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Blogged Out: Crazy, Uni, Military

Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we look at ...
Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we look at insanity patents, town planning and military experiences. - First up this month, we're going to give you some food for thought. Via the intellectual property blog IP Funny, we have word that Nintendo was finally granted a patent for a game concept based on the 'insanity levels' of a game character, as seen in Silicon Knights' Eternal Darkness: "A video game and game system incorporating a game character's sanity level that is affected by occurrences in the game such as encountering a game creature or gruesome situation." Does this mean that all official Call Of Cthulhu games will need to pay homage at the house of Mario, going forward? - Speaking of thinking up new game concepts/genres, why not take a look at Costikyan's lecture notes on 'creating new game styles', from a talk he recently gave at the recent Future Play conference? As for how we actually do it, Costikyan quotes Kipling to indicate the diversity of ways: "There are four and twenty ways of writing tribal lays, and every single one of them is right." Very erudite. - Over on Buzzcut, writer and teacher David Thomas writes insightfully about using video games for learning, particularly relevant since Thomas is teaching a course at University of Colorado's College of Architecture and Planning based around the use of video games. Thomas explains: "A typical assignment has them read a bit of planning literature, try to do something in the game world (like describe an interesting place in Second Life or lay out a functioning city in Sim City) then come to class and try to put it all together. My approach is admittedly Socratic and the students seems to vacillate between finding the whole effort intriguing and compelling or completely pedantic and impractical. To which I say, bully for the modern American undergrad that only wants a vo-tech degree from the university. My course should leave them filled with doubt and confusion for years." - TerraNova's Nick Yee points out the latest addition to his fascinating 'Daedalus Project', which is an attempt to chart all kinds social and behavioural of facts about MMOs under the rough heading of 'psychology'. As someone who has been playing a lot of the high-end PvP in Eve Online recently I have to say this point made by Yee has a lot of resonance: "Many people resisted Talon's militaristic guild structure, but about 1 in 6 MMO players has had military experience and most high-end dungeons/encounters require a lot of hierarchy, planning, and organization to accomplish. What does it mean when play spaces become more and more like military spaces?" What indeed? When we're simulating combat, surely it makes sense that we conform to the tried and tested methods of actual war? - Finally, one of our favorite bloggers and former Gamasutra columnists, as well as one of the industry's more experienced developers, Jamie Fristrom, has resigned from his job at Treyarch/Activision for "this other opportunity [that] has come up" - but is apparently available for consultancy in the meantime. If you're in need of sage advice for a game project from the Spider-Man 2 coder and designer, or just want to see what happens when developers go renegade, make with the click and take a look at his plaintive cry: "No, I wasn't fired!" [Jim Rossignol is a freelance journalist based in the UK – his game journalism has appeared in PC Gamer UK, Edge and The London Times. Simon Carless also contributed to this report.]

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