Game Design

South Korean FTC to review in-game purchase policies

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 April 2019 - 12:10pm

South Korea†™s Fair Trade Commission has laid plans to review the consumer practices, particularly policies dealing with in-game purchases, of game companies.  ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Apex Legends is on the decline with streamers after a record-setting month

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 April 2019 - 9:55am

A report from StreamElements says that Apex Legends viewership has seen a steep decline in the last month as major streamers move on from the game. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game Design 103: 3 Biggest Trap in Online Game - by Thasorn Chalongvorachai

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 22 April 2019 - 6:56am
This blog post will introduce and explained 3 Biggest Trap in Online Game. These may sound common, but a lot of game studio fell for it. Let's make sure we understand them and find a good way to overcome those problems.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Evolving Difficulty Modes in Survival Horror - Resident Evil 2 - by Bryan Cheah

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 22 April 2019 - 6:51am
What can Hardcore Mode in Resident Evil 2 offer beyond tougher enemies and scarcer bullets? A look at how content-based difficulty rewards survival horror fans.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Kliuless #32: Battle Royale Bans Spread - by Kenneth Liu

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 22 April 2019 - 6:50am
Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I share broadly within Riot. This edition is the public version that I publish broadly every week as well. Opinions are mine.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game design: Lesson to learn from the 2019 BAFTA best mobile game award - by Pascal Luban

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 22 April 2019 - 6:42am
The “game” Florence has received the 2019 BAFTA best mobile game award, but this title can barely qualify as a game. Nevertheless, the BAFTA jury has not gone mad; it has rewarded a title that illustrates a significant trend in game design.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

4 Funky Fungi to Liven Up Your Game (And A Few Ways To Use Them)—Part 1 of 2

Gnome Stew - 22 April 2019 - 5:00am

This is as pretty as mushrooms get. Fair warning: it’s all a horror show from here on out. Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Beneath the soil they wait, oozing digestive juices to liquefy and absorb any edible material hapless enough to fall in their path. Silently, patiently, they spread hidden tendrils thinner than a hair under the ground, linking threads to form an invisible net below the feet of the hapless humanoids lumbering above them. Relentlessly, they burrow through the ground. Growing, consuming, they bide their time over months, years, centuries, even millennia until the time arrives that they burst through the ground, hurling copies of themselves into the air and preparing to begin the cycle once more.

Sure, this is a workable description of any number of ancient evils in fantasy gaming, but it’s also a pretty solid way of talking about the fungi you probably have in the patch of ground nearest to you right now. What we think of as “mushrooms” are really only formed by a small fraction of fungal species; …in fact, the “mushrooms” that we see are just the mechanism by which fungi spread. This means that Toad from Super Mario Brothers, myconids from D&D, and any other mushroom creatures you can think of are just ambulatory reproductive organs, and the Smurfs village is basically a scene from a Saw movie. Share1Tweet1Reddit1Emailin fact, the “mushrooms” that we see are just the mechanism by which fungi spread. This means that Toad from Super Mario Brothers, myconids from D&D, and any other mushroom creatures you can think of are just ambulatory reproductive organs, and the Smurfs village is basically a scene from a Saw movie.

The majority of the “body” of a fungus is its mycelium (yes, like the network in Star Trek), which grows out in all directions, seeking food and forming a network within the soil. This underground network exists in nearly all areas with vegetative life, and in addition to decomposing materials that would otherwise pile up, it is used by plants as a kind of external digestive system, forming a symbiotic relationship whereby plants can gather food and nutrients that they can’t reach with their own root systems. There is even evidence that this network of fungi is also used in a form analogous to communication between plants, forming what is sometimes called (and I could not possibly be more delighted to tell you this) a “wood-wide web”.

Until around 1960, fungi were considered to be plants — which makes sense; they grow from something that looks like seeds, and they don’t move on their own. However, later science determined that they were much more closely related to animals, just completely immobile and without any sort of muscle tissue — which really makes me wonder whether I might technically be a fungus. They store energy as glycogen (like animals) rather than starch (like plants), and their cells are given rigidity not by plant-based materials like cellulose but instead by chitin, the same material that makes up the exoskeletons of insects like cockroaches. Yum!

