masthead

Chronological

Topical Table of Contents

This page is intended to act as a topical table of contents for the Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities column, to allow readers to easily locate the columns most relevant to them. Last Updated: January 20, 2005 (to #105).

This contents is divided up into the following major topics:

Background & History - Basic information on Skotos Tech & the genre of online games.
Design - Laying out the basics of a game.
Development - Expanding on the storytelling elements of a game.
Engineering - Expanding on the technical elements of a game.
Administration - What happens when you launch a game, and afterward.
Series Listings - Consolidated listings of the sub-series which have appeared in TT&T.

Thinking

Background & History

Describing Skotos Tech, the company behind the games at www.skotos.net; Castle Marrach, Skotos' social fantasy game; The Eternal City, Skotos' competitive fantasy game; and Shannon Appelcline, the guy who writes these articles.

About Skotos Tech

#11. A Brief History of Game, Part Four: Skotos Tech (11/30/00) - The History of Skotos, January to October, 1999.

#12. A Brief History of Game, Part Five: Castle Marrach (12/07/00) - The History of Skotos, July, 1999 to September, 2000.

#15. Welcome to the Twenty-First Century (1/04/01) - Roads not taken by Skotos, in the Year 2000.

#27. Fool Me Once (4/01/01) - Funny happenings at the circle-S, September, 2000 to March, 2001.

#47. A Brief History of Game, Part Six: Gamist Evolution (10/25/01) - The History of Skotos, September, 2000 to October, 2001.

#66. Fool Me Twice (4/02/01) - Funny things said and done at Skotos, April, 2001 to March, 2002.

#97. A Brief History of Game, Part Seven: The Business of Business (11/21/02) - The History of Skotos, October, 2001 to November, 2002.

#100. The Mystique of Game Design: A Photocolumn (12/19/02) - A pictorial of Skotos & its neighborhood.

About Castle Marrach

#1. First Date Jitters (9/21/00) - Launching Castle Marrach (and this column) and lessons learned.

#6. The Castle Marrach Wish List (10/26/00) - Hopeful ideas for the future of Castle Marrach.

#10. Not a Turkey in Sight! (11/22/00) - The status of Marrach, two months later.

#12. A Brief History of Game, Part Five: Castle Marrach (12/07/00) - How Castle Marrach came to be.

#31. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part One (4/26/01) - Satirizing Marrach while investigating the online medium.

#36. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part Two (5/31/01) - Continuing the satirization, with discontinuity.

#40. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part Three (7/26/01) - Completing the satirization, with containment.

#52. Courting Misrule (12/06/01) - The population of the Inner Bailey.

#91. Advice from the Castle (10/03/02) - Suggestions on running a game from the Marrach staff.

About The Eternal City

#37. Pondering on The Eternal City (6/07/01) - Considering the game design of The Eternal City.

About Galactic Emperor: Hegemony

#61. Building Block Examples: The Hologram Nexus (2/21/02) - An example of building a room for Hegemony.

#63. Galactic Empires, Part Two: Expanding into Space (3/07/02) - The game design of the original Space Empires.

#64. Galactic Empires, Part Three: Building a Hegemony (3/14/02) - Roleplaying a strategy game.

#67. Creativity & the Online Gamer (4/4/02) - Encouraging player creativity.

#97. A Brief History of Game, Part Seven: The Business of Business (11/21/02) - Including notes on the creation of Hegemony.

About Galactic Emperor: Succession

#15. Welcome to the Twenty-First Century (1/04/01) - Roads not taken by Skotos, including the first GE:S designs.

#39. Ah, Sweet Simplicity of Life! (7/12/01) - Simplifying games, including GE:S.

#62. Galactic Empires, Part One: Failing at Succession (2/28/02) - Why GE:S failed.

About Grendel's Revenge

#73. There's No Such Thing as a Free Launch (5/16/02) - Lessons learned during the Grendel's Revenge launch.

#97. A Brief History of Game, Part Seven: The Business of Business (11/21/02) - Including notes on the creation of Grendel's Revenge.

About Lovecraft Country

#34. The Power of the Medium: Individualized Output (5/17/01) - A precursor to insanity in Lovecraft Country.

