« A Tale of Two Games | Main | Permission Adventures »

Oct 11, 2004




If only to find out how Raph reconciles his theory of fun with the unfun of much gameplay in SWG... :)


I didn't want to distract from that other thread by saying so at the time, but seeing that post really made my day. I've been hoping there would be some new writing posted on Raph's site, and now I know why there hasn't been. Thanks for the heads up, and I'll definitely be preordering it.


When's your book due out, then, Ted?



I think I'll swap World of Warcraft with this one in November :)


Richard> When's your book due out, then, Ted?

Well, after a lengthy delay due to moving, I was able to finish (what I hope is) the final draft and send it to the editor yesterday. We'll see from here. I guess it would come out in the first half of 2005 at this rate. :)


Tim, it's gripes from folks like you that led me to start investigating the question in the first place. I've spent pretty much the last year trying to go back to basics.


Now I'm *really* interested. I'll start marking my calendar.


I don't think SWG is un-fun, it is more a problem of different things being fun for different people. There are people that love one aspect of the game, lets say harvesting resources, while other players hate that aspect with a passion. Of course, while you can't design game elements that are fun for everybody, one could at least try to maximize fun.

I'd love to read how Raph is going to handle this, hope I can get the book over here in Europe as well. Raph hinted he was working on Puzzle Pirates 2. ;)


Checked: Raph's book is available in Europe as well.


Oh, and Ted, if you want some reading in advance, most of the research I did ended up on cognition theory... a good one is "Sources of Power: How We Make Decisions." Or "Mind Wide Open."

Don't expect postmortems in mine--it's based on the AGC talk from '03, only expanded and with a substantial amount of prose added. It's about all games, and has in it no examples significantly newer than Gorf. ;)


Fabiolus. I started sliding into this because a bunch of the people in this department work in experimental psych (show the subject a video, check his heart rate, draw conclusions)(typical conclusions: "this guy thinks Osama bin Laden is a bagel!! what a wierdo!! get me a new subject!!") anyway, it spurs thoughts about why people enjoy games, on a brain-level.

Oh, and my editor now says production will take until late summer 2005 :( .


Oh, and my editor now says production will take until late summer 2005 :(

Is that so that you have enough time to sucker some middleware company in to giving you free tech so that you can launch your "educational" MMO alongside the book? ;-)


Yes, Jim. How did you know??

Now I just have to find a middleware company foolish enough to go along with my nefarious plans.

In all honesty, the time's not quite yet ripe for that, I think. More groundwork needs to be laid: prototypes, proofs-of-concept, get Castronova a GD office {scowl}, that sort of thing.

Also, remember: an educational world won't work unless there are people in it. And people won't be in it unless it is FUN. Fun first, education second. It's the fun, stupid.

If the private sector is slow to revector this technology, maybe the public sector will do it first. All those things that people say would make it all more fun - maybe we can do them, where a privately-funded group cannot. (Maybe.)


To clarify: "It's the economy, stupid" was a Clinton-era campaign slogan - my paraphrase wasn't directed at anyone.


Edward Castronova>it spurs thoughts about why people enjoy games, on a brain-level

In my ill-fated appearance on the Today Programme, my antagonist was the eminent UK neuroscientist, Susan Greenfield. The book she was plugging concerns (among other things) how the brain chemistry changes to make people addicted to computer games. The science is probably good, but the cod psychology to back it up isn't.



I'm the guy who signed Raph's book to the publisher and I worked on it with Raph (honored to have been able to do that!) and it's REALLY COOL. I've done, read, worked on enough books to tell you this book is very neat. It's unlike any game design book ever. You can read it several times and get something new out of it each time. The book is really inspirational.

The book is in final edits now. We expect it to ship somewhere between November 20-December 15th depending when it comes off the press.

When I originally showed this book to the publisher they didn't get it at first (too busy) but then as he worked on it a bit he became totally enamored with it. Keith has pubbed a TON of books in his lifetime and he says this is one of the 5-10 best books he's every done.

So hopefully that pushes the hype meter up a bit.

- Ben


The website for the book is now live, at www.theoryoffun.com.

The comments to this entry are closed.