Game Design

Meaningful Play and Beyond: What Anthony Bourdain Taught Me About Making Games - by Mars Ashton

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 12 December 2018 - 7:04am
Anthony Bourdain was a Chef, Writer, Traveler and so much more. What did I learn after watching his shows and reading his books about making games? Everything I needed to know.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How Games take the Player through The Hero’s Journey: Part 1 – Departure - by Caleb Compton

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 12 December 2018 - 7:02am
The Hero's Journey is one of the oldest storytelling structures in history, but is still incredibly effective. This is the first part of a series in which I look at the Hero's journey and how games can take players through this experience.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Indie Game business: now 15,000 times harder. - by Bram Stolk

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 12 December 2018 - 6:55am
This is my contribution for data-points on the Indiepocalypse. Wherein I compare my best-rated and best-selling games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Evil Mule Story

Gnome Stew - 12 December 2018 - 5:00am

This story has been told before, way back on the Treasure Tables forums, before they became You Meet In A Tavern, before that site also went defunct. Since none of those places exist anymore and I doubt the story got caught by the wayback machine, and since it was well received back in the day, and since I anticipate this being relevant soon, I will again share the story of the Evil Mules.

2007-2008ish. It was game time, 3.5 DnD. The PCs were a troupe of morally gray government enforcers in a point of light in a post apocalyptic world. And I had nothing prepared.

I asked the players what they wanted to do for the session, and the consensus was that they were going to head into the mountains to hunt for trolls so the druid could learn to shapeshift into them. (Yes, base druids can’t shift into monstrous humanoids. He had some splatbook kit/prestige class or something. It’s not important to the story.) I skimmed the Monsters by terrain list while we took a pre-game snack break and noticed that it included mules… They weren’t an appropriate Challenge Rating for the party. Mules are CR two, the party was around level six but I had a moment of Evil GM Inspiration and literally sat at the table cackling in anticipation while the players gave me weird looks.

So, the PCs go into the mountains and discover an abandoned mining town. Buildings stand open and dilapidated, weeds grow in the streets, the occasional skeleton pokes out of the rubble. And milling about are dozens of mules. They chew absently on the overgrowth and eye the PCs warily. The PCs poke around a bit, discover nothing much of interest and try to befriend some mules with handle animal checks without much luck, and try speak with animals abilities and get ignored. The whole time I’m emphasizing the way the mules keep staring at them and acting strange so the PCs decide to infiltrate the mules. The druid changes into a mule and goes up to a mule and starts trying to communicate with it. The mule wanders off, stopping periodically to wait for the druid to follow. After they leave, the party notices that the rest of the mules have wandered off as well. They find themselves in a deserted street waiting for the druid to come back and report. Meanwhile, the druid is on the far side of town surrounded by a small pack of mules all staring at him silently.

The mules press in closer, then without a sound all start to attack. He was the party tank and mules aren’t that dangerous in combat so he wasn’t in much danger, but rather than discover these mules are more dangerous than he thinks, he runs and regroups with the rest of the party. The mules don’t pursue and the PCs keep exploring town, giving the mules a wide berth. Eventually they discover a weird cave that has a pit full of skeletons, strange crude half man half mule statutory, carvings in an unknown language they can’t decipher and a very evil aura.

The PCs have had enough of this and book it back to town, but along the way they have mule haunted dreams and repeatedly encounter mules, all of whom seem to be giving them the evil eye. Bunking at an inn, the party rogue wakes from her nightmares in the middle of the night and heads to the stables to check on her noisome troglodyte henchman (Mike the troglodyte. That’s a different story.) and is startled by a mule which seemingly appeared right behind her! One panicked sneak attack later and an early morning explanation of a dead mule to an incredulous stable master, and the PCs decide that something must be done to halt the evil mule menace that is slowly infiltrating their homeland.

After some amazing diplomacy checks, the local lord grants them a contingent of soldiers and several wagons of salt and they march into the mountains, slaughter every mule they can find, tear the village down to its foundations and scatter the stones, and literally burn and salt the earth for miles (not that that much was growing on the side of a mountain anyway). They also had the foresight to bring a scroll of comprehend languages with them, and translated the script in the cave before effacing it, tearing down the statuary and consecrating it to the priest’s god. The script was the testimony of a villager driven mad and inspired by dark forces relating the story of the village:  A dark god had sent an avatar to the material plane in the form of an intelligent infernally virile and darkly evil mule. This scion quickly bred with the local stock and after there were enough of his descendants, in a bloody coup forced the villagers to erect the shrine and sacrifice one another to his dark master.

They never did find any trolls.

