Six spare bullets: the small but vital intricacies of game design

Clint Hocking

Eighty kills ago, our determined hero did what we have all done at one time: he abandoned his hi-tech battle rifle in favour of the simple AK-47 used by the nefarious insurgents he is fighting. Now, almost fully loaded with ammunition, he walks over an enemy weapon on the ground. What happens? Our hero is… Continue reading

Create, share, play: the new era of expressive games

Minecraft 360

Back in 2006, the Far Cry 2 team went to Paris to present the game concept to Ubisoft management for approval. One of the biggest hurdles we needed to overcome was to prove that we could deliver the ambitious goals of the project under the time and budget constraints we were given. We were pitching… Continue reading

Games about people: an area of interactive design still laughably unexplored


Back in November, I lamented the fact that, aside from The Sims, there are no games about people. Since then, I’ve received a number of emails from players and developers pointing out that I was wrong. While the primary point I was trying to make was that we have effectively left games about people by… Continue reading

Games can be beneficial or harmful, but literacy always wins

GTA V review 3

Recently, industry icon Warren Spector wrote a piece for GamesIndustry International about media effects. In it, he looked at the current state of the never-ending debate about whether games cause violent behaviour, and, more generally, whether games have measurable adverse effects on players. Over the course of decades, this debate has taken many forms. Countless… Continue reading

In The Click Of It: games about people


Sometimes I wonder why there are not more games about people. The first racing game I ever remember playing was Turbo (Sega, 1981). There had been racing games before it, but to my knowledge Turbo was the first game to use a simulated vanishing point and scaling sprites to give the impression of a three-dimensional… Continue reading

In The Click Of It: the last generation

PS4 vs Xbox One

Confession time: I am not that interested in the upcoming console war. The reason is that, when I look at what the proposed consoles are offering, I don’t see anything important to me that I cannot have already on a current-generation console. Sure, I can have better graphics, but the graphics on current-generation consoles are… Continue reading

In The Click Of It: time invested

Clint Hocking time invested

Continuing the 20th anniversary theme, Valve’s Clint Hocking looks back at the last two decades of playing games – and beyond.

In The Click Of It: games that mean nothing

In the click of it

This month, our columnist explains why blockbuster franchises simply are not the place for meaningful themes.

From Doom to Dishonored, considering the firstperson shooter’s various waveforms


Over the past several years, I’ve spent much of my professional life working on firstperson shooters in different capacities, and have spent a good deal of my gaming time playing them. In striving to better understand the FPS, I have tried to develop some formal tools to allow me and the teams I work with to discuss and compare different aspects of various shooters. One of the tools I’ve used in the past is a lens for examining the experiential curve – or waveform – of an FPS.

High scores are all very well, but can a singleplayer game ever really be beaten or finished?

Singleplayer column

My experience tells me that there are two kinds of singleplayer gamer: there are those who declare they have finished a game when they’re done with it, and those who declare that they have beaten it. I believe this confusing dichotomy between ‘finishers’ and ‘beaters’ illuminates a weakness in our ability to formally discuss singleplayer games in a way that adequately describes the feelings they provide to audiences of entertainment and culture.