Game Design

The Myth of the Monomyth - by Wolfgang Walk

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:47am
The "Hero's Journey" is a narrative pattern we have adopted from the film industry. Since then we try to create our narratives around it. I will explain why this is nonsense. Games create hero's journeys all by themselves - or they wouldn't be games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Designing death in co-op roguelikes - by Milan Babuskov

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:47am
In this article I'm making an analysis of co-op death mechanics in various roguelike games and show how I made some innovations to the existing formulas in the game I'm developing currently.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Eighteen Months of Meeple Like Us: An Exploration into the State of Board Game Accessibility - by Michael Heron

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:47am
This is a hopefully human readable version of my second paper published in the Computer Games Journal. It's about the stats that have emerged from the Meeple Centred Design project with regards to game accessibility.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

5 Points to Manage Your Game to Maximize User Retention and Engagement - by Dylan Moran

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:46am
Game developers need to understand that generating curiosity is the best way to keep gamer coming back to your game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Revealing Regions − Prey 2's Locktown - by Nathan Cheever

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:45am
An iron fist ruled this sunny-side district on Exodus from the cancelled sequel to Prey. The once prosperous government center was now hiding a sinister secret looming over all...
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mobile Gaming: 6 Trends to Watch Out - by Pradeep Parthiban

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:45am
Mobile gaming has come a long way since its inception. Here are 6 interesting trends in mobile gaming to watch out for in the future.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How To Create An Indie Game Whilst Holding Down A 10 Hour A Day Job, Being A Husband And Father – Part 2 - by Stavros Pilatis

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:44am
The seond part in a series where I dicuss how I created, GLO, my first commercial game and released it to Steam in 3 months, whilst also juggling being a father, holiding down a 10 hour a day job and taking part in a fitness transformation competition.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

5 Technology Trends In Gaming Industry In 2018 - by Connor Addis

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:44am
When you hear about new technology trends, don’t you feel your heart jump and the butterflies doing flips in your stomach? Technologies are here to make our lives better. The gaming industry is taking full advantage of new technology trends.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Hitboxes and Hurtboxes in Unity - by Nahuel Gladstein

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 14 May 2018 - 7:26am
What are Hitboxes and Hurtboxes? aren't they the same? and how do we implement them in Unity?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Announces Boba Fett, Scout Trooper Packs For Star Wars: Legion

Tabletop Gaming News - 14 May 2018 - 7:00am
Star Wars: Legion lets you bring the Star Wars universe right to your tabletop, including some of your favorite characters. One of the most-favorite characters that’s yet to hit the table is Boba Fett. Well, that will change soon. Also, you’ve got your speeder bike set, but what about when those bikes get blown up […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Games Workshop Announces New Edition of Age of Sigmar

Tabletop Gaming News - 14 May 2018 - 6:00am
There’s a new edition of Age of Sigmar coming on the horizon. But don’t worry, this isn’t a situation where it’s like, “Man, they announced new rules. They’ll be out sometime around Gen Con” or such like that. Nope, you’ve got about 4 weeks (give or take a couple), before you’ve got the latest update […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

I Have A Secret (About Secrets In Play)

Gnome Stew - 14 May 2018 - 5:22am

Me, The Character:

I am the rookie on an established task force. They all call me “Boot” but my father was in this police department, and my grandfather, and as one of the youngest graduates of the academy in recent memory, I am prepared to follow in their shining footsteps. There’s something a bit funny though — everyone on my new team keeps talking about this thing that was in the papers months ago. It was all cleared up, pretty unfortunate, but one officer from this team turned out to be the responsible party. Every time they talk about it, I feel like I’m missing something, but they stop talking and give each other meaningful looks if I ask anything… About that, or about how the Lieutenant lost his eye. There’s a pool on the eye so everyone’s trying to find out. I voted swordfish but on second thought maybe pool cue would have been a better bet…

Me, The Player:

We world built this together. I am in on the secret. I delight in believing only the best of my teammates with bright eyed innocence, not that they could be hiding anything dark. Because I know the secret, I can push them in to awkward situations by asking questions that seem and feel innocent and give them all a chance to be the group who’s been through thick and thin. Playing the rookie in this game works out for me — I don’t know this genre well but I’m having a blast playing it, and any goofs can be easily covered by my newness to the team.

 Because my character is not in the know, we create all kinds of good role play opportunities at the table.  Me, The Character: I am the rookie on an established task force. They all call me “Boot” but my father was in this police department, and my grandfather, and as one of the youngest graduates of the academy in recent memory, I am prepared to follow in their shining footsteps. There’s something a bit funny though -- everyone on my new team keeps talking about this thing that was in the papers months ago. It was all cleared up, pretty unfortunate, but one officer from this team turned out to be the responsible party. Every time they talk about it, I feel like I’m missing something, but they stop talking and give each other meaningful looks if I ask anything... About that, or about how the Lieutenant lost his eye. There’s a pool on the eye so everyone’s trying to find out. I voted swordfish but on second thought maybe pool cue would have been a better bet… Me, The Player: We world built this together. I am in on the secret. I delight in believing only the best of my teammates with bright eyed innocence, not that they could be hiding anything dark. Because I know the secret, I can push them in to awkward situations by asking questions that seem and feel innocent and give them all a chance to be the group who’s been through thick and thin. Playing the rookie in this game works out for me -- I don’t know this genre well but I’m having a blast playing it, and any goofs can be easily covered by my newness to the team. [pullquoteright] Because my character is not in the know, we create all kinds of good role play opportunities at the table. [social_warfare][/pullquoteright]But the secrets. That’s really what it’s all about. Because my character is not in the know, we create all kinds of good role play opportunities at the table. Someday, maybe, it will actually come out we’ll have that moment when Ras, around whom all of the whispers swirl, will have to actually tell me what happened that night when shots were fired. But until then...until then we all get to lean in to it. Why Have A Secret You might say, why even have secrets if all the players at the table are in on them? Well, my gnome reading friend, gather near to these pointy hats and listen to their whispered thoughts. Having a secret drives both character actions and character evolution. Having a secret does not stay stagnant. As a character, there are two general ways to handle a secret, and they are not mutually exclusive. The first is that you are constantly working to conceal it — it will drive your actions even if it causes you to do things that aren’t in your best interest (which just makes everything more interesting). The second is that you may have confused or evolving emotions tied to your secret. You may be torn between keeping your secret and another force -- care for a person or thing that is being harmed by your silence. You may be on a path to realizing that you will still be liked and accepted if you reveal your secret. All of these make brilliant role playing opportunities at the table. Our characters are not one dimensional any more than we are (unless we want them to be). The kind of secrets that are fun to play with as characters are also frequently tied up with guilt, remorse, sadness, or other emotions that are easy to lean in to at the table. If you are worried that a different cop in your department took the fall for what may have been your bad call, you’ll react differently to him suddenly showing up than if you parted knowing that he fired the bad shot. Since I love feelsy games right now, of course I want the complication of secrets to raise the stakes and push more interesting decision making at the table. So How Do I Have Secrets Successfully At the Table, Senda? Gosh, I’m so glad you asked! There are a couple of key items I don’t think folks always consider when dealing in table secrets, and using them successfully. [pullquoteright] Use secrets on a character level, not a player level. You might think it would be more fun if it’s a “real” secret, but actually, no one will care enough to try to find out. [social_warfare][/pullquoteright]Use secrets on a character level, not a player level. You might think it would be more fun if it’s a “real” secret, but actually, no one will care enough to try to find out. If they do, they are likely to feel annoyed or betrayed that you would keep something key to the game from them. Trust me: it is more fun to play with secrets if you are put in positions where you have to make difficult decisions about keeping them or not, which the other folks at the table can only do if they’re in on it. Remember that this is a cooperative exercise and give them the tools to make this story the best for everyone. Get the investment of the other folks at the table. This is pretty much consent. Are they okay with this secret your character has? Is it safe for them? Does it sound like something that will be fun to play with? And from there, is it interesting? Does it get them excited about the direction the game is going? If your table is invested, having a secret can give you all something to play with in downtime, or in tense moments. It’s fun both to have a secret and to be trying to figure out what one is, and we can do both of those in a game. Share the spotlight. Just because you have a secret doesn’t mean that you are the only character worthy of attention at this table. As long as your secret is fostering interaction among characters and not causing the game to warp to your lone wolf ways, you’re doing fine. In fact, you can have a shared secret with other characters that ties you together tighter -- in the police procedural I’m playing now, I am the only one not in on it! Some Secrets So you want to try having a secret! Fantastic. They can be very fun to play with. Here are some leading questions in case you are stuck for ideas:

