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Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

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Q&A with Ian Bogost - The Entertainment Software Association The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently interviewed Ian Bogost, Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and professor of interactive computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, to gather his insights on video games. Bogost’s latest book, “How to Talk about Videogames,” explores the medium’s unique storytelling ability and examines game critique as both serious cultural currency and self-parody. Thanks for speaking with us, Ian. Andrew Dotsenko's Blog - Designing Game Controls For the last recent years, my designer’s job was closely related to the design of complex game controls. Surprisingly, it was quite hard for me to find good general guidelines. I had to solve some pretty complicated design challenges and study a lot of different sources until I was able to develop some principles that I currently use in my job. I think that they’re worth sharing and might be useful for anyone who’s dealing with controls design tasks. The topic overall is, perhaps, too big for just one article, so I’ll also be giving external links to other resources with more details when it’s possible.

Video Games Are Better Without Stories - The Atlantic A longstanding dream: Video games will evolve into interactive stories, like the ones that play out fictionally on the Star Trek Holodeck. In this hypothetical future, players could interact with computerized characters as round as those in novels or films, making choices that would influence an ever-evolving plot. It would be like living in a novel, where the player’s actions would have as much of an influence on the story as they might in the real world. It’s an almost impossible bar to reach, for cultural reasons as much as technical ones. One shortcut is an approach called environmental storytelling. Environmental stories invite players to discover and reconstruct a fixed story from the environment itself.

Cartamundi unveils game design product The White Box Masterminded by game pioneers, The White Box give budding game designers the tools to design their own games. Cartamundi has revealed a new product that aims to put the power of game design into the hands of young creators in the form of The White Box. Pitched as a game design workshop in a box, The White Box is a tool made for budding game designers to create, plan and prototype their own tabletop game. The box contains generic components such as wooden cubes, plastic discs, six-sided dices, punchboard sheets and more. Also, it includes The White Box Essays, a 128-page book about how to make games, how to use randomness, what to ask play testers and so on.

Culture - Every story in the world has one of these six basic plots “My prettiest contribution to the culture” was how the novelist Kurt Vonnegut described his old master’s thesis in anthropology, “which was rejected because it was so simple and looked like too much fun”. The thesis sank without a trace, but Vonnegut continued throughout his life to promote the big idea behind it, which was: “stories have shapes which can be drawn on graph paper”. In a 1995 lecture, Vonnegut chalked out various story arcs on a blackboard, plotting how the protagonist’s fortunes change over the course of the narrative on an axis stretching from ‘good’ to ‘ill’. The arcs include ‘man in hole’, in which the main character gets into trouble then gets out again (“people love that story, they never get sick of it!”)

Game Design Is Not for the Faint of Heart Lori Ann Cole and her husband Corey Cole are the creators of the Quest for Glory series of computer games, which were published by Sierra from 1989 to 1998. In 2012 the Coles launched a Kickstarter for Hero U, a spiritual successor to Quest for Glory. Hero U was finally released last year, following a grueling six-year development process. 10 Video Game Design Rules You Can Never Unsee Video games may not be real life, but like The Matrix, they are still based in a world that is built on rules, as have been meticulously programmed by teams of hundreds of people. And while the very best video games manage to make us forget about their game-y logic by concealing their biggest secrets underneath immersive gameplay, virtually every game in existence will have a moment or two that breaks that precious immersion and brings the player back to reality. And once you become aware of these design tricks and tropes, it becomes incredibly difficult to switch your critical brain off and forget about them. A few years ago, a Twitter thread did the rounds where developers confessed their sneakiest behind-the-curtain game mechanics, which while both surprising and admirable in their genius, ultimately ensure you'll never quite think about those games - or all games, even - the same way ever again.

Herman Tulleken's Blog - Avoid these 50 mistakes when you make an advergame The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. Even savvy marketing people sometimes misunderstand how to use games properly to accomplish their business goals. We made a list of the 50 biggest mistakes businesses make when commissioning or building an advergame. Player Killing created a "toxic environment" in Amazon MMO New World The developer of Amazon MMO New World has fundamentally changed the way player versus player works in the game after it struggled to find a solution for Player Killing. In a post on the New World subreddit, a rep for Amazon Game Studios outlined concerns in the community about the impact of PvP on the player experience during alpha. Previously, PvP was full loot and open world, with only outposts offering sanctuary. This meant everyone was vulnerable to attack at any time from players in the rest of the world. To attack, you flagged criminal intent.