Fungi can be medicinal or poisonous or delicious (or sometimes a combination of any two of those things), and the difference between a good dinner and an early grave is sometimes a matter of how they’re prepared. Indigestible or poisonous mushrooms can be rendered edible (or at least less harmful) by any number of techniques. I’m not going to go into more detail than that because a) this is the Internet, and no one should try to do this kind of thing based on the advice of an RPG blog, and b) even if that were a good idea, I’m the absolute last person who should be giving that kind of instruction. With that in mind…

Warning: mushrooms can kill you. Share1Tweet1Reddit1Email Warning: mushrooms can kill you, just like they were rumored to have killed the Roman emperor Claudius, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, Pope Clement VII, and the composer Johann Schobert. And that’s just some of the famous people. About seven people per year die of mushroom poisoning in the U.S, and hundreds more are made seriously ill. Even though there are pictures in this article, and for the most part I tried to find reasonable approximations of what the fungi in question looked like, this is not an identification guide. I can’t even match my socks in the morning, and I can barely avoid killing my family when I cook for them even when I don’t use potentially poisonous ingredients — do not take anything I say as adequate reason to put these things in your mouth.

However, describing such things is not only safe, but extremely cool. And with that in mind, I present to you 8 Funky Fungi To Liven Up Your Game (And A Few Ways To Use Them).

Mind-Controlling Ant Fungus (ophiocordyceps unilateralis)

Strangely, the animated “Antz” movie left this scene on the cutting room floor. Is that reference dated? I feel like that reference is dated now. Oh, well. Look it up.

By itself, there’s nothing especially new or interesting about a fungal infection. If you’re alive, which I assume most of you reading this are, you are already host to a dizzying array of fungi, yeasts, and other creatures that call you home. They’re like roommates (good or bad). They do their thing to varying degrees of intrusiveness and stink. You also do your thing, and if you’re too incompatible, one or the other of you gets evicted. Cordyceps is more like that friend who visits from out of town and suddenly surprise! They’re moving to your city and need a place to stay. First they start eating all the food out of your fridge, then they start making demands, and before you know it, they’re trying to hollow you out and turn your body into a nutrient paste they can use for reproduction. Which is not, in fact, something that everyone does, Harold.

This particular species of Cordyceps infects carpenter ants, and then even while eating them alive, hijacks the nervous and muscular system of the ant, forcing it to travel to an appropriate piece of plant cover, climb to the ideal elevation for reproduction, clamp on to the grass with their mandibles, and then die. The fungus continues to spread within the ant, before eventually sprouting out of the long-dead husk and throwing its spores to the wind, beginning the cycle all over again. Some scientists think that the ants may be cognitively unaffected during all of this, and that the mechanism is actually a little less like mind control, and a little more like being controlled like an agonized marionette from within. Nature is amazing.

Potential Game Use:

A prodigal son from a local farming community finally returned, but the day after his tearful homecoming, he wandered into the woods and disappeared, only to be found again a week later dead, hollowed out, and filled with a mysterious powdery substance that creates a powerful feeling of well-being when inhaled, even accidentally. The heroes have been called in to investigate the case, as local law enforcement has no idea what is going on.

At first, all signs point to a horrible drug deal gone bad, until the characters find several locals attempting (and maybe succeeding) in stealing the mysterious powder, claiming that they feel compelled to share with their friends and family. “Addicts” at first violently resist any attempts to prevent them from taking or spreading this powder, eventually becoming a kind of hive mind that exhales spores onto the PCs. If not helped, the entire village will die in agony, possibly spreading the infection to other nearby areas.

In such a story, there are plenty of opportunities for medical or nature rolls (to determine the nature of the illness or the drug), social rolls (to determine that individuals are being non-magically mind-controlled) and constitution-type rolls to avoid infection. Potential solutions include spells curing disease, exotic alchemical reagents, introducing another fungal or bacterial species to counteract the infection, and good old-fashioned fire (for games that tend to be a little darker in tone).

Candy Cap Mushrooms (lactarius rubidus)

Sure; when a mushroom hunter finds something on the ground that tastes like maple syrup, they’re “nature-loving” and “exploratory,” but when I do it I’m “too old to still be doing this kind of thing” and “need to put on pants.”

Edible mushrooms, by themselves, aren’t all that much to write home about (unless “home” has a mycologist, in which case you should definitely write home to make sure you’re eating the right ones). Edible mushrooms that make for a workable ice cream flavor start to get a little more interesting. Where lactarius rubidus gets really fun though, is after the initial consumption. When dried and then reconstituted, this mushroom tastes like maple syrup (because, it turns out, it produces the same chemical that is used to make maple syrup flavoring—now who’s being unnatural, Canada?). The real magic happens later, when the sweat and tears of people who eat the mushroom start to smell like maple syrup as well. It’s like someone with more imagination than impulse control stumbled across a wish-granting leprechaun and demanded a combination of dessert and cologne, and I’ll be darned if the little guy didn’t make it work.

