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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Upping our game

For the last 17 years, I've done my best to keep my professional game development work separate from my political writing and my blog. But now that the SJWs have invaded and politicized my beloved game industry, there is no longer any need to keep these two areas of interest apart, in fact, one can reasonably argue on the basis of Castalia's success in the publishing arena that my own uncloaking in this regard will tend to inspire others to do so, and may help establish sizable niche markets that are capable of not only surviving, but thriving.

The approach of a major milestone here inspired me to think about what has made VP successful over time when so many other blogs, even very popular, well-trafficked blogs, have disappeared. So, I'm going to increase my posting at DevGame and I'm also going to recruit other high-quality game developers, game reviewers, and comics creators to contribute regularly at both Arkhaven and DevGame. Comics writer Jon Del Arroz has already agreed to begin contributing posts at Arkhaven, and I've just put up my first post in a very long time at DevGame, which is an article published 13 years ago in DEVELOP magazine called The Art of Imitative Design.

Why does one game succeed brilliantly while another game vanishes into obscurity? Why is one game an absolute blast to play while another, very similar game, simply isn't that much fun? It is often easy to understand why a game fails, but it is usually more difficult to ascertain why one game becomes a hit when another does not, epecially when the hit does not feature better features, prettier art, faster performance, or a most distinctive brand than other games in the same genre.

In most cases, success comes down to superior game design, by which I mean the use of game concepts and mechanics that provide the player with a more enjoyable gameplay experience. Game design should never be confused with game development or with production, as it is the aspect of game development that consists of conceiving and articulating ideas that are subsequently turned into functional reality through the process of production.

There are four types of game design.

  • Original
  • Evolutionary
  • Synthetic
  • Imitative

Read the rest at DevGame, which I would very much like to see gradually evolve into something more like a digital version of Computer Gaming World or a Gamasutra.

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33 Comments:

Blogger Mathias October 14, 2020 8:55 AM  

Vox, does Devgame cover developing underlying software (game engines), or just games programming in itself?

Blogger VD October 14, 2020 8:59 AM  

Are you talking about the course or the blog? The course is inactive and covers game design and history. The blog is going to cover every aspect of games, from design to review, including technology.

However, I am only interested in contributors who are highly reliable. The VAST majority of would-be contributors are entirely useless. Most people are constitutionally incapable of posting on a regular basis, let alone daily.

Blogger CM October 14, 2020 9:10 AM  

Black Desert Online vs World of Warcraft.

I saw a trailer recently for BDO and thought "wow, that's gorgeous!" The scenery has a TES feel to it, but not as high quality. Which is ok, it was still very nice looking.

But my husband tried to get me interested in that game and there were some things it did well, but a lot of the problems were very much game design issues. Inventory management, looting mechanics, visual queues for loot and quests.

It was a chore and felt clunky and exasperating.

And I wasn't a fan of the pseudo demon possession in the storyline, but I'll just mark that one up to taste...

Blogger Sencom October 14, 2020 9:24 AM  

Awesome! You just brightened my day!

Blogger Azimus October 14, 2020 9:34 AM  

Man, when I was a sprout I loved CGW. And not just for the T&A ads in the back, either. I was a subscriber from 94-96 I think. I found a 1994 copy in a box late this summer. Simpler, happier times...I remember it kind of falling off, starting to seem like the other schill-type gaming magazines. Come to think of it, it was around the time the T&A ads went away...

Blogger Alan October 14, 2020 9:52 AM  

Hey Vox, just FYI the DevGame link is going to the wrong place (feel free to delete this comment, just letting you know)

Blogger jijijeac October 14, 2020 9:53 AM  

i cant access link. dunno if it is from my end. anyways good idea to get into video games. its a space dominated by sjws so a game more on the alt right side of things can be successful. Your existing IP's could make great video games :)

Blogger Paul October 14, 2020 9:54 AM  

Speaking of the course, would a video version of it, similar to Professor Brown's Medieval History, for Unauthorized be something we could look forward to in the future?

Aside from that, I always found the Devstreams to be interesting and helpful with projects I was working on, so I am otherwise glad to hear Devgame is going to be regularly active once more.

