Game Design

Analyst: Nintendo passes $1 billion revenue on mobile, largely thanks to Fire Emblem

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 28 January 2020 - 12:56pm

According to data gleaned by mobile analyst Sensor Tower, Nintendo has officially crossed $1 billion revenue generated on mobile, a platform it really only started to embrace a little over three years back. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Pokemon Home keeps cross-platform cloud storage in the mix with free, paid tiers

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 28 January 2020 - 9:49am

Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have unveiled more information about Pokemon Home will continue the cross platform storage promise set forth by Pokemon Bank during the height of the 3DS. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

PSA: Tomorrow's your last day to get your early registration discount for GDC 2020!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 28 January 2020 - 8:57am

Early registration for the 2020 Game Developers Conference ends Wednesday, January 29th at 11:59 PM Pacific, so take the opportunity to save money on your pass by registering now at a discounted rate! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Rescue Memory on Disabled GameObjects Without Destroying Them - by Ruben Torres Bonet

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 28 January 2020 - 7:54am
Upset at Unity's greedy behaviour? Stop this engine from stealing your memory on disabled game objects. You can do this with Unity: Save Memory now.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to display in-game messages with Unity Particle System - by Tom Safarov

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 28 January 2020 - 7:52am
A Unity gamedev guide by RocketBrush studio programmer Timur Gadeev.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Most Featured iOS Apps and Games Across the Globe - by Kate AppFollow

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 28 January 2020 - 7:37am
We have conducted research to find out which apps and games Apple’s editors give preference to. We have analyzed over 3,000 apps and games that appeared on the App Store's main page across the globe between January and December 2019.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Imperfect GM: Shared GMing

RPGNet - 28 January 2020 - 12:00am
How do you share GMing duties across two or more people?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Torchlight successor pivots away from free-to-play following alpha feedback

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 27 January 2020 - 12:54pm

The planned free-to-play Torchlight successor Torchlight Frontiers is undergoing a significant shift ahead of launch, and will instead launch as the premium Torchlight III. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

One single EVE Online ship sale raises over $30,000 for Australian fire relief

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 27 January 2020 - 11:01am

Proceeds from the sale will, as with other PLEX for Good donations, be put toward a real-world cash donation made to the Australian bushfire relief efforts. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Cast your vote in the 2020 IGF and Game Developers Choice Audience Awards!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 27 January 2020 - 10:11am

Online voting for the Audience Awards for both the 2020 Game Developers Choice Awards and the Independent Games Festival Awards is now open through next Monday, February 10th at 11:59pm PT! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

5 Tips For More Engaging Visual Novel Soundtracks - by Darrell Reconose

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 January 2020 - 7:58am
If you're developing a visual novel - or any game that is primarily focused on character-driven story - then these five tips will help you target your soundtrack planning to make the most engaging soundtrack for your game at any budget.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How your Support Team Can Help Developers - by Vasiliy Sabirov

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 January 2020 - 7:57am
How your support team can help developers in solving problems with your product (an app or a game)? Here I discuss ways of improving your support on data collection and data submitting.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Devlog 0 - How I Got Started, A Case Study - by Aaron Maus

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 January 2020 - 7:41am
A down in the weeds devlog on how to get started.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

A Wild Jellyray Appears!: How a new creature enters the underwater alien ecosystem of Aquamarine - by Patric Fallon

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 January 2020 - 7:39am
Probably my favorite part of developing my hand-drawn survival adventure Aquamarine is designing a new creature for its underwater alien ecosystem. Here's an in-depth look at the process of creating one of our game's most recent additions.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

UK lays out standards for handling children’s data - by Paul Lanois

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 January 2020 - 7:38am
On 21 January 2020, the UK’s data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office, published a set of design standards for Internet services, which are intended to help protect the privacy and safety of children online.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Destroying Clever Maps

Gnome Stew - 27 January 2020 - 5:00am

In the early days of published adventures, quite a few dungeon features were used in a clever* manner to add confusion to the mix. This confusion was largely placed on the shoulders of the players, especially those that tried to create a player map to track where the party had been and where they need to go. This level of “cleverness” did nothing more than up the frustration levels of the players without really challenging the characters. In addition to being frustrating, they really weren’t all that plausible in the first place. Let’s talk about some of these implausible dungeon features.

Imperceptible Slopes

I put this one at the top of my list because it always gets my goat when a GM (or adventure creator) deems a slope to be too gentle to be noticed by someone walking on it. Then, when you look at the map, the slope covers a 20 foot decline into the next dungeon level, but is only 60 feet long. How can this be “imperceptible?”

 A 12 inch rise ramp must be at least 12 feet long. Share3Tweet1Reddit1Email

The American Disability Act declares that for a slope to be considered wheelchair accessible it can’t be taller in inches than it is long. In other words, a 12 inch (1 foot) rise ramp must be at least 12 feet long. It’s preferable that it be even longer for ease of access. These slopes are clearly noticeable by anyone on them or observing them from either end.

