Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Intro, Difficulty and Complexity)

There are seven core tenets of game design that are equally applicable to both tabletop and video game creation. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be writing on all of these, which are:

  1. Difficulty and Complexity
  2. Presentation
  3. Setting
  4. Player Accessible Mechanics
  5. Player Inaccessible Mechanics
  6. Player Role
  7. Market Continue reading “Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Intro, Difficulty and Complexity)”

Sunday Extra: A Hint of Things To Come

I’ve never drawn out these guys’ logo before, and I don’t actually know if I’ve ever written much stuff to the public about them.


As a side note, the teaser is more in the art-style than in the image itself. In the Orchestra universe, Transsolar is a megacorporation that specializes in high-tech fields such as space flight and energy weapons. They’re known for their ruthlessness and massive resources; those with a focus on conspiracy theories speak of everything from aliens to World League sponsorship and more when discussing how they rose to power and prominence, though nobody can prove much about the corporation’s shadowy beginnings.

More certain, however, is Transsolar’s current influence in the world. While they do not maintain any major corporate enclaves (a sign that some would say reveals their allegiance to the World League; their only extraterritorial holdings are a small New Californian retreat), they employ just under a tenth of the world’s general workforce; mostly through lesser subsidiaries such as their consumer goods retailers rather than as a research branch. As far as faceless megacorporations go, they keep out of the public sphere-they’re known to the masses for their space research programs, while the academic world knows them as manufacturers of laboratory grade lasers, scanners, and other electronics.

Transsolar has many major defense contracts with the World League, but there are rumblings that they may be terminated soon due to unsatisfactory outcomes. Some people suggest that they kept the best results of their research for themselves, but other than unverified reports of a massive gunship attacking a military police train outside of Tokyo little is known for sure.

Table Reflection: Challenging versus Punishing.

“Your torch illuminates more of the dungeon past the cobwebs.”

“I lunge onward, ready to bring the goblin king to justice!”

“The ground gives way underneath you, dropping you into a pit of spikes. You had 20 HP left, right? Yeah, you’re dead.”

Most veteran roleplayers will immediately see what’s going on in this exchange-the Game Master has just killed a character with relatively little justification. Today’s Table Reflection will look at creating a gaming experience that is rewarding and challenging at the same time. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Challenging versus Punishing.”

Thursday Review: Shadowrun Fifth Edition

Today I’m starting a new weekly article, the Thursday Review. It’s a weekly thing where I’ll review something new, old, or plain interesting in terms of gaming. And today I’m starting off with the fresh-off-the-press Shadowrun Fifth Edition. It’s a great installment in the venerable Shadowrun series of tabletop games, and has a lot of new content and features that make it one of the best places to start in the wonderful world of runners and corporate infighting. Continue reading “Thursday Review: Shadowrun Fifth Edition”

Project Update: Why Stencyl?

When working with Defender of Azekal I had a few criteria other than it simply being an educational game. I’m a long-time supporter of free software, and though Stencyl itself isn’t FOSS it has a number of things that are very enticing from that perspective.

Continue reading “Project Update: Why Stencyl?”

Game Design: Free-To-Pay Games and Microtransactions

I’ve had a lot of friends ask me about what I think about free-to-play games, especially since I’m one of the few people I know who is willing to actually spend money on them. Admittedly, I come from the perspective of someone who grew up playing shareware games, so when I see a free-to-play game I consider them through much the same criteria, but here’s what I look at and the things that worry me about some modern free-to-play titles.

Continue reading “Game Design: Free-To-Pay Games and Microtransactions”

Extra: Planetary Annihilation Alpha Impressions

I’m in the alpha for Planetary Annihilation; I’ve mentioned Total Annihilation here before, and I was a pretty easy sell on a spiritual successor, especially one in which planets can be weaponized. Since I have alpha access, I think I’ll post up some of my impressions here; nothing too far on the technical side, but some stuff that I found interesting.

Continue reading “Extra: Planetary Annihilation Alpha Impressions”

Table Reflection: Genre and Style

I’m a featured reviewer at DriveThruRPG, and while I haven’t been reviewing a lot of games recently because of schoolwork, I’ve been getting ready to get back in the saddle, so today’s writing will be about what I’ve noticed when playing games, namely the difference between genre and style.

Continue reading “Table Reflection: Genre and Style”

Project Update: Deciding on Genre

As a game designer with a focus on the educational, one of the important things to consider is how to best present content, not only in terms of the educational aspects, but in terms of density and continuity, and how believably I can work in the elements to the game.

Continue reading “Project Update: Deciding on Genre”