Offworld is back

Run by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson in collaboration with Boing Boing, the new Offworld will be “an unequivocal and uncompromising home for women and minorities, whose voices will comprise most of the work published” on the site.

Matt Haughey retires from MetaFilter

MetaFilter was the first website that I really loved. I’ve been a member for about a decade now, and was a lurker for a couple of years before that. I still consider it to be the best community on the internet, and I have Matt to thank for whatever portion of its culture that reflects his personality and values.

That said, after reading the announcement post on MetaTalk I’m glad that he’s decided to step down:

A couple years ago my anxiety and stress bubbled up to the point where I wasn’t eating and sleeping regularly. To remedy this, I took the #1 advice of Ask MetaFilter and saw a therapist. This helped me process incoming stressors and realize much of my worries were unfounded and in my head, but over the course of a year of sessions I began to learn a lot about myself. One of the things that became apparent was I’m not cut out for the entrepreneur lifestyle–I don’t eat up risk & stress and shit out innovation–instead I tend to worry about every aspect of every little thing and get caught up on any setbacks.

Matt deserves better than a lifetime of anxiety, and I hope he finds it. Meanwhile, he’s left the site in good hands, and it will continue on as usual. I think this will be good for everyone involved.

The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative

A new anti-harassment organization was announced today at the Game Developers Conference. From the website:

The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative (OAPI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing and mitigating online abuse through:
* the study and analysis of abuse patterns
* the creation of anti-harassment tools and resources
* collaboration with key tech companies seeking to better support their communities

OAPI’s founder is Randi Harper, who is best known (in this space, at least) for creating ggautoblocker. Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz, who founded Crash Override Network in January, are on board as well, and the two organizations plan to work together. I look forward to supporting their efforts!

EA closes Maxis Emeryville

What a terrible loss. Maxis has been making wonderful, industry-defining games for decades. I wish all of the people who were laid off the best.

Eurogamer drops review scores

Editor Oli Welsh:

In the present environment, scores are struggling to encompass the issues that are most important to you. How should we score an excellent game with severe networking issues? A flawlessly polished game with a hackneyed design? A brilliantly tuned multiplayer experience with dreadful storytelling? If you expect the score to encompass every aspect of a game, the task becomes an exercise in futility. Add an inflated understanding of the scoring scale in many quarters – whereby 7/10 and even sometimes 8/10 are construed as disappointing scores – and you have a recipe for mixed messages.

Scores are failing us, they’re failing you, and perhaps most importantly, they are failing to fairly represent the games themselves.

The decision comes a month after Joystiq dropped review scores for similar reasons. (They’ve since sadly shut down.) Meanwhile, in an attempt to reconcile their scoring policies with Metacritic’s, Polygon has introduced the concept of “provisional” reviews.

Not sure if there’s a trend here yet, but it’s close.

A Beekeeper’s Guide to Game Design

I love this poem/blog post from Holly Gramazio:


When designing a game for bees
Consider their natural skills,
Their strengths and habits.

Bees like to search and gather,
So give them plenty of items to collect
(Hide the first few inside a flower
To help them get the idea).

Bees fan the hive with their wings,
Promoting circulation through the tunnels,
Filling warm air with the scent of honey.

They dance instructions to their fellow bees.

For a bee new to gaming,
Suspicious of the hobby,
A rhythm action game is therefore an excellent start.