Game Design

Amy Hennig joins up with Skydance to develop for 'emerging streaming platforms'

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 18 November 2019 - 2:27pm

Former Uncharted creative director and longtime game developer Amy Hennig has signed on with Skydance Interactive to build a new team alongside fellow EA ex-pat Julian Beak in San Francisco. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Stadia delivers on low-latency, high quality cloud gaming - but is that enough?

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 18 November 2019 - 9:00am

Google Stadia works great. But the technical side of game streaming might have been the "easiest" problem to solve when it comes to Stadia's overall acceptance and success. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Designing Interesting Decisions in Games (And When Not To) - by Caleb Compton

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 November 2019 - 8:00am
Sid Meier once described games as "a series of interesting decisions". But how do you design interesting decisions in your game? And what are the pitfalls to avoid when trying to design interesting decisions? Lets find out!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Agile Game Development, Part 1: The Conception of an Idea and the Traditional Model - by Bruno Poli

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 November 2019 - 7:40am
It is important for developers of all fields, be they engineers or artists, to have a grasp on the process so they can apply their concepts to whatever project they have at hand, better adapt to changes and demands, and help projects to evolve.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Scrappy Social Media Management: Reusing Content - by Victoria Tran

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 November 2019 - 7:33am
Reduce, reuse, recycle. Also, do the same to your content.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Kliuless #58: Tencent Eyes the West's Console Market - by Kenneth Liu

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 November 2019 - 7:33am
Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I publish broadly. Opinions are mine.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Inside a Producer's Mind - by Nidhi Gulati

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 November 2019 - 7:32am
Has someone ever wondered what goes on in a Producer’s mind. It is a labyrinth of thoughts going around with one path, that reaches the goal. It is as chaotic as this article but whoever will read it will know where it is leading up to.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game Development: Protect your Game from getting Hacked - by Ashish Gogna

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 November 2019 - 7:30am
Common ways of hacking any game, and How to protect your Game from them. Must read before launching your game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tapping an Old Vein

Gnome Stew - 18 November 2019 - 5:00am

About a year and a half ago, I was in one of my local used book stores searching for ancient tomes. While perusing the shelves, I stumbled across a large collection of books by the same author: David Eddings. He hit it big in the 1980s and had quite a prolific career through the 1990s and into the early 2000s. During these decades, he was a staple for fantasy readers, and his books came highly recommended to me for this entire time.

However, somehow I’d missed the Eddings boat. I knew of his works and how highly people talked about them, but I never did delve into his lengthy catalog… until now. When I came across the solid row of David Eddings books on that shelf, I knew I had to have them. I picked up all of them before anyone else could snatch them from my grasp. A credit card transaction later, I had a paper bag packed with what I hoped would be wonderful fantasy tales.

I don’t regret the purchase. It took me a few months to finish up the current read, and then I dove headfirst into the Belgariad series. Five books later (and a year later), I came up for air from one of the greatest tales I’ve read in a very, very long time.

This spawned some ideas for me on the role playing front.

I’ve been a player in a few games that were “based on the book by <insert author here>” and we always seemed to have a blast living in those worlds. I’m not talking a direct translation of book-to-game (like The Dresden Files or similar games), but using a system to live out the events and times from a book. The key game I’m thinking about was run by a good friend of mine, Bill. He took a space opera game and setting and translated it into the Alternity RPG. We did our best to fight the Von Neumann machines that were eating our part of the galaxy. Along the way, we encountered key characters from the novel, came into contact with cultures and people that were taken whole-cloth from the book, and saw (and sometimes changed) events that occurred during the course of the original author’s story.

Even though we knew we were “living in a borrowed world,” we had a blast. I think there are some key take aways that I have from that lengthy space opera campaign that I could apply to emulating the events, people, places, and world of the Belgariad in a fantasy game I want to run.

Leverage the Setting as a Character

I think to capture the true feel of a novel or series, the setting needs to feel like a character. It needs to feel lived in and experienced and ready to take action in response to the PCs actions. If the GM can give the flavor of the setting (or the parts the PCs will interact with), then the level of immersion for the players will increase exponentially.

In the Belgariad books, there are numerous maps of the different areas the characters move through. I’m pretty sure I could find those maps all stitched together in one large map. Even if I couldn’t find such a thing, I can easily put the maps in the books to use. My approach would be to pick a nation (I’d probably start in Sendar), and drop the PCs there as a starting point. I’d make Sendar as real as I could by borrowing flavor and text from Eddings to set things up and give the area that realistic texture that it needs.

