June 30, 2014

Speculative Browser Game

I am thinking about a particular browser game, and I'm not sure it exists. It's a sort of a combination of Farmville, of Neverwinter's Gateway, and of the auction house of World of Warcraft. Maybe a bit of Civilisation thrown...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:35 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2011

Bring & Buy Stand for Gaelcon 2011

Nina and I have run a Bring & Buy stand at Gaelcon a few times now, and we're doing so again for Gaelcon 2011. The idea is that people bring stuff, we sell it, and the profits get split -...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2010

Taking the Penalties Out of Social Games

Farmville, still the Empress of Social Games, currently has a notice up. It reads: Hey Farmers! FarmVille is currently experiencing some loading issues. While we work on resolving these technical issues, we have disabled withering and puppy hunger! Thank you...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 8, 2010

Social Games as MMOs

There's an overwhelming opposition among MMO players to social games - things like Farmville, Frontierville, and their Zynga-produced ilk, and also smaller games like Treasure Island and My Vineyard. But these games are fast gaining market share because, as Wolfshead...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2010

How to Go to Gaelcon

I've been going to Gaelcon most years since I was a wee lad of 13. This year's convention is coming up at the end of the week, over the Irish bank holiday weekend, and I am looking forward massively to...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2010

Too Many Games!

I've just been listening to Mssrs. Hemlock & Shute's fine podcast, Episode 116. In it, there's some discussion of Jon's ongoing quixotic quest to buy and play every computer game that comes out. He's saying that it's now getting to...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2010

Echo Bazaar: The Best Casual Web Game Yet

I'm sure, if you use Twitter, you've come across Echo Bazaar by now. It's the source of the peculiar tweets about bats, clay men, and gentlemen not using the word d--m. It is also an excellent casual game. Such that,...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 9:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2009

4 Quick Tips for Legends of Zork

Legends of Zork is a Kingdom of Loathing style online game - except it's not quite as punningly juvenile, it has some artwork, and it's connected, however vaguely, to the grand old Zork games. Go, sign up, do a few...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:06 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2009

Cow Level Access

The infamous cow level on Diablo is something I've never seen. In fact, there are loads of secrets, easter eggs, and cheat codes built into lots of games that I've never seen. So it's fascinating to discover an entire site...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 9:39 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2008

Retro & Future Videogames

There's an excellent article on Secure Immaturity about old videogames. I'm in a peculiar place on these; I played with a Commodore 64 when I was about 12, and a variety of Spectrum and Amstrad machines belonging to friends, and...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2008

State of the Games

I'm currently playing two MMOs, and running two tabletop games. I'm soon (all going to plan) going to be playing in another tabletop. World of Warcraft: The Shattered Sun dailies are still entertaining, and I fully expect Argent Dawn to...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:25 PM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2007

City Diorama

A colleague in work - a mysterious, "sexy and exciting colleague", he says, and who am I to disagree - pointed me at this city diorama. It's absolutely magnificent. Scroll down, too, for work in progress pictures. And according to...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)

October 30, 2007

Gaelcon 2007 Review

Gaelcon is over for another year, and I had a great time. I can't tell you how the organised events went, because as usual, I didn't play in any of them. But I hung around, talked to lots of people,...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:48 AM | Comments (1)

June 5, 2007

Blizzcon 2007 Beta Key: SCII or WoW 3.0?

Blizzard's Blizzcon 2007 site has mention of a beta key to an upcoming game for all attendees. The general speculation is that it'll be for Starcraft II, but since they're expected to announce the next World of Warcraft expansion there...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 3:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2007

Starcraft II Speculation

So in the wake of Blizzard's announcement of Starcraft II, everyone who's ever enjoyed RTS games wants to know - what's going to be in it?...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 8:20 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2007

Blizzard Announce Starcraft 2

As I predicted, the Blizzard Announcement was indeed Starcraft 2. It looks like it's going to be absolutely glorious. There's already a website up at Starcraft2.com, and there are screenshots there. Only the Protoss are depicted there as yet, but...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2007

8 Possible Games from Blizzard

Blizzard are to announce a new game at the Blizzard Invitational in Korea, on the 19th of May. Here's my thinking on what they'll announce, in increasing order of likelihood, and with some explanation attached....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 8:50 AM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2007

Make Your Own Boardgame

At a recent gaming convention (K2, a small residential convention in Kerry), I played almost nothing but boardgames (and, admittedly, some poker). This is what I usually do at Gaelcon as well, but the exposure over a few days and...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2006

CCP Buys White Wolf

Woah. CCP, the company who make EVE Online, have bought White Wolf Publishing. Here's the press release. The immediate expectation, at least for me, is that there'll be a White Wolf MMO coming out soon. Given the success of the...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 4:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2006

Orc Sports

With World Cup fever sweeping through the world, there's been plenty of emphasis on office sweepstakes, fantasy World Cup leagues, and other paraphernalia that, as my employer's motto has it, allow you to not just watch the game, but play...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:29 PM

May 27, 2006

Kingdom of Loathing

Kingdom of Loathing is a free turn-based "MMORPG" played through a web browser. It's mainly text-based, with illustrations of the stick-figure-on-a-beermat variety, and it relentlessly mocks the whole fantasy MMO genre - while being, bizarrely, a well-designed game. That's something,...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:57 AM

May 25, 2006

Bioware and E3

Bioware, makers of Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights, are up to something. This interview from E3 on MMORPG.com basically says "we can't tell you anything". There're a number of interesting comments, though. I quote: The primary high-level goal of BioWare...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:22 PM

