Category Archives: Game Design

The usability testing on Halo 3

It’s time to close some tabs. This Wired article is about the usability testing that Microsoft and Bungie did on Halo 3. People who know me know I am a big fan of quantified and/or empirical approaches to game design. I really truly think that if you’re not using these kind of methods, over time […]

Balance of Power book by Chris Crawford finally available again

“Balance of Power – International Politics as the Ultimate Global Game”, Chris Crawford’s book about his hit game, is finally available again. It’s been out of print and hard to get for a long time. I asked him about it last December, and he said that although he had gotten quite a lot of requests, […]

Three hundred mechanics, with comics on the side

Surprisingly, Three Hundred Mechanics has nothing to do with Seven Hundred Hoboes, although I see no good reason why not. It is a web site by Sean Howard listing 300 game mechanics (well, currently about 60). I like them. It’s like the ideas one occasionally has about game design, only with a neat formal twist, […]

On Team Fortress 2 and Portal

Let’s get the most important fact out of the way first: I don’t have the Orange Box yet. Regardless, here are some Team Fortress 2- and Portal-related items you might find interesting. Rock Paper Shotgun has an interview with Erik Wolpaw, who is currently working at Valve and who was the writer of Portal. I […]

The forgotten genre of the submarine simulation

Falko Löffler has posted a mini-rant about the lost genre of submarine simulations. In German. Basically, he doesn’t see the point of simulating a submarine. I do. I don’t like them or play them, but I do see the point. They have one quality which is fairly rare, and it has to do with immersion. […]

What to do if you don’t have a game designer on your team

A while ago I explained why game design is important. A reader asked in the comments: What do you do if you don’t have a game designer on your team? There are a number of reasons why you might be in this situation: You don’t have the budget for another person on your team. The […]

Why game design is important

A long, long time ago I worked at a company that did not have a game design position, and I wanted to convince the people there that, you know, maybe you should have game designers. Like, one per project, at least. Ah, the good old days. So with the help of Mark Barrett I wrote […]

Surreal Game Design: a group blog on game design

Surreal Game Design is a group blog on game design by the designers – all 17 of them! – at Surreal Software in Seattle. They make me feel inadequate by writing lots of great articles about professional game design, but then again, they’re 17 and I am just by myself. Also, I need a lot […]

Study proves violent video games make women smarter

OK, that is a slight oversimplification, but there’s an interesting article in this week’s Economist which sort of goes like this: Scientists test people’s ability to spot unusual objects in their field of vision. Men do better than women. Scientists suppress urge to ‘explain this in terms of division of labour on the African savannah’. […]

Regarding The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

Whoops. Never write drafts early in the morning :P One might hit ‘Send’ by mistake… So what was it that struck my eye about’s mention of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion? Oblivion, the latest in the series, takes that freedom to ridiculous extremes. Accidentally freed from a jail cell by Emperor Septim, the player is […]