Why do games cost so much to make?

This was an FAQ I got from a lot of people, most recently from Youtuber Rebellion3112. My most recent attempt to explain it got so long that I thought it might just be better to post it here so that everyone can enjoy (and so in the future I can redirect people here and lazily continue lazing about).

Everyone thank Rebellion for sharing. (Thanks, Rebellion).

So let’s get started. It is REALLY hard to explain this without going into a ton of detail, but here’s how it works in the simplest possible explanation (and this is still really long):

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Episode 13 is up!

Episode 13 of our Developer Commentary podcast series is up!

In this episode we visit the level that defined “Ratchet Gameplay” for years. Or at least, that’s the second half of this episode. In the first half of the episode we get to see a glider segment and some crap Mike designed.

You can check it out at http://podcast.uselessopinions.com or at our youtube channel or via the embedded videos below:

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Developer Commentary: RC2 – Episode 4

We’re working towards a Monday, Wednesday, (hopefully) Friday update schedule for the Developer Commentary podcast that Tony and I are doing for Ratchet and Clank 2.

In that spirit, today we have posted Episode 4, a shorter episode (~18 minutes) wherein Tony and I finish level 2 (a long level) including Arena fights and some Electrolyzer puzzles. You can check it out at all the usual places:

The podcast website:

Our Youtube Channel:

Or embedded below the fold:

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Podcast Episode 2 is up!

We go through the second level of Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando. By the time we recorded this we had settled into the task of podcasting enough that we could relax and talk more about development-centric stuff, which was pretty cool.

Of course, we still make lots of jokes, so it’s not all serious and crazy.

Check it out on our podcast site (once iTunes catches up — it lags a bit): http://podcast.uselessopinions.com, which now has a cool new look and feel.

You can also check it out directly on our youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/uselesspodcasts?feature=mhee#p/u

Or you could … Continue reading

New Podcast Series

My good friend and fellow developer Tony “Mr Sunshine” Garcia and I just began a series of “Developer Commentary” videos.

First up is Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando — our first game as REAL developers (we were testers on RC1).

So far we’ve put up one episode, which gets us to the end of the first level (Level 0).

You can see it:

Part 1: http://youtu.be/lUwIYfykyss
Part 2: http://youtu.be/Wb4T7P57wAc

ON ITUNES (At some point):


Or… if you’re really lazy, you can … Continue reading

Stuff I’m thinking about now…

One of the really neat things about my job is that I get a lot of time to dissect things that I know intuitively. When I go to help other developers, my job is generally to try to explain why the changes I’m suggesting will make a game better. It’s one thing to intuitively know how something is done, but it’s completely another to explain why. It’s kind of like knowing what a word means and then being asked “why does it mean that?”

In the process of teaching myself how to explain the “why” of something, I often learn … Continue reading

Beating Design Block (Level Design)

Every so often every person in a creative occupation gets stuck. It’s a common enough frustration, and one that I’ve felt the pain of on many occasions.

Since I’ve been giving the problem a lot of thought, recently, I thought I’d post some techniques I use to get past it. While this may not be of immediate practical use to non-game designers, I’m fairly confident that some of the techniques can be adapted to any kind of creative process.

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Blog of a Japanese Game Design Student

I found this on gametab this morning, and I’m definitely gonna keep an eye on this one (though there hasn’t been an update in a while). I’m curious to see what kind of things they teach to game design students in Japan.

http://designblog.theirisnetwork.org/ (DEFUNCT)

I’m gonna ramble for a bit:

The Japanese and American traditions of game design are pretty divergent. While Japanese games do pretty well (on the whole) here in the States, American games don’t tend to do very well AT ALL in Japan. (The exceptions thus far are Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet and Clank, from what I understand, … Continue reading

D3 update to come late in the week. Also, a blog entry.

Hi guys,

Just an update — the next D3 episode will come late this week. Perhaps even as late as the weekend. My life took a turn for the crazy, and once things settle down I’ll post about it all (including some good news and some sad news) here — but for now my head isn’t in the right place.

Until then, I’ll leave you with an honest-to-god blog entry (which I really don’t do enough):

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