Friday, April 24, 2009
Game design blog?
Scott "Lum" Jennings has a post up about game design blogs, and links to me as "a good place for player-centric commentary", which is nice, in the "You probably are cloning World of Warcraft. Just admit it." section, which is less nice. I don't see my blog as a WoW blog (in fact I'd even say I'm currently approaching a WoW burnout period). And I don't see it as a game design blog either. But the "player-centric commentary" part hits the nail on the head.
I don't want to design a game. I'm actually pretty certain that if I did, the game wouldn't even be very good. Design is not my strong point, analysis is. I can play a game, and not only tell you whether I like it or not, but also analyze a bit deeper what parts are contributing to me liking the game or not. And I can determine trends that go beyond my personal likes and dislikes, and see what features are popular or not. And how players react to incentives. Such analysis has value (and there are actually consultants out there who are getting paid big bucks to do exactly that). I'm offering it for free, not to make money or to become famous, but in the hope that it helps real developers to make better games, which I would profit from as a player.
Of course that involves a certain amount of armchair design, like launching discussions of whether feature X in game Y wouldn't be better if it was designed differently. I once joked I could get hired as Chief Social Engineer by a game company that wants my input on how incentives steer players through an MMO. But in reality I'm not really interested in a job in the game industry. I already have a very interesting and well-paid job in a far more solid industry, which is less prone to exploitation than the game industry. The kind of game developer position I could possibly hope to get with a resume like mine would pay 50% less for 50% more hours per week than I'm doing now. No thanks.
So why I can of course only echo Lum's recommendation that game developers read my blog, and other player-centric blogs as well, I wouldn't call this a game design blog. I don't want to be a game developer.