Interview with Chris Slemp, MSDN
Here’s another video interview featuring Yours Truly at the PDC: it’s with Chris Slemp, Program Manager for the Server and Tools Online group at Microsoft. In the interview, we talk about MSDN and its new social bookmarking feature.
“Grim Fandango’s” Puzzle Document
If you’re looking to get into the mind of a game designer and the design of one of the most highly-regarded computer adventures games, be sure to check out the Grim Fandango Puzzle Document. Tim Schafer, in “a temporary fit of Cake-induced Grim nostalgia,” decided to put the game’s puzzle design document online in PDF form (it’s 2.3MB in size).
Here’s a great summary of the Grim Fandango Puzzle Document, written by Andy Geers:
I use that word "crafted" because that’s exactly what this newly released document shows: true craftsmanship. We see the incredible attention to detail, the pacing of the narrative as it builds and as the puzzles get increasingly sophisticated, always coaxing the player along with them. As somebody whose spent the last few years trying to write my own adventure game, what struck me most about this document is the sheer simplicity of it – it’s well established that it takes a great deal of clarity and hard work to boil down something so vast as Grim Fandango into such a simple representation that conveys so much information in such a succinct way.
It’s a considerably more interesting read than most specs.
My Job-Related Reading List
Nothing gives you that frozen-caveman-thawed-in-modern-times feeling like returning to a software platform after not developing in it in seven years. Getting back into the swing of Microsoft’s development tools has been fun so far, but it is, as a lot of people have told me, like drinking from the firehose.
To quickly get acclimated with C#, ASP.NET and XNA, I’m expensing the following books I bought today:
- Pro C# 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Platform by Andrew Troelsen
- Professional ASP.NET 3.5 in C# and VB by Bill Evjen, Scott Hanselman and Devin Rader
- Beginning XNA 2.0 Game Programming by Alexandre Santos Lobao, Bruno Pereira Evangelista, and Jose Antonio Leal de Farias
I’ll let you know what I think of these books as I read them.
“Zero Punctuation” Reviews
And finally, a couple of reviews from my all-time favourite game reviewer, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. The first one’s for Saints Row 2, which includes a great argument for why it might actually be a better game than Grand Theft Auto IV as well as a brilliant concept for a new game:
and here’s the latest review, for Dead Space, which he summarizes as “competent but bland”. Luckily, his review is anything but…