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Artists and Game Design Documents: From Interpretation to Implementation
One of the biggest problems in the design and implementation of games is the lack of interactivity amongst the various team members of a project. Noting this problem, Joshua D. Gordon focuses on the relationship and communication between artists and designers during the development process. Topics include "blue sky" meetings, the design document, methods for streamlining the production process, and other random thoughts.
| Joshua Gordon
The Designer's Notebook: Three Problems for Interactive Storytellers
What does it mean to say that a story is interactive? It's not enough to say that it's just interactivity added to traditional storytelling, because we've yet to see an adventure game of the same caliber as any of the greatest works of literature. As Ernest Adams sees it, interactive storytelling currently suffers from three very serious problems: The Problem of Amnesia, The Problem of Internal Consistency, and The Problem of Narrative Flow.
| Ernest Adams
The Cabal: Valve’s Design Process For Creating Half-Life
has seen resounding critical and financial success (winning over 50 "Game of the Year" awards and selling more than a million copies worldwide), few people realize that it didn?t start out a winner ? in fact, Valve?s first attempt at the game had to be scrapped. This article by senior designer Ken Birdwell is about the teamwork ? or "Cabal process" ? that turned the initial, less than impressive version of Half-Life into a groundbreaking success.
| ken birdwell
Postmortem: Irrational Games' System Shock 2
The story of System Shock 2 is one of inexperienced developers, missed deadlines, technological obstacles and a small budget, and yet despite it all, it's a game that turned out to be a worthy sequel to the original. Read all about it from Jonathan Chey, the project manager and programmer.
| Jonathan Chey
Postmortem: Presto Studios' Star Trek: Hidden Evil
Presto Studios was built on 2D graphic adventure games, but Presto's founders decided to push aside everything they knew in an attempt to make their mark in the world of real-time 3D gaming. Star Trek: Hidden Evil is the first game produced from this effort, and represents a clever blend between where Presto was and where it wants to be. Hear the inside scoop on the game's production from lead programmer Michael Saladino.
| Michael Saladino
The Designer's Notebook: Reflections on the Colorado School Massacre
After several months of thoughtful reflection, Ernest Adams has some things to say about Littleton. Obviously, kids shouldn't get their mitts on guns. But what responsibility do game designers have for their contributions to violence-saturated media?
| Ernest Adams
Postmortem: LucasLearning's Star Wars DroidWorks
In the fall of 1998, Lucas Learning emerged from its shell with the offering of its first educational software product, Star Wars DroidWorks. The game combines first-person shooter game technology with solid educational content to create something different: a thoughtful game that's actually fun and helps kids to learn within the game medium.
| Jon Blossom,Collette Michaud
Secrets of the Sages: Level Design
Gamasutra has the privilege of publishing a chapter from Marc Saltzman's book, Game Design:Secrets of the Sages. All sorts of industry heavies - from Roberta Williams to John Romero to the Fat Man - contributed to this compendium of videogame know-how. Here, we've published the chapter on level design.
| Marc Saltzman
Formal Abstract Design Tools
Setting up a common vocabulary for game design is a formidable task, but this may be the next evolutionary step in game design. Using the construct of "formal abstract design tools," Church proposes a potential framework for this emerging vocabulary.
| Doug Church
Postmortem: DreamWorks Interactive's Trespasser
Almost three years in the making, Trespasser was held up by some as a reason to dismiss physical modeling in games. Richard Wyckoff, a designer on the Trespasser team, disagrees. Read on to find out more about the trials, tribulations - and yes, even triumphs - experienced by the crew at Dreamworks Interactive.
| Richard Wyckoff
Hiring Game Designers
Hiring a game designer can be more challenging than filling other positions on a game development team. The skill set of designers is often a bit softer than, say, a programmer, so assessing the strengths of a particular candidate can be difficult. Verteran game developer Arnold Hendrick explains what to look for.
| Arnold Hendrick
Creating an Interactive Audio Environment
Our lives are full of audio cues that we take for granted: the cascading sound of a fountain in a pond, the intermittent quacking of ducks and geese, a baby crying, a plane flying overhead. All of these cues, though subtle and seemingly unimportant, create the ambience of a particular scene. Achiving the right collage of sounds in a game can transform a player's experience.
| Daniel Bernstein
Collaborating in Game Design
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Collaboration among game designers is not rocket science...it's harder! Here are some tips on how to avoid common pitfalls and spread peace and joy amongst cube-ville.
| Noah Falstein,David Fox