February 4, 2009

I moved cross country, and this blog has changed locations too. To follow the ramblings of the TragicGeek, click here.


Entropy as a display of Time

July 7, 2008

I came across this article through Digg about a physicist’s theory on the multiverse, the big bang and entropy. I find it to be extremely fascinating and actually had a little tie in to game design.

Sean Carroll, the physicist being interviewed in the article, talks about entropy. Specifically one thing he said stuck in my head.

The reason why you are not surprised when you open a deck of cards and it’s in perfect order is not because it’s just easy and natural to find it in perfect order, it’s because the deck of cards is not a closed system.

We assume that everything starts from order and moves into chaos. The same goes for video games. I’ve heard lots of design students talk about making something completely random, but players don’t like that. In fact, it seems humans don’t like that, not just game players in general.

You want players to be able to grok your game. If you make something completely random, there is nothing the player can learn as far as how your system works. Sure, you can have randomness inside of your system (that’s what dice are for), but it’s not 100% random. A single six sided die, for instance, has 6 possible outcomes. Now, there is no way to determine what the outcome will be before hand, but you know that when you roll a D6 you won’t get “porcupine” as a possible result.

Players want a fixed number of ppossible results that will occur because of the actions they take. When you start to change this, the game may get too difficult and the player walks away. And the worse thing you can do is make a game that no one is playing…

The Launch of an MMO from a Player’s Perspective.

June 15, 2008

Every major MMO that I have played upon release (Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes, World of Warcraft just to name a few) has always had “bugs” upon launch. This is to be expected, IMO, because of the vast scale of the projects. Usually, these “bugs” are more balance issues than anything else. Which leads to a conundrum for player’s on whether to play at launch or not.

The obvious disadvantage of playing from launch date is having to deal with these issues while the devs try to solve them. Look at WoW, for instance. It took Blizzard about a year to tweak talent trees, class abilities and other aspects after launch (and some would say there are still imbalances in classes.) This can lead to a frustrating player experience. Sometimes, these issues don’t even let the MMO get off the ground and it dies before it has had a chance to build a strong player base.

The advantage, however, of getting in at launch is that you are there from the start. You are able to see content before it becomes outdated. A player starting WoW at this point in time will probably never run any of the content for level 60 characters because they will be in the Outlands, where item drops and experience gain are much better than the old 10 and 25 man raids.

Too all my MMO player’s out there, do you think it’s worth waiting for the issues to be resolved or should you dive in head first and deal with them? 

A follow up on my AFK-ness

June 14, 2008

So, I haven’t posted as much as I had wanted to in the past couple of weeks, but I have a very, very valid excuse.
I moved to California.

So, a bit of a break down of what’s happened since my last post.
May 29th – Last day of classes.
May 30th – Pack up apartment
May 31st – Drive from Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC with two cars of all of my belongings. Spend the second part of the day purchasing a new car
June 1st – June 4th – Pack/sort my belongings between keep, take and sell. Get car ready for cross country trip.
June 5th – Drove from Charleston, SC to Orchard Hill, MI (which is just south of Memphis, TN)
June 6th – Orchard Hill, MI to Amarillo, TX
June 7th – Amarillo, TX to Flagstaff, AZ
June 8th – Flagstaff, AZ to Escondido, CA (With a short detour to see the Grand Canyon)
June 9th – June 10th – Apartment hunting for a place to live in Cali
June 11th – June 12th – Anaheim, CA and Disneyland goodness
June 13th – Drive back to San Marcos, CA (where I now live) and get apartment ready.
June 14th – June 15th – Relaxation. I need it.
June 16th – First day of work at Areae.

In other words, my crunch time is almost at an end. I enjoy staying busy, but this has just been so much running around, making sure I have things, etc that I need a bit of a break this weekend. Although, I do plan on spending some time re-familiarizing myself with certain things in regards to Areae so that Monday morning I’ll be ready to go.

Return of the Geek: Where have I been?!

June 2, 2008

So, I’ve been gone for quite some time from here. No new posts. Silence. Where have I been?!

Well, a lot has happened in the past couple of months. My step-father passed away, I had a job interview in San Diego, I graduated college, I got a new car….lots of things. Now that I have some free time, I plan on starting back up with the blogging, which all but disappeared as I tried to finish school, find a job (which I am happy to say was a success) and get ready to move across country.

There should be more posts coming in the near future…no….really. I promise this time.

Metaplace Frontpage

May 9, 2008

I was asked to do the Project Spotlight for Metaplace this week. Go check it out and see the work I’ve been working on.

Project Loyola Post Mortem

April 22, 2008

My postmortem for Project Loyola is up on Game Career Guide. It was funny when I was writing it I could think of about 10 more “things that went wrong”. The project has definitely been a learning experience for me and everyone involved in the project.