Game Design

Twitter for #GameDevs - by Ashley Kreuer Blogs - 24 July 2019 - 7:54am
So you’re a #GameDev and you’ve heard about this great social platform called Twitter. How do you use it? I’m not some marketing guru but I do have 500+ followers on Twitter and I only joined Twitter in May 2019.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Data Structures Part 1: Bulk Data - by Niklas Gray Blogs - 24 July 2019 - 7:53am
Examines the options for storing object arrays.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Female Representation in Video Games: How Are We Doing? - by Jori Hamilton Blogs - 24 July 2019 - 7:52am
The profile of the average video game consumer has changed drastically in the past decade. Now that women make up a significant portion of the gaming population, it's worth taking a look at how the industry is looking to include a new demographic.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Sorted sets in C# and performance. A mystery remains. - by Jamie Fristrom Blogs - 24 July 2019 - 7:48am
While trying to work with sorted sets I've discovered some interesting things about dotnet core performance, but am at a loss to explain all of them.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tetsumo Party and the story of "naked buttocks" - by Krzysztof Zarczynski Blogs - 24 July 2019 - 7:46am
When making a game, sooner or later you will have to face the age rating organizations. There is nothing to be afraid of, but the effects of this on your game can vary. Tetsumo Party went through this process and I think it makes for an interesting story.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Creating Conversion Rules For All Your Toys

Gnome Stew - 24 July 2019 - 6:56am

Here my D&D players hunt a Barovian witch on a BattleTech map.

 It would be a shame to not use all your toys in this situation simply because you reasonably limited your campaign to one rule system… Share43Tweet4Reddit1EmailIf you’re like me and play multiple games from different companies, you probably have multiple products for different game systems lying around. Perhaps you have maps from the Conan board game by Monolith, some model train terrain, and D&D 5e dungeon tiles; however, you’re currently trying out the Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest rules, but you also want to run that Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay adventure book Lure of the Lich Lord that you impulsively purchased two years ago. It would be a shame to not use all your toys in this situation simply because you reasonably limited your campaign to one rule system; this is why we need conversion rules. Now I’m not necessarily talking about creating a homebrew that’s a hybrid of multiple rule systems. I’m talking about taking a product designed for a different table top game than the one you’re currently playing and giving its features meaning within the rule system you’re currently playing.

I discovered a method to creating conversion rules that I can demonstrate to you by explaining how I made my conversion rules. Share43Tweet4Reddit1EmailI did this with BattleTech terrain maps throughout the entirety of running D&D 5e in The Storm King’s Thunder and The Curse of Strahd adventure books. Both of those campaigns have great dungeon maps or indoor maps where combat may take place, but those maps required time for me to draw or buy digitally before game day. What’s more, most of the combat spontaneously occurred outside because my players were traveling murder hobos, and I wouldn’t let them fast travel. My players traveled regularly from one edge of the world map to the other. I rolled for random encounters for every half hour of game time. As a DM, I couldn’t prepare for where a wilderness terrain combat would take place or even what kind of wilderness the combat would take place in. So, my large collection of BattleTech map sheets came in handy. Those map sheets contain a hex grid on top of terrain for all kinds of wilderness, but they’re made and labeled for a very different rule system from D&D 5e. This necessitated my creation of conversion rules for the BattleTech map features to D&D 5e rules. I discovered a method to creating conversion rules that I can demonstrate to you by explaining how I made my conversion rules.

How To Make Conversion Rules, Step 1

Start by analyzing the kind of features you’re converting over to your current campaign’s rule system. They will likely be for combat or role play. I used my terrain based BattleTech map features for combat, so my conversion rules had to do with combat and how terrain affects combat. Then, gather data on what your current campaign’s rule set contains to deal with the kinds of features you’re converting. In my case, terrain affects combat in D&D 5e by adding movement penalties or altering attack modifiers. The concepts D&D 5e has to deal with terrain and combat include difficult terrain, half cover, three-quarters cover, climbing, and swimming. Learning those rules thoroughly and labeling them for quick reference was important for me, and it is important for you to do the same with whatever system you’re working with before moving on to the next step.

How to Make Conversion Rules, Step 2

This BattleTech map held a battle between Columbus and Toledo in Ohio’s ongoing BattleTech civil war. Notice the different hex terrain types that I converted over to D&D.

The next step requires identifying the converting features. For example, BattleTech maps yield an abundance of terrain: level 1 hills, level 2 hills, level 3+ hills, light woods, heavy woods, depth 1 water, depth 2 water, depth 3+ water, and rough terrain. At least know the definitions of your converting features. In my case higher numbers represent higher level hills or deeper water depths; light woods contain few trees with less cover; heavy woods contain more trees with great cover, and rough terrain simply contains some kind of debris.

How to Make Conversion Rules, Step 3

Compare your current rule system’s concepts from step 1 to the features’ definitions in step 2 and hope everything lines up somehow. Fortunately for me, things lined up nicely.

Walking onto any non-clear terrain hex on a BattleTech map in D&D 5e simply converts to difficult terrain for movement purposes. It’s also intuitive to see that a D&D 5e character in a light woods hex should receive half cover, and a character in a heavy woods hex should obtain three-quarters cover. A character in water of a certain depth needs to swim and traversing hexes with a level change of a certain height requires climbing.

Once you see what generally needs to be done, write down the specifics and really get into the nitty gritty of everything. Be prepared for the worst from your players. Give them a page or two of the conversion rules that relate to their character, and give them the full rules you made also. If you made your conversion rules well, everything should be close to the rules as written in your current campaign’s rule system.

Check out my conversion rules if you desire exemplification of what I mean by, “getting into the nitty gritty of everything”:

I also made a YouTube video over my conversion rules that you can check out here:


On The Importance Of Writing Down Your Conversion Rules

Writing down rules can be a pain. I didn’t write down my rules at first. This led me to inconsistently apply how things in my world worked. My players did not enjoy that. One week moving about my world worked one way, the next week a different way. They couldn’t use their past experiences to help them plan out what to do in the future, and I want my players planning their move before their turn comes up. All that changed after I wrote my rules down and handed my players a page over how their characters may move across the BattleTech terrain with their D&D 5e characters. The game ran faster. If I made a mistake, a player could point to a sentence in my rules and remedy the mistake; this is always nicer than hearing a player complain: “Hey, that’s not how it worked last week!”

See the full witch hunting ground, provided by one of the latest BattleTech maps. I used modular terrain because the witch prepared some high level illusion spells, but my D&D players didn’t know that.

Do you have any conversion rules that you want to make? Have you made any conversion rules? What other different toys could we combine together in a campaign? Let’s talk about such things in the reply section below.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Smart & Casual: The State of Tile Puzzle Games Level Design. Part 1 - by Darina Emelyantseva Blogs - 24 July 2019 - 3:29am
Darina Emelyantseva, Lead Level Designer and Game Economy Designer at Room 8 Studio, shares the peculiar secrets of level design: like why the industry sticks to manual craft, and what are the latest know-hows.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The one metric you SHOULD care about when launching your game - by Simon Carless Blogs - 24 July 2019 - 12:07am
I have good news for you. There’s already a way to work out if your premium, non-F2P game launching on Steam is going to be a success or not. And I really feel like many people don’t understand this.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Sponsored: Designing effective but fair free-to-play subscription plans

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 23 July 2019 - 3:16pm

Xsolla's experts look at industry trends to determine which features should be included in F2P subscription plans to reach an ideal ROI. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

FIFA's loot boxes don't count as gambling, says UK Gambling Commission

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 23 July 2019 - 2:27pm

The UK Gambling Commission maintains that a lack of rewards with real-world value keeps loot boxes from tipping over into gambling. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

An analysis of Astroneer's UI system - by Henri Brouard Blogs - 23 July 2019 - 8:05am
Astroneer guides the player through its exploration and intricate building system with close to no game HUD. Here I analyse how the developers of System Era Network managed to pull it off.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Header Bidding In Mobile Games (A Beginners Guide) - by GameAnalytics Team Blogs - 23 July 2019 - 7:46am
In this post, we’ll be talking all things 'header bidding' and 'ad mediation'. Not sure what these mean? Then you'll probably want to read on.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Challenges I faced to achieve 60FPS on a Nintendo Switch port - by Sterling Selover Blogs - 23 July 2019 - 7:27am
Porting to the Nintendo Switch is not that difficult in itself, but optimizing a game with 3d graphics to run at 60FPS can be quite challenging. Learn about my experience in porting and optimizing for the Nintendo Switch, and perhaps gain a few tips.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Storytelling With Game Consequences - by Sande Chen Blogs - 23 July 2019 - 7:22am
In this article, game designer Sande Chen reports on Jason Rohrer's session at the 2019 Taipei Game Developers Conference, in which he gave his thoughts about storytelling in games, games as art, and how his game design processes have evolved.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Understanding the Success of Fortnite: A UX & Psychology Perspective - by Celia Hodent Blogs - 23 July 2019 - 7:18am
As the former Director of User Experience (UX) at Epic Games, where I worked on Fortnite from 2013 to late 2017, I would like to share the different steps that were taken by the Fortnite team to build what would later become the success we now know.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Microsoft invests $1 billion in OpenAI

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 July 2019 - 11:03am

Microsoft and OpenAI have partnered up for future technologies, a partnership that builds on the former's recent $1 billion investment into OpenAI. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Breaking biases through games - by Ayten Yesim Semchenko Blogs - 22 July 2019 - 7:49am
Breaking biases through games
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Making Learning Fun: How Games Can be Used for Education - by Caleb Compton Blogs - 22 July 2019 - 7:20am
We've all seen bad educational games, which often come across as a poorly connected series of boring minigames. However, educational games don't have to be boring. In fact, many of the best examples can teach players without them even realizing it!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Games with Great Design Lessons for Accessibility - by Michael Heron Blogs - 22 July 2019 - 7:19am
There are lots of excellent design lessons to be learned from all kinds of board games. This is a list of ten games that contain especially useful features that tabletop game designers should try to emulate.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Breaking The Spell - 10 Reasons Why Your Game Isn't Immersive - by Lars Kalthoff Blogs - 22 July 2019 - 7:19am
Creating an immersive experience is a key goal of many modern games. However, immersion is a fragile construct and there are countless ways to make it collapse. In this post, we'll have a look at 10 ways to break the immersive spell and how to avoid them.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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