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  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
 
     
 
   
 
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  Case Study:  Bringing ‘Warcraft’ To The Tabletop  
 
 
Posted 2008-01-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Gamasutra features a fascinating rundown of what was involved in bringing World of Warcraft to the tabletop as a role-playing game. Written by Luke Johnson of White Wolf, the article identifies "content" as being the biggest challenge in extending Warcraft's world--apparently, Blizzard wasn't comfortable giving White Wolf freedom to invent their own Warcraft lore. Johnson explains the process:
  1. We would write the books [...] making stuff up when necessary.
  2. The good folks at Blizzard would check the manuscript to make sure that a) everything in it was consistent with both their vision of the Warcraft setting and the information that had already been presented in some other format (the video games, the novels, and the like); and b) that we didn't add anything that they didn't like.
  3. The writers would then alter the manuscript as per Blizzard's requests, and we'd return to step 2.
Sounds painful, doesn't it? It's a shame a reputable game maker like White Wolf wasn't given more freedom to expand the Warcraft universe. Blizzard might own Azeroth, but that doesn't mean it has a grasp of what works for tabletop role-playing.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Do Gamers Make Better Baggage-Screeners?  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
"Security screeners at airports might do a better job spotting weapons if they spent their downtime playing video games - specifically, wasting aliens in lurid first-person shooters like Halo 3," The Boston Globe's Christopher Shea wrote yesterday. The 3-page online article resonates quite well with my quickly-written 2006 proposal "Airport Screening Is A Badly-Designed Game."

Specifically, Shea finds, as I mentioned last year, that even trained security professionals have trouble distinguishing harmful from safe objects; the human people have trouble finding exceptional objects (like guns) amid a sea of common objects (like toiletries). Additional information Shea gleaned from scientific sources shows that moving objects are easier to spot--yet X-ray scanners show stationary objects; first-person shooter gamers erred less in threat-identification tests than non-gamers. A number of interesting solutions are summarized in the article, none of which seem to involve making airport into an MMO (that was my semi-serious proposal), but some of which suggest that gaming might not be as unrelated to crucial security tasks as we might have thought. Sweet, sweet validation.

Also see my proposal for turning prison surveillance into an MMO and Dave Edery's article "Using Games to Tap Collective Intelligence."
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Tale of Tales’ Interviews CMP’s Simon Carless  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-12 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Simon Carless, editor and publisher with the CMP Game Group (Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra, GameSetWatch and more) was cornered by independent art-game maker Tale of Tales earlier this year. Tale of Tales published the interview over this past weekend, touching on Carless' background, his shift towards business/product management of CMP's many game-related initiatives, and discussing today's independent game scene.

As Chairman of the Independent Games Festival, Carless helps to shape the future of indie gaming. He told Tale of Tales that the rise of independent developers is due both to game-industry veterans forming their own teams, and "bedroom programmers" publishing on the web and making money by running ads. Although not business-focused, Tale of Tales is a very strong artistic contender in the indie arena, having launched the acclaimed Endless Forest microworld in 2005 and The Path, its entry into the 2008 Independent Games Festival.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-10-31  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-31 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-10-19  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Guy Parsons On Rock’n’Roll Storytelling  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Former Perplex City ops-team member Guy Parsons has posted a web version of a recent presentation entitled "Text, Drugs, and Rock'n'Roll," wherein he engagingly argues that stories can become more participatory by injecting rock'n'roll--loosely defined in the context of his presentation as "jumping off the author's stage and diving headlong into the crowd..." -- a crowd Parsons knows (as do others in the ARG, live-game, and participatory fiction space) from first-hand experience is capable of "waiting to catch you with open arms" and co-authoring the experience.

I'd like to see more rock'n'roll in more forms of media, but I don't think that sort of mashup is necessarily a superior form of culture. I'm a bit tired of futurists telling us how one-way media is "dead," but I think Parson's barking up the right tree in explaining why participatory culture is an attractive and satisfying option for engaging contemporary audiences.
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-09-24  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-08-12  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-12 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-07-31  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-31 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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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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