Game Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: In The Sky, The Dungeon Master Reigns - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 29 min 56 sec ago
This week's roundup includes a look at Thatgamecompany's Sky, the rise of the professional dungeon master, and the far-ahead tech of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on N64, as well as the latest on No Man's Sky, Dead Cells, and lots more besides.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tools to manage Stadia's data usage are in the works, says Google

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 19 July 2019 - 9:10am

Andrey Doronichev, Google†™s Director of Product for Stadia, addressed some of the public's concerns in a recent AMA on the upcoming cloud-based game platform. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Make a Casual Mobile Game - Designing Sounds and Music - by Pavel Shylenok

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 19 July 2019 - 7:36am
Sounds and music are one of the most important parts of the game atmosphere - as equally important as visuals. However, all sound works are postponed for the very end. And that's completely wrong.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Audio Middleware: Why would I want it in my game? - by Theo Nogueira

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 19 July 2019 - 7:34am
On our current day and age of game development, almost all AAA game studios use audio middleware and so does a good amount of indie game developers. However, a lot of indie developers wonder what is it, where does it come from and why do they need it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

NASA Historian considers Kerbal Space Program - by Bob Whitaker

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 19 July 2019 - 7:31am
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Bob Whitaker talks with Dr. Roger Launius about Kerbal Space Program. Topics include the history of the Apollo Program, the Space Race, the Cold War, and Apollo 11.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Conventional Snacking

Gnome Stew - 19 July 2019 - 1:00am

Sometimes at cons I feel like the Templeton from Charlotte’s Web…

From the obligatory treats to share at game night to the nearly professional planning that some people put into convention supplies, we gamers really like our snacks. While I am not necessarily the best person to be giving advice on nutrition, I attend enough conventions to have some experience on the subject. After getting back from Queen City Conquest this past weekend, I thought it might be worth diving into the topic in relation to snacking (or eating in general) at conventions.

Most of us go into game conventions knowing our regular eating habits are going to be changed up for the duration, either a little or a lot. Maybe you’re not going to be eating as healthy as you do at home, maybe you’re going to be eating less frequently than you do at home, maybe there’s going to be a little more alcohol than normal. There are differences between large cons in big cities with many options or smaller cons with limited nearby choices for food or snacks, but your regular habits are still going to go off kilter.

It’s super easy to fall into unhealthy choices. The most convenient food to access or buy during conventions isn’t necessarily the best for you, leading to lots of fast food and few fresh, healthy options, and snacks are often just sweet or salty with little in between. Now, when you’re young and invincible, this might be just fine with a packed schedule of awesome gaming and not enough sleep, but as someone who is no longer young and absolutely not invincible, I can wreck myself during a convention if I’m not careful. I currently travel with an emergency supply of Tums, just in case. Not to mention, I know the crappier I eat, the larger the chance I’ll go home to develop a lovely case of Con Crud.

Here’s some thoughts on the subject:

  • Water, Water, Everywhere. All good convention guides or tips will remind you to stay hydrated, and this one is no different. I’m touching on this point first because it is really so crucial. You can get your caffeine in whatever manner suits you, and you do you when it comes to the bars in the evening, but absolutely keep a water bottle handy. Most hotels and convention centers will have water out for the attendees, so make sure you take advantage. Even smaller cons will often note where the water fountains are or have bottles of water on hand. I mentioned that whole not being young thing anymore, so let me tell you that getting dehydrated becomes harder and harder to deal with as you get older. So yeah, drink lots of water.
  • Healthy, Portable Snacks. While it seems easiest to load up on salty and sugary snacks, it is possible to bring some healthier snacks along with you. Celery sticks and carrot sticks are pretty easy to pack in small containers and actually keep quite well. Nuts are also quite portable and offer a relatively healthy boost. If you’ve got to mix in a bit of chocolate, make your own trail mix. It’s always nice to be able to choose what you want in the mix and not end up with a pile of what you don’t want left in the bag. I mean, raisins are fine but I don’t want THAT many in my trail mix.
  • Don’t Let Yourself Get Hangry. Regardless of what your plans are for meals, make sure you pack SOMETHING to snack on in times of need. No one wants a distracted or irritable player or GM that’s in need of a snack at their table. Having a granola bar or couple of pieces of candy to tide yourself over will go a long way to making sure you get through the con in one piece. Let’s say you’ve scheduled yourself two 4-hour games in a row and then plan on getting dinner after that. Well, 8ish hours can be too long for some folks to go without a snack. Be prepared to keep your energy and mood up so you can enjoy the games you’re there to play.
  • Go Easy on Yourself. I say this for two reasons. First, be kind to yourself. Maybe you intended to stick to your diet, but that goal went out the window on the first day of the con. Don’t beat yourself up over it. You can get back to your regular plans when you get home. Second, on the other side of the coin, don’t go completely hog wild with your choices. Just because you’ve decided to indulge doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a little kind to your body. Maybe the next choice after that deliciously cheesy and greasy order of pizza logs is a salad or something a tiny bit healthier.
  • People Eat Together. Eating together is one a major bonding mechanism we use to grow closer to our friends. Take advantage of being at a con with all kinds of awesome people to plan meals together and enjoy each other’s company. Another option is to bring enough snacks to share at the gaming table. I have a handful of friends who will bring bags of candy to share with whoever even glances at the bag of goodies. Another friend always makes sure he has a couple extra water bottles on him to hand to folks who look like they’re in need.

