Game Design

Best Practices For Playtesting - by Michael Hicks Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:35am
A video blog about best practices I've developed for playtesting my games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game Design Inspirations: Stardew Valley’s Platform Shift - by Paul Gadi Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:33am
Stardew Valley didn’t succeed because it innovated on tried and tested farming RPG mechanics. It was a massive hit because of how successful it was in making a Platform Shift.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Top Grossing and Top Downloaded Mobile Games Ratio - by Yura Yashunin Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:32am
Does a high index of downloads correlate with high profits? And whether Top Downloaded is equal to Top Grossing or not? Let’s take a closer look.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Future of Gaming is Bright: Growth of High School and Collegiate eSports and Benefits to Society - by Andrew Heikkila Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:32am
It’s only a matter of time before even more colleges and high schools bring gaming into the fold of interscholastic athletics. What this means for developers and the gaming industry is unclear, what is clear is that the future of gaming is bright.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Softy Simness – Postmortem - by Roman Luks Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:31am
Hi, I'm Roman. I'm a gamedev enthusiast. Currently, I am finishing up my studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. I chose a VR research as my Master’s thesis and this is a this is a postmortem mostly about the development and the experiment.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Cognitive Biases to Watch Out For When Running a Games Business - by Richard Atlas Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:30am
This post talks about some cognitive biases to avoid while making games or running a game studio, and links to some good resources about biases as well.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Picoworld: How I saved time animating & Why I switched to Krita - by Rick Hoppmann Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:30am
From building a real-life terrarium to ingame background graphics - and why I use Krita now to draw assets.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Bringing Galaxy on Fire 3 to Vulkan: Stats & Summary - by Johannes Kuhlmann Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:29am
Blog series on how we brought our game to Vulkan. This is the last post where we show performance measurements and compare implementation sizes.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Day 31 of 100 Days of VR: Stopping The Time Score System When The Game Is Over - by Josh Chang Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:29am
Today, we’re going to continue developing our score system by pauing time after we win or lose and stopping our player’s shooting animation and sound effects when the game is over.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Two drunks stepped in a health bar…The JUI (Joke User Interface) Epic made in Fortnite - by Andreas Ahlborn Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:29am
When microstransaction-based AAA games have a messy interface is this an problem or a patent?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

What Assets to Provide When Starting Your Game Trailer Production - by Donald Britt Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 6:24am
Once the game trailer production project has begun and it's time to get started on the trailer, you will need to provide some things to your game trailer producer. The more you can hand over, the better the end product is going to be.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Privateer Press Announces Direct-Only-Sales System

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 October 2017 - 6:00am
Privateer Press has announced a new Direct-Only-Sales system called Black Anchor Heavy Industries. This new system allows them to create the really huge minis that many of us love (I love my Stormwall), but at a rate and price that’s a bit more manageable. Such huge figures will be available from Privateer directly, with a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Level Design: Do your research - Where's the toilet? - by Max Pears Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 4:57am
This blog covers why research is super important and why as designers we should never skip this phase. One thing to consider as well when creating a level is where is the toilet? Originally on:
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review: Writing with Style

Gnome Stew - 23 October 2017 - 3:00am

Writing with Style by Ray Vallese is a short PDF packed with advice for RPG creators. It’s written from the perspective of an editor who has more than twenty years of experience. The focus of the book is on clarity in writing and executing words in a manner that will allow for the proper expression of ideas from the creator to the reader. This book assumes the creator is crafting a role playing game and that the readers are players or game masters. However, anyone who slings words in a professional manner can benefit from this book.

Break the Rules

One of the greatest pieces of advice in this book can be found at the top of page four. The advice is, “Do you have to follow all of these tips all the time? Nope. It’s fine to break them to add variety to your writing. In fact, you should. Don’t hammer all the flavor or voice out of your text to rigidly adhere to guidelines. Just be sure you understand the rules before you break them.” This is classic advice that should be required at the start of any writing seminar, class, or panel at a conference. There are few absolutes in writing, but the key thing to remember is that you must first know the rules. This will allow you to know why they are there and what intent to use when breaking them on purpose.