Bump into Key Characters

While in Sendar, I’d have the PCs travel through Faldor’s Farm (which is where the whole Belgariad series starts), but I wouldn’t make Garion or Aunt Pol or Durnik or any of the other Really Important People From The Book a focal point. Sure, they’d be there, but they’d be side characters to the main story.

To keep the spotlight off of these various main characters, I would amp up the focus on NPCs of my own creation that fit within the location. Of course, while at the inn at Faldor’s Farm, the PCs would see the scullery boy and his aunt with the white-striped, raven-black hair, but at this point the boy (Garion) is just a young lad who scrubs pots and makes messes. Likewise, Aunt Pol (aka; Polgara) is just the kitchen’s cook who has some mysterious past that no one is aware of.

By allowing the PCs to “bump into” the main characters of the story, the players who know the tale will get that Easter egg moment and that will increase their enjoyment. If a player hasn’t read the books yet, then if they do turn to the novels down the road, they’ll have their own sweet memories of how their character interacted, even if it was briefly, with Aunt Pol or Garion or Old Wolf or any number of other important characters from the stories.

Witness Important Events

With the Belgariad being five books long, there are plenty of awe-inspiring events that come to be, and many of them happen in front of other people. What would happen if the PCs are in a place to witness, perhaps alter, a key event in the book? Would this change the story? Probably. Does it matter that your story is different from Edding’s efforts? Not one bit. This is your turn to play in the author’s playground. You and your group are not committed to marching lockstep with the author’s words.

This next bit is a tad spoilery, but the books have been out for decades, so I don’t feel compelled to hold back. In the fourth book (Castle of Wizardry), Ce’Nedra dons armor and raises an army. At this point Ce’Nedra is betrothed to Garion, but is still very much a spoiled young woman of noble descent. She’s demanding and hard to be around, but something changes in her during the course of this book that makes her quite a bit more admirable. If the PCs are nearby Ce’Nedra when she and Polgara work together to raise the army, they could witness (or even be swept up in) the building of a massive army that follows Ce’Nedra’s every move.

Make It Your Own

I’m pretty sure I said this before when I talked about The Expanse and adopting the books and/or TV show to your own gaming table, but I feel it’s work expressing again. Make the world and characters your own. Put them to use at your gaming table and make them work for you. You’re not beholden to the tale Eddings has already put forth in the world.

Go out and tap a vein from an old story and see what gold you can mine from the mountain.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: That Superliminal Jedi Guy

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 16 November 2019 - 1:05pm

This week's roundup looks at games from Superliminal to Jedi: Fallen Order and Pokemon Sword & Shield, plus behind the scenes at the ESRB & lots more. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: That Superliminal Jedi Guy - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 16 November 2019 - 1:01am
This week's roundup includes impressions of a plethora of new releases, from Superliminal to Jedi: Fallen Order and Pokemon Sword & Shield, plus behind the scenes at the ESRB, how World Of Warcraft changed things (for good and ill), and lots more besides.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Report: BioWare planning revitalizing overhaul for Anthem

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 15 November 2019 - 2:25pm

Sources speaking to Kotaku say that BioWare and parent company EA haven†™t given up on Anthem, the studio's ambitious online shooter that launched with little fanfare earlier this year. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Bungie raises $1.6 million for charity through Game2give pledge drive

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 15 November 2019 - 1:55pm

Bungie's Destiny-centric pledge drive brought in $1.6 million in charitable donations during its first event. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Genre Viability on Steam and Other Trends - An Analysis Using Review Count - by Danny Weinbaum

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 15 November 2019 - 7:33am
Does genre affect your success odds? Using a database of review count-based revenue projections, we dive deep into sales trends on Steam. We look at which tags sell the best, as well as sales trends in release date and review score.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to prepare your game design for a holiday season - by Kate AppFollow

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 15 November 2019 - 7:26am
Holidays are no doubt a goldmine for mobile game developers. They offer a great opportunity to show off all of your abilities as a designer, treat players with new engaging challenges, boost app installs and even increase revenue. 
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Build a Better Gaming Experience by Adding Value to User Perspective? - by Shy Lee

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 15 November 2019 - 5:00am
Check out how to build better experience in gaming by adding a user perspective.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Camdon Turned Me Into a Vampire Part 3–Fimbulwinter

Gnome Stew - 15 November 2019 - 4:30am

Over the last two months, I’ve been looking at the game Thousand Year Old Vampire, by Tim Hutchings. It is a journaling game that you play by recording facts about your character, then rolling dice to answer prompts. These prompts may make you change some of those facts. You have a limited number of memories, and eventually, you have to fight to remember everything that you once were.

Camdon Wright, amazing fellow gnome and game designer extraordinaire, is the one that first asked if I would be interested in looking at this game, and as I’ve never played a journaling game like this before, I was very curious to see what would happen.

Holding Back the Years

As a refresher, my vampire was Jorgrimr, a Viking mercenary who helped secure Kiev around 1000 CE. Jorgrimr was turned into a vampire by a mysterious black wolf, fled Kiev, moved to Germany, and adopted the name Wolfhart.

While he violently clashed with a rival’s troops and fed on them, in his new life, Wolfhart met a girl named Kisaiya, and found a cure for her blood ailment by researching the Blood of Czernobog. He’s feeling pretty human for the first time in about 50 years.

This is going to get messy.

Content Warning

I don’t get too graphic in this chapter, but there is still a lot of violence, reference to severed body parts, and a general disdain for human compassion on the rise, so if that isn’t your thing, please continue accordingly.

Prompt #13

This prompt tells me that I fall asleep for 100 years, and must strike out any mortal characters on my character sheet.

Wolfhart begins to chronicle who he is and what he has accomplished. Foremost on his mind is his arrival in Kiev, his family, Kisaiya, and his invention of the elixir that cured her. He is tired from his work with the mortals, but almost feels human again.

When he awakens, Kisaiya and his work, even who he was, is like a dream that he can only remember when he reads his diary. When he finds out how long he has slept, he realizes Kisaiya, Anichka, Ranssi, even Konstantine are all long gone.

He wants to mourn, but he doesn’t know why.

Wolfhart creates a Diary, and moves a memory to that Diary. All his mortal Characters are gone.

Prompt #14

The prompt tells me that my Diary has been damaged, and I have to remove three nouns from the Diary.

Wolfhart spends another 100 years in a blur. Everything is like a dream. He feels nothing. He does the bare minimum to maintain what he has. He haunts Germany, and when he finally realizes how much time has passed, and what he must do to maintain his estate, he realizes he has neglected his Diary.

He cannot remember the girl he saved with the elixir. He cannot remember his father’s name. The ink is smudged in the diary. He does not even remember the city where he won his glory.

Why am I going through the motions of this long unlife?

Prompt #15 

This prompt tells me that generations have passed, and I wake up covered in dust. I lose a resource to determine how I escape.

The remnants of the house guard of Wolfhart’s estate, the children of his mercenary company, loot the estate that they once guarded. They set fire to the home under which Wolfhart was buried after an unfortunate rockslide trapped him in the caverns under the manor. After the fire burns away the passages, the rocks fall away, and he realizes that he has lost even more time to his carelessness. He must get control again. He must not let time keep sliding away like sand through his fingers.

He forgets everything about his old love. He knows she existed. Or maybe she was a dream. Has he ever known love?

Wolfhart strikes out his memory of Anichka and his earliest friends. Wolfhart strikes out “My Loyal Troops” as a resource.

Prompt #16

This prompt tells me that I gain a creative skill based on a lost memory due to timeless introspection.

Wolfhart is sure he loved at one point in time. He reads poetry and stories of doomed lovers. He learns to write his own stories, and shares those stories with others. He feels the shadow of something he once knew, and he is even less sure that he ever truly knew love. Can the written word cast such a spell on the mind?

Wolfhart gains the Writer of Love Stories skill.

Prompt #17

This prompt tells me to check a skill to avoid arrest, and if necessary, create a mortal character to take the blame for your crimes.

Gregor Langstrom is a “monster hunter,” using Karina Strausshammer’s inventions to fight the supernatural. He is getting closer to Wolfhart. Wolfhart does not want to feed on the people reading his books, but he can’t make himself care about the real people as much as he cares about the people he makes up in his stories.

The authorities close in on Wolfhart, so he manages to frame Langstrom as a crazed, obsessive zealot, killing people that were reading “perverse” books, and undermining society’s moral framework.

