As February draws closer, I’ve been working with redoubled effort on a CYOA-esque web implementation of Ostravia using the ABACUS Light ruleset. It’s not fully featured, but it’s something that is very much at the core of the project; as a way of learning about and teaching history, I want Ostravia to be accessible both to avid readers and players of roleplaying games and those who prefer their narratives fictional.
It’s generally well accepted that players who have an enjoyable social experience in game have a higher rate of coming back to a game and will generally enjoy it more than players who are alone, especially in a massively multiplayer environment. This requires designers to take a certain approach to the design of their games that is social play oriented, rather than just play oriented. Continue reading “Game Design: Encouraging Social Play Part 1: Scales of Play”
In the last installment of Play With Purpose, we looked at how to create an exciting and deep setting with an intentional “Reveal”, basically an important event that defines an end-goal of a less linear campaign. Today we’re going to look a little more into the players’ side of things, and look at the Motive.
Gunpoint is an interesting game. It starts out full of character, winds up feeling a little contrived and convoluted by the end, but still delivers solid gameplay throughout. Being essentially a film-noir stealth game with more gadgets, it has the full standard gumshoe attire, and an amazing soundtrack that manages both to have a deliciously rich jazz style and a marvelous cyberpunk style for the same songs. Continue reading “Thursday Review: Gunpoint”
This week I’ve mostly been working on some combat stuff, both for social and physical combat, in Ostravia. I also learned the basics of PHP, which is related to some of my more recent work in Ostravia. Long story short, it’s time to get really into crunch mode on the combat mechanics so I’ll have something to showcase in the Kickstarter.
One of the important things to consider as a game designer is that players approaching your game will consider things in the game environment as being very real; sometimes holding incredible amounts of value. As a result, it is important to consider the bad economic decisions that players will make in order to prevent frustration and regrets, encouraging players to have a more positive experience with the game. Continue reading “Game Design: Play Economics”
One of the most important tasks that a GM has in a tabletop game is coming up with the micro-scale setting. This is the sort of thing that adventure writers worry about most, but even if you’re just running a game for a few people and don’t want to use solely pre-written content for whatever reason, there are a few steps you can go through to make your content better.
Endless Space is a turn-based strategy game of space conquest. It’s somewhat interesting; I tend to like games with a lot of crunch, and it delivers both on high crunch and a high degree of abstraction. Endless Space delivers just enough intellectual stimulation to provide an engaging experience and provide a game that can be mastered, rather than just played. However, more importantly, Endless Space is also a game that is not particularly intimidating, falling somewhere more in the Civilization area of difficulty despite having a more emergent experience than most of the entries in that venerable series have.
Today I’m going to give a brief overview of the progress I’m hoping to make on Ostravia throughout the next couple months. Long story short, Ostravia has a somewhat inflexible “end” time of October. It doesn’t have to finish as a project at this point, but the historical bits and a functional game must be complete at this point. With that in mind, here’s my outlook:
One of the most immersive ways to offer player experiences comes in the form of open puzzles. As a designer, one of the best things you can offer your players is an opportunity to engage in meaningful play, and open puzzles provide an interesting mix of dynamically flexible content and a capacity for hand-crafted outcomes by allowing a number of solutions to a problem based on emergent solutions rather than explicitly pre-determined outcomes. Continue reading “Game Design: Open Puzzles”