Game Design

The 4D Finch House - by Justin Reeve 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

Video Game Deep Cuts: It's VGDC Issue #100! - by Simon Carless Blogs - 6 August 2018 - 9:34am
This week's highlights include neat analysis on Six Ages & King Of Dragon Pass, the battle for Manchester Cathedral in Resistance revisited, and lots more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Working with Facebook Instant Games - by Conor O'Nolan Blogs - 6 August 2018 - 9:17am
I've spend the last 3 months working on Facebook Messenger games. I'll outline some of the issues involved from a technical and business perspective.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GDC 2019 organizers are looking for smart Business & Marketing talks!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 August 2018 - 9:15am

If you have a great talk that would fit in the Business & Marketing track at Game Developers Conference 2019, organizers want to hear it, and they're taking submissions - but only through August 16th! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Brass Tactics: Evolving classic RTS interactions for VR - Part 1 - by Patrick Lipo Blogs - 6 August 2018 - 8:42am
The goal of Brass Tactics started simply: Make an RTS that embraced the medium of VR... Luckily, we were blessed with a lot of freedom to explore what that meant. As we iterated towards the final product, we made a lot of interesting stops along the way.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game Design in Real Life: The Prisoner’s Dilemma - by Caleb Compton Blogs - 6 August 2018 - 8:39am
There is a field in economics known as Game Theory. This field tries to break situations down into simple mathematical models to determine what a "rational" person would do. In this article, see how game theory can be used in life and game design!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to do cost-effective QA for your Mobile Games - by Kaushal Singh Blogs - 6 August 2018 - 6:53am
From successful planning to test execution, the blog gives exclusive insights into QA planning during the project planning phase, as well as building up the optimal QA device matrix in different stages of project for best coverage and successful launch.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dead Body Falls: Designing the Waypoint System - by Luisa Nunes Blogs - 6 August 2018 - 6:52am
A look at the Waypoint System used in the game Dead Body Falls (2018, GearVR, Oculus Go)
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Localizing licensed IPs: tips and best practices - by IGDA Localization SIG Blogs - 6 August 2018 - 6:52am
Games based on famous IPs, whether movies or TV series, are on the rise and with them come a few limitations not only to creativity. Learn about the best practices for localizing your game and prepare well in advance with this article.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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