Video: Teaching to Fish (Sweden Game Conference)
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 November 2015, 11:42 am
Game talk
I posted up the slides to my talk at SGC earlier; now the conference has released video of the session. This talk was a joint keynote for both the Sweden Game Conference, which was a typical industry conference, and the smaller VS-Games conference for serious games academics. So I tried to straddle the line by [...]

My new book: Sunday Poems
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 November 2015, 6:52 pm
The Sunday PoemWriting
Starting in 2005, game designer Raph Koster decided to post a poem to his popular blog every Sunday. Ten years later, this is a selection of eighty of those poems, accompanied by gorgeous pen-and-ink illustrations and illuminating endnotes. These are verses written to an audience that didn’t necessarily care about poetry; verses about whatever was [...]

Teaching to Fish: Sweden Game Conference
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 September 2015, 8:14 pm
Game talk
I had a great time in Sweden, despite the fact that there did not seem to be a canonical way to pronounce the city was in (Skövde — sort of hghuheffdduh-ish, but depending where I was in the country, it was also hgheffduh, hghuffda, and a few others). The talk I gave, put together after [...]

PAXDev Game Grammar talk
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 September 2015, 5:03 pm
Game talk
At PAXDev I gave a talk on Game Grammar. It’s an overview of my current understanding of how all the parts of games fit together. I don’t touch on how every part works — that would have taken far too long for the time allotted — but I do provide the overview, what I have [...]

Off to PAX
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 August 2015, 1:15 pm
Game talk
I fly off to Seattle in a few hours, barring rain. It will be my first time ever at PAX, and I am looking forward to seeing what the hubbub is about. I will be carting some of my tabletop games with me, so if you run into me, ask about them and you may [...] interview
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 July 2015, 1:31 pm
Game talk
Wherein I whine in a most entitled way about people who want me to make games for them: Something like 95% of the games I’ve done over the last 20 years has never been seen by the public at all. Puzzle games have been a key part of what I’ve done for a decade and [...]

Games affecting people
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 June 2015, 3:35 pm
Game talk
This comes up, especially in relation to questions about free speech. It comes up, in terms of working with compulsion loops some might term addictive. It comes, in terms of whether or not game designers worry about what they do. The most common answer is “no,” likely because it’s an uncomfortable question people would rather [...]

Game design vs UX design
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 June 2015, 1:39 pm
Game talk
Short form: UX design is about removing problems from the user. Game design is about giving problems to the user. In both cases you look at users’ cognitive reasoning and process capacity. And these days, we have UX designers on game teams, and they are incredibly valuable. But they are in a different discipline from [...]

Games vs Sports
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2015, 2:24 pm
Game talk
From a game design “formalist” point of view, they are not different. A rules-centric view of games doesn’t care whether the interface is computerized, mediated via apparatus, or physical, so it makes no distinction between computer chess and physical chess; similarly, it makes no distinction between the rules of, say, baseball, implemented within a computer [...]

Some thoughts on recent industry events
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 June 2015, 3:40 pm
Game talk
The FTC imposes a fine on a board game creator who failed to deliver their Kickstarter. Developers publicly wring their hands about the reports of high refund rates on Steam. Everyone looks to VR, but there’s already people asking whether it is a bubble. What’s going on? There are two business models: sell something in [...]

Online Game Pioneers at Work
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 June 2015, 2:13 pm
Game talk
If you are interested in online game history, you probably want to check out Online Game Pioneers at Work. Morgan Ramsay managed to corner a whole bunch of people who were key figures in online game development over the last several decades, and interviewed all of us at great length. It’s a follow-up to his [...]

An Industry Lifecycle
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 June 2015, 3:05 pm
Game talk
A new platform on which to play games is invented. It might be a new graphics technology (Vector graphics! Color! 3d! VR!). It might be a technical advancement of a different sort (Modems! Servers! Streaming! D-pads! Small screens! Big screens! Touch screens!). It might just be a new marketing channel (Games in bars! Games at [...]

Did Star Wars Galaxies Fail?
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 April 2015, 11:52 am
Game talk
Read the other posts in this series: PvP and temporary enemy flagging A Jedi Saga SWG’s Dynamic World Designing a Living Society, part one Designing a Living Society, part two This is the last post on SWG for, well, a while. I am sure there are plenty of other things to say and more questions [...]

