Nothing could be more boring than to begin a post with “sorry for the lack of updates, folks,” so I won’t do it. How’ve you all been?
I went to wonderful GameCity 8 in Nottingham at the end of October. Quinns and I gave a talk on relationships, romance and sex in games the transcript of which we hope to make available soon; in part it’s an adaptation of our letter series from earlier this year on the topic, only with more “dark” “adult” FMV games. Keith Stuart mentioned our talk in his “Five things I learned at GameCity” article in the Guardian!”
We co-hosted our evening of romantic games chat with the fantastic Tale of Tales, who showed Luxuria Superbia there. More on that game very soon — meanwhile, the Fullbright Company’s Steve Gaynor did an in-depth Gone Home Q&A at GameCity, which I covered at Gamasutra.
Interestingly, Gaynor said Gone Home was prototyped in Frictional Games’ engine, the one they used for Amnesia. Lately I also interviewed Frictional Games on upcoming Soma, and how having no-combat first-person games is a more interesting design challenge than most people imagine. It’ll also be the company’s first outing on PS4, and I’m told they’re not finding it too much different than developing for a PC.
I’ve also been busy doing some longer form stuff; I spent a good deal of time with Nick Yee’s new book, The Proteus Paradox, full of fascinating research on online worlds. In the Columbia Journalism review, I dig into the book’s main takeaways: That given the limitless possibility of virtual worlds and online games, we seem to prefer to dutifully imitate the constraints and conventions of the familiar. You could even argue we have a responsibility to go further than that.
A lot of Yee’s research about avatar-based interaction and gaming online has useful takeaways for designers working with virtual and augmented reality gaming technology. As part of Gamasutra’s themed advanced input/output week last week, I devised five questions for the future of VR gaming: Major considerations I think designers should have good answers to in order to make work in the wearable tech and VR-wear space meaningful instead of gimmicky.
Finally, I spent a good deal of time in recent weeks developing this feature on the boom and bust of the social gaming age on Facebook. Major designers joined this trend vein and then left it, were bought and then shut. It was an anxious time full of philosophical conflict and big business spends. What happened to all the promise we were told lay beneath the manic colonization of the platform with Zynga-Villes? And what’s next?
I’m kind of proud of that, if I may say so, so I’d love if you gave it a read and shared it. Many smart people contributed their thoughts and their experiences are very much worth hearing.