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Lessons from designing a product in less than 24 hours

    Last weekend, Sachin Rekhi and I did as a little hackathon project for the Cloudstock Hackathon. I’m proud to report that we were a finalist for the event and even made it onto Techcrunch! If you’re not familiar with it, Cloudstock is a small event offshoot off of the larger Dreamforce conference designed to bring developers and cloud technologies together. Meet our project: The premise behind is simple. Send your business card with one text. Even though we’re living in this world with social networks and online profiles, many of the existing applications are dependent on both… Read More »Lessons from designing a product in less than 24 hours

    Quick Notes from Smartphone Games Summit — Android, Social, Freemium and More

      I stopped by the Smartphone Games Summit today, and thought I’d post a few notes. Great job to Charles Hudson and mediabistro for another great event. One of the interesting sessions in the morning was a session called Smartphone Game Trends, presented by Peter Farago, VP of Marketing for Flurry. Smartphone Game Trends Consumers are changing in their behavior from portable games (DS) to iPhone On iPhone, 1% of games are on iPhone (in a pie with portable and console) but they claim 5% of revenue share. Issues with Android Install base for Android is almost equal to iPhone, but… Read More »Quick Notes from Smartphone Games Summit — Android, Social, Freemium and More

      GDC10 Notes: The Evolution of Habbo Hotel’s Virtual Economy

        Session Title: The Evolution of Habbo Hotel’s Virtual Economy by Sulka Haro (Lead Designer, Sulake) Overview of Habbo Hotel Age range is 12–17, with $74 million in revenue Offices in 13 countries They maintain 16 instances = 16 separate virtual economies 10 years old this year Sulka describes the 6 phases of change that the Habbo Hotel’s Virtual Economy has gone through No currencies Emergent currencies Paid currency Tradable paid currencies Dual currencies “Official” secondary market Phase 1: No Currencies When the game started, there wasn’t an in-game currency and players would just text-message to buy a chair. This made… Read More »GDC10 Notes: The Evolution of Habbo Hotel’s Virtual Economy

        GDC10 Notes: Sid Meier on Why Everything You Know is Wrong

          Friday morning’s keynote was from none other than Sid Meier himself, co-founder of Firaxis and the creator of the Civ series. Session Title: The Psychology of Game Design (Everything You Know Is Wrong) from Sid Meier Meier began his talk with the assertion that gameplay is primarily a psychological experience and player psychology is primarily based on egomania, paranoia, delusion and self-destructive behavior. If you like playing the Civ games, it’s because you love being a god-king and controlling everything, therefore you are an egomanic. However, game play doesn’t map to real life. He described the Winner Paradox, in the… Read More »GDC10 Notes: Sid Meier on Why Everything You Know is Wrong

          GDC10 Notes: Achievements Considered Harmful?

            Last week I sat through a couple sessions at GDC10 — excellent talks all around. Here’s a quick write-up of my notes part 1, but more detailed coverage also available here. Session Title: Achievements Considered Harmful — Chris Hecker Hecker classifies achievements as tangible — cash, gold star, trophy verbal — praise symbolic — achievements like on Xbox And also breaks them down on a variety of criteria expected vs unexpected informational (objective feedback) vs controlling (opinionated feedback) task contingent vs engagement contingent vs performance contingent free choice vs self-reported dull vs interesting transitory vs long-lasting endogenous vs exogenous tangible, expected, contingent reward situations reduce free choice intrinsic motivations verbal,… Read More »GDC10 Notes: Achievements Considered Harmful?

            GDC Austin: MMO and Virtual World Monetization

              An MMOs and Virtual Worlds Panel at PlaySpan’s Monetization 2.0 Forum had some great data points. I did some scribbling and typed up my notes below so forgive any inaccuracies. The panel was moderated by EA’s Nanea Reeves with panelists: Jim Crowley l CEO, Turbine Cary Rosenzweig l CEO, IMVU Johny Mang l EA- Dice Tom Hale | Chief Product Officer, Linden Labs/ Second Life John Bates | Entropia Joshua Hong | K2 Network Linden Second Life makes close to $100 million and not less than $80 million. They make money in three ways: 1) sale of currency, 2) premium… Read More »GDC Austin: MMO and Virtual World Monetization

              PAX 2009: What is an ‘Indie Game’? Panel

                I’ve cleaned up a quick version of a transcript at the ‘What is an “Indie Game” Panel’ at PAX over the weekend. As these things go, it’s probably only about 80% complete so please excuse any omissions in the content. Enjoy! PAX 2009: What is an ‘Indie Game’? Panel Panel Description: The rise in game platforms and distribution mechanisms has elevated the cultural profile of indie games. But along with this increased attention is an increasing debate about how to break through in the market. What really makes an indie title? Is it the game’s budget, art style, community outreach, or… Read More »PAX 2009: What is an ‘Indie Game’? Panel

                PAX 2009: A Strategic Approach to Game Design

                  Geoffrey Zatkin, president and COO of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR), gave an interesting talk about what strategic questions developers should ask themselves before diving into game development. While I don’t believe that this is 100% relevant to the Flash games market, it did raise some interesting questions for me on how smaller indie devs can look for market data in planning their games. It may not be to this level, but it’s a great framework to think about what questions you could ask! I’d love to hear anyone who has thoughts on this. A Strategic Approach to Game Design… Read More »PAX 2009: A Strategic Approach to Game Design

                  PAX 2009: Designing Indie Games With a Team of One

                    I spent the past weekend at Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. It was a fantastic, packed event and definitely felt more like a gamer convention than a developer convention. The gamer enthusiasm ran the gamut from complex D&D games featuring 20-sided dice, card games like Magic, to XBLA games and hardcore console games. This year, PAX was huge with an estimated count of 75,000 attendees. Designing indie games with a team of one One of the most interesting talks I attended was “Designing indie games with a team of one” given by Michael Todd, the creator of several cool games and… Read More »PAX 2009: Designing Indie Games With a Team of One