Extra: Mercenary Kings (Early Access)

So yesterday I got an e-mail announcing the early access to Mercenary Kings, which I Kickstarted, and my Steam key. Needless to say, I was more than a little excited (I did, after all, think it was going to be good, and I did give them money). For those not in the know, Mercenary Kings is a Metal Slug-esque arcade shooter; imagine something that falls between a Castlevania game and the original arcade games in terms of pace; lots of bullets, lots of speed, character customization, and more. Continue reading “Extra: Mercenary Kings (Early Access)”

Table Reflection: Teaching New Players

One of the best things to do with any friend is to introduce them to a hobby they’ll enjoy-I’ve personally introduced several people to tabletop gaming, and a few more to specific games such as Shadowrun or the like. However, there are a few things that really help before you start to get people involved in the hobby; most people my age play video games and know the basics of what goes on in a tabletop game from references or video games heavily based on a tabletop system, like Neverwinter Nights, but don’t really have a real clue about how things work-they know about rolling dice and comparing numbers, but they’ve been doing the equivalent trying to learn a language by listening to it, rather than being engaged in the core of what they are doing they are merely gleaning an occasional number or the number of sides on a die (this isn’t always the case; but games that both explain and fully implement tabletop systems are rare). Continue reading “Table Reflection: Teaching New Players”

Thursday Review: Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds

Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds is a collection of adventures that are intriguing and provide a good starting point for prospective Shadowrun GM’s. They focus more on a complex mission rather than a simple one; they’ll take a fair deal of getting familiar with to run, and they involve fewer felonies than the average shadowrun, but not only do they show off SR5’s new things well and serve as a decent starting-off point for Shadowrun players. Unfortunately, they are not quite perfect, but they’re pretty good in general. Continue reading “Thursday Review: Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds”

Project Update: Rebooting Orchestra

Yeah, I’m not writing about Defender of Azekal today, because I’m still working on some system design stuff (namely how to handle loading of enemy data) that isn’t terribly interesting. For those interested, I’m working on arrays through a number of separate files that determine the enemies’ statistics and the animation they use for the battle. As I mentioned, trying to figure that out is probably not that interesting, unless you want to learn more about loading up lists in Stencyl, which I kind of doubt. Continue reading “Project Update: Rebooting Orchestra”

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”