GlitchComplications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022

August 2022

September 2022

November 2022

February 2023

March 2023

April 2023

May 2023

July 2023

September 2023

November 2023

January 2024

February 2024


Monday, October 01, 2012

Friend of the Blog Shaula E engaged me in a bit of conversation about Tiny Speck's cartoon MMO, Glitch. I thought her email was worth posting:
It's an odd little game. And a lot has changed in the course of a year, especially with the in-game economy, which drives gameplay now in a much larger way.

It is definitely a grind-heavy game, although it is much less so in light of changes made in the past year. Players can run their own stores, so lazy players (like me!) who don't like to grind to harvest some of the basic materials can buy them from other players. That change opens the game up to a lot of different kinds of gameplay.

One of the most interesting game design choices to me is that Tiny Spark has gone out of its way to foster collaborative game play. Some of the recent changes have made that less "pointless" and built more obvious rewards for players. There is an alt currency, called imagination points, that can be earned in many ways, and spent on in-game upgrades (that significantly enhance gameplay), and some of the consistently most efficient and profitable way to earn these points come from assisting other players. It's an incredible exercise in social engineering, and I've wondered from the start if Stewart Butterfield hasn't fielded it as a "game" as a front for experiments in gamification and behaviour modification; I really hope they've got some good academics riding shotgun and studying how the community works and how in-game incentives affect player behavious, because some really cool stuff is going on in there.

Basically, it is more like an MMO civ game than anything else, where there are no warfare options, but a lot of incentives to trade and barter and collaborate. (Only I doubt the players think of it that way at all.)

The strength of the game is the environment: the developers have built a really rich world with great visual and auditory details. It's incredibly immersive. For example, some areas are built on the "toxic moon" background (party packs and individual players' streets), which has a built-in soundtrack of the 2001: Space Oddyssey theme arranged as a disco song played by banjos and a horn section. Hard to imagine. It cracks me up every time I hit one of those areas.

It isn't a game you can "win", and it suffers from all of the limitations of sandbox games. From the outside (I have no inside lines, btw), it looks like the devs are working on releasing a steady stream of micro-quests for achievement-oriented players; there was a period where most beta testers had accomplished the majority of the in-game goals, and that lead to a lot of grumbling, and any reviews that came during that time period will be pretty negative.

Their financial model is interesting, too: you can play for free with a rich game experience, but if you choose to pay money, you get some cool extras for it. Tiny Speck has stated that they are committed to keeping the free play model valid--Glitch is the antithesis of, say, Farmville in that regard.

I find the theory of the game fascinating. And I play because, at the moment, I'm having a lot of fun with the game economics (I imagine that will plateau for me eventually), but most of all because the game environment is awesome.

Glitch is ultimately more of a "toy" than a "game", though, by my standards, and I wouldn't want to try to predict if Tiny Spark can make a go of it financially or not. They have been in beta for a LONG time, and their commitment and standards are high. I just don't know if the game will have enough appeal. I expect a lot of industry observers won't "get it", either, because it doesn't fit a conventional game model.

I don't know if I love it, but I respect it! How's that for an answer. And so far it is really intriguing.

The game got savaged last year in Rock, Paper, Shotgun; here's hoping they've used the year to fix the issues.


Hi, Alex. I hope some of your readers with an interest in game development keep an eye on Glitch. I can't state strongly enough how interesting and innovative the game is.

Most of all, I really do hope Tiny Speck makes a great success of the game. I applaud their ambition and creative vision. It is really exciting to see a company make so many fresh choices with a game and take game development in new directions.

The beta tester user base is really solid and enthusiastic about the game, in a way that bodes well for the game culture going forward, and that's on of Glitch's major strengths.

And I have no direct connection with TS or Glitch: I'm just a happy and impressed beta tester.

By Blogger Shaula Evans, at 11:03 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.