Writing about Game Design is hard

I feel like I have a lot to say about the subject, but that writing it down isn’t the best way to get that across.

Writing about some esoteric point or another requires laying a ton of groundwork just to even have a chance of getting to the point.

It’s exhausting.

I know Vincent Baker at least likes to make little games to get his points across. Maybe I should do the same.

That being said, anyone know any good examples of game designers (or other game makers) with blogs that are GOOD at writing down their thoughts on game design without having to reinvent the wheel every post? If so, I’d like to read it.

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7 Comments

  1. Just gonna say I like Soren Johnson‘s blog (Civ 4 designer), don’t know if you will get anything out of it.

  2. interim_descriptor

    I liked this question, and similarly desire sources from which to learn, so I forwarded your post to TFB’s designer list.

    There does seem to be a scarcity of the type of blog you describe.

    Vince C recommended the developer commentary videos for Bayonetta:

    http://platinumgames.com/tag/developer-commentary/

    Nat suggested brainygamer.com.

    Dan N and Dan G both forwarded me an article on boss battles, resulting in these finds:

    http://www.flarkminator.com/
    http://altdevblogaday.com/category/game-design/

    My own picks follow. I’m sure they do a bit of wheel-reinventing, but they both tackle their topics with passion.

    This video does a great job of entertaining while dissecting awesome details in Megaman X:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM

    And it’s part of a series! Though it clearly requires more effort to produce, I think videos like this are a great format for talking about game design.

    Also, I devour anything that Tim Rogers writes. One such example:

    http://kotaku.com/5558166/in-praise-of-sticky-friction

    People seem to either be strongly drawn to his unique writing style, or repelled. If you’re looking for brevity, you won’t find it here.

    I’m not sure how many of these meet your criteria of not re-laying groundwork, but these are the answers that arrived when your question was asked verbatim.

    I, personally, am looking for game design blogs that follow the John Gruber / Daring Fireball style of carefully concise blogging about little details, updating several times daily. I haven’t yet found that.

    -Chris

  3. Awesome, thanks Guys! I’ll definitely check those out.

  4. I don’t think David Sirlin will help you in your goal of writing more concisely, but what the heck, he’s written lots about several games and designed several (links all in the sidebar). The link is to one of his summaries of a Starcraft university class, which has some design comments but I guess is mostly about playing. I link, you decide if it’s useful to you.

  5. You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel every time. Write one big article on 90-degree turns or dynamic difficulty tuning. Then whenever you want to criticize a 90-degree turn without explaining why they’re a problem, just hyperlink to your original post.

    I thought of another game design writer who’s actually very good at writing for an audience and has been writing about game design and creativity for years. Mark Rosewater at Magicthegathering.com. Here’s his first article on profiling your player base. If you like his work, he does a yearly review of his columns so you can find that and see from the summaries which ones are most interesting to you.

  6. Awesome, great stuff! Thanks Noumenon.

  7. Interim_descriptor’s Mega Man video sure was fun to watch, thanks for that one.

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