Overall Impressions

One of the reasons I stepped up to review this book when it was presented to us is that I’m in the final stages of polishing up my own role playing game. I wanted to see what kind of nuggets of gold I could glean from the pages. I must say that I found quite a few shiny tidbits within the pages. I thought about listing them out here, but I soon realized that I’d be touching on almost every section of the book. Most of the advice that I found was on target, succinctly stated, and clearly described to me. There were a few items  If there is a class on tabletop game creation somewhere, then this should be an introductory textbook for that class. that missed the mark for me, but I quickly realized those items were things I’d already mastered and didn’t need someone to list out for me. This isn’t to say that what I’ve mastered has been mastered by everyone. There are gaps in my knowledge and experience that don’t align with everyone else’s gaps. This means those items that didn’t resonate with me could very well be the perfect golden nugget for someone else.

I read through the book twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and at the end of the second read, I found myself to be quite impressed by the large number of areas covered in a mere 44 pages. The book contains a great balance of general writing tips that can be applied in any situation and tips that are specific to RPG publishing.

Quite a few conferences and conventions exist for teaching writing, support gaming, and overlap those two areas a small amount, but I’ve never seen someone put these two areas together as well as Ray has here. If there is a class on tabletop game creation somewhere (and I’m sure there is, but I’m not aware of it), then this should be an introductory textbook for that class.


Outside the “learn the rules before breaking the rules” section, I want to call out two important sections of the book.

The first is the section about creating and using style guides. If you’re working with a team of creators, this is vital to keep everyone on the same page and expressing different ideas in a consistent manner. If your team doesn’t have a style guide, it would be wise to pause the creation of words for a day or three until a starter style guide is created. One thing I didn’t see in the Writing with Style was the mention that a style guide should be considered a living document, not one that is etched in stone and forever treated like a holy text.

The second section is a painfully hilarious section called, “Fear the Dawizard.” In this section Ray recounts an instance where someone did a search-and-replace for “mage” to change it to “wizard” everywhere… and then clicked the “replace all” button without selecting “whole word match.” This, unfortunately, changed “damage” to “dawizard” and similar goofs. The reason I find it hilarious is because I’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirt to prove it. I think anyone that’s worked on a reasonably lengthy work has encountered this disaster. The moral of this story is that technology is a great lever to get things done more efficiently, it can also be a force multiplier for mistakes.

Layout Advice

This book focused on the use of words in a role playing game, but I’d love to see if Ray (or someone he’s worked with) would produce a similar book that focuses on layout. I don’t mean the specifics of how to use certain software, but the styles, guides, “do this,” “don’t do this,” and other advice on how to format a book for both print and PDF consumption. While I’m talking about layout, it’s very clear that the layout person (Lj Stephens according to the credits page) knows what they are doing with this book. The headers are clear, the callout text blocks are easy to read, and the font choices make it easy on the eyes to read. In addition to the functional pieces of the layout, everything runs together smoothly and is appealing to the eye at the same time.


If you’re a writer, this is an excellent investment of $4.95. If you’re thinking about creating role playing materials (adventures, rules, setting books, anything else), then this is a great expenditure of $4.95 for the PDF. If you happen to be doing both, like I am, then you owe it to yourself to pick this book up.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dissecting Design -- Clive Barker's Undying and Action Horror - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 23 October 2017 - 12:13am
Each week, Game Design Analyst Josh Bycer picks a game to examine in a video spotlight. In time for Halloween, it's Clive Barker's Undying.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Child of Destiny

RPGNet - 23 October 2017 - 12:00am
Fuzzy prophecies.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Single-Player, Paperclip or Chicken-Blocking?

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 October 2017 - 7:20pm

This week's longform article/video highlights include the death - or not - of single-player AAA games, the clicker game paperclip-pocalypse, and some crazy specific fighting game terms. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Single-Player, Paperclip or Chicken-Blocking? - by Simon Carless Blogs - 22 October 2017 - 7:05am
This week's longform article/video highlights include the death - or not - of single-player AAA games, the clicker game paperclip-pocalypse, and some crazy specific fighting game terms.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 21 October 2017 - 11:00am
It’s Saturday. I’m hanging out in the bear’s den here. LGS has a huge tourney going on, so I’m just gonna hang out here. So it’s me, John Mulaney, and typing up the Review Roundup. Literally Netflix and chill (no innuendo). Everyone needs just some relaxed days occasionally. Anyway, as for the reviews… Today we […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Twitch taps Dustforce dev to make a game played inside Twitch

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 20 October 2017 - 3:26pm

It's an interesting example of what a game dev can do with Twitch's new Extensions toolset, which allows streamers to embed interactive elements into their broadcasts. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design


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