Potential Game Use:

The characters are invited to a feast by a local fae noble. Because interactions with faeries in folklore and fiction are one part entertainment to three parts weaponized manners, eventually, a character is going to insult someone. To keep this adventure from feeling too “on the rails,” feel free to use a character loosely associated with the fae whom the PCs have insulted or irritated previously. For a little foreshadowing fun, include some sort of massively dangerous but largely mindless beast in a cage, leashed or otherwise bound near the tables as the characters eat. After the feast, the heroes are offered an especially delicate and exotic dessert mushroom, which is also given to the dangerous creature. The creature immediately tears into the dessert mushrooms with terrifying abandon: think “Cookie Monster” meets “Sharknado.” Because players aren’t dumb, they will almost certainly check the dessert to make sure it’s not poisonous, magically or otherwise trapped (which of course, it’s not), and/or wait to see what happens with the Hungry Hungry Horror. Offer the character some sort of minor benefit for eating the mushrooms — healing, one additional use of a power, or whatever form of play currency is used in your game (e.g. inspiration, conviction, XP). Keep track of what characters eat the mushroom and how many they eat.

Following the meal, the characters discover the delightful side effect of the mushroom — they smell exactly like the delicious dessert they just consumed thanks to their unrefined humanoid biology. Their fae hosts, of course, have more refined digestion. As the characters look on in horror, the fae lord at the head of the table lets the leash slip on their pet monster, who lunges at the nearest character while the nearby court of fae watches and applauds. This is a fairly straightforward mostly-combat encounter, but with a lot of potential fun in the form of set pieces for combat. Think flipped tables, improvised weapons, flying crockery, and lithe, mocking figures darting in and out to make things more “interesting.” This may also be an opportunity for more socially-oriented characters to use their charm to request assistance from particularly engaged onlookers.

Octopus Stinkhorn (clathrus archeri)

Apparently, they smell as good as they look.

To the right, you will see a picture of what I absolutely swear is not only a fungus, but the single grossest fungus I have ever read about (and that’s including a species coming up in the next article that grows exclusively on herbivore dung). The Octopus Stinkhorn begins its visible life as a slime-covered bolus of egg-like material with its forming tentacles barely visible. Eventually, the tentacles strain against their “egg” and burst outward, covered in a thick, black-brown goo that smells like rotting meat. The stench attracts nearby flies and other decomposers, which wander around on the surface of the tentacles, picking up spores that they drop elsewhere (basically pollination, as imagined by Clive Barker).

Potential Game Use:

Look. If you’re going to have something sprout up unexpectedly from the ground that looks like Cthulhu’s dust bunnies, you might as well lean all the way in. Something unclean has been here before. “Here” can be the site of some sort of horrible sacrifice, sacrilege, or slaughter, or it can just be a case of “wrong place at the wrong time.” As another straightforward combat encounter, it’s hard to beat a tentacled creature that can unpredictably reproduce from any spot on the ground, but the real challenge will come in the form of the creatures that are attracted to and defend the Supernatural Stinkhorn. Take this as an opportunity to drag out every gross monster you’ve ever wanted to use. Giant cockroaches? Go for it! Slime molds, gelatinous cubes, worms that walk? They’re all fair game, and they’re all making heart eyes at this festering mound of thrashing goop. Every successful strike results in everyone within 10 feet getting splashed with putrescence, triggering some sort of constitution-type roll to avoid either taking damage or losing the next round heaving breakfast onto the ground.

What’s more, who’s to say what characters who take damage from such an attack might not themselves be the source of the next infection?

Bioluminescent Fungi (~80 species)

Preeeeeeeety sure this is a Photoshop job, but you get the idea. Glowing mushrooms: They’re A Thing (TM).

I almost didn’t include bioluminescent fungi in this list. They’re such a cliche that it’s almost not worth it. But there are about 80 species of bioluminescent mushrooms, and that’s a pretty big chunk of the fungal kingdom to just leave out because everyone already knows about them. So, with that in mind, yes. Glowing mushrooms are real, and there are a bunch of them, and yes, they all look very, very cool. Do yourself a favor and do an image search of them sometime.

