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Games Entertainment

The Development of Braid 27

Gamasutra sat down with Jonathan Blow, creator of the successful independent game Braid. He talks about going through the three-year-plus development cycle as a one-man team, and how his concept of the game changed as he worked on it. He also discusses what he feels is the difference between "natural rewards" and "artificial rewards." "... for the most part, when you're playing Tetris, you're enjoying it because you enjoy fitting the blocks together. Whereas when you play World of Warcraft — and what I'm about to say is a generalization, since different players enjoy different things, obviously — a lot of the appeal of playing World of Warcraft is not in the core gameplay mechanic, because it's boring, a lot of the time. ... I think what keeps them in there is, at first, the level ding, because it's very addictive to get that. 'Okay, I've got more gold. Whatever.' And eventually, they've made this huge time investment and they've got a character there and they know what that level ding feels like and the next one is pretty far off, but they can get there! And it's not any better, because this is like number 67. It's got to be better than 66!"
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The Development of Braid

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  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @04:57PM (#24993241) Journal
    When you are by yourself hunting in other MMOGS and you run across a rare item, it is fun. When you play WOW and have 39 other players around when you win the roll for a rare item, people congratulate you. It is a bigger reward to find your rare in front of a group of people.

    It reminds me of Asheron's Call 1 with server wide messages when you did something big. Everyone on the server got to see your character's name. It made the person who got it more famous, and it makes people who saw it think to themselves,"Someday I may be able to have my own server wide message." I'm just now realizing the psychology of having a reward in front of other people makes the reward even better.
  • Re:Simplifying WoW (Score:3, Informative)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @04:58PM (#24993249) Homepage

    Actually, Blow's been involved in the online gaming scene for over a decade.

    Although WoW's success is certainly too complex of an issue to ascribe to one or two factors, replayability, and the entire "team" dynamic appear to be two of the most important. Leveling up comes far far after that.

    Blow's first project [] is actually still alive over 10 years after its original release.

  • Re:Simplifying WoW (Score:5, Informative)

    by CoolGuySteve ( 264277 ) on Saturday September 13, 2008 @05:11PM (#24993339)

    All the best gear and consequent social esteem comes from random drops. Because the drops are random, your best strategy is to spend as much time as possible killing as many things as you can to increase your chances of getting rewarded. Since these drops give social esteem, for a lot of people the payoff is high enough to be worth a significant investment in time.

    It's basically the same kind of thing that causes people to spend hours in front of slot machines. []

    And ya, I had roommates in college who only ever played WoW. They were losers desperate for all the esteem they could get.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak