Clockwork Game Design podcast

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by keithburgun, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    I'm gonna start a podcast that's kind of a companion to my site. The format will be mostly just me speaking about various game design topics. Often it will be centered around a given article I wrote, and then reading and addressing a lot of the comments directly. I think that would be useful to have; then I could link to the podcast episode at the end of such articles, like: "want more clarification? Listen to this podcast episode!"

    Right now I'm thinking it'll be called the Clockwork Game Design Podcast.

    Also I probably would want to have guests on for certain episodes, maybe do interviews, etc. It'd be somewhat flexible of course, but the basic idea is something like "game design theory that you can actually use".

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  2. jasimon

    jasimon Member

    Would love to see another design podcast from you. I miss the old one and wish I had saved the episodes somewhere
  3. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    Sounds good. There's a real dearth of this kind of thing out there.
  4. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    There are very few gaming podcasts worth listening to in general. It's a shame really. I'd love for an additional valuable gaming podcast to be out there. Go for it!
  5. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

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  6. alastair

    alastair Guest

    I love audio content! Minor point, but there's a lot of distracting filler words like umms and ahhs, not sure if that's easy to avoid.
  7. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    I actually edited some of those out. I guess I could go through and edit them all but for an hour long podcast it's a lot of work. I'll see about doing that for the next one though; wasn't really sure if people would care that much.
  8. blox

    blox Administrator Staff Member

    A lot of house cleaning - that's the Sam Harris influence. I know you have to do that up front but it felt like a lot. MF actually brought that up cuz it was like 15 minutes in. It was still well-spoken and engaging, I mean even to to someone like me who's heard you say all this before.

    Also I went back and listened to a couple minutes to explicitly listen for ums, and it's true that there's a lot. But on the other hand, when I wasn't looking for them, I didn't notice.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  9. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

  10. jasimon

    jasimon Member

    For episode 1:

    There certainly was a lot of house cleaning, but I think this is the clearest/best outward-facing presentation of your position on strategy games. It seems to be a very common criticism of your work that you entirely discount the value of non-strategy (read: toy) video games, and I think you did an excellent job of explaining your criteria for analyzing game design as it relates to (strategy) games while still recognizing that toys can and do provide value to players/consumers, just not the kind of value you are looking for or think will push the field of game design forward in productive ways.

    In a lot of ways I think that maybe the first episode should have been addressing the "games are broken toys" subject since it ties in so closely with the initial housecleaning and it seems like you had to keep going back to it to clarify your points regarding asymmetry.

    Your views/arguments on asymmetry are something I've been wrestling with, since it is something I do tend to enjoy in the games that I play, but I think this podcast did a great job with expanding the explanations of your arguments, and the rebuttals to comments provided some very good clarity.

    I think I may have finally come around to the fact that when it comes to selecting a character/faction before the game, the decision is either A) arbitrary and therefore non-strategic or B) in the case of a Dota-like draft, way too front-loaded in terms of its effect on the game in respect to how much information you actually have. Plenty of pros and analysts in those scenes will readily admit that the game can be and often is decided in those "first five moves", and as you have also stated, I do not believe that early decisions should be so impactful on the end result. Especially when the actually gameplay can last for 30-60 minutes, having the game essentially decided before you're even "playing" is a huge problem.

    There's also, I think, and inherent contradiction between the draft/pick-ban process and the supposed values of asymmetry. If being able to select a character that aligns with your "playstyle" or appeals to you for whatever thematic/aesthetic reasons, or the ability to choose a single or limited number of characters to learn/master more easily, is a value of these asymmetric games and the reason for so many characters to exist in the first place, then a portion of the game where teams take turns taking these options away from each other seems antithetical.

    Overall very pleased with the podcast. Looking forward to listening to episode 2 on my drive home.
  11. Nasarius

    Nasarius New Member

    I really liked the "house cleaning" intro, which should preempt a lot of misunderstanding.

    Just a minor point about the second podcast: I think game designer as a proper job goes back at least to companies like Avalon Hill, in the 1950s.
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  12. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

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  13. Nasarius

    Nasarius New Member

    Lord of the Rings gives us orcs, the classic evil race that it's OK to kill even though they're sentient beings. A lot of people have talked about the uncomfortable racial parallels that can be drawn, and some D&D players discuss it as the "orc baby" problem: is it morally right to slaughter orc babies because they're inherently Evil? The obvious answer is no.

    In terms of violence glorification in big dumb Hollywood blockbusters, I really liked what Joss Whedon did with Age of Ultron. The entire movie from beginning to end is about the consequences of violence. They do still punch some Nazis and evil robots, but every significant plot point is about how their actions hurt innocent people. It's not perfect, but it's about as incisive as a $250 million action movie can realistically be.

    I've been growing increasingly uncomfortable with violence glorification and/or graphic violence in videogames for the past few years, and your articles have really helped me express why. I've decided how I'm going to approach violence in my own current videogame project, which is themed around a fantasy thieves' guild (influences from Fritz Leiber and Scott Lynch). Violence will be an option, but it will not be normal. There will be consequences. You may choose to take an assassination contract, kill a rival, extort people, etc - but it will fairly quickly result in you being hated, distrusted, and hunted. There are other social issues which I don't feel equipped to handle appropriately, but I think there's plenty of room for just about anyone to say interesting things about violence.
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  14. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Thanks Nasarius! Glad to know I'm not alone in these feelings.

    BTW he is referencing the 4th episode, here.
  15. Jon Perry

    Jon Perry Well-Known Member

    I like this format a lot as a conveyance method for your ideas. Episode 4 is my favorite so far.
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  16. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Noted, Jon. I'll try to involve people's comments on subjects as much as I can going forward.
  17. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Episode 5. On the limitations of boardgames, why abstract games suck, and more.
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  18. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Episode 6. Discussions on the discussion, with Richard Terrell.
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  19. cheapshot

    cheapshot Member

    Is this thread also an appropriate place to discuss the contents of the podcast? Because I feel like the contents of Ep. 6 merits some discussion (pun intended). It was a real shame that Keith and Richard couldn't see eye to eye on matters (albeit the forewarning that they had talked before and the same thing occurred).

    The episode was a perfect example what Keith has been writing about: how fractured game design philosophy is. So in a way, I wasn't surprised, but in another, I would have liked to see at least some compromise or middle-ground finding.

    Either way, I appreciate the time and effort you put into making this podcast. Keep it up.
    keithburgun likes this.
  20. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Absolutely, you can discuss the podcast here. If a discussion gets big enough I'll move it to its own thread, but for now it's fine here.

    Thanks, glad you enjoy the podcast. Obviously I wish we could make more ground, too, but one hour is a very small amount of time to do that. I feel like we KINDA bridged the gap on grinding? But I'm not sure. I'm actually kinda unclear on what our difference was; his "grinding" idea included "repetitive action", something you can do over again, and mine was that it is "rote". They're basically two words for the same thing, it seems to me, but he seemed less convinced, so I don't know.

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