GTA cartoon idea needed…!

 Posted by (Visited 10754 times)  Game talk, Writing
Oct 242004

Sorry for the lack of updates–I was on the road all week.

I am up to chapter 11 (of 12) in the edits and rewrites. The copy editor has made it up through chapter two. I expect that we’ll have finished all the edits by the end of this week. I’ve updated the excerpt page with the new text, which hopefully reads exactly the same only shorter. I also put a table of contents on there.

It’s amazing how much editing can tighten up text. The downside is that I have been cramming a lot into the endnotes. They are getting rather long. Hopefully that won’t be a problem, but I guess we’ll see! So far, the endnotes range from discussing Laban’s notation system for dance to describing the effects of dopamine on the frontal cortex to a careful description of the gameplay in Defender.

My first CD, After the Flood, has been re-issued with a new bonus track–or rather, an old track that we didn’t include on the edition because of space. The new edition also includes a lyric sheet in the booklet. You can hear little snippet samples on the website there too.

I’m having to redo one cartoon because we want to avoid any hassles with trademarks. If anyone has any ideas what would make a good cartoon to represent Grand Theft Auto, let me know. 🙂

Oh, and before I forget… signing up for the newsletter will let you get notified when stuff goes up on the store.

Sign up to receive the newsletter!

Grimwell discussions

 Posted by (Visited 8644 times)  Game talk, Writing
Oct 172004

Over on there’s a discussion about the book and some of its ideas. Some quotes:


Learning is fun. But so is doing–so is applying knowledge. I continue to play games (and enjoy them) after I’ve learned everything there is to know about them.

In fact, the only games that I stopped enjoying due to knowledge (or familiarity) were the ones I worked on. In those cases, I think testing the game 100 hours a week for 6 months in debug mode at .004 fps was the most important factor, not my insider knowledge.

Edit: Actually, I partly take this back. I’ve stopped playing new games, not because of my knowledge of that game, but because of my knowledge of the genre. I knew after only an hour or two of play that this game would not offer anything I hadn’t already seen before.

This still doesn’t explain why I’d re-play Planescape or Deus Ex ten times or more, even if I was taking the same path through the game and had read every guide and walkthrough… Gaining knowledge is only part of my motivation.


I know for myself, Learning is the end and all of “fun” in these games. I enjoy the fighting and socializing, but when I quit a game, it is always because I feel like I’ve learned everything I’ve wanted to. This doesn’t mean I know everything, nor that I’m all that good at what I do know. It simply means I’ve looked ahead and see nothing more available to do but apply what I already know.

Unfortunately, that means for me Learning has a built in warranty.

In a player skill game, that’s not as big a problem. I can learn everything I need to know in an FPS or RTS shooter fairly quickly. But to become good at applying that learning requires manual practice.

Not so much in MMORPGs though. The need for me to respond faster hasn’t always grown as much as my need to respond smarter. Which is that warranty.


I’ve been kicking around the idea of a game that is about learning. Albeit this may have been because of long hours studying math books thinking, “There’s gotta be a less boring way to learn math than this!” Yes, I know there’s math games already, but they’re generally geared towards kids or the fun trappings are removed.

It’s got me thinking, if we could combine a first rate education with the addictive mechanics of a MMORPG, we’d have a lot more brilliant people walking around.

Castle in the air or realistic goal?


Learning isn’t the core fun for me. It’s a factor, but not the biggest one. I’d put at least two things far higher than Learning:


I’m always up for a game of Tetris, even if I can’t “learn” anything from the game or improve my nearing-middle-age reflexes any further. Why? It’s fun. And I might “win,” even if I’m playing against myself.

Is just hanging out with friends fun? How about going to a concert? I don’t learn much, especially if I drink… But I have more fun than any game can provide. This is Belonging and closer to the core of most on-line games than Learning.

And I usually get Bartle typed as ESA or EAS. If I, as an “explorer” don’t place Learning first, who does? I enjoy figuring out the game, but I wouldn’t consider it my primary motive.

If learning is the core, how come it’s so hard to make educational games “sticky”?

If you’re interested in joining the discussion, head on over..

I turned in two chapters of edits, plus the first two chapters of endnotes late last night (VERY late). It’s amazing how much tighter you can get your text if you work at it! The endnotes are something that a lot of advance readers have asked for, so I am going back through my research to put them together. It’s been fun, because I keep finding things I forgot to mention. I haven’t settled with the editor whether or not the endnotes will take this form in the book, but if not, I’ll toss them up on the website.

In other news, I think I need to get real blog software. I installed the one that came with the web hosting, and I am not impressed… I can’t get it to point to a page other than the index, and I can’t customize it as I would like, either.

 Comments Off on Grimwell discussions

Final edits

 Posted by (Visited 21398 times)  Game talk, Writing
Oct 152004

Today ran a little blurb for the book. They said it was a “sure-to-be-great book.” Hmm. I better get back to rewrites.

I hooked up the little thingy so you can order the book through here.

I mentioned before we’re in final edits… I got back a ton of edits from the publisher, the editor, and also from some friends who are reviewing the book for me (Thanks, Dave!). So that’s what I am doing all weekend…

A Theory of Fun website launched!

 Posted by (Visited 9868 times)  Game talk, Writing
Oct 142004

Well, I’ve gotten a web host, I’ve gotten a domain name, and I am halfway through making the website. The old-fashioned way: coding HTML by hand. Horrible, isn’t it? But at least it’s forcing me to keep it simple!

I sent a copy of the manuscript to Cory Doctorow, he of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and of course, BoingBoing. He said some very nice things about it on the blog, and BAM! the book pre-sales rank on Amazon went from somewhere in the vicinity of 2,844,936th to somewhere in the 400’s. It’s slipping back down now, but that’s made me catch the promotion bug!

I am going to try to keep this blog updated semi-regularly with status of the book, emails or reviews or whatever that get written about it, and maybe that way those who are interested can follow the progress of the book from final edits through to when they get it in their hands.