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The Two Minute Look at STO

20 March 2010 Leave a comment

As seen on my FB wall:

this is where i was disappointed with STO and where i hope it will go as I know this is a longer term design thing.

to me, Star Trek is about three things, and I list them in order of what I feel is important: exploration, creativity (here, meaning creative choices), action.

STO definitely has some measure of action, it is combat oriented.

There’s some exploration, but it’s very structured. The random quest generator is okay in this area but not enough. I think EVE actually does a really good job with exploration. You’ve skills and probes, which you triangulate in space and then let them do the work for you. It becomes a really interesting mini-game that can be, at times, a little frustrating. Wormhole space expands the play area tremendously. Would wormholes work in STO? maybe not, but definitely probing and exploring would. And it would fit the IP perfectly.

Creativity. I would love more opportunities to make choices with meaning in the game that have consequences. For example, let’s say a station on some planet is being blockaded by a race of ugly guys. The game could make some suggestions for me. Attack them in space. Beam down and do something nefarious to their plans. Bribe them with trilithium. Based on skill or something, the option would have a consequence. What if I’m a shitty diplomat, and I try the bribe option. I would have a low chance of success. If I fail, how will the ugly guys respond? This is actually something I’d really like to see in games in general, but I think it would really expand STO’s capabilities really nicely.

A secondary thing to creativity would be a real crafting system. But one in which I can experiment. Perhaps improve my drives, or create a new product that has some use to someone. I like collecting, and many players do as well, but giving it to some NPC on some distant sector doesn’t cut it. The current design for crafting is a really strong indicator that Atari forced Cryptic to cut corners.

Action. I’d like to see politics, treaties between differing groups, conquerable space, etc. The ability to set up stations, that kind of thing. That’s very EVE as well, but it fits with the IP and from EVE we know it’s doable and brings a whole different measure of fun to the game. And players who don’t want to be involved in that don’t have to be.

Categories: design, MMO Tags: ,

No Twinkies For You!

7 December 2009 1 comment

Ernest Adams, who’s articles we studied in my Concepts in Gaming Class (I: student, not teacher!) has published the latest in his great series of “Bad Designer, No Twinkie.” Read the tenth article in the series here.

Adams also has a No Twinkie database, which you can check out here.

Categories: design

new lundum dare

29 August 2009 Leave a comment

Lundum Dare 15 is out this weekend and the theme is caverns. I thought about it for a little bit, and the idea I came up with was building structures to prevent a cave-in, a sort of reverse World of Goo. Structures would become weak and would need additional support or fixing. Cave-ins are deadly and end your game.

Categories: design, ludum dare

best (or worst) puzzle design ever

3 July 2009 Leave a comment

From FAIL Blog:

If only all our designs were this FABULOUS!

Categories: design, puzzles

Game Design Concepts Course

30 June 2009 Leave a comment
Challenges for Game Designers

Challenges for Game Designers

For those of you interested in game design yet don’t have the funds to go to one of them fancy schools, designer and scholar Ian Schreiber has constructed a free online course for you to take part in. The classes are held every Monday and Thursday via a wordpress blog, and there’s also a message board and wiki available to students as well. You can find the syllabus for the course here.

For those of you simply interested in finding out what the textbook is as well as what the recommended reading are:

Categories: design, education, gdcu

New Game Design Challenge: What You Say?

14 June 2009 Leave a comment
N-V-U-J

N-V-U-J

Game Career Guide published a new Game Design Challenge. The newest challenge, due on June 24, 2009, is as follows:

Design a social interaction system for a massively multiplayer game featuring friendly characters who can’t understand each other.

My vote is for semaphore-like gesturing and curling a la Help!

Categories: design

Freebook: Well Played 1.0

14 June 2009 Leave a comment
Well Played 1.0

Well Played 1.0

I’ve not yet read it, but you can obtain a free copy of Well Played 1.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning from Lulu. Here’s the description:

Video games can be “well played” in two senses. On the one hand, well played is to games as well read is to books. On the other hand, well played as in well done. This book is full of in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. 22 contributors (developers, scholars, reviewers and bloggers) look at video games through both senses of “well played.” The goal is to help develop and define a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis.

Categories: books, design