Tag Archives: GAMBIT

Fall 2011 Cardboard Jam Announced

Boston Game JamsBoston Game Jams is organizing their Fall 2011 Cardboard Jam this weekend, Oct. 8th and 9th. Our old friends the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab are hosting.

Clearly, it is my destiny. Board game design is not exactly my comfort zone, which seems like all the more reason to go, however much impostor syndrome may be telling me otherwise.

If you’re interested, plenty of registrations are still available as of this writing.

Scott Nicholson Colloquium at MIT

I went to an interesting talk at MIT yesterday, by Comparative Media Studies visiting scholar Scott Nicholson. The main aim of the talk was to introduce the trends of modern board game design, because academic game studies tend to focus on videogames. That was all familiar ground for me, though it was instructive to see how he presented it. But he also introduced his research goals and summarized some of his prior research about gaming in libraries, which was interesting and new. Continue reading Scott Nicholson Colloquium at MIT

GAMBIT 2011 Prototypes Released

EksaEvery summer, the Singapore/MIT GAMBIT Game Lab hosts a program for students from Singapore, MIT, Berklee, and RISD. Students work in project teams to develop what I might call “polished prototypes” of new game concepts. I add the qualifier “polished” because in addition to getting the game functional enough to answer some research question, they also need enough production value to be released to the public. That’s you! And GAMBIT’s 2011 prototypes have just been released. Continue reading GAMBIT 2011 Prototypes Released


In a quirk of memory, I discovered a glaring omission when I went back and listened to that GAMBIT podcast. Matthew asks about the origins of the Thief mission “Undercover,” where you infiltrate an enemy space using false credentials. During the interview, I couldn’t remember where that idea had come from. Listening to the question afterwards, I immediately recalled the answer I should have given.

You see, back in Terra Nova, we had this code for easily swapping among various stats and graphics for different suits of powered battle armor, because you had a choice of mission load-out. But, military uniforms being what they are, they all used much the same art style. To showcase the ability to swap suits, then, we came up with the idea of a mission where you’d wear space pirate armor to infiltrate an enemy base. Later, during Thief development, we went back to the well of that stealth mission when we picked the concept for “Undercover.”

If you’ve listened to the podcast, you’ll remember how part of the discussion has to do with the extent to which the game concept influences the feature set, and the extent to which the opposite is sometimes the case. The pirate mission in Terra Nova was definitely a good example of the latter.

My Turn in the GAMBIT Looking Glass interview series.

The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab’s Matthew Weise has been conducting a podcast series interviewing various alumni of Looking Glass Studios. The first two episodes featured Austin Grossman (author of Soon I Will Be Invincible) and Harmonix’s Dan Schmidt. Episode 3 is Laura Baldwin and myself, along with GAMBIT’s Sara Verrilli.

The conversation mostly centers on the Thief series, as the project we three shared. But really, we talked and talked, so the topics are all over the map.

MIT & Columbia

I’ve had a busy week for a guy who thought he was still taking the summer off.

The other day, I was at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab to record a podcast. Matthew Weise invited Sara Verrilli, Laura Baldwin and me to talk about our work at Looking Glass. As we started, I wasn’t sure whether I’d remember bygone days well enough, but that doesn’t seem to have been a problem. We ended up chatting for a good hour and a half, so I imagine someone’s got a fair bit of editing to do. I’ll post here when I found out it’s online.

As I write this, I’m on my way to Manhattan, where I’ll be guest lecturing at Columbia for Prof. Yee’s class on Game Design and Production. My material is a talk on creativity exercises, based on stuff I’ve given before at GDC. Here on the train, I’m still in the process of adapting it to their syllabus, pulling out stuff I haven’t found useful, adding stuff I have, and generally punching up at least some of the tiresome bullet-list wrongdoing it originally committed.

I’m glad I took the opportunity to relax and get in better shape since my bout of gangrene in April (yeah, gangrene; it’s not as fun as it sounds). But I’d kind of forgotten the thrill of a good intellectual workout, too.