#86. This Blessed Plot: Events, Expeditions & Other Alternatives (8/29/02) - How we expect to run "big plots" in Lovecraft Country.

#94. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part One: Haunting Themes (10/31/02) - Themes for a horror game, any horror game.

#95. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part Two: Monstrous Archetypes (11/07/02) - Monsters for any horror game.



About Shannon Appelcline

#46. But Enough About Me ... (10/11/01) - A brief bio, explaining the qualifications of this column's author.

Design

The first stage of creating any game is designing it. You need to figure all of the basic concepts of your game--both storytelling elements, which you'll later develop and mechanical elements, which you'll later engineer.

The Basic Design

The big picture of game design. How do you design an overall game plan, and what are some of the most crucial elements that you need to consider?
#17. Why Yes I Am God! (1/18/01) - Rules of thumbs for writing a basic game design.

#30. The Team's The Thing (4/19/01) - Think you're going to build that game on your own? Think again.

#38. The Game Is what The Game Is (6/14/01) - A basic precept for building online games: careful consideration in design.

#39. Ah, Sweet Simplicity of Life! (7/12/01) - Another basic design precept: start simply.

#45. And Now a Word from Our Sponsor ... (9/27/01) - Designing for commercial games.

#49. Postcard from Kaua'i (11/15/01) - Thinking differently when designing and developing a game.

#54. Building Blocks: Zones (12/20/01) - Designing your game, one zone at a time.

#65. The Wilderness of Your Intuition (3/21/01) - What it takes to be a game developer.

#88. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Two: Discouragement (9/12/02) - How a bad game design might discourage new players.

#89. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Three: Encouragement (9/19/02) - Rewards keep players coming back.

#90. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Four: Assistance (9/26/02) - Getting players to help out in retention.

#93. Marking the Occasion (10/24/02) - Setting milestones in your design process.

Basic Design: Examples

Why some games succeed and others fail.
#37. Pondering on The Eternal City (6/07/01) - Considering the game design of The Eternal City.

#62. Galactic Empires, Part One, Failing at Succession (2/28/02) - Why GE:S failed.

#63. Galactic Empires, Part Two: Expanding into Space (3/07/02) - The game design of the original Space Empires.

#64. Galactic Empires, Part Three: Building a Hegemony (3/14/02) - Roleplaying a strategy game.

#74. Anatomy of a Game: Survivor! (5/23/02) - On the game design of television's Survivor.

Gameplay

When designing your overall game plan, you need to figure out what type of game you want to create. These articles offer a number of occasionally divergent ideas on what types of gameplay you can design, and what players they'll appeal to.
#14. It's the End of the World as we Know It (12/21/00) - Including a basic layout for types of gameplay.

#25. Telling Stories, Classifying Worlds (3/15/01) - Expanding on the types of gameplay first outlined in #14.

#42. Apples and Orangeclines (8/16/01) - Some more thoughts on game and player types, expanding on discussions in #25.

#56. Future Memes, Part Two: Gameplay and Mechanics (1/10/02) - Introducing new gameplay to our medium.

#103. Designing Strategy: The Gameplay (1/16/03) - Defining activity & victory in a strategy game.

Genre

Gameplay is only part of the game, because you also have to address the question of what genre it neatly fits into.
#55. Future Memes, Part One: Overviews and Genres (1/03/02) - The limitations of our medium to date, and investigating new genres.

#94. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part One: Haunting Themes (10/31/02) - Common themes in horror stories.

#95. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part Two: Monstrous Archetypes (11/07/02) - Standard archetypes for monsters in horror stories.

Mediums: Online Games

The medium of online games offers many unique advantages and disadvantages. You'll need to make sure that you're considering these when designing your game.
#34. The Power of the Medium: Individualized Output (5/17/01) - How you can tailor the online game medium to specific players.

#35. The Power of the Medium: Text! (5/24/01) - Why text is a great medium for online games.

#43. The Power of the Medium: People (8/30/01) - Players as resource in online games.

#45. And Now a Word from Our Sponsor ... (9/27/01) - The commercial part of the online game medium.

#69. The Power of the Medium: Continuity (4/18/02) - Building on continuity in online games.

