Developing Thoughts Updated – Part 1

Oh Lucky Man… Still It’s been twelve years since I wrote the first of the original Developing Thoughts pieces, shortly after I turned freelance following eleven years with Revolution Software.  The time feels right to revisit the pieces I wrote at the time and either bring them up to date or reflect on how things have moved on in the…

Developing Thoughts – A Radio Voice in Games

I recently had the pleasure of accompanying Mark Estdale in giving a talk to a group of students at the Drama Centre in London about game writing and performance.  Mark is long-time friend, runs a voice recording studio called OM and has a huge number of games under his belt.  We’re both firmly of the opinion that strong writing coupled…

Developing Thoughts 24

Interaction Density I came up with the term “Interaction Density” when I was part of a long forum discussion on the way there are no adventures targeted at 8-13 year old boys. Why did the likes of “Day of the Tentacle” and “Monkey Island” appeal to this age group when they came out, yet today’s adventure games fail to do…

Developing Thoughts 23

Back-Story No, this isn’t the story of how I’m in constant pain with my bad back. But now that I’ve brought it up, I wonder how much sympathy I can garner from mentioning the stabbing pains that run up and (That’s enough, Ince. Get on with the column, you pathetic wimp – Ed.)Ahem. Back-story falls into the same category as…

Developing Thoughts 22

Character Profiles Part of my current job involves creating the character profiles for my client’s project. Now, I can’t go into the specific details of what I’m doing (for obvious reasons), but I thought I would reflect on how important it is to do this work. Although I’ve already discussed characters, in an earlier column, this edition deals with the…

Developing Thoughts 21

Obstacles of Desire One of my favourite obstacles in a game was in Beneath a Steel Sky. Though I worked on this game, I didn’t contribute to the gameplay design; so I think it’s okay for me to feel this way. One of the reasons I enjoyed my eleven years with Revolution was that I had such respect for the…

Developing Thoughts 20

Puzzling Through the Obstacles One of the criticisms levelled at Adventure Games these days is that they can feel a little old fashioned. I’m increasingly of the opinion that this is because they contain these things we refer to as “puzzles”. This term can then create the wrong idea in people’s heads as to what sort of game adventures are….

Developing Thoughts 19

Shall we interface? Have you ever picked up your joypad or approached your keyboard and found that you struggled to play the game that’s in the machine because the interface felt wrong? Have you ever given up on a game simply because you were fighting the interface more than playing the game? When the interface creates these feelings in the…

Developing Thoughts 18

Level 17 Made Me Cry This may seem like I’m being a little slow on the uptake, but I wanted to finish off my two-part piece on mechanics design before writing this. Besides, it’s always best to ruminate on these things for a little while before launching into commentary. Reacting too swiftly to news, people’s statements and press releases can…

Developing Thoughts 17

Gameplay Mechanics part 2 So, it’s a week later and we’ve called the design team together to discuss the results of the brainstorming session. We’ve all typed up our thoughts or scribbled notes in the margins of the brainstorming list. The project is in the early stages, so we’re all really excited about it. We don’t care if it’s going…