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Joshin' Around!



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building better worlds

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 12 September 2012 - * * * * * · 12020 views
world design
building better worlds Oh.  Hello there.

I wanted to put some ideas into words to help express what it means to build a world at Obsidian.  It takes a lot of time and effort from a boatload (dirigible-load) of people, but there are some guiding principles that keep us focused on building worlds we love that we hope players will love, too.

No matter what the flavor of the...


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high-level writing principles

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 07 March 2010 - * * * * * · 3670 views
dachshund grooming tips
At work, we have a lot of rules for how to write.  These range from punctuation (single-spacing after terminal punctuation) to spelling ("all right" vs. "alright") to structural (where a "goodbye" response should be relative to a "start combat" response and where that should be relative to a "friendly"...


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tunin' tips and tricks

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 09 November 2009 - * * * * * · 1521 views
and 1 more...
At work, I am often directly involved in an aspect of game design that not all designers really deal with: system and content tuning. This is the process by which system rules and content are adjusted to produce a specific effect for the player. E.g. you want the player to feel like he/she really gains a great advantage when he/she gets the raccoon tail in...


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1-bit alpha

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 14 June 2007 - - - - - - · 1984 views
and 1 more...
I dream of a day when 1-bit alpha will go away.  It looks terrible.  There are excuses for why we have to do it right now, but MAN does it look bad.  Tree leaves with 1-bit alpha?  Horrible.  Hair with 1-bit alpha?  Awful.

I have a dream.  Share this dream with me.  Together... we can make it real.


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clarity of purpose in system design

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 07 June 2007 - - - - - - · 1426 views
dachshund grooming tips
One of the most important attributes of a good designer is the ability to apply critical thinking to any aspect of a game.  At a convention recently, a bunch of game developers kept repeating how important critical thinking was.  An audience member asked, "Well, what is that really?"

There's this:...


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Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (review)

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 23 March 2007 - - - - - - · 1012 views
the art of egon schiele
I played GRAW2 back-to-back with Rainbow Six: Vegas, and I found the former lacking in many areas.  Though I would say elements like the GUI, level design, animations, and sound were reasonably solid, the core gameplay itself was often frustrating.  The problems were a culmination of bad AI, a poor command interface, some other generally clumsy mechanics,...


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Rainbow Six: Vegas (review)

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 17 March 2007 - - - - - - · 582 views
suki the cat
Caveat lector: I have not played any of the other Rainbow Six games, so I did not come into this title with many expectations.  Also, I'm just jotting down thoughts in no particular order.

This was the first game I've played for more than a few hours on my Xbox 360.  It felt easy to get into.  Though the game had a lot of mechanics, they were...


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Video Games: Mature Themes

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 02 March 2007 - - - - - - · 3149 views
and 1 more...
Even video games with good writing are usually banal and puerile in their content.  The exploration of themes in games is typically shallow and any didactic purpose the writers attempt to achieve is usually aimed very low.  When an eleven year-old already inherently comprehends and accepts the lesson you are trying to impart, you know you're not...


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rpg mechanics 'n stuff

Posted by J.E. Sawyer , 15 February 2007 - - - - - - · 2612 views
and 1 more...
I have written before about the strange position occupied by RPGs in modern computer gaming (PC or otherwise).  In summary: tabletop RPGs and most of their CRPG kin were born out of mechanics necessitated by the realities of playing a game with dice, paper, and pencils.  Everything was either uncontested expression on behalf of the player or a simulated...





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