Game Design

Interview with the former valedictorian that is behind a unique new fantasy game that is looking for streamers! - by Ashley Kreuer Blogs - 14 August 2019 - 7:14am
If you’re a streamer with some followers and you like classic Zelda you should get in contact with this developer. He’s looking to give away some Beta keys to streamers who want to stream it on Twitch or make YouTube videos.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steam's 'Follower' counts - hidden in plain sight. - by Simon Carless Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 11:02pm
In the interests of focusing on one particular part of game discoverability, I’d like to concentrate this piece on one particular hidden gem of a statistic - Steam’s follower count.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Managing the evolving state of Destiny 2: 'the game cannot grow infinitely forever'

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 August 2019 - 2:05pm

Destiny 2 game director Luke Smith shares a candid discussion of balance changes, encounter design, and the game's relationship with microtransactions. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Multi-platform games from Xbox-owned studios must 'make sense for the franchise'

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 August 2019 - 12:52pm

Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty won't rule out multi-platform first-party launches, but says the decision needs to make sense for that specific franchise. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

(Mostly) Everything You Need To Know About Building WeChat Mini Games - by Luke Stapley Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 8:07am
Many mobile/HTML5 game developers today are looking for new platforms and audiences to release their game onto. With China being one of the biggest, it's no wonder WeChat mini games are becoming a hot topic. Learn almost everything you need here.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game Music and Psychological Attachment: How Game Composers Can Enhance Virtual Presence (Pt. 2) - by Winifred Phillips Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 7:37am
The 2nd of a 4-part series. Video game composer Winifred Phillips shares ideas from her GDC 2019 talk, How Music Enhances Virtual Presence. Part 2: Game Music and Psychological Attachment. Included are practical examples and video demonstrations.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Let the Punishment Fit the Twine: Ancient Greek Punishments as Hypertexts - by Pippin Barr Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 7:34am
Reflections on translating five myths of punishment into Twine stories, with a focus on the physicality of interaction in hypertexts.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Applying Videogame Theory to Escape Rooms : the Definition of a "Game" - by Alastair Aitchison Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 7:33am
Much of the recent research in the field of game studies has been concerned only with computer games. In this article, I’ll consider whether some commonly cited academic definitions of "games" and "play" can equally be applied to Escape Room games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Interview with the #GameDev behind the new trading game where your camels can die! - by Ashley Kreuer Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 7:29am
An interview with the #GameDev behind the new trading game where your camels can die!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Education through Games - by Rob Burns Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 7:29am
Games are a great source for education. We will discuss the merits of modding games to get children interested in game development and STEM.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Devlog 1: The Prologue “CrackleBack” - by Edward Bennett Blogs - 13 August 2019 - 7:28am
First DevLog from Indie game developer building 'CrackleBack' a FPS / Trading game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Why You Should Let the Villain Monologue

Gnome Stew - 13 August 2019 - 1:00am

Let the GM Monologue!

Behind every great adventure, there’s a group of plucky players rolling dice to decide the fate of their avatars.  Behind those players is a GM—their smile partially obscured with a well-placed screen—secretly rooting for their victory.  When the dice and dust settle and the players set out on their journey to a satisfying night’s sleep, the GM quietly packs their gear: the screen, the books, the minis, the maps, their dice, and all the ad hoc gear they’ve gathered for this particular session.

The GM has a satisfied, yet bittersweet look on their face; they wanted the players to succeed, yeah, but they’ll always wonder if it was ever enough.  Could they have done more?  Perhaps prepared more?  Was it challenging enough?  The GM knows that the players inevitably win some way or another and that their adventure was always a challenge to be surmounted eventually.  But, it can be hard knowing that your own victory could lead to a raucous at the table.  With those thoughts, they, too, pack up for bed, their mind constantly on the players and the story at hand.

“Good to see you’ve finally come, I’ve been waiting for you lot for some-”

“I shoot him with an arrow.  Sneak attack, yeah?”

If you’ve ever played a long enough campaign you’ve likely faced your fair share of villains: from mid-boss to big-bad, from minor to world-ender.  Even the evil campaign has its own villains, in a sense, as the holy law enforcement seeks to end your reign of terror.  With any important enough antagonist there will eventually be a moment where the plots and schemes have been thrown to the side and they face you confidently and tell you the tale you’ve earned, explaining their modus operandi and reasons why they’re acting as they do, or some sort of critical plot point or piece of information that could change the world as you see it.

Or in other words, a monologue.

In a recent thread on a D&D-based Facebook group, there was a discussion about players interrupting a villain’s monologue.  A majority of the responses in that thread could be summed up between ‘Yeah, interrupting them is hilarious!’ and ‘I hate it when my players do this.’  While there were quite a few cases of overt GM overreaction(ie, immediately killing players that do this or making them completely helpless before monologing), there was an evident frustration from GMs as a whole concerning this.  There was an even greater number of players explaining all the ways they’ve gleefully dealt with it as well.  From Sneak Attacking to surprise Fireballs, from charging at them to casting Silence to prevent it entirely.