Ultimately, the Sunday of the con comes around and you’ll see the over planner trying to hand off the leftover snacks they brought. Even if they have a ludicrous amount to get rid of, I can guarantee you they’re happy they brought enough to share and make it through the convention with some tasty snacks.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

How Satisfactory's network optimizations keep multiplayer factories humming along

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 18 July 2019 - 11:34pm

Coffee Stain Studios' Gafgar Davallius reveals how Satisfactory is optimized for multiplayer while "handling a base with over 2000 conveyors, transporting thousands upon thousands of items." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ubisoft says porting games to Stadia hasn't been a costly affair

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 18 July 2019 - 10:36am

Ubisoft is one of the major players known to be bringing existing games to Google Stadia and the company says that, at this stage, doing so hasn†™t been incredibly expensive. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Satisfactory: Network Optimizations - by Gafgar Davallius

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 July 2019 - 8:13am
We recently released our second big Update for Satisfactory and one of the things we improved is network performance. Running huge factory simulations over the network poses a unique challenge and I'm here to share our approach on solving it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

My Roblox Years: Dungeon Life and New Product Science - by Jamie Fristrom

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 July 2019 - 7:31am
A retrospective on the years I spent developing professionally on the Roblox platform and how I attempted to apply new product science to game development there.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Seven Standards: 3. Gain Benefit - by Ben Follington

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 July 2019 - 7:23am
Allocate energy, effort, time and money to areas consistent with your own values and skills. Understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, goals and values allows you to find a place where you can work to your best. Insist on appropriate compensation.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Artist Dilemma in Game Development - by Josh Bycer

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 July 2019 - 7:22am
Is it better to design a game for art or one for money? We're talking the artist dilemma in today's post, and how the best designers can do both.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Pre-Mortem for VR Kickstarter “Paranormal Detective: Escape from the 80’s” - by Laura Tallardy

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 July 2019 - 7:22am
A quick summary of the prep & launch of our VR game Kickstarter campaign.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Writing Characters for Shadowgun Legends: Part Two - by Lee Adams

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 July 2019 - 7:20am
This is the second part of my article about writing dialogue and developing characters for the NPCs in our latest game, Shadowgun Legends...
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Coriolis: My Favourite Sci-Fi TTRPG

Gnome Stew - 18 July 2019 - 5:00am

For years, I’ve raved endlessly about Coriolis, a science fiction RPG by Fria Ligan (Free League) co-published with Modiphius Entertainment. It’s my favourite science-fiction tabletop roleplaying game of all time. Scratch that. It’s maybe one of my favourites irrespective of genre. There is something in the game for everyone. That’s why I rave about it at any given opportunity. Here’s why.

