Game Design

The psychology of matchmaking - by Joost van Dongen Blogs - 7 March 2019 - 10:53pm
Whichever multiplayer game you look for and no matter how good it is, you'll always find tons of complaints from users claiming the matchmaking for that particular game sucks. This post explores the psychological factors that cause this.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Kliuless #26: Aligning Business Models to Markets - by Kenneth Liu Blogs - 7 March 2019 - 10:53pm
Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I share with other Rioters, including Riot’s senior leadership. This edition is the public version that I publish broadly every week as well. Opinions are mine.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Andrew Allanson, Ackk Studios: Life after YIIK - by Jessica Paek Blogs - 7 March 2019 - 8:07am
We got to talk to Andrew Allanson, one of the developers behind YIIK: A Postmodern RPG, to discuss their most recent release and learn a little bit about their upcoming project, Starstruck.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

OSIRIS. Part 1. Preparing for an Early Access. Trip to the Heaven. Dark Dubstep. - by Azat Khafizov Blogs - 7 March 2019 - 7:49am
This is the first article about OSIRIS game, which is producing by Azat Khafizov Design. Short description of the project and future plans are given.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gnomecast #61 – Meet a New Gnome: Pete Petrusha

Gnome Stew - 7 March 2019 - 5:06am

Join Ang and get to know one of the newest Gnomes, Pete, in this “Meet a New Gnome” episode of Gnomecast! Learn about Pete’s gaming origin story and his plans for future games and Gnome Stew articles! Will Pete be able to avoid the stew this week?

Download: Gnomecast #61 – Meet a New Gnome: Pete Petrusha

Check out Pete’s game Dreamchaser, available for print purchase from the Imagining Games shop or Indie Press Revolution and available in PDF on DriveThruRPG.

Keep up with all the gnomes by visiting, following @gnomestew on Twitter, or visiting the Gnome Stew Facebook Page. Subscribe to the Gnome Stew Twitch channel, check out Gnome Stew Merch, and support Gnome Stew on Patreon!

Follow Pete at @vembranor on Twitter and check out his work at the Imagining Games website or on Facebook.

Follow Ang at @orikes13 on Twitter.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Character Class: Multi-Classing: The Butt-Kickers

RPGNet - 7 March 2019 - 12:00am
Smash stuff and fight!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dev shares real talk about the personal costs of living in fear of layoffs

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 March 2019 - 2:40pm

Game developer Katie Chironis discusses the personal costs of living in fear of layoffs. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tips on porting your indie game (and how we can help!)

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 March 2019 - 1:07pm

Indies can handle porting by themselves, but there's significant investment required - likely several months per platform. DO games' tech leads offer tips on porting, and explore whether a dev partner is right for your game. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Valve bans sexual violence game from Steam, but stops short of condemning it

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 March 2019 - 12:22pm

Valve has ruled that an adult game about committing sexual assault against women will not launch on Steam due to the fact that it †œposes unknown costs and risks†. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

GDC 2019 debuts free to all GDC @ The Gardens space

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 March 2019 - 9:02am

This year GDC will be complemented by a new initiative aimed at giving everyone a place to relax and unwind while listening to live performances from some of the industry's leading musicians! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Is there a way to research the 'happiness' factor in Game Development? - by Zuby Ahmed Blogs - 6 March 2019 - 7:56am
The blog post explores how through a combination of research conducted on academic theory and recent industry case-studies, a refined framework has now emerged to facilitate further research into the ‘happiness’ factor in Game Development.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Localising Kenshi: A Post Mortem - by Natalie Mikkelson Blogs - 6 March 2019 - 7:54am
Did Kenshi's localisation pay for itself? Was the investment worth it? In this blog post I explore how Kenshi's regional sales were affected (or not affected!) after translating the game into various languages.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Of Players & Characters - by Alois Bourguenolle Blogs - 6 March 2019 - 7:53am
Game theory covers a wide range of knowledge, but when it comes to the player-character relationship, tabletop roleplaying and LARP have a headstart video games can exploit to move further.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Spinnortality: crunching the numbers - by James Patton Blogs - 6 March 2019 - 7:53am
Is it still possible to break into the games industry as an unknown indie in 2019? James Patton shares the sales numbers for his indie success "Spinnortality", a cyberpunk management sim that launched a month ago.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Philosophies of Gameplay - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 6 March 2019 - 7:16am
Gameplay may come in all forms and genres, but today, we're going to talk about how we can break it down into two philosophies that govern the player's experience.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

PC Backgrounds, Part 2

Gnome Stew - 6 March 2019 - 5:00am

What’s a PC background? What is its purpose? How long should it be? For answers to these great questions, head on over to part 1 of this series.

As I hinted at in part 1, there are different approaches at generating backgrounds. I’m going to delve into those approaches in part 2 (this one) and part 3 (the next one).