Prompt #18

The prompt tells me to bond with an ancient enemy Character, checking a skill to become friends, and sharing a resource with them to gain a shared resource from them. 

Wolfhart is increasingly annoyed with humans. They feel so ephemeral compared to the people he writes about. His stories speak of epic people that live life on purpose, not weak-willed folk that don’t appreciate beauty or the thrill of living. They might as well be dead.

Wolfhart decides to find his “origin,” to track down the Black Wolf. He uses his skill at ambushing others to trap the wolf, but he doesn’t kill it, as he once fantasized. Instead, he feeds it half the Heart of Czernobog, while eating the other half. He wants the Old Gods back in the world, and he wants to know if the Son can become the Father.

The Black Wolf feasts with him, and shares control of the Great Pack with Wolfhart.

Wolfhart checks the Ambush skill, and shares the Heart of Czernobog. He gains access to the Great Pack resource.

Prompt #19 I don’t know that I will ever truly sleep again . . . I may only lie awake in the dark, in my mockery of a life, waiting to journal again. Share1Tweet1Reddit1Email

This prompt tells me that I am physically trapped in a place from which I can never be rescued, and asks me to come up with what I think about for the first thousand years. It informs me that the game is over.

Wolfhart feels no kinship with the mortals any longer. It has been too long since he had a friend. Wolfhart has the pack now, and he rampages, destroying Strosshammer’s new society that is spreading across Europe. He will single-handedly turn back the clock and make mortals live by the sword and their wits again.

Then, the Black Wolf turns on Wolfhart. This is a Europe rife with possible worshippers. Wolfhart has served his purpose, and the Black Wolf drops him into the Void of Czernobog, a place of darkness between worlds. Because Wolfhart shared the feast of Czernobog’s Heart, he will always have a feeling of what the world is like, moving on without him. For a thousand years, Wolfhart hears the prayers of the faithful in the Black Wolf’s ears, but Wolfhart shares the hunger that he obsesses over, unable to feed.

The Black Wolf thinks about Wolfhart’s hunger, and he becomes a mad god, one that demands as much sacrifice of flesh as of will. In this way, at least, Wolfhart knows he continues to shape the world from the void. Or does he?

Is this all a dream? Is this Niffelheim? Did you die all those years ago, when the wolf bit you? You are so hungry. You are so cold. But you must be still affecting the world. Surely you wouldn’t lie in the cold, eternal winter, having lost your greatest battle, unmourned and unremembered.

Why?

Thoughts On An Unlife Well Lived 

I really enjoyed this process. Now that I have a taste of journaling games, I think that I may have been transformed. I may have to feed on more of them. I don’t know that I will ever truly sleep again . . . I may only lie awake in the dark, in my mockery of a life, waiting to journal again.

Recommended–If the product fits in your broad area of gaming interests, you are likely to be happy with this purchase. 

This has been an unorthodox journey of a review process, but if you enjoy wondering exactly what you would do in challenging situations, I think you are going to find a lot of worth-while material in Thousand Year Old Vampire.

I’ll be honest, I’m kind of worn out after that roller coaster spiral that my vampire went into at the end. It took a lot out of me to try to do the story justice, but I also really enjoyed the process.

Do you have any other journaling games you would recommend? What was your experience with them, and what kind of emotional charge did you have after completing them? We want to hear about your experiences below!

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Xbox Game Pass subscriptions have doubled as its library continues to grow

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 14 November 2019 - 2:42pm

Spencer neglected to share specific numbers, but that†™s typically the case when it comes to subscriber numbers for Xbox Game Pass and, recently, all Xbox services. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Project xCloud preview sees 50 more games, hits Windows 10 in 2020

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 14 November 2019 - 1:46pm

Project xCloud is bolstering its library ahead of its eventual launch by increasing its current preview library of 4 games to more than 50 titles, while also detailing how the service will evolve moving into 2020. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Revenue up at Paradox as it maintains focus on games with 'long lifespans and strong IPs'

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 14 November 2019 - 9:04am

New release Age of Wonders: Planetfall, alongside existing titles, helped Paradox Interactive increase its revenue to SEK 282.6 for the quarter ending September 30, up 26 percent year-over-year. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Pages

Subscribe to As If Productions aggregator - Game Theory &amp; Design