The Feast

Hey everyone,

I wrote a short story a couple months ago called The Feast.

It’s about a family that gets trapped in a cave by a host of demons, and must tell it stories in order to escape. The story is told in an old-timey fairy-tale sort of voice, and I think it worked out pretty well!

So if you’re interested in getting a version for your Kindle or iPhone or whatever, go for it ad hit up that Amazon link. Otherwise, I’ve embedded the story below the fold. Hope you enjoy it!

~Mike

A Meier Modification

One of my favorite game design quotes has always been Sid Meier’s “Games are a series of interesting choices.”

I was thinking a lot about it last night, and I think if I were saying it now I’d make a slight modification that, I think, might make Mr. Meier’s meaning a bit clearer to the novice designer.

Players make interesting choices. Games ask interesting questions.

It sounds really minor, but hear me out.

In my experience, trying to design choices into a game doesn’t usually produce good results. Most of the time, interesting choices come OUT of your game … Continue reading

A book recommendation

Some friends of mine bought me this book for Christmas and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I figured I’d mention it here:


The Name of the Wind

http://www.amazon.com/Name-Wind-Kingkiller-Chronicles-Day/dp/0756405890/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297127318&sr=8-1

The book is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. it’s the first book in a trilogy, and the other two are being written as we speak.

The book, without spoiling too much, is an account of a fantasy genre hero told in his own words, which sounds simple but is actually a really neat way to tell the story. To be … Continue reading

They walked the earth…

Miyamoto talks about Super Mario Bros for 25th anniversary

This is an amazing article for a number of reasons, but it affected me deeply for one in specific:

Namely, it’s eye-opening to me to understand that these classic games were made by game designers.

It’s weird to say it, but up to this point (unbeknownst to me) I’ve been assuming these games just appeared in a vacuum, despite knowing the kind of stuff that goes on behind the scenes of these things. For some reason, these great works – these pillars of game design history, seemed to me to … Continue reading

Guest Post: Colin Munson – “Challenging Challenges for Thinking People”

My friend and fellow designer Colin Munson asked if he could write a guest post for my blog, and my answer was “HELLS YEAH!” Colin and I worked together for 5 years at Insomniac, and he’s one of my favorite Game Designers in the industry. I found the following editorial fascinating, and I’m proud to post it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The Adventure game for the 21st century
or
why we get stupid while playing modern video games
or
Challenging challenges for thinking people

By Colin Munson:

Continue reading

Idea: Using Movie Structure to Inform Game Design?

I’ve been reading a lot about storytelling recently. Besides rereading “Characters and Viewpoint” by Orson Scott Card, the most recent ones I’ve read have been the “Save the Cat” books, by Blake Snyder (great reads, if you’re at all interested in screenwriting).

Snyder proposes a very analytical breakdown of the plots in movies. He has a list of 15 beats that appear in all popular movies (and they do… it’s almost scary) as well as a list of unconventional “genres” — essentially the different types of stories that movies tell. Within each genre, he further breaks down common elements and … Continue reading

A Pen-And-Paper RPG Meta-System

My gaming group is quite odd, as it turns out. It’s HUGE. When we get everyone, we have 11-13 people.

This is great, but most games are made for 4-8 people. They tend to bog down when you get up above 8, and most pen-and-paper RPG designers aren’t trying to solve the problem of having too many players. This is most likely because the most common situation is the opposite — you have too few players.

Our large games tend to fall apart for a few reasons:

  • The game’s rules, which run quickly with 4 players, do not scale well up … Continue reading
  • Oblivion Exploration Analysis

    I’m really slammed at the moment, so I though I’d post some excerpts from some analysis I did a while back on the exploration in Oblivion.

    Note: I didn’t remove all spoilers or grammar errors, but I got a bunch of em.

    Summary

    One of the coolest things about Oblivion is how “free form” the game feels. As you wander through the world, attempting to do a quest that you have in your log, you are constantly running across other quests, ancient ruins, castles, cave systems, farms, camps, etc…. All of which are inevitably just slightly off your … Continue reading

    Game Story Seed

    So there’s this story today about a US satellite and a Russian Satellite colliding.

    US and Russian officials yesterday confirmed that the satellites – an Iridium communications spacecraft and a Russian Kosmos-2251 military satellite – collided at about noon GMT on Tuesday. The first known example of a satellite collision in space occurred about 800km above Siberia in the lower earth atmosphere.

    Now it’s since come out that the Russian Satellite had been decommissioned, but it gave me an idea for a story seed:

    “The U.S. finds out that the Russians (who are starting … Continue reading