#98. Foreseeing Mediums: An Overview (12/05/02) - More powers and weaknesses of our medium.

#104. Strategic Introductions: Web Games (1/23/03) - A history of web games & how they work.

Mediums: Strategy Games

#62. Galactic Empires, Part One, Failing at Succession (2/28/02) - Why GE:S failed.

#63. Galactic Empires, Part Two: Expanding into Space (3/07/02) - The game design of the original Space Empires.

#64. Galactic Empires, Part Three: Building a Hegemony (3/14/02) - Roleplaying a strategy game.

#74. Anatomy of a Game: Survivor! (5/23/02) - On the game design of television's Survivor.

#101. Strategic Introductions: Tabletop Games (1/02/03) - How roleplaying & strategy games differ.

#102. Designing Strategy: The Components (1/09/03) - Defining the physical parts of a strategy game.

#103. Designing Strategy: The Gameplay (1/16/03) - Defining activity & victory in a strategy game.

#104. Strategic Introductions: Web Games (1/23/03) - A history of web games & how they work.

#105. Designing Strategy: Decision Sets (1/30/03) - Decision making in strategy games & the rule of 7.

Mediums: Comparing and Contrasting

We can also better understand the online game medium by comparing and contrasting to all the other mediums out there.
#31. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part One (4/26/01) - Movies are a visual medium.

#32. GameMaster or StoryBuilder? (5/3/01) - How building online and tabletop roleplaying games differs.

#36. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part Two (5/31/01) - Movies are a discontinuous medium.

#40. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part Three (7/26/01) - Movies are a contained medium.

#41. Movie Rules, Online Plots (8/02/01) - Some final insights into the medium of movies.

#70. Modern Myths, Part One: An Overview from Gilgamesh to Bunyan (4/25/02) - Concerning the history & characteristics of myth.

#71. Modern Myths, Part Two: An Overview from Citizen Kane to Spider-Man (5/2/02) - The evolution of today's myths.

#72. Modern Myths, Part Three: An Overview from Adventure to Anarchy (5/9/02) - Myths in computer games.

#83. Modern Myths, Part Four: Legends Live (7/25/02) - Final problems with and methods for mythology.

#92. TV & The Art of Mystery (10/10/02) - How mystery can improve episodic storytelling.

#98. Foreseeing Mediums: An Overview (12/05/02) - How do you define a medium, anyway?

#101. Strategic Introductions: Tabletop Games (1/02/03) - How roleplaying & strategy games differ.

Development

Working from your initial design, you'll need to develop your storytelling elements. These are the tools of the writer--plot, backstory, character, and setting--as well as the building blocks of the game designer--rooms, zones, maps, portables, NPCs, and more.

Building Games

What tools does Skotos Tech provide to create games?
#33. What a StoryBuilder Can Do (5/10/01) - The powers and limitations of the Skotos Developer Interface, May 2001.

Building Objects

Whether portables or details, objects take work and energy to create and flesh out.
#3. Objectionable Economies (10/05/00) - How portables may be a weird commodity.

#50. Building Blocks: Details (11/21/01) - Expanding an object's description with details.

#51. Building Blocks: Names (11/29/01) - Naming a portable or a detail.

#59. Building Blocks: Portables (2/7/02) - The how to on developing a portable.

#60. Building Blocks: Data Inheritance (2/14/02) - using data inheritance to build portables.

Building Rooms

Rooms are one of the most important building blocks that game developers have to consider when creating a game.
#8. Electoral Ramblings (11/9/00) - Including a digression on how to name rooms.

#48. Building Blocks: Rooms (11/8/01) - The nuts & bolts of writing a room.

#50. Building Blocks: Details (11/21/01) - Expanding a room's description with details.

#51. Building Blocks: Names (11/29/01) - Naming a portable or a detail.

#53. Building Blocks: Maps (12/13/01) - Creating the logical maps for your game.

#54. Building Blocks: Zones (12/20/01) - Designing your game, one zone at a time.

#57. Future Memes, Part Three: Settings and Physics (1/17/02) - Introducing new world designs to our medium.

#60. Building Blocks: Data Inheritance (2/14/02) - using data inheritance to build portables & rooms.

