RIP, Ralph Baer
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 December 2014, 10:52 pm
Game talk
During a business trip for Sanders to New York City in 1966 I found myself waiting for another Sanders engineer at a bus terminal; he was going to join me for a meeting with a client. I took advantage of my free time and jotted down some notes on the subject of using ordinary home [...]


Practicing the creativity habit
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 December 2014, 5:03 pm
ArtGame talkMusic
In the wake of posting up the video of my talk on “Practical Creativity,” I got this: @raphkoster how do you usually practice the creativity habit? — Karlos Zafra (@solkar) December 3, 2014 What a great question. First, I have to admit I slack off a lot. But, here are some ways in which I [...]


GDCNext Video: Practical Creativity
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 December 2014, 11:22 am
Game talk
I know it seems like most all I post on this blog lately is stuff about speaking one place or another, and you always get three posts in a row: I will speak here, I spoke and here’s the slides… and a little while later, here’s the video. Well, not to be redundant, but here’s [...]


GDCNext: Indie Grassroots Marketing video
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 November 2014, 4:21 pm
Game talk
At GDCnext I moderated a panel with Zach Gage, Rami Ismail, and Adam Saltsman on indie marketing. It was a fun session, made more so by the fact that they all walked into the room with one minute to spare before the session started (I was about to start pulling dev’s from the audience into [...]


Ten Years of World of Warcraft
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 November 2014, 12:20 pm
Game talk
Ten years of World of Warcraft. Well. So many thoughts. WoW has always been a contradiction of sorts: not the pioneer, but the one that solidified the pattern. Not the experimenter, but the one that reaped the rewards. Not the innovator, but the one that was well-designed, built solidly, and made appealing. It was the [...]


Yiynova MVP22U v3 review: 22 inch Cintiq alternative
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 November 2014, 3:59 pm
Art
Quite a while ago I wrote a review of the Yiynova MSP19U, a Cintiq alternative tablet monitor. I was pretty pleased with it, but it did suffer from relatively low resolution and from a TFT screen with pool viewing angles for color reproduction. Now I have a review for you of the upgrade model, the [...]


Social media is broken
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 November 2014, 4:30 pm
Misc
Thinking on Wil Wheaton’s well-intentioned essay, here are some things that we know. Anonymity is usually problematic. But the real issue isn’t anonymity. It’s actually “lack of persistent identity.” Anonymity can serve as a cover for bad behavior, because humans are deeply situational when it comes to ethical choices. We fall prey to disinhibition readily, [...]


GDCNext 2014: Practical Creativity slides
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 November 2014, 1:57 am
Game talk
Today I delivered a lecture at GDCNext that was my tips for “practical creativity.” Basically, it’s a collection of techniques, habits, and ways of thinking drawn not only from lots of reading and research into creativity in general, but also my experience in visual, writerly, musical, and ludic arts. It touches on breaking down craft [...]


Gamasutra on the indie economics talk
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 October 2014, 3:42 pm
Game talk
Yesterday Greg Costikyan and I did an on-stage conversation at Indiecade about the economics of the indie market. It was pretty wide-ranging, with discussions of Rochdale cooperatives, performing rights organizations, designing games that can be hobbies rather than disposable content, and more. Greg Costikyan and Raph Koster speak about indie economics! @IndieCade -f- @SwedenGameArena @HogskolanSkovde [...]


Indiecade: A conversation on indie economics
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 September 2014, 4:54 pm
Game talk
Greg Costikyan and I will be doing an on-stage conversation at Indiecade on the subject of the economics of the indie market. This is driven by the various discussions we started having around GDC time in the spring, including his rant at GDC, and my follow-on article on the directions game industry finances are likely [...]


Speaking on “Practical Creativity”
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 September 2014, 3:00 pm
Game talk
I’ll be talking at GDCNext in LA in early November about “practical creativity.” Over the last couple of years, I have had no commercial masters over my creativity. Oh, I’ve done some consulting and whatnot, but the vast majority of my time has been on projects that I am pursuing out of pure passion, a [...]


The Sunday Poem: London Squall
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 September 2014, 2:31 pm
The Sunday Poem
London squall, Islington gusts, Wash the Barbican clean. Tidy households in tiny flats Open windows, let out cats As raindrops stop and shatter And rental bikes go clattering Down Clerkenwell streets. Puddles, unavoidable mess, Are temporary consequence. Each lost leaf in King’s Square Is labeled where it fell. London squall and Islington gusts May discomfit, [...]


