Project Update: Ostravia and Social Combat

Ostravia is a game set in 1202 near the geographical intersection of Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia/Moravia (modern day Czech Republic), and as such it has to consider several political structures, namely the fact that there really is a fair degree of social stratification in European society at this time. While it makes no claims to be incredibly solidly researched, Ostravia does care a fair degree about providing an authentic feel, and some of that is managing the social environment as such. Continue reading “Project Update: Ostravia and Social Combat”

Game Design: Eliminating Padding

One of the goals of a game designer is to create an engaging, challenging, and immersive experience that leaves the player filled with awe, wonder, and excitement. However, often that’s not what our games actually do; genres have fallen out of favor over this and it’s the sort of issue that becomes more and more relevant as our games are being targeted at an increasingly mainstream audience that doesn’t want to sit through fifteen hours of gathering materials for a MMORPG by killing the same monster ten thousand times. Continue reading “Game Design: Eliminating Padding”

Sunday Extra: Funding Teachers for Student Performance

I’m a future educator, and I’ve recently started my internship at a local school to get practice in my field before taking on a class of my own. Amid all this controversy over Common Core and other things that I’m not going to weigh in on (at least not today), I felt that one important thing to consider is why a lot of teachers get fed up when people talk about giving us money, and when they point to how “inefficient” our spending is as it stands. Continue reading “Sunday Extra: Funding Teachers for Student Performance”

Table Reflection: Finding a System that Works

One of the things that people often take for granted when playing a tabletop game is the fact that their game mechanics are almost always engineered for a series of specific goals, and this will greatly determine the ability of a Game Master to actually create a table environment that is conducive to the sort of play that is desired. The core reason for a lot of this is simply mechanical; like a video game, if the rules don’t match the desired outcomes, the game will fail. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Finding a System that Works”

Thursday Review: Dungeon Siege 2 (Part 2)

Welcome to the second week of my Dungeon Siege 2 review; we’ll pick up where I left off last week and begin to look more at the things that Dungeon Siege 2 did that were really interesting and saw a lot of echoes in later games as well as things that would be cool if more people actually took up.

Continue reading “Thursday Review: Dungeon Siege 2 (Part 2)”

Introducing Ostravia

Ostravia is the new official title for the ABACUS’s system upcoming Gothic fantasy game. It’s meant to be both an Orchestra-lite and an examination of how ABACUS can be tweaked to fulfill a variety of roles, and being a grim Gothic fantasy set in the times of the Fourth Crusade, it’s got a lot of interest to historians and scholars that a lot of fantasy games don’t have, namely that it is also an examination of the social and political structures of early 13th century Europe. Continue reading “Introducing Ostravia”

Game Design: Creating Immersive Antagonists

AI. NPC’s. Enemies. The majority of games do not put players into a truly solitary environment, rather favoring interaction between the player’s character and characters, and this usually involves interpersonal conflict. It’s important for designers to figure out ways to engage the player when working against these foes, because otherwise a main source of conflict would be moot. The creation of a solid antagonist really requires three main considerations; narrative, mechanics, and presentation. Continue reading “Game Design: Creating Immersive Antagonists”

Table Reflection: Rewarding Judgment

One of the most difficult things to do as a Game Master is to make sure that you are treating players fairly; in an experience as interactive and open as tabletop roleplaying it is critical to ensure that there is still a degree of equity at the table; not necessarily of outcome but certainly of opportunity. Outcomes, however, cannot be equitable in mechanical and narrative practice all the time, because some players will make better decisions or contributions than others, and to attempt to balance the players’ standing too closely will result in a lack of reward for clever or prudent play. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Rewarding Judgment”

Thursday Review: Dungeon Siege 2 (Part 1)

I’m doing something a little unusual this week because I don’t really have time, but I’m going to go back and review a game that’s pretty old that I just finally discovered, and actually do a case study on it as much as write a review of it. Normally I’d make this a game design thing, but that’s not going to happen right now.

Continue reading “Thursday Review: Dungeon Siege 2 (Part 1)”

Project Update: A Brief History of Educational Video Games

I have a pretty significant thing to put out there this week. For one of my classes I’ve been working on a Moodle e-class on the topic of video games and education, and it’s finally ready. I’d write more about it, but it pretty much will speak for itself. It’s not entirely finished yet (the core presentation I’ll be giving in class is, but about 20% of the secondary content is not), but it will be later today. You can find it through the following link:

Using the guest access feature will show all the content for the course.