Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…


why is it so many people type ‘costumers’ instead of ‘customers’? is it a typo? or people who are confused? or is it some hilarious new internet meme I am not aware of?

Answers on a postcard.

The Positech Gamers Bill of Rights

Stardock did one, so here’s mine (in no order)

  • Gamers shall have the right to re-download a purchased game years later if necessary
  • Gamers shall expect a demo to be made available, direct from the developers site with no sign-ups, adverts or other junk.
  • Gamers shall not be charged anything to download their purchased game at a later date
  • Gamers shall have a direct contact email address for tech support, which goes to a real person
  • Gamers shall have flexible save game options, from any point, with unlimited slots.
  • Gamers shall not be pestered by un-skippable FMV scenes
  • Gamers shall not be bored by start-up advertising and logo screens
  • Gamers shall be able to expect windowed, full screen and alt+tab support from their game.
  • Gamers shall expect the developer to provide whatever information they can reasonably require in order to mod the game.


Spore. securom again…

My copy of spore isn’t here yet, but a friend has his copy, which he can’t validate on-line because the servers have died apparently. Another huge victory for DRM it seems. Apparently, there are rumoured to be pirate copies already (although that does mean they work, or are easy to get). In any case, it’s yet another example of things going badly in the whole DRM thing.

Unless you are 100% sure your DRM is flawless and convenient, you run the risk of upsetting your customers. How many frustrated spore buyers are currently whining to friends? friends who may be tempted now to warez it instead?

I hate piracy and warez, but if EA want to sell spore online for MORE than the stores, and include DRM not backed up by stable servers, they are only encouraging people to pirate. Madness. When people buy Kudos 2 (please buy it!) in a month or so, it will download, install and run with no fuss. Even I can see that this makes more sense.

Maybe a bad sign of PC Gaming Health?


There doesn’t seem to be much cash in advertising PC gaming any more. Rock Paper Shotguns current ads are for some university and easyjet. Blues news is pimping crisps and heroes and Sky Plus. I see a spore advert on gamespot, but not much else. Quartertothree is advertising gold farming sites.

There was a time where the latest FPS, RTS or other high profile PC game was advertised everywhere. These days, its online only, console games or casual games ads only. Is PC gaming really this sparse? At least there is a (slim) chance this means cheaper advertising slots abound?

Deciphering the good and the bad news

You can’t trust the news. News on anything is always looking for it’s ‘angle’. I hate that. I’m an intelligent 38 year old human. I can absorb data, and facts and draw upon previous knowledge to generate my opinon. Yet the news, be it global or the games industry news, is laways trying to tell me what to think.

I don’t need the commentators ‘take’ on whats happened in georgia. I want the facts. I will decide what I think about it. And when it comes to a new game, I don’t want hyperbole from some marketing drone that tells me how awesome it is. I want to know what the games about., how it plays, and what’s different about it. Anything that paints a game in a positive light in a press release is clearly pointless.

The most obvious games industry examples of all this are sales figures. For example, check out the awesome sales figures for Castle Crashers on the xbox!!! or check out the tragically disappointing sales of crysis. what a disaster!!! What we don’t have stories on is the 99% of games that sit in the middle of this range. How many copies did Sim City Societies sell? or Pirates of The Burning Sea? or Enemy Territory: Quake wars?

We don’t see headlines about them, because journalists think that unless something is extreme, and they can get an ‘angle’ on it, it’s irrelevant. They also, sensibly realise that just reporting the facts means they are pretty much out of a skilled job. Still… it bugs me. I like to know the facts behind things. I know that which facts you select introduces massive bias, but I’d be happy just with a toning down of the current obsession with having a news ‘angle’. Just throw in a bit of perspective now and then. Don’t quote me the sales figures of a game without comparing it to 3 or 4 others of the same genre and platform over the same time period. Don’t talk about a massive rise in home repossesions, if it’s gone from 0.001% to 0.0015%. Sometimes it’s not clear who the good guys are, or its not clear what to conclude from what has happened. We are adults, we can handle that.