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A perfect MMO patch day

Sanya Weathers, who was the community director for Mythic Entertainment has written an excellent blog post about what a perfect patch day for an MMO should look like, from the point of view of a community director (and how often do you see things from that perspective?). There is a ton of wisdom in this post.

Video Game Venture Capital, a blog about video game finances

Kim Pallister, who so far has still managed to avoid revealing what he is doing for a living after leaving Microsoft, has an excellent blog that you should be reading.

I just recently discovered that, together with Vladimir Cole, he writes a second blog called Video Game Venture Capital. Posting is infrequent, which is good as I barely manage to read my feeds as it is, but VC financing + games is an interesting subject, and I am glad there is a blog focusing on this.

Ron Gilbert has a publisher

Ron Gilbert finally has a publisher for DeathSpank, the game he has been working on for years now. It's Hothead Games, who are working on the Penny Arcade game. That's one great track record in the making there.

On top of that, Ron is moving to Canada to become the creative director of Hothead Games. And I thought people only moved from the U.S. to Canada to escape the Bush administration.

Congratulations Ron!

Physics fun in Crysis

Here is a nice video of people having fun with physics - specifically, exploding barrels - in Crysis.

Exercise: Come up with a fun game based on this. You have the engine and the assets, or something equivalent, and you don't care about realism at all, just about wildly outrageous physics situations.

(Via Ben Mattes.)

Creative meetings

Teller - he is really called just 'Teller' - of magician duo Penn & Teller is working on a production of Macbeth. A Macbeth with stage magic, and Grand Guignol effects, and the intended aim of scaring the audience witless. I haven't been this excited about a play since I heard about the theater version of His Dark Materials (which I sadly never got to see).

Here Teller talks about the origin and goals of the Macbeth project. But here he talks about the first design meeting. Two things about it struck me:

There is nothing in the world that I love more than creative collaboration. And to be in the presence of these amazing artists, all joyfully planning how to scare the pee out of an audience with a four hundred year old horror story, well, the only word I can think of is ecstasy. Plain and simple. Ecstasy.

To work together with other creative people on planning and designing a great project, on creating an experience for an audience, that is an amazing feeling. When everyone's goals align and obstacles fall away and there is a chance - even a tiny one - that this project might become reality... that is a wonderful feeling. Moments like that make it all worth it, together with rare moments of praise for something you worked on (like when I met someone recently who happened to be a big fan of a game I worked on).

I bounded back to my hotel in the chilly air and couldn't fall asleep for the next four hours. I'd been looking forward to this meeting for forty years.

This is kind of depressing. Or isn't it?

(Via Neil Gaiman.)

Videotrace: Rapid interactive scene modelling from video

Here you can see a demonstration of Videotrace, a system for interactively generating realistic 3D models of objects from video, developed at the Australian Centre for Visual Technologies. It's not as magical as I initially expected, but it is pretty cool. The tool seems just easy enough to use, and the output just cute enough. It won't put good 3D artists out of business, but it will disrupt some markets. I can imagine something like this showing up as a nice family-friendly Mac tool within a year or so (or whenever there is a nice family-friendly place to use 3D models made from video in).

(Via Kottke.)