Massively Solo Gaming

July 21, 2008 at 10:24 pm (Musings) (, , )

So we have these games and they’re called MMOs and the first two Ms stand for Massively Multiplayer. This is cool because it means that we can play a game with thousands of other people simultaneously and we’re all sharing in the same experience, we can team up, we can fight each other, we can chat and talk about the football or roleplay or we can validate our deeply held opinions on the narcotics habits of games developers. Or whatever.

Basically there are people who aren’t us in our game. Sometimes they’re annoying and we want to smack them. Sometimes they’re awesome and we laugh and laugh until our eyes are red, there’s bizarre white goo coming out of our nose and the wife has wandered in to make sure we aren’t having some kind of seizure. Mostly though they’re background, they are an ever changing tapestry of additional content that we can sample and pick through as we like.

Still though we increasingly tend to play by ourselves.

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Fickle fame

June 24, 2008 at 10:47 pm (Navel gazing) (, , )

If you aren’t a veteran Games Workshop fan then this post will make no sense to you. Shoo! Go away! This one isn’t for you.

So at the weekend I was over in the UK indulging in my secret vice which happens to take place somewhere between Nottingham and Derby. Many years ago I lived in Nottingham and so I like to visit friends and my favourite stores whilst I’m there and so it was that as I was killing an afternoon before the flight home, I found myself in the Friar Lane Games Workshop store. Had a bit of a chat with the staff as you do then I browsed the books for a while. Not long after, another chap walked in and the staff did their customary greeting and sizing up routine to determine if he was a true believer or simply a confused passer-by. As it happened it was Jake Thornton – former White Dwarf editor, games developer, Fanatic Press manager and all round Nice Chap. If you cut him crossways you’ll probably find the letters of Warhammer going through him like a stick of rock. Needless to say the staff didn’t recognise him and so he and I had a bit of a reminisce and a general catching up with what had happened since I had left GW.

The accidental meeting however did remind me of possibly my favourite memory of my time in GW. We (being the games development team) had gone into Nottingham to buy reference books to use as source material. As it happened, the big Waterstones was right opposite the GW store on Friar lane in those days (this is when the Design Studio was still on Castle Boulevard and so it was only a short walk round the corner for us). On the way out we decided that we’d say hi to the guys in the store and so we crossed the road and wandered in. We had Andy Chambers, Nigel Stillman, Tuomas Pirinen, Gav Thorpe, Ian Pickstock, Warwick Kinrade, Andy Kettlewell and myself. Apart from me (who was still pretty new) all of these guys were featured multiple times with mugshots in every issue of White Dwarf, we barely had time to let the door close behind us before the over-eager red shirt came bounding up to us.

‘So’ he says, ‘Do you guys play the games then or are you looking to have a demo?’

Good times.

Don’t worry I’ll talk about computer games again soon.

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Come In Number Six, Your Ten Minutes Is Up.

June 13, 2008 at 1:34 am (Rants) (, , , )

Looks at date.

Looks at datestamp for the last post here.

Yeah I know.

Anyhow, I’ve been super busy and in fact still am super busy. I’m off to Dreamhack tomorrow which will be fun in new and exhausting ways. Then I’m back in the office for a couple of days before gadding off again, this time to a field near Derby where I’ll be on holiday doing much the same thing that I do at work but with fewer creature comforts and without the whole ‘online’ thing.

Anyhow, I wanted to talk today about something I read in a magazine recently.

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Gaming survey

April 15, 2008 at 10:46 pm (Info) (, , )

A few weeks ago I ran a small survey of people’s information gathering habits about games. It wasn’t very scientific in nature and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get enough responses for the sample size to be large enough to draw meaningful conclusions from, but with 64 replies it did better than I hoped. ANyway, for those who are interested, the results are after the cut.

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Revolutionary new patch system

April 1, 2008 at 7:33 pm (Info) (, , )

I know I said I wouldn’t talk about WAR here but this is too cool to share. I’m home sick today but last night we were given a press brief to distribute from today. I hope I’m not pre-empting anything here. The brief is from the EA Mythic studio manager April de Poisson and it’s about the patch system for WAR.

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Help Wanted

March 13, 2008 at 1:27 am (Musings, Navel gazing) (, , )

I need to gather some stats and I’d like to ask readers or visitors to this blog for their assistance.

I can’t imagine that any one reading this blog doesn’t fit the profile but just in case, please only answer if you are a player of computer games.

All I need you to do is to copy and paste the following questions into the comments field and add your answer to each one where relevant. You don’t need to register to take part but please don’t submit the poll multiple times.

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Piracy on the High C++

March 12, 2008 at 1:11 am (Musings, Rants) (, , )

I’ve been rubbish at updating recently I’m afraid. Partly it’s due to being enormously busy but mostly due to my propensity for being distracted easily. So let’s get the distractions out of the way first:

Yeah, I’m weak.
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Back to the Future

February 11, 2008 at 3:29 am (Musings) (, , )

Once again RMT (Real Money Trading) is in the news. First the various lawsuits against IGE – one from a former director and one class action suit which are putting the squeeze on the world’s biggest RMT operator. Then the news from Sony that they were splitting off their Station Exchange service to Live Gamer and finally the settlement between Blizzard and RMT/powerleveling company Peons4Hire.

Phew!

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PvP MMO Design Redux

January 18, 2008 at 11:11 pm (Musings) (, , , )

I recently got a bit of a surge in viewer numbers here and, checking the stats, it seems that quite a few people are coming from this WoW forums thread to visit a link post I made regarding PvP MMO design. It’s a little odd because I didn’t actually say anything on the subject in that post, I simply pointed to a discussion that was raging elsewhere. However a good chunk of people seem to be headed this way to see what it is that I have to say for myself on that subject. Never one to disappoint, here I go.

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What makes an MMO?

January 2, 2008 at 11:17 pm (Musings) (, , , )

I should have been back at work today however due to a family emergency I’m still 7 time zones distant from my desk. As a result I’m sort of telecommuting in an unofficial capacity whilst the slack is being taken up by my colleagues back in sunny Dublin. As I was looking forward to returning to work (and most certainly not looking forwards to the circumstances that are keeping me here), I’ve been doing a lot of work related stuff at my in-laws PC.

This enforced absence from actual productive work alongside my regular exposure to game related discussion has had me mulling over a few things recently. I’ve been trying to get things internally consistent before I put them down in writing but I figure that’s what the edit button is for so here, for those who care, are my thoughts on MMOs and why they are the way they are.

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