Game Design

Stadia's free tier to launch at some point in 'the next few months'

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 7 February 2020 - 10:15am

Stadia launched to paying Founders and Premier Edition purchasers back in November, and the free tier billed as Stadia Base will open the service up to the general public in a matter of months. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tips for a beginner community manager. How to build social media and community for your game. - by Iuliana U

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 February 2020 - 7:42am
Any game that wants to find success, must communicate with it’s players. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of social media platforms available to you.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game Dev Digest Issue #30 - Cheatsheets & Checklists, Perf & A11y, Sprites, 2D Shadergraph, Free Effects, Plus More - by Mike Marrone

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 February 2020 - 7:42am
Game Dev Digest Issue #30 - Cheatsheets & Checklists, Perf & A11y, Sprites, 2D Shadergraph, Free Effects, Plus More. The latest from the free weekly Unity3d/gamedev newsletter.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How Subscription Services Have Changed the Video Game Industry - by Jori Hamilton

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 February 2020 - 7:39am
With so many subscription services changing the way we consume content, what does it mean for gamers? Are there benefits for gamers and developers and are traditional gaming formats dead? This article will address these questions and more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ministry of Broadcast on Tinder-date publishing, dictatorship of narrative, and walls people like to build - by Oleg Nesterenko

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 February 2020 - 7:39am
Ministry Of Broadcast is a cinematic platformer mixing Orwell’s 1984 with modern reality TV. Find out how the team behind it found the right publishers, tied gameplay and mechanics to the story, and made their game stand out in the crowded genre.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Recurrent consumer spending made up 37% of Take-Two's $930 million Q3 revenue

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 February 2020 - 2:44pm

Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and NBA 2K games continue to reap rewards for Take Two Interactive. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Activision Blizzard saw $6.49 billion in revenue during 2019

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 February 2020 - 1:36pm

Activision Blizzard as a whole generated $6.49 billion in net revenue during 2019, with $4.93 billion of that revenue coming directly from digital sources. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Foreven Worlds: Careers Beyond the Claw (MGT 2e)

New RPG Product Reviews - 6 February 2020 - 10:06am
Publisher: Mongoose
Rating: 5
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.

As an aside: Man, it’s been too long since I got to review a Traveller supplement! I really love this game.

So, we get new careers here, and the book explains them all in the beginning, before going on to depict them. All careers have in common that they have a DM -1 for every previous career. System guards also have a DM-2 if aged 34 or more.

The first career would be the Athlete – the assignments covered here are electronic, physical and vehicle sports, with qualification being DEX or END 6+. Interesting: The Career Progress for e.g. electronic sports requires EDU 5+, and DEX 7+, vehicle sports requires INT 5+ for survival, SOC 7+ for advancement. These career progress notes are provided for all careers, just fyi. 7 ranks of muster out benefits are provided per job (including cash), and each career comes with 6-entry skills and training notes that list proper personal development benefits and service skills. Provided you have a minimum EDU of 10, you also have 6 advanced education entries here – all of the careers feature this. The three assignments each come with 6 entries as well – vehicle sports could, e.g., be vacc suits, while physical sports might be recon or even carousing.

Progress in ranks is noted in its own table, with 6 ranks provided – vehicle sports would e.g. net you Drive 1 or Flyer 1, Persuade 1 and SOC+1 over its course, while physical sports would net STR+1, END+1 and SOC+1. These make sense to make, and from some names for a couple of ranks to the benefits, these made sense to me. A 6-entry mishap table and a d66 event-table complements each of these jobs.

To give you an example regarding the Athlete: Among the mishaps, we have exposing corruption among the owners, which results in not being hired anymore, illegal drug use, or standing up for a cause the public doesn’t like – these mishaps can also have benefits. The latter, for example, reduces your SOC by 1, but also nets you D3 Contacts! I like these as conductive to roleplaying and character development.

