Sometimes other things just become more important. That seems to be usual for me with this blog-thingies. After all there’s just that much free time available, and now mine is mostly spent on the following things:
Foremost among these projects being my studio.
Sharkbomb Studios is a two-person indie game development studio. Together with my good friend Joachim we’re crafting interesting little indie titles. So far we’ve been focusing on mobile platforms but that is not set in stone. We’ve got lots of ideas and so far we have released two games into the wild:
If you like the writings on my blog you might want to give them a try. They’re both available for iOS and Android and Hipster Zombies is free to try!
Apart from trying to build that business, I’m also busy getting a German Indie Game Developer Network off the ground:
It’s called Indie Arena and it’s obviously in German. It’s mostly a forum but there’s also a blog attached. The blog itself is also mostly German for now but future articles will be in English, aiming to provide a sort of window into the world of German Indies.
Lastly I’m also regularly co-hosting a German game developer meetup:
The Game Culture Club (for distinguished Gentlebeings) is a monthly gathering in Karlsruhe, Germany. A bunch of game development professionals meet up, have a good time and discuss a different facet of games each time. We’ve taken to blogging about these very interesting sessions, so you might see some of my writing there.
So. In sight of all these other projects it’s time to acknowledge this: gamearch is now officially on hiatus.
Sorry about that. I hope you enjoyed my musings so far. I am still deeply interested in the topics of games and spaces but my focus is just elsewhere at the moment. I am sure I’ll eventually get back to game spaces, and I’ll hope you guys will be back then. Until then only expect very intermittent updates, if any. Feel free to reach out to me anytime though.
Over on Facebook my dear friend and esteemed colleague Anjin Anhut posted a small rant about being unhappy with the God of War Story, calling it a „total weak point“, and „lazy in writing or exploitative“. Afterwards a nice discussion started in the comments, one that I refrained from joining without having thought about this some. Now this post is me trying to adress his criticism in a structured manner and to provide a counterpoint to this discussion.
Why? Because I enjoy discussions and yeah, because I enjoyed God of War. Continue reading →
So you might have noticed the Awesome Location Ideas ideas on facebook (Granted you’re likely to not have). On there Kai from Nevigo posts photographs from around the world to inspire designers, writers, artists and other people.
There’s a wealth of great pictures there. Granted, most of it is derelict and abandoned places but these have a certain charm. So if you’re interested in the topic of space (which you are likely to be judging from you looking at this page) give it a look.
Especially since I’ve joined him and will be starting to bring my brand of space and inspiration to the page. Where Kai focuses on photographs I will try and add concept artwork from artists around the world. If you’re interested and want to have some inspiring images in your stream every now and then simply like the page. Also if you have nice artwork, feel free to send it our way – please refer an artist though since we do not want to upload images without proper credit.
We hope you enjoy what we do.
Also yes, I’m still working on the Archetypical Spaces articles. A new one will be up sometimes this month. I promise.
So much for writing these articles in a bi-weekly rhythm. Sorry about that. Regardless, here’s the third installment.
Aliases: The Labyrinth*, the Puzzle, the Dungeon, the Cave, the Caverns
Sidenote: A labyrinth has only one convoluted path and no crossroads. A maze has dead endss and at least one correct path. Thus a maze is not a labyrinth but people often confuse the terms, which is why the term is listed above.
The Maze, like the Wilderness, is a common space. My theory for this lies in the fact that many video games focus very much on challenges, and these two space archetypes have very strong obstacle components. You’ll see what I mean by that during this article.
Aliases: The Forest, the Desert, the Swamp, the Dreamlands, the Alien Planet
The Wilderness is an incredibly common trope in video games. It will become evident why this is the case as I dissect this trope. The Wilderness is so common in fact, that many games are built only of spaces that belong to this archetype. Action games very often use only this one pattern, something they can do because their stories are often so minimal. Would they want to tell more complex stories, they would most likely have to include a wider variety of spaces.
Video games are undoubtably a very spatial medium. Environments that players can (and must) move through or interact with are essential for many types of games. Let’s just briefly examine a few genres:
Jump ‘n’ Run: The name itself already suggests a movement through a space. Here reaching an elusive goal is the core gameplay.
Role-Playing Games: Often times in RPGs exploration plays a paramount role.
Action: Here clever positioning and evasion of enemies and projectiles is often core. With the introduction of cover mechanics this relationship to the surroundings has become even more overt.
Strategy: As with shooters, tactical use of the environment is key. Territorial acquisition and control is often directly anchored into the gameplay.
So even though spaces are such a big part of the gameplay side of things, they have long been neglected as a vessel for storytelling. Granted there’s been some exceptions to this rule. One that immediately comes to mind is of course Bioshock. Here the design team seems to have created their environment very consciously. In a way the city of Rapture is more than a backdrop, it has very much become a character for this specific story.