Cover

Motivate Me: Rethinking Video Game Difficulty Levels

I snapped. Guys with armored vests kept blowing holes in me with shotguns; snipers with floating red dot sights scattered my precious cranium meat on the stones; that Aztecan death music looped endlessly in my addled brain, and I just snapped. I opened the Uncharted 3 menu, scrolled down to difficulty selection, and did the unthinkable. I took a deep breath and clicked “Very Easy.” It troubled me then and it troubles me now, but for very different reasons.
Continue reading...

Cover2

Vidar: A 360° Kickstarter Post Mortem

There is nothing more valuable than experience. That’s why when it came time to discuss crowdfunding, I decided the best perspective was the perspective of someone in the thick of it. Enter Dean Razavi, developer on the RPG Puzzler Vidar, who was on the cusp of launching a Kickstarter campaign in January of 2015. I asked Dean if he might share a glimpse of the campaign throughout the process, largely to get a snapshot of the preparation, anxieties, and gleanings he would have along the way.
Continue reading...

CoverLarge

Hurts So Good: Pain as Interactive Storytelling Technique

I’m a horrible person. I knew it the moment I started making Lara Croft die in terrible ways so I could chuckle at that sharp stake through her chest or the wolf biting into her tender neck. I recognize I have a problem, and I’m able to admit it. But Tomb Raider has a problem too. And its problem is more fundamental than mine because it caused my problem (at least that’s what helps me sleep at night). Tomb Raider failed to make me identify with Lara Croft because it didn’t understand pain as interactive storytelling technique.
Continue reading...

StoryTimeChronoFinal

Story Time with Mr. Bair

When we were kids, my sister and I were always making some RPG. On our own or together – sometimes both at once – we’d concoct a story and set about drawing sprites and map tiles. It gave us a love for stories, and made us even fonder of some of our earliest RPGs. To this day, I’m constantly intrigued by interactive storytelling for video games. Now we both are working on a game again, and I felt that old tug to jump back into storytelling. Here are three articles on the subject of interactive storytelling techniques for games, some that are harmful to the process, and some that inspire it.
Continue reading...

CoverFinal2

Financing Video Game Development

I am not a mathematics person by nature. I can’t calculate in my head, and when I was a 4th grade teacher I realized that the multiplication table we memorize as kids – yeah… I forgot that. But I’ve found that financing video game development isn’t nearly as confusing as mathematics. It may not be easy, but at least it’s way more understandable.
Continue reading...

Godus

The Peter Molyneux Kickstarter Conundrum

Recently I’ve been thinking about financing projects, largely because I’ll be writing a piece on it, but also because the world of game development has seen some major tectonic shifts of the financial kind lately. And then this Peter Molyneux Kickstarter stuff hit the fan and I got to pondering crowdfunding soberly, with a beer in my hand. Crowdfunding – what a tangled web. It seems so simple, and yet it has literally changed the face of finance, sometimes in very dangerous ways. Why? A look at equity holds the answer.
Continue reading...

DestinyCover2

Recovering from Destiny Addiction

I’ve been playing a bit of Bungie’s Destiny these days. Okay, that’s not entirely forthcoming. I’ve obsessed over Destiny. If there’s something nerdy that could be done, I’ve probably done it. Looked up strategies on Youtube? Check. Downloaded an app on my phone to alert me during public events? You best believe. Read the Grimoire cards online to fill in scant backstory? I ate that garbage up. Accidentally fallen asleep from exhaustion at 2 a.m. while waiting to do a raid? Yep… it’s bad.
Continue reading...

MarketingMixCoverLarge

Ranking the Mix: Final Recommendations

You came for the witty banter, didn’t you? Yep, I knew it. But all things must come to a close, and this is no exception. That’s why we turn now to the final two bits of our Marketing Mix: Personal Selling and Event & Location marketing. We then take a broad-level view of which channels are most useful at different stages in the development process. We also hear about developer Garrett Cooper, and there will probably be kittens in there somewhere. KITTENS!
Continue reading...

MarketingMixCoverLarge

Ranking the Mix: PR, Direct Marketing & Word of Mouth

Is it accidental that we turn now to one of the greatest channels of marketing for indie devs, and one of the all-time worst? Probably. I don’t have some great master plan for everything, unfortunately. Public Relations, including the invaluable social media marketing, and the sometimes laughable Direct Marketing: it fills me with a giddy glee just thinking about it! And that isn’t even considering the greatest marketing channel of all! All that for today’s article!
Continue reading...