- Blimey, we're getting so many updates over at Gamasutra and associated sites that I've decided to split the weekly round-up in twain for now - at least until this conglomeration of interesting developer shows finishes getting written up.

This time round, all of our features thus far are pretty neat - with the 'quality of life' piece by Paul Human already getting a lot of Internet chatter, the Square Enix WiiWare interview (with bonus questions by 1UP's Parish, ta!) and the Ernest Adams difficulty level piece all getting quite a bit of interest.

Also laced in there is coverage from a swathe of development-specific shows happening this and last week - including more Games For Health from Baltimore, the start of our Nordic Game write-ups from Malmo, Sweden (with notes provided by RPS' own Jim Rossignol), and even some specifics from the MMO-centric ION Conference in Seattle - and an EA Games write-up heralding the start of a bunch of San Fran-based press days, too.

Without further ado:

The Designer's Notebook: Difficulty Modes and Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment
"In Ernest Adams' latest Gamasutra column, he digs into difficulty levels in games, interestingly suggesting that player-set difficulty might be preferable to the imagined utopia of pure dynamic difficulty settings."

Quality Of Life? Does Anyone Still Give A Damn?
"How have 'quality of life' issues in the game industry improved since EA_Spouse's letter in late 2004? Gamasutra talks to the IGDA's Jason Della Rocca and the Spouse (Erin Hoffman) herself to analyze progress so far."

Content Kings: Square Enix's Shiraishi And Tsuchida On WiiWare And Risk
"WiiWare's flagship Western launch title may be (the pictured above) Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, and Gamasutra talks in-depth to co-creators Fumiaki Shiraishi and Toshihiro Tsuchida on building the city-building sim for Nintendo's download service."

Nordic Game Panelists Teach The Art Of The Deal
"How tough is it out there for an independent developer? Still not easy, with many major publishers still pushing "nonsensical, borderline-illegal contracts," said one panelist at the Nordic Game Conference, but execs from Epic, Microsoft, and Capcom gave sage advice for up-and-comers to learn the art of the deal."

Q&A: Firefly's Bradbury Waves PC Flag With Crusader, Dungeon
"For nearly a decade, Firefly Studios has been catering to PC-based historical RTS fans, and now, its teamed up with indie publisher Gamecock for Stronghold Crusader Extreme and the fantasy dungeon-crawler Dungeon Hero. Designer Simon Bradbury speaks to Gamasutra on the state of PC gaming and both titles."

ION Panelists Wonder 'Can We Create A Truly Global MMO?'
"With gameplay styles that still seem worlds apart, can the East and the West come together to create a truly global MMO? An ION Game Conference panel suggested changes could be on the way, though the differences are deep-rooted, as even the concept of 'Eastern' style play was hard to pin down - full coverage within."

Analysis: Did Electronic Arts' Showcase Spring It Forward?
"Electronic Arts' EA Games label held its first "EA Spring Break" event in San Francisco this week - and Gamasutra was there to speak to developers on how Riccitiello's 'new EA' is changing things, and analyze the buoyancy of the division for the rest of 2008."

Nordic: TT Games' Smith Talks Serving Children Better With Lego
""Children were badly served by the games they were being given," said TT Games head Jonathan Smith at the Nordic Game conference, explaining how TT made a difference in the genre with its Lego-themed titles, using actual play sessions with children over general focus tests, and the principle of the 'springy path'."

ION Panel Advises 'Design Games With Gold Farmers In Mind'
"When creating your MMO, design with gold farmers in mind, advised a panel at the 2008 ION Game Conference, who suggested that black market conversions are unavoidable, and that developers should take advantage of that inevitability from the start."

Games For Health: Noah Falstein On Exergaming History
"During this year's Games For Health conference, longtime game designer and consultant Noah Falstein (Sinistar) spoke on the history of exergaming, a segment that has recently seen great gains in exposure with Dance Dance Revolution but which has been a part of gaming (see: the NES Power Pad) for decades."