Game Design

State-of-the-art HLSL to GLSL Converter - by Egor Yusov Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 7:22am
This post introduces HLSL2GLSLConverter, a standalone tool that allows converting DirectX shaders authored in HLSL5.0 into GLSL source suitable for OpenGL/GLES applications.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

What we learned improvising a live game soundtrack - by Joost van Dongen Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 7:21am
We did a couple of live stage performances where we improvised a new soundtrack to someone playing Journey and Ori And The Blind Forest. This post shares a video compilation of the performance and explains our approach and what did and didn't work.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video game music systems at GDC 2017: pros and cons for composers - by Winifred Phillips Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 7:20am
In the GDC 2017 audio track, several interactive music systems were presented. In part 2 of her 3 article series, video game composer Winifred Phillips discusses the pros & cons of these systems, while also sharing case studies from her own projects.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tower Defense Game Rules (Part 2) - by Teddy Phan Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 7:20am
These what I figured out during playing game and comparison. I have tried some of the rules in the implementation of my game ideas. I hope it is useful for you!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Earthbound: Itoi's accurately inaccurate America nostalgia - by Joshua Adam Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 7:16am
A correct vision America from the perspective a Japanese person who knows nothing about America.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Designing games to teach Soft Skills (Part 4/4- Personal Suggestions and Conclusion) - by Neeraj Thakur Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 7:14am
How training methodologies can be adopted by a wide range of professionals and purposes to enhance traditional training practice, boost participants’ learning experience, heighten participants’ self-awareness and self-confidence and facilitate knowledge.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Bolt Action Releases Available From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 17 July 2017 - 7:00am
Warlord Games has some new Bolt Action releases available over in their webshop. They’ve also started taking pre-orders for their next campaign book. This time, they’re headed back to the Pacific, specifically the islands of New Guinea. If you’re gonna get there, you’re gonna need some stout sailors to get you there, as well as […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Investigating Unity iOS executable bloat - by Sam Izzo Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 6:50am
In this article I dig in to the iOS binary generated by Unity, and look at some tools we can use to understand what's going on and what's in there.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mozhaysk, AI Changes and new Allies - by Tim Baker Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 6:49am
Once again, another busy week on The Red Front. This week we are showing off the development of our latest stage - Mozhaysk. In this scenario, you will be required to defend a convoy which has been ambushed by the Nazi’s.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Reproducible Research: StarCraft Data Mining - by Ben Weber Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 6:36am
Revisiting a research paper from 2009, here's how I'd approach the problem today.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Game Artist as a "Smartist"! - by Amirhossein Erfani Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 6:35am
Game Art is an exciting career and many people choose to pursue their dream in this field. Yet there are differences between becoming a AAA Game Artist and an Indie/Mobile one. in both cases Art Direction is vital and in smaller teams shouldn't be missed.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Interview with ASONE GAMES, Developers of Strategy RPG War of Crown - by Ryan Ruger Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 6:35am
Making a mobile strategy RPG can be a challenge. The game has to be simple enough for the user to understand and at the same time maintain the genre’s hardcore appeal. Strategy RPGs involve a lot of complexity.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Games Previews Furnace for The Blacksmith’s Guild

Tabletop Gaming News - 17 July 2017 - 6:00am
The Blacksmith’s Guild is looking to reshape the world of Guild Ball like a smith reshapes metal. Their Master/Apprentice dynamic gives you a team with no mascot and no official captain (you pick who is in charge at the start of the game). So there’s a lot of anticipation on what these players are going […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Big in the West: Swery, Igarashi, and others discuss the Japanese game industry - by Brandon Sheffield Blogs - 17 July 2017 - 12:43am
In a rare roundtable, Swery, Koji Igarashi, 4gamer journalist Masatoshi Tokuoka, and Necrosoft Games' Brandon Sheffield discuss the future of the japanese game industry.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Troy’s Crock Pot: Adding some magical touches

Gnome Stew - 17 July 2017 - 12:01am

We play fantasy rpgs because we love magic interwoven in our adventures. Wizards casting spells, sly bards with their enchantments, priests with their miraculous cures — all of it spurs our imagination into believing we are playing in a realm fantastic and weird.

[Now, my next assertion is a bit of a generalization, and like all generalizations, may crumble a bit upon examination. So forgive me if you think I’m pinpointing a “problem” that — for you — may not exist.]

But I’ve observed that when it comes to gamemasters, we seem to shy away from infusing new magical spells into our games.

As GMs, we either hold tightly to the core rules of our rulebooks, using only the magic prescribed in that section (because we trust that it works within the system), or we rely entirely on the players to select new spells that their characters can use (because we see PCs as the change agents in our games).

On the rare occasion we do “add” a new spell, it’s because it is appearing in a published adventure that we are adapting for use in our game. Again, it is a “prescribed” addition rather than a more conscious choice.

[Told you it was a generalization. You may commence your protests.]

So, I think as GMs, choosing to introduce new magic spells can — like selecting certain monsters or choosing descriptions of things from a historical period — help shape and contour your setting. The orange-robed wizards from the School of Mysteries can cast spell X, but only reveal the secret to its most devoted acolytes, for example.

If the game is historical, it adds a twist of the fantastic. For example, now that your knight has been invited into the circle of Charlemagne’s paladins, the archbishop has revealed how you can call upon this inner power to do good.

