Monthly Archives: October 2013

Thursday Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Enemy Unknown is a reboot to the X-COM series that attempts to modernize the gameplay and graphics but keep the things that made the series good. Being a modern recreation of an older game series serves it well, but also has some major flaws. All-in-all, the game’s pretty good, despite some noticeable differences and gripes. Continue reading

Project Update: Ostravia Progress October 2013

I figure that since I’m getting increasingly detailed on Ostravia (and I keep posting about it again and again), I should give people some idea of where I am. I’ll be keeping it pretty simple this month, because I’m quite honestly not at the point where anything is set in stone, or even particularly thick paper, but there are a few things that I can keep working from and developing.

Continue reading

Game Design: Characters as a Route to Immersion

One of the major gripes I’ve had as a games reviewer is that a lot of the time games just don’t get a passable story down. The main root cause of this is poor writing, but not necessarily even with regards to the narrative. I’ve seen incredibly complex narratives, such as Dishonored’s, fail not because the core narrative failed but because the characters as individual parts of it did.

Continue reading

Table Reflection: Dealing With Frustration

As a Game Master or player, you’ll likely encounter a lot of issues when it comes to the actual roleplaying experience. Obviously, there are the times when the mechanics come out against you, but there are also times when you run directly into an issue with other players, the GM, or the story as it has unfolded. In order to promote a great table environment, there are some things you should consider that will greatly improve the gaming experience of not only yourself but also everyone around you.

Continue reading

Thursday Review: Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution is the most recent game in the venerable Hitman franchise, and it prides itself on offering a modern assassination game that is somewhat unbound by the rules of reality, the things that made the past games great, and the fact that it manages to succeed as a game in spite of these, then fall flat in the middle of the story for no good reason.

Continue reading

Project Update: Designing ABACUS’s Event Philosophy

ABACUS is built to be an ultralight system that allows for a high degree of detail and flexibility. Put simply, it attempts to do everything for everyone without becoming too much of a burden, in part due to modularity and a universal design principle that focuses on parallelism and an easy to understand structure inspired by grammar and linguistics.

Continue reading

Game Design: Rewarding Play

Games have the unique function of being a learning experience that is self-driven; few games can really teach us anything outside of a moral lesson or point entwined with the narrative, but yet people will play a good game even if they must acquire new skills to do so. A major cause for this is the ability of games to reward play, exploration, and participation in a variety of ways, which means that players create an intrinsic value for the game without having to rely on any other system. Continue reading

Table Reflection: Avoiding False Choices

One of the things I notice a lot of GM’s doing when they’re making a game is providing false choices. That is, they assume that they know how every character will react in a context, and they fall into the trap of intentionally leading decisions. Unfortunately, this can backfire quickly; if a player gets stuck in the middle of a situation where there is no good choice left, they make “false choices” under duress, and then the whole process is likely to continue to spiral toward an increasingly dissatisfying experience. Continue reading

Thursday Reviews: Rogue Legacy and Blender 2.6 Cycles: Materials and Textures Cookbook

Today I have two reviews for you all, mostly because I couldn’t help myself and bit off more than I could chew, but also to celebrate Packt’s Columbus Day sale (see details below). Rogue Legacy is a “roguelite” Metroidvania styled game, whilst the lengthier titled work that I am also reviewing is a cookbook for materials and textures within Blender 2.6 (still compatible up to 2.68, I am happy to point out).

Continue reading

Project Update: Ostravia in Historical Context

Ostravia is somewhat unique in terms of the games available on the market in that it is alternate history with an eye to history; unlike most games out there which are either familiar alternate history (e.g. any of the dozen or so WWI plus zombies games out there), or fantastical history (Legend of the Five Rings), Ostravia is true to history and builds its narrative around it, rather than building a history around its narrative. Continue reading