Blogger Pedro Rocha October 14, 2020 10:04 AM  

This is great! I've been taking a peek occasionally at the devgame blog since it has interesting content, but i've been disappointed that it has not been frequently updated. Can't wait for it :D

Blogger Shane Bradman October 14, 2020 10:08 AM  

Accidental good game design can lead to success. Planetside 2 was a bad game, mishandled by the developers, sold, and mishandled again. Yet it still has a loyal player base because there is no other game where 500+ players can all participate in the same fight. The second another game can do that, Planetside 2 dies. But until that niche is stolen, it will keep surviving.
It's bizarre how the game industry suits miss out on so many of these brilliant concepts and waste the potential. It took 5 years from battle royale's inception to become a worldwide hit, and until suits can see the value in good ideas earlier, they will always be behind the curve.

Blogger Taignobias October 14, 2020 10:14 AM  

Games are pretty much the only kind of software I've not worked on, even a bit. I will be following the blog with great interest.

I'm hoping for some insights into visuals and animation as well as the technical aspects of game systems - the latter I vaguely grasp, but the former entirely elude me.

Blogger Jack Ward October 14, 2020 10:27 AM  

This does sound like a plan. I had no trouble with the above links. No chops here with game line by line programing and other aspects, though, it occurs that might be fun to go through the arcane line by line mechanics, even at machine level, and try to understand what's happening. Call it workout for a rusty brain trying to stay young as possible. DevGame shortcut about to go onto desktop.

Blogger Troy Lee Messer October 14, 2020 10:34 AM  

One huge reason this blog is a success is that there is new content daily. A 2nd reason this blog succeeds is the commitment to the true, beautiful, and good by the polymath, follically-challenged, Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil as well as the committment among the commentariat. The retarded spooks at Langely are literally too retarded to be shamed that it takes 3 posts to out them.
Truth endures.

Been waiting for a gaming post.....

Why cant there be simpler games? I loves my Far Cry 4 & 5 rinning around blowing up shit.

Assassins Creed Odyssey is very fun. I actually got into the story. So I get to be the protagonist in my own (from a person who started on pong and 25 cent space invaders) practically 3d realistic movie. Sure, IMHO, great gaming design, but it takes a huge team.

But 2d games like Craft the World is gaming crack. I mean where the f%$# did the last 14 hours go cocaine. Even Townsmen, a Kingdom Rebuilt scratches an itch. Not as good as a Settlers or Anno though.

Settlers 3 is an awesome example of addictive gaming design. You can see the state of your economy visually. i loved how i could watch the tree go to the lumber guy, to the sawmill. The lumber dude have 10 little logs, the sawmill icons would show 10 planks.
Then after you got your economy going, you'd just kinda sit back and watch and marvel at it working.

Surely these simpler 2d games can be done cheaper and now that new platforms are gonna spring,

The state of gaming today makes me miss the early days of the internet when you FTP'd demos like Doom. I think the new platforms are coming.

Blogger VFM 360 October 14, 2020 11:11 AM  

@6 You can find the blog here: http://devgamecourse.blogspot.com/

Blogger Zastavnik Džemo October 14, 2020 11:14 AM  

@VD what happened to the plan to port Rebel Moon Rising to modern PCs?

Blogger VD October 14, 2020 11:34 AM  

What plan? A group of Russian fans got both RM and RMR ported to modern Windows.

Blogger Billy October 14, 2020 11:48 AM  

Be pretty cool to play a game like AoE that was Light vs Dark, Midnight’s War themed maybe... or maybe overtly Christian to counter the overtly Promethian intentions recently stated by ElderlyArt or whatever EA means.

Blogger Damelon Brinn October 14, 2020 12:51 PM  

Not as good as a Settlers

Nothing has been. I'm not sure why there isn't more interest in that kind of game where you do the strategy and planning and the "subjects" in the game carry it out without being told directly. Even the Settlers series started letting you select soldiers and send them places by #4, I think. Widelands is a pretty good open source imitation of Settlers II.

Blogger Beans: Soaked and Strained October 14, 2020 1:00 PM  

Arts of Dark and Light as an Age of Empires/Battle for Middle-Earth game? Even better, the ability to command from the strategic level (ie a triad of warhawks) and take direct first person POV control of a mage/Warhawk to directly turn the tide of a battle?

Blogger SerbBear October 14, 2020 1:48 PM  

Got a laugh out of me with the sardonic vulgarity part.

