Erin Hoffman at The Escapist put up a new article in a “Tools of the Trade” series that has a quote from yours truly.

The article has a good rundown on the tools indie developers are using to solve their problems without breaking their budgets. Check out Erin’s previous article giving a general overview of game tools, as well.

Oddly enough (to me), my quote came out of a series of emails sparked by my response to a question Erin put up on LinkedIn. Score one for Web-based Social Networking!

Them’s Fightin’ Words

Adam Maxwell, a game designer, recently posted an op-ed on Gamasutra claiming that writers don’t belong in the games industry.

That got this writer’s blood boiling, and I let off some steam with a point-by-point rebuttal I posted to the IGDA’s Game Writers’ Special Interest Group’s mailing list. I was one of many, and we were all in a huff about the article.

Imagine my surprise when Wendy Despain, the Writers’ SIG chair, contacted me about turning my rebuttal into the official SIG response! I re-wrote my screed as a more cohesive–and polite–essay, and Gamasutra posted it this morning.

Many thanks to Wendy for giving me the chance to strike back at the ignorance surrounding game writing.

Game Tutorials

Tutorials should teach you how to actually play the game, not just how to use the controls.

I didn’t think there was much of a difference between the two until this morning, when I spent an hour wading through one game’s tutorial, only to come out the other end & realize I still didn’t know how to play the game.

Fly my starship? Sure. Shoot my weapons? Yep. Do anything useful or fun? Nope.

This ties right into something I learned at Austin GDC: all players of your game start out as casual players. If you don’t give them a reason to keep playing (like making the game fun & interesting from the beginning) they’ll quit long before they become hardcore players (who might be more forgiving of a punishing tutorial).

I got a job!

I applied for a writing job at a newly-formed, local, video-game developer before leaving for Balticon. Went through two interviews, dropped off a good bit of writing samples, and…Got a call last week that I had the job!

The company’s called Brainstem Games, and they’re looking to develop a new sci-fi MMORPG. I’m Lead Writer for the development team, meaning I get to do the technical writing for the website, press releases, etc., but also help develop the setting, NPCs, quests, dialog, and storyline for the game.