When did roleplaying become a zero-sum game? Share1Tweet1Reddit1Email

Perhaps it’s due to all the monologing we observe in media, or perhaps it’s the flashbacks of being lectured by parents, but at some point monologuing as a whole started being seen as an intrinsically negative function that needs to be dealt with.  In nearly every group I’ve run for, there has been at least one player who is especially keen on making sure no monologue gets to see the light of day.  When the villains go down that quickly, all the players are happy, but the GM is often left feeling unsatisfied. When did roleplaying become a zero-sum game?

I think that’s unfair.

“How could you betray us!?”

“Allow me to explain! Secretly, all along I’ve been—”

“While they’re distracted, I’m going to charge at them.”

When a GM creates their campaign//adventure//session they go in knowing 95% of the content they make is going to be bested.  Aside from the few instances like a recurring villain escaping or a character dying cinematically, a GM is not really meant to ‘come out on top.’  When we do, it often frustrates the party, and so the GM must act with these in great moderation.  A game is balanced around the party besting obstacle after obstacle for their coveted EXP.  The GM goes in, prepping exorbitant amounts of content in maps, NPCs, quest lines, encounters, monsters and more, all while knowing it’s supposed to be bested and often forgotten in the running narrative in the game.  The GM plays the game knowing they’re going to—meant to—lose almost every single fight.

The GM plays the game knowing they’re going to—meant to—lose almost every single fight. Share1Tweet1Reddit1Email

When a villain monologues the GM already knows they’re likely going to die.  However, this is one of the few cases where a GM can really let loose, can ‘come out on top’, without doing anything overly frustrating towards the players.  No one has to die, the players haven’t failed, or even let someone escape; this is simply the preamble to the villain’s death.  It’s likely their last chance to leave an impression on the players.

Often the final speech is about the futility of the player characters, but can easily have room to be much more than that.  As a GM I’ve spent hours scouring old notes and chat logs, looking for hints of character-backstory to tie in, or lost campaign-imperative information that needed to be revealed.  When a villain dies too soon, so does any narrative attachment they might have.  Everyone wants a memorable story just like in the podcasts many of them have come to admire, but by not giving the narrative a chance, players could potentially lose out on big dramatic moments they could have been talking about for years to come.

The players already have an infinite number of opportunities in-game to express themselves and to do whatever they want.  Players can choose to save the damsel’d blacksmith, break into any NPC’s house, or even spend the entire session punching trees.  But the GM only gets so many opportunities to express themselves fully in a way that doesn’t inconvenience or frustrate the players.

Players can choose to […] spend the entire session punching trees. Share1Tweet1Reddit1Email

I’m not saying the GM doesn’t have fun when they’re not monologing.  As a GM, I’ve found myself honestly *giddy* watching my players best the odds, or find unique solutions to my obstacles I hadn’t considered.  I enjoy myself plenty when a player engages in the world in a way that adds to the narrative meaningfully.  I also enjoy myself, perhaps far too much, watching the players struggling with my plethora of pit traps.

All I’m saying is that the GM spends a lot of time prepping and preparing a game where everyone can enjoy themselves.  I don’t believe GMs get enough credit for all the effort they put in.  We’re not asking for much, but for just enough time to show you all this thing we wrote.  So just once in a while, let the villain monologue.

Di, signing out.

Cover art by: @NotveryAvery

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Superseeds: Crisis on Superseeds!

RPGNet - 13 August 2019 - 12:00am
Combining old ideas as a crisis hits Superseeds.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Twitch CEO apologizes after lengthy porn stream promoted on Ninja's old page

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 12 August 2019 - 2:08pm

Twitch CEO Emmet Shear now says that a now-suspended experimental feature was to blame for the promotion, but notes that †œit should not have happened. No excuses.† ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Valve turns to hands-on moderation to solve Steam Workshop woes

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 12 August 2019 - 10:14am

Valve has tweaked the approval process for Steam Workshop submissions, adding a human element to the second step of the process for "certain Workshops." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

PSA: Thursday is your last day to pitch Core Concepts talks for GDC 2020!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 12 August 2019 - 8:59am

GDC 2020 is still accepting pitches to present lectures, roundtables, and panels for the Core Concepts part of the event -- but submissions close this Thursday, August 15th at 11:59 PM PT!  ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

7 Must-read Books for Game Designers - by Narek Aghekyan Blogs - 12 August 2019 - 8:33am
This article discusses when and how game design has become a profession as well as when it has formed enough to be considered as a separate discipline. Also it suggests 7 books that every game designer needs to read.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Why Artifact Failed - by James Margaris Blogs - 12 August 2019 - 8:32am
Examining the design issues behind the tepid launch of Valve's Artifact
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Reality of Game Development - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 12 August 2019 - 8:21am
In this piece, I share my thoughts and experiences on what it means to make videogames for a living having spoken to developers over the past 7 years and where people still have trouble grasping about the practice.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Piczle Colors post-mortem - by James Kay Blogs - 12 August 2019 - 8:18am
A quick look at the development of Piczle Colors for Nintendo Switch, what went well and what really didn't.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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