Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto

ArenaNet recently posted a design manifesto for Guild Wars 2, their massive multiplayer online role playing game.

Here’s an excerpt concerning a subject near and dear to my heart: the social dynamics of gaming …

MMOs are social games. So why do they sometimes seem to work so hard to punish you for playing with other players? If I’m out hunting and another player walks by, shouldn’t I welcome his help, rather than worrying that he’s going to steal my kills or consume all the mobs I wanted to kill? Or if I want to play with someone, shouldn’t we naturally have the same goals and objectives, rather than discovering that we’re in the same area but working on a different set of quests?
Guild Wars 2
We think of GW2 as the first MMO that actually has a cooperative PvE experience. When I’m out hunting and suddenly there’s a huge explosion over the next hill — the ground is shaking and smoke is pouring into the sky — I’m going to want to investigate, and most other players in the area will too. Or if the sky darkens on a sunny day, and I look up and see a dragon circling overhead preparing to attack, I know I’d better fight or flee, and everyone around me knows that too.

With traditional MMOs you can choose to solo or you can find a good guild or party to play with. With GW2 there’s a third option too: you can just naturally play with all the people around you. I personally spend a big chunk of my time in traditional MMOs soloing, but when I play GW2 I always find myself naturally working with everyone around me to accomplish world objectives, and before long we find ourselves saying, “Hey, there’s a bunch of us here; let’s see if we can take down the swamp boss together,” without ever having bothered to form a party.

Of course GW2 has great support for parties, but they just don’t feel as necessary as they do in other MMOs, because your interests are always aligned with all other nearby players anyway. When someone kills a monster, not just that player’s party but everyone who was seriously involved in the fight gets 100% of the XP and loot for the kill. When an event is happening in the world –- when the bandits are terrorizing a village -– everyone in the area has the same motivation, and when the event ends, everyone gets rewarded.

ArenaNet

Via Slashdot

WarioWare: Do-It-Yourself game design

First, use Nintendo’s WarioWare: D.I.Y. to create art, rules, and music for your game.

Then play the game.

Britton Peele reviews the design process:

WarioWare D.I.Y. image editor
Start by drawing the art that will go into your game. This was by far the trickiest part for me because I’m a terrible graphic artist in every conceivable way. However, the game’s tools are easy to use, and you can also use assets from other sources, including pre-made games and a variety of stamps …. You end up creating the background and all objects that the game uses. This includes drawing separate frames for any animation you might require.

… Next, you’ll probably want to design how the game is actually played, which can be complex, yet easy to understand. Everything operates on if-then statements. For instance, you can tell the game, “If the balloon object is tapped, display the balloon popping animation.” Then, “If all balloons are popped, the player wins the game.”

You’ll probably also want to fill you game with music and sound effects ….

Britton Peele @ The Daily Toreador

I haven’t played with WarioWare D.I.Y., but it looks like a nice little system for bringing game design — including the principles of structured programming — to the masses.

Videogame Tax Breaks

This is interesting news: tax breaks for the videogame industry:

Joystick and Money

The government has finally recognised the importance of the games industry as a revenue generator for the UK. Surely the fact that everyone’s a gamer now must have helped….

… After months of persistent lobbying by the industry’s trade body Tiga, the government has agreed to work out a range of tax breaks for UK games companies.

… But is there more to this than economics? Does the government’s shift in stance symbolise a fundamental change in the perception of videogames, away from a demonised social scourge and toward a vital cultural force?

Keith Stuart @ guardian.co.uk

Tiny & Big: the game with the laser that slices everything into pieces

Tiny & Big: Laser Cuts Pillars

Now this looks like irresistable fun: Tiny & Big gives you a laser that slices everything in two. Everything! Laser slices rock, rock splits in two. Laser slices pillars, pillars come tumbling down ….

Tiny & Big: Pillars Come Tumbling Down!

A clever idea — very simple, very elegant — with lots of potential.

And be honest: who among us hasn’t thought: I wish I had a laser that could cut down skyscrapers!

I love the “Zot” and “Crack” and “Smash” messages that appear in response to your actions — I’m reminded of the old-school Batman “Pow!” and “Biff!” schtick from the 1960’s.

In addition to the laser, you get a gripping device. This shoots out a cable that latches onto things so you can pull on those things.

The screenshots above don’t do justice to the excellent game physics. You really need to see these in-game videos to appreciate the full effect:

Via Alec Meer @ RockPaperShotgun.