Blizzard has always been really good at learning from competitors. Most of the early WOW devs were high end EQ players who understood the MMO genre as well as, if not better than the devs at SONYEQ. Blizzard hired these guys, listened to them and killed EQ as a MMO competitor.

The other thing they did well was avoiding realism. Realistic looking games don't age well. By going the cartoon route, Blizzard was able to get more mileage out of their games.

Their best days are behind them though.

I agree with that gentleman about the Midnight War game, would love to support that.


Blogger David Bakin October 14, 2020 1:56 PM  

In case anyone doesn't remember (or didn't have the opportunity): VD's game course was _excellent_.

(Speaking of which: @VD: If the course is inactive, and you don't plan to revive it, why not post sessions of it on DevGame?)

Blogger B-Rex October 14, 2020 1:58 PM  

excellent, looking forward to more gaming content!

Blogger Billy October 14, 2020 1:59 PM  

That sounds interesting.

Blogger RadixMalorum October 14, 2020 2:21 PM  

The suits never cared about good ideas. They only care about what they think will make them money. This is why whenever a great dev team get bought out by corporate interests it quickly is sanitized and rendered void of creativity while most of the original team that made it great are driven off or neutered of any influence. Blizzard is an example.

Blogger Newscaper312 October 14, 2020 3:04 PM  

Re pitfalls of too much realism, graphical or otherwise, one semi defunct genre is the combat flight sim. I would love a modern game about like a US Navy Fighters or Jane's Advanced Tactical Fighters. Or going farther back, an updated Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe or Chuck Yeagers Air Combat (loved the custom mission maker in that). Yes, you do have to pay some attention to limits of the plane and fly it, from in the cockpit, but it is neither too arcade-y nor hyper-realistic. And true photorealistic graphics can be just too hard to see targets.

Blogger Newscaper312 October 14, 2020 3:13 PM  

I'm one of the orphaned Unreal Tournament players of the 2016 or so reboot project that Epic left in the lurch once Fortnight's free Battle Royale mode unexpectedly exploded. Yet a small number of players religiously play it, Epic thankfully keeping some servers up. Why? They introduced a new team game type, Blitz, which is a hybrid of asymmetric CTF and Assault, where teams take turns *pushing* their flag into other teams base to score. A bit like football with guns. Great thing about is although there are no actual classes, there are enough different roles in attacking and repelling that you can be a valuable team member even if not the greatest DM 1v1 fragger.

Blogger Ahărôwn October 14, 2020 3:38 PM  

A good read, and I look forward to more.

Blogger horsewithnonick October 14, 2020 3:50 PM  

Mark Kern is working on a Mechs vs. Kaiju shared world game that looks promising.

Blogger Canadian Warlord October 14, 2020 4:37 PM  

@Newscaper312,
Agreed. Flight sims were a fantastic gaming experience back in the day, and modern technology should make them even better. Chuck Yeager's game was a lot of fun because you could mix eras of aircraft from his career, like a Phantom being jumped by 4 ME-109s.

Personally I'd love to see a game revolving around the 1950s fictional bomber air war, with nuclear tacticals and high speed scrambles. Call it "Intercept!" or "Strategic Air Command." Have a campaign mode that allows you control all the way up. The Avro Arrow, Delta Darts / Daggers, F-104 Starfighters, etc. and when we're desperate enough, Sabres and Super Sabres. Rocket pods and 'genies' versus clouds of suicidal Russian bombers appearing over the Arctic. Let's see those bomarc's fly!

Blogger Richard Martel October 14, 2020 6:08 PM  

I'm excited to hear this news. I have been hoping for your version of Thor since you contemplated it last year. As a father of sons approaching middle school age I have been looking for non converged adventure books to read with them. A Vox Day Conan graphic novel series would be epic!!!

Blogger Student in Blue October 14, 2020 7:07 PM  

The best help the average reader can be with the DevGame blog is to post in the comments. Engage! Question! Say how the post totally applies to another game you played last month!

Blogger VD October 14, 2020 8:13 PM  

why not post sessions of it on DevGame?

What sessions? I never recorded it.

Blogger Archella October 14, 2020 8:48 PM  

I enjoyed the DevGame course, and looking forward to seeing the blog going again.

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