Potential Game Use:

Lighting is a sometimes-underutilized part of adventure and encounter design. I can’t count the number of modules and supplements I’ve read that treat lighting as sort of a throwaway — there’s almost always magical ambient lighting, or unexplained torches (which are, if you’re a sucker for verisimilitude, extremely unlikely), or sometimes no lighting  at all. Which makes sense on a certain level — much like encumbrance or precise weapon details, not everyone likes thinking about and tracking questions of visibility in exploration or combat. However, I propose that if you’re looking for a quick and easy way of making things interesting in an otherwise bog-standard dungeon or cave, start caring about lighting. Have unseen things chittering in dark corners, or drips just out of eyesight, or things darting out of view as soon as the characters get too near.

Another consideration: do your players have darkvision? Of course they do. If it’s a fantasy game, pretty much everyone has darkvision. Things without eyes have darkvision. A soup tureen has darkvision in some rulesets. You know who doesn’t have darkvision though? The large group of frightened prisoners the characters may have just freed. Alternately, some puzzles or clues may only become visible when viewed under the light of a specific species of mushroom, the identification and gathering of which can be an encounter all by itself. For an extra “wow” factor, consider making a homemade blacklight to represent the mushroom’s glow, and using lemon juice to write a hidden clue, message, or even whole puzzle.

In Conclusion:

Fungi are really, really neat and can add to just about any fantasy game, above or below-ground. They’re terrifying, dangerous, delicious, poisonous, useful and frustrating in equal measure, and if you let them, they can give your game a touch of alien whimsy that few other things in the real world can. If you’ve enjoyed this article, come back in a couple of weeks for Part 2, where I give four more kinds of fungi you might want to use in your game.

In the meantime, do you think you’ll be using more mushrooms in your games? Do you have a favorite fungus (or a suggestion for me to cover in the next piece)? Let me know in the comments!

Further Reading:

  1. Six Bizarre Things about Fungi : A cool, quick little article about the weirdness of fungi, prominently featuring three of the species that made this list (h/t Luke: thanks for the heads up!).
  2. Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone. There aren’t a lot of books on mycology out there that aren’t aimed at mushroom hunters, farmers, or people looking for psychedelics. While this is an engaging and entertaining overview in a field that isn’t exactly crowded, I can’t entirely recommend this book, as it contains some flip statements about several vulnerable populations that have little if anything to do with fungi, and that kind of soured the read a bit for me. Your mileage may vary.
  3. The Magic of Mushrooms. A documentary available in the US on Netflix (as of the time of this article), this fairly short but fun film walks you through the basics of fungal biology, as well as introducing some of the ways fungi may well shape our future. Fun, quick, and relentlessly British, I can’t recommend it highly enough for someone who likes documentaries.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Frugal Fighters

RPGNet - 22 April 2019 - 12:00am
Fuzzy Weapons
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: The Panzer At Heaven's Vault

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 21 April 2019 - 7:28pm

This week's roundup includes a Panzer Dragoon series classic postmortem, impressions of the eagerly awaited Heaven's Vault, as well as secret MMO servers, homebrew Game Boy Games & the return of D& D. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Postmortem: Skirmish Line - by Tony Hua

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 21 April 2019 - 8:04am
Roughly 3 years in the making, Skirmish Line was a first project, indie "success" story. Here's what I've learned making my first game, and how new and old indies can get some pointers for their own projects.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: The Panzer At Heaven's Vault - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 21 April 2019 - 7:18am
This week's roundup includes a classic postmortem of Sega's seminal Panzer Dragoon series, impressions of the eagerly awaited Heaven's Vault, as well as secret MMO servers, homebrew Game Boy Games, the return of D&D, and much more besides.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

China's game approval rules will soon apply to HTML5 and WeChat mini-games

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 19 April 2019 - 10:08am

China's game approval process has undergone a lot of change in the past year or so, including a full-on freeze for most of 2018, but more changes are set to hit the program this month. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Troll Games - Design a golden path - by Diego Ricchiuti

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 19 April 2019 - 6:51am
Troll/raging games can teach us a lot about how to the design a golden path and how use it to motivate the players.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to publish mobile game, and avoid making my mistakes - by Eugene Litvynov

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 19 April 2019 - 6:48am
Hey game devs, I would like to share my story of a game launch. I would like to tell about traps, lie in wait for indie-developer while he works with publisher.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Morality of Anti-Heroes in Video Games: Why it's Fun to be the 'Bad Guy' - by Katrina Filippidis

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 19 April 2019 - 6:36am
Video game heroes are bastions of virtue admired by players far and wide - but what about villains? Why are some of us drawn to nefarious characters, and what does that say about us?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Make Catchy Collectibles - by Josh Bycer

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 19 April 2019 - 6:32am
Collectibles have been a longstanding way of keeping players distracted, and I'm going to go over some of the important points when it comes to making them an effective time killer.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

THE AIRY PEAKS – THE TOWN OF FOOT. PART 3 (06)

Gnome Stew - 19 April 2019 - 4:20am

Let us continue our look at the town of Foot from last article.

7. The Carpenter. This shop smells like sawdust as soon as you enter it. There’s wood, stain, saws, hammers, levels, crank drills, chisels, and all other manner of tool and wood around the shop. Sarah Hanner is a short stocky and well muscled woman in her late 30’s. Healthy and always wearing a wry smile. Sarah specializes in furniture and the wooded parts of a wide variety of farm equipment while also being able to patch up buildings that have seen better days. She loves her work and does a wonderful job, even if she’s sometimes a little late.

8. Fredmon’s Thread and Stitch. Fredmon Tailor comes from a long line of tailors but came to the Airy Peaks to seek adventure. Then he lost his foot to a spikey mawed beastie. After than he decided to get back to his roots and sew for adventurer’s instead of going on adventures. Fredmon can work with cloth and leather while being quite versed in the layering of a variety of materials and cloths. He often works quite close with Kurnig on the undergarments of armor.

The shop is a clean place with a variety of different sets of clothing displayed on wooden mannequins. It’s all functional dress for farmers and adventurer’s which gives the clothing a high contrast. Fredmon also specializes in bags and pouches for every day adventuring, seed carrying, and any other function a bag could serve.

9. The Torn Page. Lillard Copse is a wizened old man who wears glasses, can barely see, and is stooped over with age. That is, until the sun goes down. Once the sun dips out of view this old man straightens up, moves with the vigor of someone half his age, and can see just fine.

The shop is filled with books and mpas which he buys and sells. Some are from adventurers and others are more mysterious in origin. Even though he has tons of maps, those maps are all quite contradictory in their descriptions and depictions. If asked, Lillard is convinced the Peaks might even move and rearrange themselves, or at least the Fire Tube Tunnels do.

10. The Goblin Wares. Jacob Flack is a thin unassuming man with brown hair, who runs one of the most common shops in town in one of the more unique locations. His shop is in a tunnel just inside one of the entrances to the Airy Peaks. The shops entrance is marked by a wooden sign with a goblin painted on it with its eyes xed out.

The shop is just a small cavern lit by oil lanterns and an torch that burns with a magical light that never consumes and never goes out. On the walls are mesh nets and hanging from them are all manner of weapons, larger adventuring gear, and armor. There are crates stacked in rows with potions, rope, pouches, trinkets, small devices, and the other smaller, more portable things one might find useful when traversing the Airy Peaks.

Sometimes special things find their way into the Goblin Wares, sold to Jacob by adventurers who don’t know what they have. This is also the place that gear gets shipped to from the outside world. If you want to show how the gear changes from week to week in the Goblin Wares you can make this move every third time the party makes camp or when you have decided that a week or so has passed.

When time has passed roll 2d6 + nothing. On a hit a delivery occurs and restock according to the refresh. On a 10+ roll a d10 twice. Each roll adds the interesting item listed below to the goblin wares. On a 12+ a magic item finds its way into the Goblin Wares. Create the magic item and place it in the shop. On a miss the refresh doesn’t happen.

Special Item List
  1. Hunters Bow
  2. Dueling Rapier
  3. Elvish Arrows
  4. Elven Bread
  5. Oil of Tagit
  6. Bloodweed
  7. Goldenroot
  8. Serpent’s Tears
  9. Bag of Books
  10. Edged Black Steel Weapon. Add 2 piercing and 100 coins to any edged weapon

Black Steel Weapons come from the Dragon Fire Forges within the Airy Peaks. Edged weapons forged there have 2 piercing.