Events can range from a mishap sans being ejected, and also some risky bits – such as e.g. being offered performance enhancers, which might blow up in your face…or not. You might gain a Rival, or your clubbing nets you some seedy tricks, like Streetwise 1, Carouse 1, etc. You might gain an experienced promoter, noble contacts, etc. These are surprisingly diverse and mechanically (and roleplaying-wise) interesting.

The second career is customer service, which requires INT 4+, and uses assignment skills instead of Service Skills. The assignments featured are company representative, corporate prostitute and waitstaff. At this point: Kudos for a tasteful and non-explicit rendition of sexwork! For Survival, these require INT 4+, END 6+ and DEX 5+, respectively, with SOC 8+, SOC 6+ and EDU 7+ required for advancement. At the 6th rank of personal development, we have Jack-Of-All-Trades here, which makes sense. Company Rep and corp prostitute btw. share the ranks and bonuses, which, I admit, makes sense.
The mishaps here are interesting as well: Sticking up for a co-worker might cost you both your jobs, but also nets you an increase of Advocate by one level, and an Ally. Conversely, the event table here may net you an Enemy among the customers. Toxic work culture can happen, and you might, by accident, kick the president’s dog – which might net you a Rival, but also Animals and Steward increases by one level. I also liked the emergency entry – on a successful DEX 5+, you gain Medic 1…on a failure, you roll twice on the Injury table and take the lower result, but become better known – gaining SOC +1. The entries are plausible and make sense, and yes, they include streaming.

The Frontierist might be archaeologist, prospector or terraformer, and required EDU 6+, with EDU 5+, DEX 6+ and EDU 5+ requires for survival, respectively. For advancement, we have SOC 7+, INT 6+ and END 7+ - which, once more, make sense to me. In this career, the dispersal of skills and training is particularly nice: Electronics, Science, Gun Combat, Broker, Mechanic, Investigate for the prospector? Makes sense. The mishaps here are particularly interesting if you’re like me and sometimes lean towards running an experimental solo-adventure – you can be left for dead, for a year, as one of the Mishaps, and running this as a one-show survival? Heck yeah. Among the events, we have incarceration due to being thought of as a spy, and uncommon issues, like the encroachment of civilization interfering with your work – nice!

The medical professional requires INT 6+, and the assignments are surgeon/nurse, long-term caregiver, physical therapy, with EDU 4+, END 6+, EDU 5+ being required for survival, respectively. For advancement, we need EDU 8+, SOC 6+ and INT 7+. Once more, there is obviously a LOT of thought that went into these – long-term caregivers can get, for example, Mechanic and Electronics as well. For ranks and bonuses, to give you an idea, the physical therapist not only gets Medic 1, but also Athletics 1 and Admin 1. As for mishaps, they similarly make perfect sense for the career: Being friends with a couple of medical professionals, I can attest that burnouts in particularly make sense. In the event section, we have also some rather cool ones, such as medical care used as art.

Finally, system guards have a Qualification of INt 6+, commission SOC 8+, and is used instead of the Navy/Scout careers on the Draft table in the Foreven Sector. The assignments are crew/line, inspectors, and planetary patrol, with DEX 7+, INT 6+ and INT 5+ required for survival, and EDU 5+, EDU 6+ and EDU 7+ required for advancement, respectively. Special here: Beyond the personal development, service skills and advanced educations, we have an additional column of skills and training for officers (Comm only). Kudos! The mishaps here respect the harsh realities of the job – a comrade might die for you; you might be fired by accident as an admiral’s last order, but come out of this with the repentant admiral as a Contact…you get the idea. The events include inspections, being adrift in space for a while, or finding an abandoned ship.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules language level. Layout adheres to roughly a 2-column standard, but ultimately, everything is subject to the demands of the table. The supplement is laid out in a pretty printer-friendly manner, with white background. The artworks used range in quality from high (vast majority; see cover for the style used) to somewhat uncanny valley (the final one for the system guard is a CGI piece I really didn’t like). The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, making navigation simple, smooth and painless.

