Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is a proposed game good? The 10 minute test.

Pierre-Alexandre Garneau, a professional game designer, submitted an article on how to tell if a game idea has merit in 10 minutes flat.

His criterion? Simple.

  1. Is the Game Distinctive?

    1. Does it stand out viscerally?

    2. Does the gameplay stand out?

    3. Does it involve the player socially in a unique way?

  2. Can the Game Reach a Large Market?

    1. Is the idea behind the game easy to communicate?

    2. Is the game based on something the market already knows and loves?

    3. Is the target market large?

I quizzed him on Galactic Civilizaitons II, because no one expected it to become a Wal-Mart best seller, least of all Stardock (the developers), and he responded the same day (emphasis is mine):

"I haven't played Galactic Civilizations, so I can't comment on it much. My guess would be that while 4X games are a niche, it's a pretty big niche that's under-represented at the moment. My hunch is that a lot of people actually like turn-based games (witness the success of Civ 4 and Advance Wars), but very few quality titles are released for them.

There are also lots of external factors that can influence success. An otherwise unremarkable game could become popular after somebody influential becomes a fan, for example. Bejeweled reached a lot of hardcore gamers when the folks at Penny-Arcade kept talking about how good it was. Clever marketing -- like "I love bees" -- can help too. Lots of factors outside of the game itself can influence its success."

This makes a lot of sense - I love the turn-based / real-time mixup of Medieval II: Total War, Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of the Witch King, and Star Wars: Empire at War.

Turn-based games became "dangerous" like making a point and click adventure, but I think part of it was the presentation. Galactic Civilizaitons II mixes turn-based with a truly great AI with many personalities, all of which you can change down to how much CPU it uses, with 3d ships that do combat, which you can view and review from any angle you desire.

Without a doubt, the 3d ship battles and the ability to make your 3d ships keeps Galactic Civilizaitons II from being your standard turn-based game.

Imprisoned Journalist Josh Wolf Speaks Out From Jail After Over 170 Days Behind Bars

Josh Wolf, 24, has spent almost six months in jail. More time than any journalist in US history for protecting his sources. He was jailed on August 1st of last year when he refused to turn over video that he had shot of an anti-G8 demonstration in San Francisco to a federal grand jury.
[source interview] [josh wolf's blog]


Basically, the Federal Government is saying that it has the power to decide who is a journalist and who is not, despite how many traditional media outlets have given Mr. Wolf journalist awards. Who decides who is a journalist? The Government? That topic is broached here.

While Mr. Wolf sounds like the kind of anarchist I don't like, as a believer in liberty and freedom I don't think the government should have the right to round people up or dictate who is a journalist (and protected as such) and who is not. That borders on state-sanctioned journalism.