May 21, 2006

Cultural Borrowings

There's an article on cultural borrowings in World of Warcraft on Terra Nova. I've been doing some thinking about this myself as I plot stuff for House of Worms, and I'm coming to the conclusion that I should be looking...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 4:17 PM

May 19, 2006

IGN on Myth, Legend & Literature

IGN have put up a five-page article on the influence of myth and literature in modern computer games. While it doesn't exactly dig deep, it has quotes from and short interviews with a number of developers, and it's a good...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 9:08 AM

May 12, 2006

War Front: Turning Point

I'm not quite sure of the background to this, or even what kind of game it is, but it looks like an alternate history WWII, with mecha and some odd-looking half-steam tech. Conceptually interesting, at least: War Front: Turning Point...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:16 PM

May 8, 2006

Axis of Interest

This hiatus thing is hard to hold together. I keep thinking of new and interesting things to do with games, and as fast as I close off plots in current campaigns, more open up where I'm not looking. One thing...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:52 PM

April 29, 2006


There'd be money for someone in a miniature painting and finding service. At least, I'd pay them. I'd even pay to rent the things. Y'see, I love miniatures. They're tiny, detailed representations of things that don't otherwise exist, and you...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 9:56 PM | Comments (3)

April 5, 2006

Heroes Online

Years ago, there was an online game called Battlefaeries. It was a very simple, very addictive game, consisting of equipping your faerie, and letting him loose against others. You could buy more equipment and armour, and compete with friends or...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 10:27 PM

The Escapist

I can't believe I didn't find out until now that there's an an Escapist blog....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 10:04 PM

April 4, 2006

Convention Scenario

I'm considering entering a tabletop scenario for Gaelcon, Ireland's main gaming convention. I've done so on a couple of occasions before, and been moderately successful with them (at least, people have said nice things about them). On the other hand, I like not being obliged to do anything at the convention, and being free to wander around and poke at things as I want.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2006

Epic Fantasy

Someone should really write a book on running high-powered, epic fantasy campaigns. I'd buy it. Failing that, I'll help write the thing - it would get some of the thoughts in my head in order on the subject. The main...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 4:39 PM

February 7, 2006

Class, Skill & Growth

I've been poking at a few concepts while working on the Starbound material, and one thing that's slowly coming to light is that, in some odd way, I'm not happy with class-based systems for RPGs anymore. For years, I've liked the way in which classes fit close to archetypes, which I've considered valuable for setting tone and style for fantasy campaigns. I'm starting to change my mind to the alternate - skills-based.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

November 4, 2005

Weather, Housing & Civilization

There were questions asked about where I heard about the housing and weather for World of Warcraft. Bad blogger, link to your sources! So here we go:
Posted by Drew Shiel at 10:34 AM

October 5, 2005

Playing The Game

For the last few months, I've been playing in a White Wolf game - a system where I know nothing about the rules, very little about the setting, and wherein my character sheet has dots, not numbers. It's great. And it's making me think about a few aspects of tabletop gaming, and my experience of them.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 10:35 AM

August 9, 2005


Another excellent gaming blog: Wonderland, by Alice. I do wonder why there are so many good blogs about gaming, and so few about sci-fi and fantasy?...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)

July 31, 2005


I don't know how I missed this for so long, but Greg Costikyan has a blog, called Games * Design * Art * Culture, which looks to be jammed with excellent reading....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005

World of Warcraft

On further inspection, this appears to be a good game. I'm not prepared to say that it's a better game than Dark Age of Camelot, but World of Warcraft has different strengths. One of these is down to the server rather than the game itself; there's no RP server for DAoC in Europe, and there are two for WoW. All comments here apply to the low levels, of course - I've not been at it long enough to reach a higher level than 14.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:32 PM

June 1, 2005

Social Cloth?

Anyone know what the term "social cloth" means in terms of MMORPGs? A site called mmhell.com uses it in their game summaries, as a feature that a game might or might not have, but there's no definition there. A few...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:33 AM

May 11, 2005

Getting Your Story Straight

One of the most important aspects of running an RPG well is being able to give the player an answer to any question - "Would there usually be bats in these tunnels?", to "What colour is the second gem on the scabbard of the Hegemon's dagger?". There are a number of time-honoured techniques for this - the best way probably lies in a combination of all of them as needed. I'll lay them out first, and then discuss when you should use each one.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:38 PM | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

The Art of GMing

I've been thinking lately about how you could teach gamemastering. I'm fairly certain that it can be taught - I've yet to meet an art form that can't. Sure, you need some native talent, or rather, you need not to be incapable of it. I can't think of many people who're incapable of it; in the end of the day, it's imagination and talking.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:21 AM | TrackBack

November 9, 2004

Arriving in Dark Age of Camelot

Last week, I finally got hold of a PC game called Dark Age of Camelot. It's a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) in the style of Everquest, Anarchy Online, and a host of others. I've found it to be far more attractive and far more interesting than either of the afore-mentioned, though, and I'm trying to work out why. I was sceptical about it at first - I'm not keen on having the theme of my games restricted to one genre or culture or the like, as any player in my D&D games will tell you.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 9:55 PM | TrackBack

July 17, 2004

Out Now and Coming Soon

I try not to pay too much attention to the listings of what books are coming out soon. I like to know what's there, of course, but sometimes, I'll see something coming down the line from a favourite author -...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack