Game Design

GM's Screen #3: Goblin Caves

New RPG Product Reviews - 8 August 2018 - 3:36am
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.


Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, partially compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.


One column notes 10 entries for dressing – these includes blankets separarting an area to work as a toilet, junk and rubbish piled up and a murdered goblin; the second 10 entries for sample events sport a terrified goblin child hiding in a heap of sheets, arrows flying from the darkness and the sudden rise of goblin battle chants. The final column features 10 things to loot, which include a black furred scarlet cloak, a wolfskin hat and the like.


Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, we get synonyms for dancing and singing as well as insulting or wounding targets. Male and female names, as well as last names complement this section.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.


Creighton Broadhurst’s inserts for goblin caves are solid and fun – if you need a page of handy screen-inserts, this is worth checking out for the low price. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GM's Screen #3: Goblin Caves

New RPG Product Reviews - 8 August 2018 - 3:36am
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.


Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, partially compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.


One column notes 10 entries for dressing – these includes blankets separarting an area to work as a toilet, junk and rubbish piled up and a murdered goblin; the second 10 entries for sample events sport a terrified goblin child hiding in a heap of sheets, arrows flying from the darkness and the sudden rise of goblin battle chants. The final column features 10 things to loot, which include a black furred scarlet cloak, a wolfskin hat and the like.


Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, we get synonyms for dancing and singing as well as insulting or wounding targets. Male and female names, as well as last names complement this section.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.


Creighton Broadhurst’s inserts for goblin caves are solid and fun – if you need a page of handy screen-inserts, this is worth checking out for the low price. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GM's Screen #2: Borderland Forest

New RPG Product Reviews - 8 August 2018 - 3:35am
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.


Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, in the classic tradition of Raging Swan dressing files.


One column notes 10 entries for dressing, noting, for example, sodden floors that render boots muddy and wet, gnarled oak trees looming or small bones, tied together with thin cord – creepy!

The second 10 entries for sample events, with sounds of laughter followed by pain, darting foxes and the faint smell of smoke in the air. The final column features 10 entries that depict a read-aloud text for an uneventful days’ journey, allowing for excellent foreshadowing and mood creation. Kudos!


Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, we get descritors for trees, some flowers and trees, descriptors for vegetation both dead and alive, and parts of plants. Nice one!


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.


This screen insert proved to be more useful for me – the dressing is broader, has quite a bit new entries, and Mike Welham and Creighton Broadhurst are both very good at their craft. For a buck, I consider this worthy of 4.5 stars, though I feel I need to round down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GM's Screen #2: Borderland Forest

New RPG Product Reviews - 8 August 2018 - 3:35am
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.


Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, in the classic tradition of Raging Swan dressing files.


One column notes 10 entries for dressing, noting, for example, sodden floors that render boots muddy and wet, gnarled oak trees looming or small bones, tied together with thin cord – creepy!

The second 10 entries for sample events, with sounds of laughter followed by pain, darting foxes and the faint smell of smoke in the air. The final column features 10 entries that depict a read-aloud text for an uneventful days’ journey, allowing for excellent foreshadowing and mood creation. Kudos!


Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, we get descritors for trees, some flowers and trees, descriptors for vegetation both dead and alive, and parts of plants. Nice one!


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.


This screen insert proved to be more useful for me – the dressing is broader, has quite a bit new entries, and Mike Welham and Creighton Broadhurst are both very good at their craft. For a buck, I consider this worthy of 4.5 stars, though I feel I need to round down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GM's Screen #1: Kobold Warren

New RPG Product Reviews - 8 August 2018 - 3:31am
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.


Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.


One column notes 10 entries for dressing – here, we can find mottled scales, crude dragon drawings or suitable graffiti; the second 10 entries for sample events: Clatter, rattling chains, taunting from an unseen kobold… and the final column features 10 things to loot, which include half-burned candles plus flint and steel, a ragged belt pouch holding an ornate dagger hilt, and the like.



Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, kobold epithets are included alongside names for males and females, and some basic trap ideas complement this one.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.


Aaron Bailey, Creighton Broadhurst and Paul Quarles have made a humble screen-insert is solid and handy to have. While the screen insert probably won’t blow you away, it's handy and per se well-structured. My final verdict, considering the low price, will be 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GM's Screen #1: Kobold Warren

New RPG Product Reviews - 8 August 2018 - 3:31am
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.


Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.


One column notes 10 entries for dressing – here, we can find mottled scales, crude dragon drawings or suitable graffiti; the second 10 entries for sample events: Clatter, rattling chains, taunting from an unseen kobold… and the final column features 10 things to loot, which include half-burned candles plus flint and steel, a ragged belt pouch holding an ornate dagger hilt, and the like.



Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, kobold epithets are included alongside names for males and females, and some basic trap ideas complement this one.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.


Aaron Bailey, Creighton Broadhurst and Paul Quarles have made a humble screen-insert is solid and handy to have. While the screen insert probably won’t blow you away, it's handy and per se well-structured. My final verdict, considering the low price, will be 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Current and former Riot employees discuss the toxic feedback culture of the studio

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 7 August 2018 - 2:08pm

Update In an interview with Kotaku, several current and former Riot employees discuss the toxic workplace environment which ultimately drives women out of the studio.  ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Don't Miss: The challenges and rewards of designing local multiplayer games

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 7 August 2018 - 11:56am

We talk to the developers of Super Pole Riders, Overcooked and Spaceteam about the appeal of developing a local multiplayer game, and the benefits over taking your game online. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

The 4D Finch House - by Justin Reeve

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 August 2018 - 6:56am
There's more to What Remains of Edith Finch than first meets the eye. This article examines how the game's creative level design evokes feelings of quiet contemplation in the player.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

LEVY: Designing for Accessibility_02 - by Daniel St Germain

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 August 2018 - 6:53am
My name is Dan St. Germain and while in undergrad, I worked with four other students on creating a blind/deaf accessible video game called LEVY. These blog posts will be dedicated to explaining the different UI, UX, and design decisions that were made.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Story Analysis - Part 3 - Nier & Bonus - by Nathan Savant

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 August 2018 - 6:52am
A series of critical analysis of the narrative and mechanical design in narrative games, continuing with Nier: Automata and a final bonus examination.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Domain Driven Camera System - by Cameron Nicoll

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 August 2018 - 6:50am
A concept for allowing easy control of how the Camera feels across multiple areas
Categories: Game Theory & Design

First Fortnite, Now Fallout '76 - The "30% Standard Fee" is Under Attack - by Jay Powell

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 August 2018 - 6:47am
Ok, Fortnite and Fallout '76 aren't the first EVER to skip the traditional stores, but they are signalling another shift in the industry. Epic and Bethesda are skipping Google Play and Steam respectively and they won't be the last to do it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

From light novels to eSports: the business model behind The King’s Avatar - by Henri Brouard

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 August 2018 - 6:47am
Chinese gaming giant Tencent released an anime about eSports. The series is an ideal marketing tool to promote Tencent products in China and overseas.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Quickly Learn to Create Isometric Games Like Clash of Clans or AOE - by Vivek Tank

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 7 August 2018 - 6:46am
With the advancement of technology in computer games, 3D games are becoming very common. But years back when there was no support for 3D elements, it was quite hard to develop 3D games but solution found at that time was an Isometric view, of 2D elements.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Genre As A Tool For Meaning

Gnome Stew - 7 August 2018 - 6:30am

by kellepics on Pixabay

Genre is a powerful tool. Fantasy, Horror, Sci Fi, Historical Fiction, Anime… the definition of genre is broad and wiggly, but no matter how you’re defining it genre plays an interesting roll in how we tell our stories. While present in all media, genre is specifically a focus of tabletop roleplaying games and LARPs, where a realistic setting is the odd one out (except in the original concept of Nordic LARP, where the rule is no dragons, no NYC). This means our stories have so much potential to be packed full of meaning about ideas that spawn from the cultural consciousness.

How Humans Make Meaning

Every game has a message. Games are stories, especially roleplaying games, where we play characters and interact with narrative and create tales together. We are collaborative storytellers when we play roleplaying games. Stories are how we humans make meaning of our world. All stories have meaning, all roleplaying games have meaning.  Stories are how we humans make meaning of our world. All stories have meaning, all roleplaying games have meaning. Share6Tweet6+11Reddit1Email

Who you are means you often get the privilege of “just telling stories” without thinking about their meaning, and there’s an implicit power in that ability. How much you admit the meaning in the stories you are telling, how intentional the meaning is in that story, and what your subconscious unthinking mind creates in a story are all conveying messages. Meaning is conveyed through storytelling.

A Love Of Genre

Storytelling is a way of sharing images, characters, and journeys in a world that the storyteller wants to see. Genre and speculative fiction allows us to imagine so many different ways this could occur, outside the boundaries of modern life. What’s so awesome about genre is that we can wrestle with these big themes and big ideas that we face in contemporary life without having to skirt away from the heaviness of those themes. Genres give us freedom to imagine different worlds and rules of existence and realities… which is why speculative fiction is such a meaningful tool for feminists and marginalized folks in particular. We can imagine better futures for ourselves.

Genre is an alibi for these meanings in stories.  We can wrap up these meanings in afrofuturism and speculative feminism, space opera and other worlds, other times, fantastical times. In these other worlds we can imagine what these burning questions in our modern lives might be like in a different scenario than the one in the real world. That imagining can lead us to real solutions in our minds and hearts.

Genre Games

In Call of Cthulhu players approach the horrific and the unknown to try and see more than humans can see, and are punished because of this curiosity. In Dungeons & Dragons, players travel to different locations and use their wits and weapons to solve puzzles, find treasure, to gain power over time. In Blades in the Dark criminals survive in a dark city by making their fortunes against all odds. These all have implicit meaning behind them, and paint the world with different brushes to purposefully tell specific stories about specific types of people.

 If we were to drop these themes into stories of straight drama, they’d be too on the nose. Who would want to play a game about traveling to a different country, attacking a group of people it’s decided are evil without really getting to know them, and stealing their treasure so you can become more powerful, for example? Share6Tweet6+11Reddit1Email If we were to drop these themes into stories of straight drama, they’d be too on the nose. Who would want to play a game about traveling to a different country, attacking a group of people it’s decided are evil without really getting to know them, and stealing their treasure so you can become more powerful, for example? When put in a realistic context, it’s easy to see the colonialist meaning behind that story. Genre acts as an alibi for stories though! If you’re fighting dragons, it’s easy to tell they’re evil, right?

Genre As Intentional Tool

While unintentional meaning can arise from genre stories that don’t consider the meaning behind the story, many genre games do a great job of using genre as an alibi to talk about serious things. In the tradition of Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin with their social science fiction, roleplaying games can tell meaningful fantastical stories about our current lives and identities.

The Blades in the Dark example above is derived heavily from the TV show The Wire, which is about how marginalized people don’t have many choices when the system doesn’t support them, and criminal action is the only way to survive. Mutants in the Night, much like the X-Men, uses the sci fi concept of mutants to highlight the lives of marginalized folks and how to fight back against systems of oppression. Monsterhearts uses monster romance as a metaphor for realizing you’re queer as a teenager. Kagematsu takes a typical samurai tale and subverts it by making the women of the village the main characters, thus portraying the gendered assumptions of emotional work.

 

The potential of genre as a tool to tell stories about contemporary issues is huge! Especially in roleplaying games, where we act out the lived experiences of the characters in the tale, and gain empathy through doing so. The fantastical and the unreal have great power in our imaginations. What meaning do your stories tell? What genre games tell your favorite types of stories about our contemporary lives? Let me know in the comments!

 

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Character Class: Multi-Classing: Problem Players

RPGNet - 7 August 2018 - 12:00am
When other players ruin your fun.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Google not at fault for clones and unsanctioned apps on Google Play, says Epic CEO

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 August 2018 - 12:03pm

...and those unofficial apps aren't to blame for Fortnite's decision to bypass the official store either, according to an interview with Polygon. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Looking beyond League: Riot discusses the ideal qualities of its second game

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 August 2018 - 10:43am

Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill details how the company is approaching a potential second game in an interview with Variety. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Opinion: Battle for Azeroth and the death of nuance

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 August 2018 - 10:27am

Gamasutra contributor Katherine Cross examines World of Warcraft's latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, and how it may have been too quick to set fire to one of its few truly unique ideas. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

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