  • Whose death or injury are you responsible for and why are you hiding it?
  • What dangerous treasure are you keeping? What does it do? Who is trying to find it?
  • What do you keep slipping scraps of food to when you think no one is watching?
  • You are under a permanent spell of polymorph. What are you really?
  • Who are you related to and why don’t you want anyone to know?
  • What were you famous for in a previous life and why don’t you want anyone to know?
  • Why do you refuse to touch that particular kind of weapon?
Secrets are fun when they create opportunities to lean in to your characters at the table. Secrets less fun when they’re a bait and switch on your friends, or if you have one that no one notices. Create situations in which you can play off that secret and the ways you work to conceal it. Give other people moments to interact with you as you interact with it. It can be fun to be a character who is left out, but it’s not so much fun to feel left out as a player. As with implementing anything at your table, communication and table buy in are key! Have you ever played with a secret? What was your favorite? Did your fellow players know?But the secrets. That’s really what it’s all about. Because my character is not in the know, we create all kinds of good role play opportunities at the table. Someday, maybe, it will actually come out we’ll have that moment when Ras, around whom all of the whispers swirl, will have to actually tell me what happened that night when shots were fired. But until then…until then we all get to lean in to it.

Why Have A Secret

You might say, why even have secrets if all the players at the table are in on them? Well, my gnome reading friend, gather near to these pointy hats and listen to their whispered thoughts. Having a secret drives both character actions and character evolution. Having a secret does not stay stagnant. As a character, there are two general ways to handle a secret, and they are not mutually exclusive. The first is that you are constantly working to conceal it — it will drive your actions even if it causes you to do things that aren’t in your best interest (which just makes everything more interesting). The second is that you may have confused or evolving emotions tied to your secret. You may be torn between keeping your secret and another force — care for a person or thing that is being harmed by your silence. You may be on a path to realizing that you will still be liked and accepted if you reveal your secret. All of these make brilliant role playing opportunities at the table. Our characters are not one dimensional any more than we are (unless we want them to be).

The kind of secrets that are fun to play with as characters are also frequently tied up with guilt, remorse, sadness, or other emotions that are easy to lean in to at the table. If you are worried that a different cop in your department took the fall for what may have been your bad call, you’ll react differently to him suddenly showing up than if you parted knowing that he fired the bad shot. Since I love feelsy games right now, of course I want the complication of secrets to raise the stakes and push more interesting decision making at the table.

So How Do I Have Secrets Successfully At the Table, Senda?

Gosh, I’m so glad you asked! There are a couple of key items I don’t think folks always consider when dealing in table secrets, and using them successfully.

