful as well as lengthy thought-pieces. This week he's dispelling a myth
about game designers-programmers, explaining at length how the idea of the best designers also demonstrating technical aptitude is simply a hangover from earlier eras of the industry. "Games are going through the same maturation process as other industries," says Cook. "Ultimately, by tapping into non-technical game designers, we can increase the talent pool of visionaries by a hundred fold." Cook's point is an important one: that programmers do not by-default have the skills necessary for great game design, despite the breadth and depth of their talents. "By selecting game designers that are programmers, we let our incestuous history determine the creativity of our future. We build iteratively on the limited seeds of past efforts and create games for programmers and people who think like programmers. The result is more Doom 4
and less Nintendogs
- Terra Nova's Nate Combs takes some time to ponder the difference between turn-based and real time game experiences
. Are turn-based experiences, such as the Gollop Brother's awesome play-by-email Laser Squad Nemesis
actually more nail-biting than any real-time experience? "A characteristic of my experience with this kind of play was how much anguish went into each turn. The planning, the 'what ifs...' Because there was the time and the imagination... When I used to play LSN
much of my effort went into planning and replanning 'covering fire' actions. In fact, most of my turn was likely consumed with specifically staging overwatches amongst my squaddies and the physics of grenades and suppressing fire for the anticipated but-rarely-materialized-'cept-the-last-deadly-one zerg rush."
- Finally this week, we visit Mark Wallace, a contributor to the New York Times and wandering commentator in the lands of the MMO. This week he's been considering the ramifications of 'work' in games
via a piece he wrote for The Escapist
. "But are we really moving toward a world where entertainment looks more like work? Is labor-play really becoming more common? That's a tough one. My gut says no, but I'm not sure where to look for this. MMOs, where this specific kind of labor-play is found, have certainly become wildly more popular in recent years. But is that a good indicator? I'm not sure."
[Jim Rossignol is a freelance journalist based in the UK - his game journalism has appeared in PC Gamer UK, Edge and The London Times.]