Choice. Character creation is one of my favourite parts of any tabletop RPG. PbtA playbooks read like branching stories – with your narrative changing directions as you select new moves and abilities. They differ from other styles of tabletop RPG in that playbooks come in different forms for a single game. In D&D, character sheets are not individualistic in structure. You’re led along a linear path of new abilities, with the narrative having little effect on how your character class changes. Meanwhile, Coriolis sits right in the middle. I very much enjoy the wide variety of character “concepts” – Artist, Data Spider, Fugitive, Negotiator, Operative, Pilot, Preacher, Scientist, Ship Worker, Soldier, and Trailblazer – presented to the reader. Now, unlike PbtA character sheets or D&D classes, your initial concept is more like a springboard into a unique creation of your choice. When you begin character creation, the loose concept you pick only has a mechanical bearing on certain skills you are particularly talented with and the strongest attribute you start with. But that’s really where it ends. You can pick any skill. Have any weapon. Be anyone. Like the idea of being a space archaeologist? Let the Scientist guide you in the beginning as you determine who you want your character to be through play. Want to be a corporate bodyguard? Pick the Operative if you want a more low-key background, or a Soldier if you want the military to figure heavily in your backstory.

Structured growth from freeform roleplaying. In many ways, tabletop roleplaying games are like real life. Like us, characters in tabletop RPGs encounter challenges, experience failure and triumph, and experience the world in a unique way. If we’re particularly lucky or insightful, we learn and grow from these experiences. In popular games like Dungeons & Dragons, player characters “grow” by obtaining “experience points” earned from overcoming challenges commonly taking the form of a combat encounter. See the antagonist. Kill said antagonist. Grow in ways unrelated to the mass murder you’ve just committed. In Coriolis, players improve their characters’ quantifiable skills and abilities in a much more self-reflective manner. The game system rewards players “experience points” by facilitating a structured debrief and discussion between players and the GM at the end of every gaming session This is based on the overall narrative actions of each character and not necessarily what they killed or how many challenges they overcame. Some of the questions asked include:

  • Did you participate?
  • Did you overcome a difficult challenge and help your group reach their goals?
  • Did you learn something new about yourself?
  • Did your personal problem(s) put your group at risk?
  • Did you sacrifice or risk something for a member of the group to which you share a close bond?

Especially when playing tabletop RPGs with strangers or family members, systems like D&D and Pathfinder causes players to become preoccupied with “doing things” to level up their characters. Games generally descend into, sessions of “if we kill this many _____, we’ll gain this much experience.” Experience and growth are reduced to the consequences of death. Learning becomes a task. A game like Coriolis can be used to encourage more self-reflective (yet, goal-oriented) roleplay. The structured end-of-session debrief and discussion is a great way to have players recognize the weaknesses and strengths of their characters, mediate their own problems, and identify how their actions and behaviours can positively and negatively affect others.

I do, however, have mixed feelings about the “Arabian Knights in space” description attached to this product. While on one end there are clear undertones of Orientalist themes. But on the other, it presents a fictional Islamic world in a way that doesn’t problematize religion or depicts Muslims unfairly. As someone who’s spent a lot of time living and working in a Muslim country, I can very much appreciate what this game does for fair and positive representation. Perhaps I’ll discuss this in a future post on its own. Needless to say, the freedom to which you are able to create characters, the emphasis on storytelling and complications, and an easy to learn, yet highly tactical combat system makes Coriolis a unique game. It lets you be what you want and do what you want, all while providing a scaling degree of structure. It’s accessible and highly reflexive, and that’s what’s really important when assessing the value of a tabletop RPG.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Imperfect GM: The Art of GMing War Part II

RPGNet - 18 July 2019 - 12:00am
A Castle Battle.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Odyssey and Siege push Ubisoft to a better-than-expected quarter

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 17 July 2019 - 10:34am

Ubisoft credits Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Rainbow Six Siege for that performance, two games that notably released before Q1 even began. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Revealed: The Most Demanded Languages For Game Localization (H1 2019) - by Dolly Dai

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 17 July 2019 - 8:05am
FIGS is not enough for game localization any more and has been joined by zhCN+brPT+RU to create a “Magnificent Seven Standard” in the loc industry, while Turkish, Malay, and Hindi demonstrated tremendous two-year growth.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Braid Behind the Scenes - by Sande Chen

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 17 July 2019 - 8:04am
In this article, game designer Sande Chen summarizes Jonathan Blow's session at the 2019 Taipei Game Developers Forum, in which he gave a behind-the-scenes look at the development of his game, Braid.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Guessing the Future with Patents - by Ryan Ward

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 17 July 2019 - 7:39am
Andrew F. Pratt and Ryan T. Ward of Venable LLP examine patents from three major companies within the gaming industry to predict what new technologies they are researching.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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