Let’s go back to my example. A 20 foot decline comes out to 240 inches. This means for the slope to meet ADA requirements, it needs to be 240 feet long, not a mere 60 feet. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that for a slope to be truly imperceptible, it would need to be at least 6 times longer than ADA requirements, maybe more. That’s a slope that’s 1,440 feet in length. That’s about a third of a mile.

Spinning Rooms/Floors

 This leads to a player cleverness vs. GM cleverness battle. Share3Tweet1Reddit1Email

There are rooms and/or intersections with floors that rotate in a manner that confuse the mapper and players. Sometimes this is done in a manner that is so violent that the resulting facing of the party is unknown. I’ve also seen it described where the entire dungeon rotates around the room while all four doors are closed, so the party doesn’t know that the orientation of the passages on the other side of the doors is known shuffled.

This, quite honestly, leads to a player cleverness vs. GM cleverness battle. The players, once they are aware that their perception of relative space is being messed with, will start chalking walls, doors, and floors with symbology and numbers to allow them to easily figure out where they are at all times. The discussion of “our standard operating procedure” is to chalk arrows in the direction we ware walking and sequential numbers on each arrow is a waste of time and really not fun for most folks. Then, once the party is lost in the cleverness, there is the ensuing conversation to figure out which arrow and number combination they come across next. That’s bookkeeping of minutiae, not role playing or storytelling.

Undetectable Elevators

This is similar to the imperceptible slope in that the adventure states that the players are being lowered deeper into the dungeon (which in those days meant increased danger and higher rewards for survival), but they can’t tell they are being lowered down because the elevator is moving so slowly. Of course, there was usually a caveat that if the party had a dwarf with them, then the dwarven character could detect the movement through some mystical connection to the earth or some such that’s never explained.

I don’t know about those of you out in Gnome Stew land, but when even the slowest elevator in the world starts to move, I feel it in my guts (if going down) or in my knees (if going up). I’ve been on some really slow elevators in Europe, too.

The undetectable elevator is something I can’t get behind as a gimmick to confuse the players.

Alternatives

There’s magic in the world. Use it! Share3Tweet1Reddit1Email

Of course, all of these methods are there to confuse the players or trick them into thinking they’re safely on level one of the dungeon when they’re actually on level three. There are approaches to getting players into lower levels without being secretive about it, but still forcing the issue. Here are a few of my favorites:

In the original Ravenloft adventure, a panel in a long hallway would fold into a ramp and drop one character (maybe two if the second person was quick enough to react) onto a slope that eventually slid the character(s) into the depths of the castle. This forced the party to explore deeper and faster. It also intentionally split the party, so they could more easily fall prey to Strahd’s machinations. This is more of a trap than a secretive manner to get the party to delve deeper, but it works very well.

The good old “pit trap that leads to the lower levels” trick is good. This is especially good if the party is higher level and has the hit points to spare in taking that falling damage. Don’t forget that the denizens of the lower level are probably aware that “food falls from that hole in the ceiling” and will be waiting for the next meal to arrive.

There’s magic in the world. Use it! Permanent dimension doors that go to somewhere else in the dungeon are always “fun” (for some definition of that word). Teleportation traps are good as well, but don’t go down the road of “you’ve been teleported, but you don’t know it” road. Just let them know that they’ve been transported. The PCs won’t know where they’re at in relation to the former location and that’s the right level of “being clever.”

Conclusion

What other ways can the party be shifted around a dungeon that doesn’t trigger the “don’t be clever” warning? How do you go about adding a drab of uncertainty to the PCs’ mapping efforts without getting it to the level of frustration?

*As Senda and Phil have said many times on Panda’s Talking Games, don’t be clever. It just leads to unnecessary confusion at the table.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

The State Of Game Discoverability: January 2020 - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 January 2020 - 1:10am
Following my other recent pieces, I have a whole bunch of follow-ups and interesting links for this article which help define the state of game discoverability in January 2020.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Get a job: These teams and more are hiring Programmers and Engineers now!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 24 January 2020 - 2:47pm

Here are just some of the many, many positions being advertised right now on the Gamasutra Job Board. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Google deal lands Activision Blizzard esports events exclusively on YouTube Gaming

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 24 January 2020 - 2:17pm

The newly forged partnership also sees Activision Blizzard using Google Cloud as its 'preferred provider' for game hosting infrastructure moving forward. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Eternal Doom, Temtem Touryst

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 24 January 2020 - 1:53pm

The latest highlights include a look at new titles including Doom Eternal, Temtem & The Touryst, as well as pieces about Destiny historians, comedy in games, the state of video games in China, & more. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

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