#61. Building Block Examples: The Hologram Nexus (2/21/02) - An example of building a room.

Determining Decision Sets

Developing options for characters to explore.
#105. Designing Strategy: Decision Sets (1/30/03) - Decision making in strategy games & the rule of 7.

Developing Backstory

Backstory, or what has come before, is a foundation of storytelling.
#79. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Five: Ritualizing Backstory (7/4/02) - Holidays & unstructured ritual .

#80. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Six: Ritual Structure (7/11/02) - Ceremonies & structured ritual .

Developing Characters

Characters are the active participants of any online game.
#78. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Four: The Heroic Character (6/27/02) - Ingredients of the Heroic Pattern.

#95. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part Two: Monstrous Archetypes (11/07/02) - Archetypes for monsters, who are characters too.

Developing Plots

Without plots, the backgrounds of online games would be dull and lifeless.
#4. This Blessed Plot, Part One (10/12/00) - The importance of supporting player plots.

#13. This Blessed Plot, Part Two (12/14/00) - How to entertain multiple players.

#21. This Blessed Plot, Part Three (2/15/01) - Encouraging change with your plots.

#22. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part One (2/22/01) - Outlining the structure of plot in motion pictures.

#23. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part Two (3/01/01) - Offering an example of a Castle Marrach plot using the movie structure.

#24. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part Three (3/08/01) - Explaining how movie plots should be adapted for online games.

#69. The Power of the Medium: Continuity (4/18/02) - Building on continuity in online games.

#75. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part One: Episodic Plot (5/30/02) - How myths connect together stories.

#76. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part Two: Singular Plot in Theory (6/13/02) - The Hero's Journey described.

#77. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part Three: Singular Plot in Practice (6/20/02) - The Hero's Journey exemplified.

#86. This Blessed Plot: Events, Expeditions & Other Alternatives (8/29/02) - Different ways to plot online games.

#92. TV & The Art of Mystery (10/10/02) - How mystery can improve episodic storytelling.

#99. This Blessed Plot: Seeds, Conflict, and Other Non-Plots (12/12/02) - Alternatives to plots in storytelling games.

Developing Settings

Settings form the stage for story.
#57. Future Memes, Part Three: Settings and Physics (1/17/02) - Introducing new world designs to our medium.

#81. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Seven: Local Setting (7/18/02) - Local myths about places.

#82. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Eight: Archetypical Setting (7/25/02) - Global myths about places.

Developing Themes

#94. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part One: Haunting Themes (10/31/02) - Common themes in horror stories.

Engineering

Working from your initial design, you'll need to engineer your mechanical elements. This is the province of the programmer, and brings into the equation a number of interesting problems.

Engineering Systems: Input/Output

Some of the most improtant systems in an online game are I/O, which get information in from the players and data back out.
#34. The Power of the Medium: Individualized Output (5/17/01) - How you can tailor the online game medium to specific players.

Problems: The Consistency Conundrum

How do you maintain consistency in a huge and spanning online world, particularly one with multitudes of administrators?
#7. Hosting on Your Toes (11/02/00) - Maintaining consistency among multiple StoryTellers.

#19. Hobgoblins, Part One (2/01/01) - Making verbs consistent.

#20. Hobgoblins, Part Two (2/08/01) - Making objects consistent.

Problems: The Dynamic Dilemma

How do you keep games fresh and dynamic?
#26. The Dynamic Dilemma, Part One (3/22/01) - Defining the problem of static content in online games.

#28. The Dynamic Dilemma, Part Two (4/05/01) - Building dynamism via old object recreation.

#29. The Dynamic Dilemma, Part Three (4/12/01) - Building dynamism via new object creation.

#68. The Upgrade Game (4/11/02) - Building the initial game is just half the battle.

Problems: The Fun Factor

#89. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Three: Encouragement (9/19/02) - Rewards keep players coming back.

Problems: The Realism Rathole

How do you create a realistic game? Do you actually want to? How does the reality of the online game medium differ from the real world?
#3. Objectionable Economies (10/05/00) - How portables may be a weird commodity.

#5. Reality Check (10/19/00) - How players treat virtual reality differant than the real thing.

