May 5, 2009

Still Speaking of Data

All my posts on data-driven design lately have been bringing a lot of data-loving new readers to the blog, who in turn have been pointing me toward no end of interesting stuff to read and think about. It's bordering on overwhelming, in fact.

Nels Anderson has a great series of posts going which touches on data. In it, he links to a surprisingly interesting talk by Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce and making your customers happy by not listening to them.

He also mentions a GDC talk by Valve's Mike Ambinder, which goes into some detail about just how many different kinds of user testing Valve actually does.

Speaking of Valve, Left 4 Dead Stats have gone live, and there also seem to be some surprising changes to TF2 coming up soon. According to Robin Walker, you can try just about anything as long as you've got good enough communication with your players:

Shacknews: Any plans for consumable items? And will these items be tied to each class, or carried over to all of your classes?

Robin Walker: The short answer is: possibly. Part of the reason we want to do this kind of design work in TF2 is because it's a product in which players send us a ton of great feedback. This means we'll quickly find out if we're screwing up, which is an amazingly useful thing when we want to try new things.

Shacknews: Should we expect to see more item slots--chest, feet, elbows--added in the future?

Robin Walker: See the "possibly" answer above.

Shacknews: Will players be able to trade these items?

Robin Walker: This is a good example of the kind of decision we'll be listening to the players around. If it's something they all want to do, then yep, you can expect us to do it.

For those of you who have had your fill of data for awhile, don't worry. I plan to wrap up the black box series with the next installment, and then we'll find something new to fixate on for awhile.

Since I'm breaking my first cardinal rule (don't just post a bunch of links to things), I may as well break my second cardinal rule (don't post to apologize for a lack of posting), just this once. Sorry about the two week lag there.

Generally I prefer to write more substantial posts less often rather than lots of short posts, but hopefully I'll settle into a bit of a better rhythm soon. Apparently getting too busy to post just as your blog receives a huge influx of readers is a tale as old as time. In the meantime, please subscribe!


Tesh said...

Sometimes, posting links is the best way to get a point across. What's the point in blathering at length about something if you can't add to the discussion, and someone else has said it better than you could... but you want to inject the notion into your blog's DNA to build to other discussions?

It's like the game industry as a whole; everyone is too invested in reinventing the wheel out of misplaced pride that they don't learn from the mistakes and successes of others. It's OK to step back and let someone else take the stage for a bit, that we all might be edified.

Just sayin'...

Thanks for the links, and I'm looking forward to the conclusion of the black box series!

Mike Darga said...

I'm sure you're right, I'm just a little wary of anything that seems like filler content.

I'm also the blathering at length type, and writing up my own views on something helps me in some way to more clearly define what they are. I crystallize my thoughts by expressing them, which is one of the main reasons I decided to start blogging.

Thanks, hopefully I'll get something done on that last post over the weekend. I think in the future 3 post series may be more fitting, as by the time I've written this 5th post I'll already have a big backlog of other stuff I've been thinking about.

Tesh said...

Oh, I'm certainly sympathetic to walls of text. You've seen some of mine. ;) I think it's my default setting, and it's only my constrained time of late that has seen me offering shorter bits of work.

I just don't see the harm in throwing a link out there that's relevant to what else might be going on. Now, a series of random links in a stream of consciousness riff of My Little Pony would be something else entirely...


...unless, of course, it related to good game design somehow. You never know.

Mike Darga said...

Hahaha I'll take that as a challenge to connect My Little Pony to game design somehow. Tortured metaphors are a specialty of mine.