The Blog of Anders Nissen

tirsdag, juni 28, 2005

Playing Diablo Builds Character

Today, for some reason, I started wondering about what makes computer games fun.
Clearly games have to have some type of entertainment value, or no-one would want to play them.

The Gamasutra article entitled "Decision-based Gameplay Design" makes the following statements about the entertainment value in games.
1. More difficult decisions are more fun.
2. Decisions that have the most significant and tangible effects are more fun.

Another Gamasutra article entitled " The Psychology Behind Games" discusses which parts of the brain responds to input from different types of gameplay.

The article puts on the psychological glasses and thoroughly analyzes the way playing games affect us. It uses Maslow's pyramid of needs discuss which cognitive needs are fulfilled by playing games.

If you have interest in this subject what so ever then you should read this article.

Many gamers have a favorite genre they play almost exclusively but a lot of gamers, myself included, play many different genres. I'm not going to make a psychological analyze of the needs I get fulfilled by playing the games that I play, but I'll like to present a completely unscientific list of reasons of why I think I like them.

Here's some of my favorite games:
  • Role-playing games:
    Diablo-series, Baldur's Gate-series, Icewind Dale-series, Sacred, Temple of Elemental Evil.
    - The world, story and encounters.
    - Working out tactics for combat (excluding Diablo and Sacred).
    - Improving hero(s) (Diablo and Sacred has especially much focus on this).
    - Making progress in the story-line.
  • Puzzle adventures:
    Monkey Island-series, Grim Fandango, Blade Runner.
    - Fulfillment of solving the puzzles.
    - Advancing the story and getting access to new areas.
    - Humor (excluding Blade Runner).
  • First-person-shooter action games:
    Unreal-series, Half-Life-series, Counter-Strike-series, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.
    - Getting the adrenaline pumping.
    - Getting more skilled with the movement, the maps, the weapons and aiming.
  • Real-time strategy games:
    Red Alert, Starcraft, Age of Mythology.
    - Building successful bases.
    - Attacking with a superior force.
    - Micro managing and improving units, buildings etc..
This is just my thoughts of the matter, of course.

A lot have been written about the technical aspect of developing games, but the softer - but extremely important - aspect of making games fun are still pretty much a matter of doing trail-and-error until it feels about right.
Maybe applying psychology to this aspect can shed more light on how to make games fun!

mandag, juni 13, 2005

Pointless Update

I just felt the need to do some updating, so here it is.

Still hard at work on WikiAdventure, a project that I'm very enthusiastic about. A couple of weeks worth of work more, and everyone should be able to make their own games using it.
I'll also create a number of tutorials or how-tos to make it easier for non-programmers to use it.

Until next time; enjoy yourself! :)

lørdag, juni 11, 2005



It's halfway to The Ultimate Answer to Life, The Universe And Everything.

It's also the age I turned yesterday. Yay!

søndag, juni 05, 2005

A Trip to The City of Sin in The Kingdom of Heaven

I went to the movies last night with some friends and saw two movies in a row.

The first was Sin City.
And wow, what a movie! It's extremely stylistic, violent and exaggerated and completely unlike anything else you'll have seen. The characters are very extreme in every way. The setting is highly inspired by the film noir style of the 1940 and 1950's; dark, pessimistic and full of despair. Loads of great one-lines and almost non-stop action. Not a dull moment in the whole movie.
I haven't read the comics, which I probably should have as the story pretty much entirely escaped me.
Be sure to catch this while it's still in the cinemas!

Second up was Kingdom of Heaven.
Directed by Ridley Scott and with Orlando Bloom as the lead character this is a classic battle movie along the lines of Troy. The acting was a bit dodgy at times, but the battle sequences were really huge and fascinating with a lots of small details. It was pretty slow coming straight from Sin City, and my experience of it probably suffered from not being able to compete with it by a long shot. Nice mellow, relaxing movie, though.

Oh yeah, I'm still working on the WikiDialog Reader project, now entitled WikiAdventure, and a temporary "home page" for it can be found here.