Jacob’s has the following on hand when an Airy Peaks campaign starts:

Dungeon Gear
  • Adventuring Gear (x100)
  • Bandages (x10)
  • Healing Potion (x4 refreshed 1d4-1 to a max of 4)
  • Antitoxin (x1 refreshed to a max of 1)
  • Dungeon Rations (x 50)
  • Dwarven Hardtack (x3 refreshed by 1 to a max of 3)
  • Halfling Pipeleaf (x1 refreshed to a max of 1)
Armor
  • Leather (x3 refreshed by 1 to a max of 3)
  • Chainmail (x3 refreshed by 1 to a max of 3)
  • Scale Mail (x2 refreshed by 1 to a max of 2)
  • Plate (x1 refreshed by 1 to a max of 1)
  • Shield (x3 refreshed by 1 to a max of 3)
Weapons
  • Ragged Bow (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Crossbow (x3 refreshed by 3 to a max of 3)
  • Bundle of Arrows (x20 refreshed by 5 to max of 20)
  • Club (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Staff (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Dagger (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Throwing Dagger (x3 refreshed by 3 to a max of 3)
  • Short Sword (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Axe (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Warhammer (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Mace (x5 refreshed by 5 to a max of 5)
  • Spear (x3 refreshed by 3 to a max of 3)
  • Long Sword (x3 refreshed by 3 to a max of 3)
  • Battle Axe (x3 refreshed by 3 to a max of 3)
  • Halberd (x3 refreshed by 3 to a max of 3)
  • Rapier (x1 refreshed by 1 to a max of 1)

Ok folks. I’ve reached my word count limit for this installment so next time we’ll be talking more about the town of Foot. Enjoy and we’ll get back to it next month.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Star Trek Adventures: Nest in the Dark

New RPG Product Reviews - 18 April 2019 - 12:07pm
Publisher: Modiphius
Rating: 4
It's always a bit disconcerting when your warp drive fails. The Synopsis explains what is going on, and what the party will have to do to resolve the situation, and there are notes explaining where to fit this adventure within the timelines of several Star Trek eras, although it's intended to fall in the TNG era of play.

The action begins during a routine trip to check on a lost probe. Just around shift change on the bridge of the party's starship the warp drive fades away and a whole shed-load of alarms go off. Once they have figured out the immediate cause - a massive subspace field - they can then discover some other unnerving problems. They are off-course, and time is acting oddly as well. There's a remarkably strange sight on the viewscreen as well. Figuring all this out is likely to be quite difficult, but some detailed information on likely rolls to discover what's out there are provided and the party ought to get there with a little nudging and the expenditure of some Momentum. There is a wealth of information for the GM to take on board and disseminate as appropriate - this is an adventure that will benefit from some prep time in getting your head around what's going on before you run it!

By the end of the initial investigatory phase, the party should be curious and filled with wonder at finding something hitherto unheard of. They shouldn't feel threatened. To begin with, what they have encountered hasn't even noticed them, and once it does, it's only curious about them. Yet... that disruptive field is only going to cause problems: the anomaly is on course for a Federation outpost! However, when the anomaly gets curious, it starts trying to find out what it has encountered, resulting in a series of puzzles for the party to figure out (once they realise that they *are* puzzles, that is!). Interestingly, a range of variant puzzles are provided for the GM to choose depending on whether the party is more Command or Science orientated. All are well-supported with suggestions of how to solve them, as well as providing the answers. It's important to understand Extended Tasks for this adventure.

Eventually, the party will meet with an individual, or manifestation, with which they can communicate. Or at least try to... the concepts and background understood by this representative are truly alien, and should prove entertaining (if a bit of a challenge) for the GM to role-play. There's plenty of guidance to help, though, and suggestions as to what can be said and explained. The immediate need is to persuade them to change course, which once the message is got across, they will agree to do so. The adventure concludes with the likely aftermath of this encounter and a few suggestions for further adventures.

This is a very cerebral adventure, which some groups might find dull - others will be entranced and thoroughly enjoy meeting something so unusual and possibly unique. It will need thoughtful GMing to make it work well, but should prove memorable when done well with the right group, capturing the real essence of exploration.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Burnout Paradise's online servers are shutting down after 11 years

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 18 April 2019 - 10:05am

Criterion Games is shutting down the servers for its 2008 game Burnout Paradise, a decision that affects the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

What Happens When Game Artists Design a Mural - by Tudor Morris

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 April 2019 - 8:33am
While 99% of the time we're using our skills to make games, sometimes we get to use them to create something truly special—in this case a mural for a hospital room in partnership with Momentum Children's Charity.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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