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  Gary Gygax, R.I.P.  
 
 
Posted 2008-03-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Gary Gygax, father of the seminal Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game, has reportedly died. Gygax's D&D is the reason I became a gamer 27 years ago, and why I work in the interactive and gaming industries today.

I started "Dungeon Mastering" a D&D campaign with some friends early this year, and it's a real pleasure to get back to the tabletop again after a quarter-century. Online gaming has its charms, but sometimes you just can't beat role-playing the way it was originally intended: Snacks, polyhedral dice, lead figurines; rulebooks and maps; Led Zeppelin on the tape-deck.

Mr. Gygax, thanks for the positive influence on my life. Your legacy lives on.
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  ‘Second Skin’ Documentary Debuts Friday  
 
 
Posted 2008-03-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Those of you in Austin, Texas this week for South by Southwest may be fortunate enough to take in the debut of Second Skin on Friday. I've been following the documentary about virtual worlds and the real people who inhabit them for some time, and can't wait to see the final film (having weaseled my way into its trailer). The makers of the film will be vlogging their Texan misadventures for your enjoyment, and have been keeping a production blog for millions of internet-years.

Here's when and where you can catch this potentially generation-defining documentary:

Friday March 7 - 9:00pm - Austin Convention Center Theater

Tuesday March 11 - 7:45pm - Austin Convention Center Theater

Thursday March 13 - 1:45pm - Austin Convention Center Theater

See you at the Convention Center!
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Someone Spent Twenty-Five Bucks On This Post  
 
 
Posted 2008-03-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Some poor bastard paid twenty-five bucks to send me a very nicely-produced clue-package for an Alternate Reality Game, presuming I have time to unravel a ball of yarn. Guess what: I don't. Lucky for you, Despoiler already did. I got the exact same package*, so just hop on over there to view the contents.

Dear Mystery-Package Sender,
You missed on three counts.
1) I'm busy running my own company, and don't have time to play your game.
2) I don't pick up my mail as regularly as you imagine I might.
3) I don't publish a news outlet for ARG-related matters. These days, I barely publish at all. So I'm not exactly worth approaching.

Additionally, I got an email from the makers of the game yesterday that almost ended up in my Spam folder, and was ultimately a wasted effort. I didn't care to rummage through the email contents. There's a link to a video there. I didn't check it out.

Clearly, Mystery-Package Sender is shooting in the dark--I wonder who else might have been targeted. Despite my indifference to their game, they still got free buzz out of me. Twenty-five bucks well spent, I guess.

* Update: Ok, looks like my photos aren't the same. All the more tragic I don't have time to scan and post them.
 
     
 
   
 
  5 comments  
  For The Record:  Walsh on Writing Alternate Realities  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Austin Chronicle published an article about games and storytelling today, written by Joey Seiler, frequent contributor to Virtual World News. I'm quoted in the article, and while I won't go so far as to say the quote was out of context, it doesn't reflect what I would have said given the context the quote now appears in.

In the article, I talk briefly about extending the Halo game universe across multiple media, but neither I or the article mentions the groundbreaking Halo Alternate Reality Game known as "I Love Bees." As an ARG writer and designer on the award-winning Fallen and Regenesis games, I am well aware of this precedent, I just didn't think to mention it in the interview, although it was obliquely referenced.

My interview, in its original context as an email thread, follows for the record.

Continue reading: For The Record:  Walsh on Writing Alternate Realities
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Quick Gaming and Gender Links for 2008-02-24  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  The Retro Roots of ‘Champions Online’  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I can't wait to try Champions Online, the MMO adaptation of Champions, my favorite superhero role-playing game (the kind you play sitting around a table). It looks like Cryptic, the developers behind the excellent superhero MMO City of Heroes, is using everything learned from developing good heroic character-creation and game play and fusing this with a time-tested, highly-flexible rules system--City of Heroes Evolved, if you will.

Continue reading: The Retro Roots of ‘Champions Online’
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Linden Lab Launches Department of Public Works  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Looks like Linden Lab is getting back into the content-creation business. According to the company's blog, its new Department of Public Works will attempt to beautify and improve the virtual mainland of Second Life by repairing broken land, expanding certain existing "builds" (such as a city area), establishing "better gathering places" and adding "themed builds."

It's been many months since I've spent any appreciable time in Second Life, but from what I remember, the mainland looked like God had eaten a yard sale, a carnival, a suburb, a stack of porn videos, and the entire cast of the Transformers movie before barfing all over the virtual landscape. Doubtless any concerted effort to improve the landscape will be welcomed by most virtual-world residents as well as contribute to the retention of new users (who are increasingly becoming aware that Second Life ain't the only game in town).

If I understand the Linden blog correctly, the company will be using volunteer labor comprised of known content-creators to execute the Linden vision: "We will provide the team with specific build projects and will oversee progress before taking ownership of the content once work is completed." What happened to that dusty old tagline "Your World, Your Imagination?"
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Game Design Quick Links for 2008-02-09  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Games, Work, Play, And Collaboration:  Quick Links for 2008-02-04  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Games and Moving Pictures:  Quick Links for 2008-02-03  
 
 
Posted 2008-02-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
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Clickable Conversation
5224 comments
on 4159 entries

Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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