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Looking Glass Studios Interview Series - Audio Podcast 8 - Marc "Mahk" LeBlanc

Part 7 of a continuing series, where I interview members of the now-defunct but highly influential Looking Glass Studios (1990-2000), which wrote the book on 3D first-person narrative game design throughout the 90s, in such games as Ultima Underworld, System Shock, and Thief.

This week is Marc "Mahk" LeBlanc. Marc was a programmer/designer at Looking Glass for most of the company's life, and was one of the major voices in shaping the overarching design aesthetic of the company. This is partially what lead to Marc being a thinker, writer, and educator on game design, developing the MDA framework (Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics) as a simple tool for creating emergence-centric games. I talk with Marc about his time at Looking Glass, how he remembered dealing with simulation, fiction, and emergence across various projects, and how those lessons and strategies have filtered out into the rest of the games industry after the company folded.

If you ever wanted to know how performance-enhancing drugs can help you in System Shock or what the exact difference is between the design philosophies of Deus Ex and Thief, give it a listen.

Download the podcast here.


On November 11, 2011 at 5:38 AM, Author Profile Page said:

Regarding Doom and Wolfenstein being stripped down games, vs Underworld being a deep simulation, I believe if you back and look at the Doom "press release design document", which I think was around a year before Doom was released, they had planned on a lot more complexity (computer terminals etc) -- all of which they stripped out either to save time or to focus the design.

So I think to some extent it really was in the zeitgeist, even down at Doom which you might normally think of as the anti-Underworld.

-- Sean Barrett

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