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Clive on Halo 3

If you haven’t read Clive Thompsons article on Halo 3 in Wired, what are you waiting for? Halo 3: How Microsoft Labs Invented a New Science of Play

It’s an amazing article about designing games and play testing, and has a great quote on what it’s like to design a game compared to making a movie:

“The ideal in gameplay, the goal every developer aims for, is an experience that keeps players in a “flow” state — constantly surfing the edges of their abilities without bogging down. Modern videogames are often compared to Hollywood movies, but the comparison, many Bungie designers will tell you, is inaccurate. A movie is static. “You sit there and absorb it all in a single two-hour shot, and it’s perfectly linear,” says Frank O’Connor, one of the writers tasked with scripting the story line in Halo 3.

Creating a game, in contrast, is like a combination of architecture — constructing environments that influence the behavior of people inside them — and designing a new sport. Gamemakers have to devise a system of rules and equipment that gives players a few basic goals and then allows them to find their own ways of achieving those goals. The flow comes from constantly discovering innovative ways to solve these open-ended problems.”

Hopefully this marks my return to the blog.


  1. Charles wrote:

    “Creating a game, in contrast, is like.. designing a new sport.”

    Makes sense seeing as ALL SPORTS ARE GAMES. I actually like Clive Thompson a lot, and this is an interesting article, but passages like that prove why it’s a bad idea to hire magazine editors for being famous rather than being good.

    Also, glad to have you back Oren!

    Friday, August 31, 2007 at 5:27 am | Permalink
  2. Bob wrote:

    Well, reading this pretty much confirmed a lot of the suspicions I’d had about the whole “cabal” design process. Collaboration can be a good thing, sure, but not when it’s at the expense of creative organization. Of course, shouldn’t we have all learned this lesson when the Soviet Union collapsed? Damn Microsoft commies…

    And Oren! You’re alive! I was about to send out a search party!

    Friday, August 31, 2007 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

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