 Use secrets on a character level, not a player level. You might think it would be more fun if it’s a “real” secret, but actually, no one will care enough to try to find out.  Me, The Character: I am the rookie on an established task force. They all call me “Boot” but my father was in this police department, and my grandfather, and as one of the youngest graduates of the academy in recent memory, I am prepared to follow in their shining footsteps. There’s something a bit funny though -- everyone on my new team keeps talking about this thing that was in the papers months ago. It was all cleared up, pretty unfortunate, but one officer from this team turned out to be the responsible party. Every time they talk about it, I feel like I’m missing something, but they stop talking and give each other meaningful looks if I ask anything... About that, or about how the Lieutenant lost his eye. There’s a pool on the eye so everyone’s trying to find out. I voted swordfish but on second thought maybe pool cue would have been a better bet… Me, The Player: We world built this together. I am in on the secret. I delight in believing only the best of my teammates with bright eyed innocence, not that they could be hiding anything dark. Because I know the secret, I can push them in to awkward situations by asking questions that seem and feel innocent and give them all a chance to be the group who’s been through thick and thin. Playing the rookie in this game works out for me -- I don’t know this genre well but I’m having a blast playing it, and any goofs can be easily covered by my newness to the team. [pullquoteright] Because my character is not in the know, we create all kinds of good role play opportunities at the table. [social_warfare][/pullquoteright]But the secrets. That’s really what it’s all about. Because my character is not in the know, we create all kinds of good role play opportunities at the table. Someday, maybe, it will actually come out we’ll have that moment when Ras, around whom all of the whispers swirl, will have to actually tell me what happened that night when shots were fired. But until then...until then we all get to lean in to it. Why Have A Secret You might say, why even have secrets if all the players at the table are in on them? Well, my gnome reading friend, gather near to these pointy hats and listen to their whispered thoughts. Having a secret drives both character actions and character evolution. Having a secret does not stay stagnant. As a character, there are two general ways to handle a secret, and they are not mutually exclusive. The first is that you are constantly working to conceal it — it will drive your actions even if it causes you to do things that aren’t in your best interest (which just makes everything more interesting). The second is that you may have confused or evolving emotions tied to your secret. You may be torn between keeping your secret and another force -- care for a person or thing that is being harmed by your silence. You may be on a path to realizing that you will still be liked and accepted if you reveal your secret. All of these make brilliant role playing opportunities at the table. Our characters are not one dimensional any more than we are (unless we want them to be). The kind of secrets that are fun to play with as characters are also frequently tied up with guilt, remorse, sadness, or other emotions that are easy to lean in to at the table. If you are worried that a different cop in your department took the fall for what may have been your bad call, you’ll react differently to him suddenly showing up than if you parted knowing that he fired the bad shot. Since I love feelsy games right now, of course I want the complication of secrets to raise the stakes and push more interesting decision making at the table. So How Do I Have Secrets Successfully At the Table, Senda? Gosh, I’m so glad you asked! There are a couple of key items I don’t think folks always consider when dealing in table secrets, and using them successfully. [pullquoteright] Use secrets on a character level, not a player level. You might think it would be more fun if it’s a “real” secret, but actually, no one will care enough to try to find out. [social_warfare][/pullquoteright]Use secrets on a character level, not a player level. You might think it would be more fun if it’s a “real” secret, but actually, no one will care enough to try to find out. If they do, they are likely to feel annoyed or betrayed that you would keep something key to the game from them. Trust me: it is more fun to play with secrets if you are put in positions where you have to make difficult decisions about keeping them or not, which the other folks at the table can only do if they’re in on it. Remember that this is a cooperative exercise and give them the tools to make this story the best for everyone. Get the investment of the other folks at the table. This is pretty much consent. Are they okay with this secret your character has? Is it safe for them? Does it sound like something that will be fun to play with? And from there, is it interesting? Does it get them excited about the direction the game is going? If your table is invested, having a secret can give you all something to play with in downtime, or in tense moments. It’s fun both to have a secret and to be trying to figure out what one is, and we can do both of those in a game. Share the spotlight. Just because you have a secret doesn’t mean that you are the only character worthy of attention at this table. As long as your secret is fostering interaction among characters and not causing the game to warp to your lone wolf ways, you’re doing fine. In fact, you can have a shared secret with other characters that ties you together tighter -- in the police procedural I’m playing now, I am the only one not in on it! Some Secrets So you want to try having a secret! Fantastic. They can be very fun to play with. Here are some leading questions in case you are stuck for ideas:

  • Whose death or injury are you responsible for and why are you hiding it?
  • What dangerous treasure are you keeping? What does it do? Who is trying to find it?
  • What do you keep slipping scraps of food to when you think no one is watching?
  • You are under a permanent spell of polymorph. What are you really?
  • Who are you related to and why don’t you want anyone to know?
  • What were you famous for in a previous life and why don’t you want anyone to know?
  • Why do you refuse to touch that particular kind of weapon?
Secrets are fun when they create opportunities to lean in to your characters at the table. Secrets less fun when they’re a bait and switch on your friends, or if you have one that no one notices. Create situations in which you can play off that secret and the ways you work to conceal it. Give other people moments to interact with you as you interact with it. It can be fun to be a character who is left out, but it’s not so much fun to feel left out as a player. As with implementing anything at your table, communication and table buy in are key! Have you ever played with a secret? What was your favorite? Did your fellow players know?Use secrets on a character level, not a player level. You might think it would be more fun if it’s a “real” secret, but actually, no one will care enough to try to find out. If they do, they are likely to feel annoyed or betrayed that you would keep something key to the game from them. Trust me: it is more fun to play with secrets if you are put in positions where you have to make difficult decisions about keeping them or not, which the other folks at the table can only do if they’re in on it. Remember that this is a cooperative exercise and give them the tools to make this story the best for everyone.

