Game Design: Learning from Failure

Failure is a great tool for a game designer; it is another way to figure out what we don’t want to do when we’re working on a game. Whatever part of the game design process you fall into, it’s important to be able to recognize, assess, and grow from failure, whether it’s as a programmer, mechanics designer, level designer, or even an artist.

Continue reading “Game Design: Learning from Failure”

Table Reflection: Cheating at the Table

Cheating in games is considered one of the prime misbehaviors to occur in a roleplaying experience. As a long-time GM, I’ve seen all sorts of cheating, and there’s probably more that I didn’t see going on. However, as a GM, I’ve learned that the solution to cheating is not necessarily just going and cracking down on players who fudge stuff, but rather to make sure that you create an environment where cheating is not a naturally desirable behavior.

Continue reading “Table Reflection: Cheating at the Table”

Thursday Review: Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages

Ring Runner (sometimes stylized RingRunner) is an indie 2D space combat game focusing on an epic space adventure imbued with quirky humor. It’s actually a refreshing breath of fresh air in a genre that hasn’t seen many good releases recently, and while it’s not the size and scale of a triple-A title, it has a lot of bang for its buck and it’s got some nice features and charm that hasn’t been seen in the market recently.

Continue reading “Thursday Review: Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages”

Project Update: The Political Structure of Ostravia

The hierarchal structure of Ostravia is based off German feudalism, which is in part because that’s not so far off of the Polish system but also because Ostravia’s political realities reflect a pitifully weak monarchy with princes that really vie for most of the power. For the sake of Ostravia, there are three major principalities within the boundaries of the royal kingdom of Ostravia. This is somewhat subject to change as the project draws on, but it serves as a foundation for characters and their social personae, motivations, and background.

Continue reading “Project Update: The Political Structure of Ostravia”

Game Design: Working With Randomness, Balance, and Narrative

One of the greatest things that I hear people complaining about in games is the random element of them. And, truth be told, many games with random elements handle them wrong; the random number generator may be faulty or the randomness only serves to force repetition. However, randomness is also a great tool in a game designer’s toolkit; it turns a simple challenge of execution into a risk and reward analysis, and can add great amounts of depth and replayability to games.

Continue reading “Game Design: Working With Randomness, Balance, and Narrative”

Table Reflection: Dealing With Writer’s Block

One of the greatest things that I’ve seen kill campaigns is the same plight that many writers and authors face: “Writer’s Block”. It’s a major problem, especially if the GM is the central driving force in the campaign.  At a certain point, either they can’t work through the current issues they’re facing or they don’t have the willingness to continue with the campaign because they’ve lost interest.

Continue reading “Table Reflection: Dealing With Writer’s Block”

Thursday Review: Risk of Rain

Risk of Rain is one of the few modern “roguelike” games that fall outside the genre that I accept as having a firm foundation in traditional roguelikes, perhaps more faithful than other games. I could get into the Berlin Interpretation and look further, but the truth of the matter is that Risk of Rain follows the conventions well; it’s a difficult but rewarding game that pushes the player’s skills to the limit while testing them in various ways. Don’t let its hardcore nature push you away, though, it’s a game that’s rewarding in many ways. Continue reading “Thursday Review: Risk of Rain”

Project Update: Ostravia (Lots of Housekeeping)

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do a whole lot on Ostravia this week. I’ve been pretty busy with a lot of stuff, and I’ve mostly come down to getting correspondence about doing it as an honors thesis and stuff like that, and not so much to the actual work on Ostravia itself. Still, I’ve had some progress.

Continue reading “Project Update: Ostravia (Lots of Housekeeping)”

Game Design: Managing Scale

One of the easiest ways for a game designer to damage their games is to pay too little attention to the methods by which they design the mechanics of the game. The flaw that comes up the most when I see it is a failure to correctly scale games’ mechanical structures in relationship to each other. Often, developers get lazy and use exponential or even linear scaling in their games and don’t realize the impact that their actions have on the difficulty and balance of their work.

Continue reading “Game Design: Managing Scale”

Table Reflection: Dealing With Indecision

One of the things that can bring a campaign to a halt is when the players are all divided on their goals and cannot make a constructive decision to handle their progress through the campaign. It’s a problem that can plague even a good game, and it frustrates everyone in the group equally. Fortunately, someone who knows what to look for can navigate their path past indecision and continue the game constructively without causing hard feelings or ruining the narrative.

Continue reading “Table Reflection: Dealing With Indecision”