Designing a Living Society in SWG, part two
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 April 2015, 2:52 am
Game talk
Last time, I talked about the basic skill and economic infrastructure that Star Wars Galaxies provided. Fundamentally, these were about equality. They made the different roles played by players have the same standing in the game. However, it’s still a game, after all — players are going to engage in radically different sorts of activities, [...]

Designing a Living Society in SWG, part one
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 April 2015, 10:18 pm
Game talkGamemaking
Once upon a time you could drop things on the ground. It’s one of the first things a baby does, one of the most human things to do. You pick something up, drop it somewhere else. You build piles. Piles turn into houses. They turn into furniture. They turn into gathering places, into churches, into [...]

SWG’s Dynamic World
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 April 2015, 3:15 pm
Game talkGamemaking
This post is dedicated to the memory of John Roy, lead environment artist on Star Wars Galaxies. Help out his family here. Let’s do some math. Let’s say that you need to have a pretty big world: sixteen kilometers on a side, and made out of tiles. A tile needs to know what texture it [...]

A Jedi Saga
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 April 2015, 10:37 pm
Game talkGamemaking
Continuing here with the questions that were sent in by Jason Yates! Yesterday it was the TEF system… today it’s Jedi! Some of this stuff has been told before, but it’s actually kind of hard to find it all in one continuous tale. I have to preface this with a huge huge disclaimer, though: it’s [...]

Star Wars Galaxies Temporary Enemy Flagging
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 April 2015, 1:58 pm
Game talkGamemaking
I was sent this list of Star Wars: Galaxies questions by Jason Yates; he had seen this video interview, and didn’t know enough Spanish to be able to follow the answers. I posted up an English translation of the transcript here, but really, the interview didn’t much overlap with the questions he had. Is there [...]

Video of “Community Management in the Culture Wars”
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 March 2015, 3:11 am
Game talk
The GDC Vault has posted up one hundred and forty free videos from GDC 2015. Holy Cow, almost as good as being there. Among them is the talk that Rich Vogel, Gordon Walton and I presented on “Community Management in the Culture Wars.” I’ve embedded it below, and I’ve also added it to the already [...]

Jackpot Trivia
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 March 2015, 3:18 pm
Game talkGamemaking
A while back I mentioned a few game announcements coming soon. One was, of course, Crowfall, about which I hope everyone knows at this point. This post is about another one! A year ago or so I started working with NTN Buzztime as a consultant– these are the folks who provide bar trivia to venues [...]

GDC: Community Management in the Culture Wars
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 March 2015, 4:38 am
Game talk
This morning, Gordon Walton, Rich Vogel and I presented our talk on “Community Management in the Culture Wars.” I realized as we started that the last time the three of us were on stage together at GDC to talk about community was 14 years ago (!). A lot has changed… and a lot hasn’t. The [...]

The Game Design section
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 February 2015, 2:55 pm
Game talk
It has taken me almost a year, but the Game Design section of the site has seen truly massive revisions. Among other things, I have managed to find several presentations which were never on the site: “Reinventing MMOs,” which is more or less a high-level explanation and justification of the Metaplace technology stack. “High Windows,” [...]

A Career: GameDay Peru talk
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 February 2015, 4:37 pm
Game talkGamemaking
Long-time blog readers know that I spent a large chunk of my childhood in Peru. It was there, in fact, that I first started to make games. I lived in Lima, in San Isidro, a relatively well-off neighborhood. It was the height of the Shining Path terrorism period: gringo things were blown up with great [...]

Working on Crowfall!
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 January 2015, 12:38 pm
Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen me mention that after a couple of years of being fairly quiet, a lot of game announcements would be hitting soon. Well, one of them hit today! I am very happy to be able to tell the world (finally!) that I have been working [...]

High Windows
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 January 2015, 7:03 pm
Game talk
Almost exactly seven years ago, I gave a keynote at the virtual worlds-themed Worlds in Motion Summit at GDC. I was supposed to talk about why games people should care about virtual worlds. But I just couldn’t warm to the topic. I was in the midst of wrestling with Metaplace, which was the culmination of [...]

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