Gaining a new spell can be the source of a quest. It might be the surest way to exploit the only known weakness of the villain or dispelling the wards that guard a treasure. In a level-based game, it can be an indication of increased powers and abilities — only upon gaining the “5th level of enlightenment” is this spell, signifying the mysteries of the ancients, revealed to you.

And so forth.   

Choosing what spells to introduce is entirely a personal choice. But here are some of my favorites, gleaned from supplements I’ve acquired over the years. Where I can, I’ve included a story hook, to see how it might be introduced to a game. You might note I’m more attracted to the flavor surrounding the magic than the actual power imbued in the spell. But I have always liked spells that have more whiz than bang. (You may also notice I rarely get past the letter “B” when perusing spell books).


This spell is favored by bards with a necromantic bent. Designed by James Jacobs for a Dragon magazine No. 328 article entitled “Tvash-Prill’s Symphony,” it was thoughtfully included in both Champions of Ruin and the D&D Spell Compendium for 3.5.

Using a miniature fiddle of pure silver as a focus, the spell creates a phantasmal fiddle bow that “saws” through the target as it plays a haunting melody, dealing sonic damage as it goes. My favorite touch is the spell’s focus. Should the PCs find or steal this trinket, will they be immediately intrigued? What’s it for? Why was the bard carrying this? Why is the bard pursuing us so vigorously for it? The trinket is a great tool for GMs to introduce this spell into the game.

Blood Spikes

A necromancy spell with a yuck factor of 7 or 8 and a cool factor of 10, this one from Monte Cook’s The Complete Book of Eldritch Might. When cast it causes  the target’s blood to congeal into hardened spikes that spring out of the target’s body, dealing damage to the flesh as it does so. My favorite bit is the part of the description that says, should the target survive, it can use the spikes as weapons for the duration of the spell. (As if it will occur to the person whose has bloody spikes protruding from their flesh to rip them out and use them as weapons.) It’s like magic missile in reverse, but it has such a grotesque description, its perfectly suited for use by a demented villain — especially if she chooses to afflict a minion so that its other followers can be armed with blood spikes. On the other hand, PCs on a vengeance quest might find it a particularly attractive option. (So, how do I inflict pain on my enemies? I just don’t want to defeat them, I want them to suffer!)

Bounce the Baby

Wolfgang Baur wrote this nifty little cantrip for the Book of Roguish Luck. Basically, it’s an under-powered feather fall for thieves who occasionally slip while on their rooftop burglary excursions. It doesn’t mitigate all the falling damage, just enough to cause the PCs to land as if on a trampoline and spring away, hence the name, Bounce the Baby. The spell also anticipates its preferred use, to bounce about and go whack-a-mole on your foes. Before you can go boing, though, membership in the local thieves’ guild might be required. Better yet, it can be the discovery of a dabbler in magic, who in trying to recreate a feather fall spell, mangles it and comes up with this little ditty, which in his eyes is a failure but to the local mob bosses, is a little bit of gold. The dabbler suddenly finds himself being chased by the city’s major crime figures — so he seeks out the PCs for protection.

Raise from the Deep

Another from the Spell Compendium. This one is a cinematic wonder, pulled straight form a Pirates of the Caribbean-style adventure? Do you need to explore the shipwreck that sank to the ocean floor? Just like in the movies, this spell raises the wreck for a time so that it bobs on the ocean surface, just long enough to explore it and make off with its treasures. Because the spell has such a specific use, it’s great to have it written on a scroll (or equivalent disposable object, say a bamboo chart or roll of papyrus). That means before the PCs can salvage the wreck, they need a mini adventure to acquire this spell, which is secure in some sea captain’s personal collection, part of a sea priest’s chapbook of sea shanties, or written in secret script on the back of a prized navigational chart. It can even be obtained through one of those breadcrumb searches that are a signature part of the “National Treasure” or “Robert Langdon” movies.

Have you any spells you enjoy introducing into your game? What’s the spell and its source, and the circumstances you brought it in?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Darkvision

RPGNet - 17 July 2017 - 12:00am
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: The 4D Cyberpunk Fire

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 16 July 2017 - 10:18pm

This week's longform game article/video highlights include the Cyberpunk RPG's original author, 4D Toys' brain-bending surreality, Fire Pro Wrestling's resurgence, and lots more. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 15 July 2017 - 11:00am
Well, it’s Saturday. My day was looking like it might be a bit dull, but then a friend was like, “Hey, let’s have everyone come over and game.” and I was like, “done and done. I just need to type up a post first.” So, that’s the sacrifice I’m making for you all. I could […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Four New Coriolis Supplements Available From Modiphius

Tabletop Gaming News - 14 July 2017 - 3:00pm
The Coriolis RPG, which has been described as “the Arabian Nights in space,” is getting a bit bigger. Four new supplements have been released in .pd format over in Modiphius’ webshop. You can get them separately, or as a bundle. They give you new insight into different technology, different cultures, and different places in the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Specialization and Signature Abilities Decks Available For Star Wars RPG

Tabletop Gaming News - 14 July 2017 - 2:00pm
When you’re playing an RPG, you want the rules to be present, but not get in the way of the game. And with all the options that a player’s character can have, it can be really easy to forget how something works, or forget you have some special bonus at all. Thankfully, there’s resources available […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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