Dale McCoy Jr.’s career collection was a pleasant surprise to me; I expected a well-designed offering, but this manages more, namely that difficult tight-rope walk between being universally applicable and widely-useful, and yet maintaining pronounced and interesting roleplaying angles. There is always a chance inherent in the mishaps, one that makes sense; from the survival and advancement requirements to the personal skills to the muster out benefits, this book shows that a lot of genuine thought went into these. The careers may be crunchy, but they offer a lot of roleplaying opportunities, and going in-depth, are on par regarding their benefits as well. All in all, a great little supplement, well worth checking out. I am pretty much bereft of means to complain about this, and the material works in play; there is so much care in the small details here – not necessarily evident at first, but once you get into it, you notice how carefully this was crafted. My final verdict will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ubisoft's net bookings beat expectations, though still down from last year

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 February 2020 - 9:21am

Ubisoft reported €455.5 million in net bookings for the quarter ending December 31, 2019, a figure that†™s down 24.8 percent year-over-year but about €45.5 million higher than Ubisoft was expecting. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

When a Story Becomes the Game: Investigating the Importance of Narrative in Games - by Randen Banuelos

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 6 February 2020 - 7:35am
Suspenseful dramas, arcane lore, wars dating back thousands of years, all can now be properly depicted in games. But how does a story's importance play out in the grand scheme of things, and what does it excel at? This article analyzes this idea and more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Junglee Games — The Journey from being a Trend Follower to a Trend Setter! - by Rajeev Varma

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 6 February 2020 - 7:35am
This post gives a sneak peak on how Jungle Games, the fastest growing skill gaming company in India operates from the eyes of its president, Kapil Rathee, in the form on Q&A with Rajeev Varma
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Rock Stars vs Superstars at Work - by Richard Atlas

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 6 February 2020 - 7:34am
This blog talks about the difference between "rock stars" and "superstars" on your team, and hopefully inspires you to think about how you manage these types of people.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gnomecast #85 – Decuma Interview with Kimi Hughes

Gnome Stew - 6 February 2020 - 5:00am

Join Jared and special guest Kimi Hughes of Golden Lasso Games for a discussion about Kimi’s new game Decuma, on Kickstarter now!

Download: Gnomecast #85 – Decuma Interview with Kimi Hughes

Check out Decuma, crowdfunding on Kickstarter through March 3rd, 2020.

Follow Kimi at @GoldenLassoGirl on Twitter and @GoldenLassoGirl on Instagram, and check out her other work at Golden Lasso Games and Happy Jacks RPG.

Follow Jared at @KnightErrant_JR on Twitter and check out his blog What Do I Know?

Keep up with all the gnomes by visiting gnomestew.com, following @gnomestew on Twitter, or visiting the Gnome Stew Facebook Page. Subscribe to the Gnome Stew Twitch channel, check out Gnome Stew Merch, catch the Gnome Stew YouTube channel, and support Gnome Stew on Patreon!

For another great show on the Misdirected Mark network, check out She’s a Super Geek!

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video: Why forums can be great for indie discoverability and community

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 5 February 2020 - 1:02pm

In this 2019 GDC talk, Stray Fawn Studio's Philomena Schwab explains how forums (and useful plugins) can still be useful for indie devs looking to build stable online communities around their games. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Will Wright returns to GDC this year with a talk you won't want to miss!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 5 February 2020 - 10:58am

Legendary game designer Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims) will be at GDC 2020 next month to tell you all about what he's working on now, what he's learned, and how it all ties into game design! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Post-launch Steam data: Cultist Simulator in numbers - by Lottie Bevan

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 February 2020 - 9:19am
What a whole load of Steamworks traffic data taught me about marketing Cultist Simulator after launch.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Moodlists; Making Better Playlists

Gnome Stew - 5 February 2020 - 7:30am

I believe anyone would agree that the right kind of music can improve any given situation. However I find that it’s done too similarly to video games; scenes and situations are given one song to codify them. That sort is often insufficient and distracting in tabletops as is, but scenes are typically measured in hours, not minutes. With this article, I’d like to introduce to you how I make playlists based on moods, and how a bit of effort can go the distance, and last you an eternity.