 I highly dislike random backgrounds. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

I’m going to get this out of the way now. I highly dislike random backgrounds. They are rarely coherent, usually lead to craziness that’s hard to wrap into a single character, and may lead the player down a road that arrives at a character they really don’t like.

Having said that, if a player is at a dead stop for a concept or idea about part of their backstory, generating a random NPC, event, or key point might be fodder for the imagination. I like it when randomness is applied, when necessary, in small bite-sized pieces. Even if the player discards the random idea in favor of something else they really like that’s related, that’s fine. Go for it! Whatever sparks that creative compass to guide the way.

Short, Very Short

 think of it as a Twitter bio. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

In my fiction writing life, I teach a class on log lines. This is, essentially, a one-sentence summary of an entire story. Yeah. You read that right. Take that 100,000 word fantasy novel and compress it down into a single sentence. It’s not as hard as it sounds, but I’m not here to talk about novel log lines. I’m here to guide you into creating a single sentence that informs the rest of the backstory.

This single sentence (think of it as a Twitter bio), states where the character is at when the campaign starts. The backstory needs to be “aimed” at that point to get the character from a stumbling toddler to a fully-functional character. Of course, no story is complete without conflict, so that needs to be included in your sentence. Give this formula a try:


In this case, I like to express CHARACTER and ENEMY in an adjective+noun combination. This creates a more compelling and descriptive sentence. Here’s one that’ll work for an RPG backstory target that’s also from the novel I’m currently writing:

An apprentice blacksmith must prove her innocence in her master’s murder in order to avoid execution at the hands of the emperor, but the only female captain of the Gray Watch must frame the apprentice because the captain committed the murder out of greed.

In this one sentence, I’ve established my character, my enemy, goals, conflict, and motivations. Once this sentence is ready to go, I need to “fill in the gaps” between the formative toddler years (or maybe start early adolescence) and the character’s current age. This is where introducing friendly NPCs, the other PCs, and world/campaign hooks come in.

Quirks, Likes, and Dislikes

 While you’re crafting up the backstory, throw in a few quirks. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

While you’re crafting up the backstory, throw in a few quirks. Weird habits that occupy the character during downtime are a good idea to flesh out the character. I also like to throw in a few likes and dislikes. Even if these never come up in actual play, they’re cool to have in your back pocket for if they come up.

As an example: I had a wizard who loved the look of red gemstones. Anytime a ruby or red garnet or something similar popped up in treasure, he’d sacrifice more than his fair share of the treasure to get his hands on them. He never sold them or traded them away because he loved them so much. At one point, the GM “arranged” to have my bag of red gemstones thieved from me. That sparked a whole side arc adventure to get them back. When we eventually found the thief, it turned out to be another person who equally loved (and hoarded) red gemstones. The loot from the Big Bad Boss was a room full of the red gemstones. The party had pity on me and let me keep all of the gemstones.


Your character absolutely must have goals. It’s best to have three of them.

 Your character absolutely must have goals. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

The first should be an immediate, fairly minor, goal that the GM can use to set up an introductory adventure. If you can coordinate your minor goal with another PC or two in the party, that’ll make the adventure that much more robust!

The second goal should be a major goal and something long-term. This one will take some effort to accomplish, and will provide the GM for longer story arcs. A good major goal would be the founding of a temple, library, martial school, or some other regional establishment.

The third goal should be the world-changing or “campaign” goal. This can be something along the lines of “overthrow the lich emperor and restore the republic.”


 The most powerful motivations are the personal ones. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

With each goal, the player should document why the character wants to do the thing. It’s nice to have the goals, but if the player doesn’t know why the character wants (or must) accomplish the goal, then any decent obstacle preventing the finishing of the goal will dissuade the player (and therefore the character) from pressing forward.

The most powerful motivations are the personal ones. Ones that come from past experiences, major events, or tragedies that happened in the character’s life.

Up Next…

In the third and final part, I’ll talk about the bad things that can happen to a character in the backstory and collaboration with the party and GM on the creation of the backstory.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

EA soliciting help from Anthem players to figure out PS4 crashing issues

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 5 March 2019 - 12:51pm

Electronic Arts has publicly acknowledged an issue in the PlayStation 4 version of Anthem that causes the game to crash the entire system and is investigating the issue. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Multiplayer Skyrim mod criticized for lifting code from another mod

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 5 March 2019 - 10:32am

An in-development Skyrimmultiplayer mod called Skyrim Together is facing criticism for seemingly taking code from the Skyrim mod SKSE. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Get legal experts' perspective on how the law is impacting game dev at GDC!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 5 March 2019 - 9:00am

A panel of legal experts will take to the stage at GDC 2019 to discuss top legal developments in games, from Fortnite dances to Nintendo's stance on ROMS! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design


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