So, a ways back a group of us from the Cleveland Institute of Art started a L4D campaign project, and subsequent blog to journal it from time to time. We decided to get together and begin producing a podcast as well, now available and called The Modcast: http://thescaperoute.wordpress.com (most recent post, w/ listening format of your choice). Essentially, what we cover is game design/theory, and then tie that in with modding talk, projects, processes, and perspectives on the practice. We also try to capture some peer-review in a way, so hopefully this community and others will find some interest in it as it develops. We're recording our 2nd episode this weekend (it's to be a monthly thing). The main discussion point this time is Difficulty in Games. Although, I invite everyone here interested to send some thoughts in via straight raw audio recording about it, if you'd like to be part of the interlude segment where I'm hoping to collage a handful of outside player thoughts. Some starting points to consider: For both TF2/L4D, but games in general, how have degrees of difficulty proven to reveal better or worse designs? Have there been any maps in particular from the community that stand out as choice examples of solid balanced gameplay? Have there been any particularly memorable characteristics, such as ease of navigation and rhythm of the level, cover, objectives, or even imbalance that really stick out? What about the stock TF2 maps from Valve? How do you feel achievements work into it now, and even class updates? What makes difficulty worthwhile for you in any game? Most importantly, what are some thoughts on challenge/difficulty in a group setting such as what TF2/L4D present. What are some games that you've felt fallen short of well designed team-experience, or perhaps ones that could've benefited from having it in the first place? Feel free to answer all or any singular point in that list - just to get you thinking more specfically. Please send all audio responses to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll take a listen and see what I could potentially work in. Of course, credit will be given at some point of the episode, just shout out your name or any info about yourself you'd like included, and your audio-thoughts of course. Thanks, and I hope people enjoy the podcast (the audio fidelity should grow throughout the next few episodes), and that we can fill in a nice space for the modding community, especially those using Source. If you'd like to just post a response here and have it included, I can pick a few to narrate myself and include if you're not handy with audio recording or don't have the hardware. If anyone needs tips on recording, please ask away as well.