The Current Situation

Most gamemasters I’m aware of in the modern age produce playlists of two sorts: they either have lists of ambient noises(such as taverns and fields), or they have a single song tied to each situation.

Ambient noises are interesting in that they are included in order to improve immersion. This can work for gentle and immersive scenes, but, however, I find that all it does is fill up background noise in a manner that does not capitalize on the ability to ascribe emotional meaning to a situation.

On the other hand, having a single song can add emotional quality to a situation. This is common to the experiences of gamers used to Original Sound Tracks (OSTs). However, it doesn’t translate incredibly well to the timespan of tabletops. A scene in-game that lasts only a few minutes is easily half an hour to an hour or more in a tabletop. Those emotional 3-minute songs end up being replayed 10, 20, 30 times before the scene shifts.

Which gets dull really, really quickly.

Moodlists at work!

Di’s Moodlist Proposal

I prepare playlists based on one simple idea: Moods.

In essence, it’s about trying to capture the right overarching feeling and emotion of the scene. The exact song doesn’t matter as much as the general tone of the unfolding events. It sacrifices a bit of that ‘perfect song for the perfect moment’ for a bit of overall ease and less fiddling with your music bars. The GM does so much already so you should be trying to reduce the amount of work you’re doing whenever you can!

You don’t have to do the moods I have here; rather, you choose the sort of moods you want in your own game. Personally, I tend to populate these moodlists with video game or anime OSTs. Specifically, the instrumental songs lacking vocals. Often at the table, there are already 6+ people clamoring to talk over one another—why add another?

When I fill my moodlists I can often find a single song fitting several moods. For example, the amount of times I have “Forest” and “Peaceful” songs overlap is rather high. In these cases, I tend to lean on only having it in one of the moodlists, but will place it in multiple if the situation calls for it.

When I play these, I put them completely on random, allowing the songs to cycle through the plethora of songs available. In order to get a good variety of songs, I tend to have a minimum of 10 songs per moodlist, but my “Cutscene” and “Peaceful” ones have nearly 30 apiece.

The Last Note

The main major downside behind this is that it takes quite a bit of time to generate these lists. You need to listen to a large amount of music and effectively sort it into your games. Plus, if you want your different campaigns to have certain tones, you’re going to have to generate several full-on campaign-specific playlists. This can eat up a lot of time sorting music, a lot of money buying OSTs, and a lot of space on your mp3 players. Honestly, I have a 16gb tablet I mostly only use to store music and browse the internet.

On the upside, however, with a bit of time and effort, these moodlists can last you far more in the long run. The main one I use for fantasy has lasted me 2-years so far and I haven’t found a pressing need to improve on it aside from the incidental updates. With less fiddling with music, you can even delegate one of your players to change the music! Just tell them to change to “City, Lively” and be on your way! Plus, every once in a while you get a situation where the mood epically changes to a critical hit.

And trust me: for your players that’ll feel really really good.

-Di, signing out

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Five important realisations about game balance - by Joost van Dongen

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 February 2020 - 7:15am
This post discusses some of the most interesting things we've learned about balance during development and live operations of our competitive multiplayer games Awesomenauts and Swords & Soldiers 1 & 2.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GeForce Now: Nvidia implements aggressive pricing to consolidate cloud gaming position

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 4 February 2020 - 1:18pm

Industry analyst and IHS Markit Technology games research head Piers Harding-Rolls explores the potential impact and expectations of Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud-based game streaming service. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Now out of beta, GeForce Now offers cloud-based streaming of owned Steam and EGS games

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 4 February 2020 - 10:06am

Nvidia's Stadia competitor GeForce Now allows its users to stream their own games to other devices, completely dodging potential concerns over an unappealing launch library as it exits beta. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

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