Sep 282016

I recently had the chance to sit down with Markee Dragon, during AGC. It was at the offices where they are making Crowfall, but we didn’t really talk about Crowfall. Instead, we talked about… fish tanks.

Or more exactly, about game design in general, and then about how there are systems in the world around us which provide inspiration, and how a lot of them, like gardening, just have really bad user interfaces. Which led us to fish tanks, and the rich and complex game system that exists in one. So we kind of started designing that game right there on the fly.

It was a highly entertaining conversation, for me at least — and now Markee has released the video, so maybe it’s entertaining for you too!


  5 Responses to “A fish tank game interview with Markee Dragon”

  1. That was really good, and I learned something that I’ll forget about fish tanks, too.

    A couple of things that hit me…
    You talked about gardening and how there were almanacs, and how that’s bad UI for games because it’s more difficult. But I’ve always wanted a degree of that sort of difficulty in games (I’m mostly thinking about MMORPGs but it applies to RP games in general). Something that can separate the dedicated player from the rest. And there are loads of different sorts of things for a wide scope of players available from real world inspirations.
    I’m not saying that any game should be all about that sort of difficulty, but that a layer on top of the regular game play with 10 second rewards, in my opinion, would be a great benefit to a game.
    This is not just random discoveries of rewards, it’s discoveries that are based on a directed, intentional effort. This, to me, is much more rewarding.

    The other thing that jumped at me was your comments on the world being full of inspirations. I love the idea. But what gets me is that every time I post such an inspiration on any gaming forum over many years, I get negative feedback like “I play to escape realism.”
    The thing is, most of these posters turn out to be people from inside the gaming industry.
    This is no different than your host here, who’s tried over the years to support game support for RMT. And no different that Garriott’s supporters that feedback to the same thing in part of the loop to fund his latest.
    And a point, WoW showed the way to a design tailored for the big business RMT model, you know, the one that includes prison sweatshops and all. And the effort to derail any ideas such as yours (real world inspirations) that would lead to better games has been intense for years. All to defend the RMT system that’s overwhelmed game design, along with it’s cousin the Cash Shops.

    And I’m remembering Farmville’s secret bulk sales too, which we gamers would never have been aware of if they had paid their taxes.

    I suspect that we aren’t going to see truly great games anymore because there’s just too many influences for the extra bucks. And in too many cases, the only real profits…because the games are locked down into designs built for those $’s instead of good gaming.

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