In big sister site Gamasutra's weekly Best of Expert Blogs column, they showcase notable pieces of writing from members of the game development community who maintain Expert Blogs on the site.

Member Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while the invitation-only Expert Blogs are written by development professionals with a wealth of experience to share.

We hope that both sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information about the blogs, check out the official posting guidelines.

In this week's top Expert Blog stories, industry veterans write in depth about good game story, weapon balancing, and why frustration in games can be good:

This Week's Standout Expert Blogs

What Is A Good Game Story?
(Jeff Spock)

In this relatively brief post, writer Jeff Spock wonders what really makes a great story -- and a great video game story. He chooses not to propose any answers just yet, but the post's real value comes in the extensive comment thread that results, with many Gamasutra Blogs regulars (and Spock himself) tackling the issue at length.

Weapon Balancing Based On Gameplay Situations (Part One)
(Daniel Helbig)

In what promises to be a useful and practical design materal, designer Daniel Helbig tackles weapon balance, first citing other useful resources then delving into part one of a step by step guide, with part two forthcoming.

It's OK To Feel Frustrated
(Gabriel Lievano)

The general trend in game design over the last decade or more has almost inarguably gone towards attempting to reduce frustration for the player, in lieu of more accessible experiences. Gabriel Lievano argues that some degree of frustration in games may in fact be desirable.

Crowdsourcing Game Audio: Lessons Learnt
(Kes Thygesen)

Mexican indie studio Inovaz took a clever approach to audio design for its upcoming iPhone game Aztec Odyssey: it opened up composition to anyone who cared to try, then bought the best music for inclusion in the game. Here, Inovaz's Kes Thygesen shares how it went. (It went well.)

What Does It Cost To Play For Free?
(Neil Gower)

Free-to-play is all the rage these days. Programmer Neil Gower inquires into the real cost -- not financial, but in terms of design attitude and player experience.