#9. The Puzzle of Purloined Players (11/16/00) - The discontinuity of players in a virtual reality.

Administration

After you've finished creating a game, the work is not done. You have to continue administering it.

The Launch

In any online game, the first step for successful administration is ... getting the game off the ground.
#1. First Date Jitters (9/21/00) - Launching Castle Marrach (and this column) and lessons learned.

#2. Keeping up with the Joneses (9/28/00) - On creating an initial community.

#73. There's No Such Thing as a Free Launch (5/16/02) - Lessons learned during the Grendel's Revenge launch.

Running a Game Company

#45. And Now a Word from Our Sponsor ... (9/27/01) - The commercial part of the online game medium.

#87. Postcard from San Jose: Business, Interactivity & Conservatism (9/05/02) - Running a game business and other insights.

#100. The Mystique of Game Design: A Photocolumn (12/19/02) - A pictorial of Skotos & its neighborhood.

Marketing Games

#85. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part One: Attention (8/22/02) - How to attract people to your game.

Building Communities

#2. Keeping up with the Joneses (9/28/00) - On creating an initial community.

#44. The Global Community (9/11/01) - Overcoming tragedy through online community.

#58. Future Memes, Part Four: Community and Reptuation (1/24/02) - The future of anonymity and community on the net.

#84. Postcard from Milwaukee: Community, Collaboration & Creativity (8/15/02) - Building communities of players & designers.

Supporting Games

How do you create support teams? What should your precepts be for support in the online world?
#8. Electoral Ramblings (11/9/00) - When user complain, what's a bug and what's a feature?

#14. It's the End of the World as we Know It (12/21/00) - Managing user expectations.

#16. Guiding Lights (1/11/01) - Volunteers in online games, and the trials thereof.

#30. The Team's The Thing (4/19/01) - Think you're going to build that game on your own? Think again.

#43. The Power of the Medium: People (8/30/01) - Players as resource in online games.

#52. Courting Misrule (12/06/01) - A return to expectations and whether players are right.

#58. Future Memes, Part Four: Community and Reptuation (1/24/02) - Building reputation systems into online games.

#65. The Wilderness of Your Intuition (3/21/01) - What it takes to be a game developer.

#68. The Upgrade Game (4/11/02) - Building the initial game is just half the battle.

#91. Advice from the Castle (10/03/02) - Suggestions on running a game from the Marrach staff.

#96. In Sickness & In Health (11/14/02) - Keeping a game running 24x7.

Telling Stories

Running plots can be one of the most crucial roles for administrators in any online game, but particular in games centered around role-playing.
#4. This Blessed Plot, Part One (10/12/00) - The importance of supporting player plots.

#7. Hosting on Your Toes (11/02/00) - Coordinating multiple StoryTellers in an online medium.

#13. This Blessed Plot, Part Two (12/14/00) - How to entertain multiple players.

#21. This Blessed Plot, Part Three (2/15/01) - Encouraging change with your plots.

#22. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part One (2/22/01) - Outlining the structure of plot in motion pictures.

#23. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part Two (3/01/01) - Offering an example of a Castle Marrach plot using the movie structure.

#24. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part Three (3/08/01) - Explaining how movie plots should be adapted for online games.

#69. The Power of the Medium: Continuity (4/18/02) - Building on continuity in online games.

#75. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part One: Episodic Plot (5/30/02) - How myths connect together stories.

#76. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part Two: Singular Plot in Theory (6/13/02) - The Hero's Journey described.

#77. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part Three: Singular Plot in Practice (6/20/02) - The Hero's Journey exemplified.

#86. This Blessed Plot: Events, Expeditions & Other Alternatives (8/29/02) - Different ways to plot online games.

#91. Advice from the Castle (10/03/02) - Suggestions on running a game from the Marrach staff.

#92. TV & The Art of Mystery (10/10/02) - How mystery can improve episodic storytelling.

#99. This Blessed Plot: Seeds, Conflict, and Other Non-Plots (12/12/02) - Alternatives to plots in storytelling games.

Players in Online Games

And finally, after you launch, you have to think about your players. Who are they? What problems will they cause? How can you make them happy?
#9. The Puzzle of Purloined Players (11/16/00) - The discontinuity of players in a virtual reality.