In the years since, the evil mules have cropped up now and again in items I’ve created.

P.S. In case you were wondering: Evil Mules are telepathic, and can understand common but have their own language they use with each other: Donk-ese. They are also prolific and crossbreed with anything they can (despite the fact that mundane mules are sterile). Their progeny have the half-ass template.

P.P.S.S. I take no credit for this and I’m 100% sure he was in no way inspired by my game, but Weebl made a music video about the dangers of donkeys that is appropriate to the topic. Great minds and all that:

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ubisoft ends automatic bans for offensive language in Rainbow Six Siege

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 11 December 2018 - 11:03am

The company says it†™s making the switch to more hands-on anti-toxicity measures by pairing chat filters with human moderation. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Resources for Video Game Music Composers: The Big List - by Winifred Phillips

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 11 December 2018 - 7:47am
Game composer Winifred Phillips presents an annual resource list for game composers. Included: game music concert tours for inspiration, communities and forums for advice, popular software tools, and conferences/academia resources for advanced learning.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Quantitative design - How to define XP thresholds? - by Pascal Luban

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 11 December 2018 - 7:05am
Increasing number of games include progression trees in their core gameplay experience. The question is how to compute the values associated with each threshold. There exist three techniques. Let’s review them and assess their pros and cons.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Taking State Transitions in Vulkan and Direct3D12 under Control: a Diligent Approach - by Egor Yusov

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 11 December 2018 - 7:05am
This article introduces the problem of resource state management and synchronization in modern graphics APIs such as Direct3D12 and Vulkan and describes a solution offered by Diligent Engine.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

An IKEA guide to STEAM product page that simply works. - by Patryk Grzeszczuk

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 11 December 2018 - 7:02am
The role of your game's store page varies depending on the stage of your marketing campaign you are in at the moment. Whatever role it plays, it proves to be a handy tool in your marketing/business toolbox.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Chinese Gamer, The Buyer - by SherryLi Wiitrans

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 11 December 2018 - 7:00am
Despite big jumps in the numbers of Chinese gamers each year, the market has not received the attention it deserves.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Desert Child: How I Faked Everything and Hopefully Got Away with It - A Tragedy in 3(D) Acts - by GameMaker Studio

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 11 December 2018 - 7:00am
Oscar Brittain and Akupara Games are releasing Desert Child on Switch, Xbox, PlayStation 4, and Steam December 11! Oscar hit us with the following tech blog on how he 'faked' his striking 3D look in the game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Making of a indie horror game - by Arjun Sankhala

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 11 December 2018 - 7:00am
Day first of making a indie horror game - downloading the assets
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Superseeds: Lords of the Four Hills

RPGNet - 11 December 2018 - 12:00am
Remembering Stan Lee through his heroes.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Catch new & classic GDC talks broadcasting live on the GDC Twitch channel

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 10 December 2018 - 10:22am

The official Game Developers Conference Twitch channel has begun broadcasting gems from the GDC Vault of game development talks, roundtables, and postmortems, and you can tune in live now to watch! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

See BioWare deconstruct the flight and movement of Anthem at GDC 2019

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 10 December 2018 - 8:58am

At GDC 2019 BioWare's David Hoang & Daniel Nordlander will reveal the process they used to create some of the more exotic traversal abilities players have at their disposal in Anthem: flight and swim. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

How Tom Clancy's The Division Manages AI Online - by Tommy Thompson

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 10 December 2018 - 6:44am
In part 2 of my series on The Division, I explain how the online systems manage the AI characters in-game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Comic Book Antics - by Gregory Pellechi

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 10 December 2018 - 6:44am
Video games owe a lot to comic books, not just because they’re both part of nerd culture but because they’re both visual mediums doing storytelling. Here are some lessons we can learn from comic books and Stan Lee when it comes to game writing.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

A Team-Oriented Approval Process - by Timothy Ryan

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 10 December 2018 - 6:43am
How well the team works out creative differences is discernible in the end product. Quality suffers when the team cannot balance the input of many personalities. This can be tackled with a team-oriented approval process.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to build world and tell stories in VR - Part 2 - by Michela Rimensberger

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 10 December 2018 - 6:43am
In the first part of 'how to build worlds and tell stories in VR' we emphasized on the aspects of worldbuilding order to create a consistent self-contained fantasy universe. This part sheds light on VR specific difficulties and how to tackle them.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Epic Store, In Its Current State, is Not Good for Anyone. - by David Galindo

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 10 December 2018 - 6:42am
Epic puts in 12% of the effort with an abysmal game launcher, few user features, but fantastic incentives for indie developers.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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