What makes a game last a generation?
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 September 2014, 6:53 pm
Game talk
Problems that aren’t actually solvable. Instead, players can only approach optimality. This means there’s always another hill to climb in terms of increasing skill, so people keep devoting the time. These tend to be problems that fall into high complexity classes. In general, NP-HARD problems that we solve using heuristics make for long-lasting games. Mind [...]


Open letter to the gaming community
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 September 2014, 2:11 pm
Game talk
I am a signatory to this letter. I think everyone should be. I think it should be pretty non-controversial, actually. We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our [...]


Random UO anecdote #2
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 August 2014, 2:48 pm
Game talk
I just stumbled across this old story I told somewhere, and thought I’d share more widely. In Ultima Online, the player was a container — one you couldn’t open, but which held your equipped items, your backpack which was the container you could actually see, etc. Because of the freeform “gump”1 style containment system used [...]


Wikipedia is a game
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 August 2014, 6:26 pm
Game talkMisc
The tl;dr version is “go here for the talk.” This past week I was in London, attending Wikimania 2014. Many thanks to Ed Saperia and the organizers for inviting me to speak, it was a highly illuminating experience. I gave a talk about seeing the Wikipedia experience itself as a series of games: the game [...]


Wikimania 2014 in London
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 August 2014, 2:04 pm
Game talk
I am speaking this week at Wikimania 2014 in London. I’m speaking in the “social machines” track, which is about systems wherein the code and the people are inseparable — as in Wikipedia itself, social network systems of all sorts — and of course, multiplayer games. I’ll be doing both a lecture session and participating [...]


When is a Clone
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 July 2014, 5:03 pm
Game talk
Just some relatively incoherent notes here, originally written in an email… this post may serve as useful background as it expresses many of the same thoughts in a more coherent form. This was written in part in response to all the discussion around cloning going on in the game industry these days. As it happens, [...]


Interactive Mountain
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 July 2014, 3:50 pm
Game talk
Everyone is talking about Mountain. Mountain is a game where you see a 3d mountain. It can be turned. You can play some notes on the keyboard. The mountain does things on its own. Trees grow, clouds, etc. It “says” things. Stuff falls from the sky. It’s pretty. There is nothing you can do to [...]


Interactivity
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 July 2014, 4:43 am
Game talk
One of the things I have seen a lot among younger critics who prefer narrative-centric approaches in their games is an emphasis on questioning definitions of “interactivity.” Here’s the thing: noticing that the act of interpreting something is effectively “interactive” is not a novel observation. To start with, it is a rather fundamental notion in [...]


Privateer Online
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 June 2014, 4:21 pm
Game talkGamemaking
In the wake of the excitement over No Man’s Sky and its procedural worlds, I thought that it might be a good time to tell some of the story around the version of Privateer Online that I worked on, that never saw the light of day. After I moved off the UO team, I worked [...]


How to build the scary future today
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 June 2014, 4:17 pm
Misc
Create a tiny computer using as small a chip you can get. Stick a Bluetooth LE or equivalent transmitter on it. Even better if you can get GPS. Even more if you can get a low power cellphone chip. Call this a node. A node has a unique id. Nodes get stuck on objects in [...]


Monkey-X
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 May 2014, 2:13 pm
Gamemaking
Monkey-X is my current favorite language for doing game prototypes and even full projects. It isn’t at all widely known, and has more than a few rough edges, but I still find it congenial and thought I’d share so that more people will give it a try. When I went looking for something to code [...]


The Sunday Poem: Afternoon Joggers
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 May 2014, 3:27 pm
The Sunday Poem
It has been a very long time since I posted a Sunday Poem. That is because it has been a long time since I wrote a poem. But here is one that popped out the other day. Afternoon Joggers The way they run, struggling against invisible wind, Great gusts in their chests buffeting them Like [...]


The Financial Future of Game Developers
Posted by Raph's Website [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 May 2014, 4:12 pm
Game talk
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the financial future of developers. The supply chain for creative work To go back a ways, back in 2006 I suggested that you could look at the winding path a piece of media takes to the public in this way: A funder of some sort ponies up the [...]


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