#18. Steal this Article! (1/25/01) - Villians and civil disobedience.

#43. The Power of the Medium: People (8/30/01) - Players as resource in online games.

#67. Creativity & the Online Gamer (4/4/02) - Encouraging player creativity.

#84. Postcard from Milwaukee: Community, Collaboration & Creativity (8/15/02) - Building communities of players & designers.

#90. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Four: Assistance (9/26/02) - Getting players to help out in retention.

Series Listings

Some sub-series within Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities have been scattered across long months of postings. These listings consolidate them.

This Blessed Plot

A series of articles looking at plotting issues, especially as they relate to live StoryTellers in Skotos games.
#4. This Blessed Plot, Part One (10/12/00) - The importance of supporting player plots.

#13. This Blessed Plot, Part Two (12/14/00) - How to entertain multiple players.

#21. This Blessed Plot, Part Three (2/15/01) - Encouraging change with your plots.

#86. This Blessed Plot: Events, Expeditions & Other Alternatives (8/29/02) - Different ways to plot online games.

#99. This Blessed Plot: Seeds, Conflict, and Other Non-Plots (12/12/02) - Alternatives to plots in storytelling games.

A Brief History of Game

Being a history of the online game medium, followed by a history of Skotos Tech--of which only the history of Skotos Tech has been written to date.
#11. A Brief History of Game, Part Four: Skotos Tech (11/30/00) - The History of Skotos, January to October, 1999.

#12. A Brief History of Game, Part Five: Castle Marrach (12/07/00) - The History of Skotos, July, 1999 to September, 2000.

#47. A Brief History of Game, Part Six: Gamist Evolution (10/25/01) - The History of Skotos, September, 2000 to October, 2001.

#97. A Brief History of Game, Part Seven: The Business of Business (11/21/02) - The History of Skotos, October, 2001 to November, 2002.

Building Blocks

Discussions of some of the most core concepts in online roleplaying games, including instructions on how to use them well.
#48. Building Blocks: Rooms (11/8/01) - The nuts & bolts of writing a room.

#50. Building Blocks: Details (11/21/01) - Expanding a room's description with details.

#51. Building Blocks: Names (11/29/01) - Naming a portable or a detail.

#53. Building Blocks: Maps (12/13/01) - Creating the logical maps for your game.

#54. Building Blocks: Zones (12/20/01) - Designing your game, one zone at a time.

#59. Building Blocks: Portables (2/7/02) - The how to on developing a portable.

#60. Building Blocks: Data Inheritance (2/14/02) - using data inheritance to build portables & rooms.

#61. Building Block Examples: The Hologram Nexus (2/21/02) - An example of building a room.

Designing Strategy

On the design of strategic games.
#101. Strategic Introductions: Tabletop Games (1/02/03) - How roleplaying & strategy games differ.

#102. Designing Strategy: The Components (1/09/03) - Defining the physical parts of a strategy game.

#103. Designing Strategy: The Gameplay (1/16/03) - Defining activity & victory in a strategy game.

#104. Strategic Introductions: Web Games (1/23/03) - A history of web games & how they work.

#105. Designing Strategy: Decision Sets (1/30/03) - Decision making in strategy games & the rule of 7.

The Dynamic Dilemma

Increasing the dynamism in online games.
#26. The Dynamic Dilemma, Part One (3/22/01) - Defining the problem of static content in online games.

#28. The Dynamic Dilemma, Part Two (4/05/01) - Building dynamism via old object recreation.

#29. The Dynamic Dilemma, Part Three (4/12/01) - Building dynamism via new object creation.

The Elements of Good ScaryTelling

#94. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part One: Haunting Themes (10/31/02) - Common themes in horror stories.

#95. The Elements of Good ScaryTelling, Part Two: Monstrous Archetypes (11/07/02) - Standard archetypes for monsters in horror stories.

Future Memes

Investigating the future of online games, and paths that designers are generally not taking.
#55. Future Memes, Part One: Overviews and Genres (1/03/02) - The limitations of our medium to date, and investigating new genres.

