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Everything game development: news, lessons, discussion

Weekly Links #263

31 March 2019 — No Time To Play

Hello, everyone! I made considerable progress with the game for the past week.

(Screenshot of a computerized gamebook presenting a combat encounter.)

Among many small changes, the game flow is considerably improved in places, combat now works, and generally most rules are implemented. In fact, only potions are left to add. And of course lots and lots of content, though I've started working on that, too. Only the endgame still needs more thinking. It would be nice to have more than a simple cutscene. Not sure what though.

No less important is the article I wrote about this iteration of the game design, which reopens an avenue of research I thought abandoned. And then there are various refinements and additions that will go into the second edition of Battles&Balances, the magic system in particular.

In the way of news, we have business shenanigans in the game industry, a discussion of colonialism in games, and the Spring Game Jam organized by Open Game Art. Details below the cut.


The week starts with multiple sources reporting that EA just fired 350 employees, and while it doesn't come close to Activision's similar move a month or two ago, it's still a lot. Just what is going on in the game industry? Because, come on, we're talking mass layoffs on the background of record earnings across the board. Can't blame this one on the entertainment market, or the economy in general for that matter. Doubly so as CD Projekt is hiring despite a decline in revenue. Also investing in new research and development, instead of just milking cash cows. Go figure.


On Tuesday, a Gamasutra blogger discusses colonialism in games, and it's an especially worthwhile read. As I was pointing out in a recent discussion on Itch.io, my own fiction, if not so much my games, consistently condemns imperialism, a closely related issue. Ironic, considering that 4X games are one of my favorite genres. But as the author points out, there's a big difference between colonizing Mars (fictionally or for real) and colonizing the Americas. Or if you prefer, Master of Orion is a fun riff on decades-old tropes, while Colonization was just in poor taste. Which has nothing to do with its qualities as a game. Theme matters just as much as mechanics then? What an idea.


On Friday, Open Game Art announces their Spring 2019 Game Jam. Participants are required to either use art hosted on the service, or else if they make their own original art to publish it there after the jam. Also interesting are the requirement to credit asset creators even if the license doesn't require it, and the explicit ban on games that promote discrimination of any kind. Both clauses should be standard practice by now; they are very much needed. Too many people still don't bother with attribution even for art that's under copyright. And it's just common courtesy, folks! As for discrimination, it's not so much bigots we've had trouble with on Itch.io, but duped kiddies who were taught by YouTube "influencers" that edginess is somehow cool, trendy or smart. And there's a battle to be fought there, to rescue them before they're absorbed into the army of darkness.


And that's it for the week. See you next time!

Tags: rpg, game design, business, representation, game-jam

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