Articles in relation with the games industry.

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    Dealing with a Serial Killer: the Develop Magazine #116 article

Dealing with a Serial Killer: the Develop Magazine #116 article

Here is the content of the article I have published in Develop Magazine, issue #116 that you can read and download on the following links:

Read online: http://issuu.com/develop/docs/dev116_web.

PDF Download: http://www.develop-online.net/digital-edition. Look for the issue #116 in May 2011 page 47.

The version in the Develop Magazine is obviously nicer to read with diagrams. The magazine is definitely worth reading as a whole!

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“Dealing with a Serial Killer”
 

We all know that “requirements” quality is a major factor in developing a hit title. The subject has been covered at conferences for years and books have been written on how to model and improve them. But to my mind, the deeper and root cause of many trans-project bottlenecks is often intrinsic and completely missed – namely the subject of “ambiguity”.

The first challenge faced by games designers is to accurately convert your “world of ideas” into a “world of words”, i.e. into a games design document (GDD). This exercise is essential for scope, but will also create issues for the following reasons: (1) Some ideas are not conscious enough to be converted into words so about 30% are lost; (2) A further 20% of the ideas that can be converted are partly “damaged” on the way; and (3) When the written document is received by others for implementation, ambiguities remain that require interpretation and some of these interpretations will be wrong, resulting in 20% being badly implemented.

To formularise: For every 100 ideas or features desired only 44.8% (100×0.70×0.80×0.80) are implemented accurately in the natural world of software. Yes, less than half and a major cause of change requests.

Why? Because written language is treacherous! It was originally invented to calculate how many cows or slaves we bought and sold at [...]

A Theory of Fun – Book Review

Since I have started to work with the Games industry I have been fascinated by the passion this industry is provoking. Here I mean passionate debates between people who love games and those who despise them. One side is convinced that it is pure entertainment and that killing virtual characters by the dozens, battles between heroes and evil, fighting for conquest, driving crazy cars or simulating sports is totally safe and innocent. On the other side, we can hear and read people about games saying how dangerous, destructive and addictive they can be. Curiously, on a personal level I started rather neutral on the subject. I had played a bit when I was studying computer science at University. I remembered spending a couple of half nights on stuff like Dune and waking up in the morning wondering why on earth I did spend that valuable time on that screen. Anyway, as life and business was bringing me back to Games, I intended to get another shot at it. So, I started to play again. This day, I can say that I have had a very serious go at the question and have acquired a solid experience on what games can offer to us.

This paper is not here to close the debate about how good or bad video game can be but to review a book on the topic. This book could only appeal to me with its title: “A Theory of Fun.”

First impression
The format of this book is rather unusual. Now if we think about it, from the Chief Creative Officer for Sony Entertainment, we should not expect anything too traditional. Indeed, as Raph is talking about fun, we can see from page [...]

Multicultural Thinking: the Develop Magazine article

Here is the content of the article I have published in Develop Magazine, issue #114 that you can read and download on the following links:

Read online: http://issuu.com/develop/docs/dev114_web.

PDF Download: http://www.develop-online.net/digital-edition. Look for the issue #114 in March 2011.

The version in the Develop Magazine is obviously nicer to read with diagrams. The magazine is definitely worth reading as a whole!

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“You cannot work with these guys!…”
 

We all know that games development has gone global. This globalism is in line with the trend of developing offshore, in less expensive or more competent countries, creating in fine a multicultural project. In places like London, you’ll find people from all over the world in the same workplace. At first, this multicultural approach may seem to present real cost efficiencies, but what is the real price we pay? Team human dynamics are a complex issue and looking at the outsourcing savings alone can prove to be a false economy. Unfortunately, this little gremlin will only show himself late in the project, costing ridiculously high amounts of money.

We all know that if you are British and work with a Japanese, an Indian or even a Frenchman, the nature of the relationship might be more or less fluid and smooth. As Richard Lewis, one of Britain’s foremost linguists and author of “When Cultures Collide” summarises it: “A working knowledge of the basic traits of other cultures (as well as our own) will minimize unpleasant surprises (culture shock), give us insights in advance, and enable us to interact successfully with nationalities with whom we previously had difficulty.”

 

What does it mean to be British, American, French, German, etc.?

Cultures have been studied by anthropologists for a while, but the analysis of what a culture [...]

Dealing with a Serial Killer

I have published a new article in Develop Magazine’s May edition #116. You can find the article online in the pdf version of the magazine: http://issuu.com/develop/docs/dev116_web. Have a look, it’s page 47!