#56. Future Memes, Part Two: Gameplay and Mechanics (1/10/02) - Introducing new gameplay to our medium.

#57. Future Memes, Part Three: Settings and Physics (1/17/02) - Introducing new world designs to our medium.

#58. Future Memes, Part Four: Community and Reptuation (1/24/02) - The future of anonymity and community on the net.

Galactic Empires

Building science-fiction games: trials and tribulations.
#62. Galactic Empires, Part One, Failing at Succession (2/28/02) - Why GE:S failed.

#63. Galactic Empires, Part Two: Expanding into Space (3/07/02) - The game design of the original Space Empires.

#64. Galactic Empires, Part Three: Building a Hegemony (3/14/02) - Roleplaying a strategy game.

If You Build It, They Might Come

How to get people to try out your brand-spanking new game.
#85. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part One: Attention (8/22/02) - How to attract people to your game.

#88. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Two: Discouragement (9/12/02) - How a bad game design might discourage new players.

#89. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Three: Encouragement (9/19/02) - Rewards keep players coming back.

#90. If You Build It, They Might Come, Part Four: Assistance (9/26/02) - Getting players to help out in retention.

Modern Myths & The Elements of Good Storytelling

#70. Modern Myths, Part One: An Overview from Gilgamesh to Bunyan (4/25/02) - Concerning the history & characteristics of myth.

#71. Modern Myths, Part Two: An Overview from Citizen Kane to Spider-Man (5/2/02) - The evolution of today's myths.

#72. Modern Myths, Part Three: An Overview from Adventure to Anarchy (5/9/02) - Myths in computer games.

#75. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part One: Episodic Plot (5/30/02) - How myths connect together stories.

#76. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part Two: Singular Plot in Theory (6/13/02) - The Hero's Journey described.

#77. The Elements of Good Mythtelling, Part Three: Singular Plot in Practice (6/20/02) - The Hero's Journey exemplified.

#78. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Four: The Heroic Character (6/27/02) - Ingredients of the Heroic Pattern.

#79. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Five: Ritualizing Backstory (7/4/02) - Holidays & unstructured ritual .

#80. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Six: Ritual Structure (7/11/02) - Ceremonies & structured ritual .

#81. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Seven: Local Setting (7/18/02) - Local myths about places.

#82. The Element of Good Mythtelling, Part Eight: Archetypical Setting (7/25/02) - Global myths about places.

#83. Modern Myths, Part Four: Legends Live (7/25/02) - Final problems with and methods for mythology.

Movies: A Structure for Plot

Using movie plots for online games.
#22. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part One (2/22/01) - Outlining the structure of plot in motion pictures.

#23. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part Two (3/01/01) - Offering an example of a Castle Marrach plot using the movie structure.

#24. Movies: A Structure for Plot, Part Three (3/08/01) - Explaining how movie plots should be adapted for online games.

Postcards ...

Travel often brings about new patterns of thinking. And you get to see vacation photos too.
#49. Postcard from Kaua'i (11/15/01) - Thinking differently when designing and developing a game.

#84. Postcard from Milwaukee: Community, Collaboration & Creativity (8/15/02) - Building communities of players & designers.

#87. Postcard from San Jose: Business, Interactivity & Conservatism (9/05/02) - Running a game business and other insights.

The Power of the Medium

Why it's really cool to design for the multiplayer online game medium.
#34. The Power of the Medium: Individualized Output (5/17/01) - How you can tailor the online game medium to specific players.

#35. The Power of the Medium: Text! (5/24/01) - Why text is a great medium for online games.

#43. The Power of the Medium: People (8/30/01) - Players as resource in online games.

#69. The Power of the Medium: Continuity (4/18/02) - Building on continuity in online games.

Why Marrach Isn't the Movies

Comparisons of the mediums of movies and online games, presented as a humorous movie script, with a coda at the end.
#31. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part One (4/26/01) - Movies are a visual medium.

#36. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part Two (5/31/01) - Movies are a discontinuous medium.

#40. Why Marrach Isn't The Movies, Part Three (7/26/01) - Movies are a contained medium.

#41. Movie Rules, Online Plots (8/02/01) - Some final insights into the medium of movies.