Kyle and Erik

Decent interview with Rob Pardo

Here is a fairly good interview with Rob Pardo.  I thought what was especially interesting is the practical discussion of partioal group consensus driven design.  I think that is how most of the more functional groups work, but since it seems so sloppy I don't think we like to talk about it much!  But hey, now that its out in the open with Pardo, Blizzard and WoW, it must be okay for us to come out of the closet now!?

Kyle and Erik

Sweet, sweet victory

So I won a federal suit in the 9th circuit. Nice.

4 years.

I'll post some select delicious bits from the final judgment over time...

But what I really want to say is thank you Michael Firestein and Tanya Forsheit and the rest of the team at Proskauer Rose. 

So many delicious parts, but the best moments came in my deposition actually!

"We'll take it to the supreme court if necessary", declares Sturgeon (Hise's lawyer).

"...oh yeah?  Well I have argued twice at the Supreme Court.", full and total smackdown from Tanya.

Many, many cheers

P.S. Winning a long battle tastes so good!
Kyle and Erik

WoW UI Extensibility as a Required Feature

This is probably an old and tired topic to many people.  But I still think that WoW API for both the client and the web functions is a giant step forward.  Think about the humility of Blizzard.  Basically they said we are not sure if our UI is the best, or even the best for you.  So we will ship to you our best efforts that we have created in house, but we will also ship to you an API so that you could customize your own.

The result of this of course is a great number of fantastic mods like Auctioneer that have dramatically changed how the game itself is played.  Here is a typical review of a user of what UIs do they use and do not use:

 The result of this UI mod activity is innumerable variations.  The WoW UI itself is a long-tail marketing phenomena:

 Various WoW screenshots:

So the question I ask myself now when thinking about online game design is what did Blizzard do in WoW?  I think about Burning Crusade vs. the original Azeroth.  I think about the upcoming Lich King.  When looking at Age of Conan, or Huxley why did they do X, and is it better than WoW? 

Being different from WoW is not very interesting to me.  I think you should simply copy WoW or improve on it.  Why?  Because WoW itself simply copied from everyone else before or improved on it.  In short WoW currently represents the best sum-total of humanity’s development of MMORPGs.


So is the WoW UI API the best?  Why not simply copy it?  It has been used and extended by more game modders than for any other MMORPG, and probably second or third only behind the great FPS mod communities in overall development efforts by mods


When you are creating your own UI for your new game; why not just simply start with all of these functions as stubs for a LUA/XML system?  Why not?

What game does not need some random numbers between low and high?

RandomRoll(low, high)   - Does a random roll between the two values.

Determining if something is PvP or not always seems useful to me…

UnitIsPVP("unit")   - Returns true if the specified unit is flagged for PVP, false otherwise.

WoW even has a separate API for just making the UI controls called its widget API:

1)  In Review:

1)  You have to have a UI for your game.
2)      You have to have some programmers code it for you
3)      The first (100) iterations of the UI will suck, and your programmers will get tired of re-making UI for your design team
4)      Why not make an API to start with so you can rapidly iterate until you have what seems shippable?
5)   Different people have different needs and tastes from their UI...
6)      Why not expose it to the community to get even better mods?
7)      Why not think less and just copy the WoW API and just fine-tune to taste?


PS.  and just as an afterthought with 10 million players used to these slash commands, why not implement them as-is?



Kyle and Erik

Video Game Academia

My Dad sent me this link:

Last fall I was at the Garriott event to raise money for the UT video game archives, and now these two grants...

It would be really cool if we had giant wikis of game development design notes, sketches, production schedules and stuff from real live games - that would be very cool.

How does it work? Give them boxes of paper & the students sort it out? How do we do this in a world of negative time balances?

I would love to see the original production milestone plans for SWG, or WoW...

Kyle and Erik

Why I am happy that I have had food poisoning for the last 4 days?

So yesterday I felt like crap. That was because on top of running around doing just a *few* jobs, I had lets just say gastrointestinal technical difficulties for the previous 3 days.

Last night I could not sleep. Second night of fevers and headaches, and so I dragged myself to a local doctor. He charged me $3.50 to tell me that I had better get to the emergency room with my unexplained fevers.

So I get to the emergency room; hand them the old doctors scribble of unexplained fevers, and in just moments I have a whole crew of doctors around me.

That surprised me for there was a guy missing most of his lower jaw that was being worked on by just a couple of guys. And a lady holding up a cutoff finger who was looking more than a bit irritated that she did not warrant more than one person minding her.

My stomach was super queezy and killing me, my headache was pissing me off, and it was pretty damn hot in Seoul yesterday. So what I really wanted is some stomach medicine - quick.

Instead, they were bending my neck around, lifting my knees to my chest, and asking me many questions about the headache.

Next thing the lead guy of the crew told me is that there is an epidemic of meningitis going around Seoul. He asked me if I knew what meningitis was all about. I said no, I did not want to know. He shrugged that off and continued to inform me that, there used to be 1 per month, then 1 per week and now they were seeing 1 per day there at the emergency room. And that if it was not diagnosed and treated my head could swell up and I would die sometime apparently quick.

He tells me he needs my blood and urine - no problem. A chest x-ray and a brain CT scan! Okay all that sounds crazy but cool sure.

But then he says he needs to put a needle in my back and drain some spinal fluid. Okay that's it. Needle into my spine. F that I feel.

I hit my quota for bullshit for the day. I told the doctor in my broken but very serious Korean, that if he wants to stick a needle in my back he is first going to have to get some drugs into me first to bring me back down from wanting to destroy him.

Being Korean he jumps on the task and readily agrees to drug me up. So he sends over this new guy to put this huge freaking needle in my arm.

I have no problem with needles, blood or any of that. I could tell you other stories. But this needle did not look like a needle for humans. It seemed like it was 3/16ths of an inch thick, I must be exaggerating, maybe it just a fat 1/16th going on an 1/8th. But it was fat, with a solid dark maw that I could see into.

This guy clearly would rather be anywhere than to be putting that needle into my arm. He tied me up with the rubber tubing and spent at least a solid 6 minutes thinking about my veins. Then he squatted down, put his shoulder into it and started digging in. Now even though it was going to be a big hole, I was cool with this because I had a bag of narcotics waiting on the other side of this hole digging deal.

What started to piss me off more is his lack of confidence in the direction that my vein traveled in. I could tell as he kept pulling the needle back and then pushing in again at 10-15 degree rotations. After a bunch of whimpering and yelping and one large fat tear on my part, he decides to abandon that hole and go on to make 3 more in different locations on both arms.

After a while he and I agree that we both need someone else digging holes in my arm. So he calls in a nurse. She takes in my bloody arms in one glance, tells me to lie down, and then she just slides that big needle in - and I swear I almost do not feel it.

She is my new best friend. I tell her so in Korean. She smiles. It is all cool now.

The drugs are rolling in.

I am feeling fine now... so I lay over. And now comes a nice happy nap.

Excellent. hour or two later...

Chest x-ray no problem, urine cool (well actually warm), brain CT first one ever - strange taste in the mouth, but with the drugs very relaxing actually. I like the spinning magnets.

So then later comes the neurologist. She tells me that it is very unlikely that I have meningitis because I am coming back together so quickly. Nice.

My wife is there and she wants the needle in the spine just to be sure. Not Nice.

Whenever my wife is not looking, the neurologist is shaking her head no but saying, it is my choice. Reminds me of the time in vegas when I kept asking for a hit holding a 16 vs. a dealer 9, and after 5 times asking for the hit he pealed up the corner of the top card showing me a hand busting face card.

I went home.

I was so happy it was just 4 days of food poisoning!