Get the investment of the other folks at the table. This is pretty much consent. Are they okay with this secret your character has? Is it safe for them? Does it sound like something that will be fun to play with? And from there, is it interesting? Does it get them excited about the direction the game is going? If your table is invested, having a secret can give you all something to play with in downtime, or in tense moments. It’s fun both to have a secret and to be trying to figure out what one is, and we can do both of those in a game.
Share the spotlight. Just because you have a secret doesn’t mean that you are the only character worthy of attention at this table. As long as your secret is fostering interaction among characters and not causing the game to warp to your lone wolf ways, you’re doing fine. In fact, you can have a shared secret with other characters that ties you together tighter — in the police procedural I’m playing now, I am the only one not in on it!

Some Secrets

So you want to try having a secret! Fantastic. They can be very fun to play with. Here are some leading questions in case you are stuck for ideas:

  • Whose death or injury are you responsible for and why are you hiding it?
  • What dangerous treasure are you keeping? What does it do? Who is trying to find it?
  • What do you keep slipping scraps of food to when you think no one is watching?
  • You are under a permanent spell of polymorph. What are you really?
  • Who are you related to and why don’t you want anyone to know?
  • What were you famous for in a previous life and why don’t you want anyone to know?
  • Why do you refuse to touch that particular kind of weapon?

Secrets are fun when they create opportunities to lean in to your characters at the table. Secrets less fun when they’re a bait and switch on your friends, or if you have one that no one notices. Create situations in which you can play off that secret and the ways you work to conceal it. Give other people moments to interact with you as you interact with it. It can be fun to be a character who is left out, but it’s not so much fun to feel left out as a player. As with implementing anything at your table, communication and table buy in are key!

Have you ever played with a secret? What was your favorite? Did your fellow players know?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: The Power of the Bard

RPGNet - 14 May 2018 - 12:00am
Fuzzy accordions.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: One Hour, One Frostpunk

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 May 2018 - 7:31pm

This week's game writing, audio & video highlights include a podcast with Jason Rohrer on One Hour One Life, as well as analysis of the acclaimed Frostpunk and lots more besides. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: One Hour, One Frostpunk - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 May 2018 - 7:23am
This week's game writing, audio & video highlights include a podcast with Jason Rohrer on One Hour One Life, as well as analysis of the acclaimed Frostpunk and lots more besides.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 May 2018 - 11:00am
It’s Saturday! Woo! What cannot be accomplished on such a day as today!? I know what I’ll be doing. I’ll be here at CMON Expo, hobnobbing with gaming media. Some of them I will now feature here on today’s Review Roundup. Today we have: Hard City, Destiny Aurora: Renegades, Castle Von Loghan, Meeple Circus, Karuba: […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Board Game Book Coming To Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 May 2018 - 2:00pm
Honestly, I don’t read a lot of fiction. I’m much more interested in non-fiction. So the upcoming The Board Game Book looks to be right up my alley. It’s all about last year’s greatest hits in terms of games, including interviews with the designers and insight into what made those games such a hit. Expect […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drinkuisition Available to Pre-Order Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 May 2018 - 1:00pm
DRNK Games has started taking pre-orders for Drinkuisition, their thinking-person’s drinking game. Raise your tankard and challenge yourself through various rounds of questions on all manner of topics while you continually get more and more sloshed. From the announcement: Drinkuisition, the drinking game for the thinking person, is finally available for pre-order through their website, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Twitch files counter-complaint against banned CS:GO streamer

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 11 May 2018 - 12:46pm

Twitch has filed a counter-complaint against the lawsuit filed by former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive streamer James 'Phantoml0rd' Varga. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Forgotten Paths Expansion for Dark Souls Card Game Available For Pre-Order

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 May 2018 - 12:00pm
Dark Souls isn’t a very forgiving game. Death awaits you around every corner. The same is true for the card game from Steamforged. But with every monster comes new opportunities. And the Forgotten Path expansion, coming this September, is certainly full of new monsters. It also has two new characters that you can play. Set […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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