Game Design

Sponsored: How to run a pre-order campaign for your indie game

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 23 September 2019 - 10:21am

Pre-orders are an underutilized lifeline for indie developers. Learn how to prepare, market, and launch your pre-order campaign with this free guide from Xsolla. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Play Pass and its library of 350 apps offers a different take on mobile subscriptions

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 23 September 2019 - 10:09am

Though similar in concept, Google's Play Pass takes a slightly different approach toward changing how Android users interact with both free-to-play and premium mobile games and apps than Apple†™s Apple Arcade. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Inside the process of creating the score for Temtem: adaptive music. - by Damian Sanchez Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 9:15am
A look into Temtem's work in progress score creation and the adptive music techniques behind it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

3 Strategies to Grow Gamers’ Loyalty and Retention Rate - by Kate AppFollow Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 9:07am
A selection of the top strategies on improving your games' retention, with expert advice from app-store specialists.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Discover the Top Travel Destinations for Gamers - by Jori Hamilton Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:43am
The gaming industry is an important contributor to the world’s economy. As a result, major cities across the globe have embraced the gaming community by hosting events and creating new job opportunities. These are some of the top destinations for gamers
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Localize a Mobile Game's App Page Without Knowing the Language - by Kate AppFollow Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:40am
Apple announced that App Store Connect now supports Arabic and Hebrew localization. Such locales scare developers off, because the translation can be complex. Find out how to localize an app to any language.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Get Game Industry Experince - by Chris waugh Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:39am
Learn the right way to move in the Game Industry and how you can actually get a Real-time Game Industry Experience all by Yourself.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How machination can help you improve your system design creation workflow - by Eddy NJIKI Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:33am
This post is about machinations and the importance of tools in game design. During this article, i will not talk about gameplay design (mechanics and gameplay creation) but mainly about system and internal economy design
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: New Reality for the Gaming Industry - by Vivek Sonchhatra Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:22am
By mixing the real world with the virtual world advance technologies like AR/VR is providing immersive experiences to the users. Using this advanced technology gaming industry can take the gaming experience of users to the next level.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

What Would Happen if Magic: The Gathering Added a Sixth Color? - by Caleb Compton Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:21am
Rumors around a sixth color have been around for decades, but would it really be a good idea?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Functions of Sound in Games - by Elliot Callighan Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:18am
Eight ways sound can be used in games
Categories: Game Theory & Design

"Gaijin Charenji 1 kiss or kill" is born - by youenn thirion Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 8:05am
this is a blog about my newbie game developper experience and my first game "Gaijin Charenji 1 : Kiss or kill". I abord different question and want to get feedback about my game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

PixelCast 2 - by Jeremy Alessi Blogs - 23 September 2019 - 7:49am
In episode 2, Jeremy adds some formatting by covering the news, reflecting on the inspiration for PixelFest, and delving into an important developer lesson; that period of time everyone faces when they have to decide whether to play a game or make a game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Exploring Encounter Theory: How to Craft RPG Adventures

Gnome Stew - 23 September 2019 - 6:30am

Want to write better adventures?

Want to prep more efficiently?

Sick of players skipping all of your best content?

Prep Smarter, Not Harder, with Encounter Theory

Encounter Theory: The Adventure Design Workbook is a fresh way to look at adventure design by Ben Riggs, the voice of the Ennie-Nominated Plot Points podcast. Using his background in teaching and adventure review, he dissects what we think of as an adventure and helps us get to the core of what makes a one great—the encounter.

Adventure Craft and You

How did you learn to write tabletop adventures for your players? You’ve had creative writing assignments in English, maybe even taken a course in creative writing. Perhaps, you started by delving into old D&D modules or stared at the cloudlike white space of a sheet of paper until a story began to form. But, what are the steps? Where are the instructions on how to do this? Could it be, that we don’t really know how to write an RPG adventure? Could it be, that we don’t really know how to write an RPG adventure? Share1Tweet1Reddit1Email

But Pete, I’ve run many great adventures!

Sure, but how did you do it? How do you write a good adventure, can you explain it? Better yet, can you show me how? A good GM can make the best of a badly written adventure just as they can homebrew their favorite system to work for any setting. It doesn’t have to be perfect to pass for fun. As GMs, we get SO good at improvising, that we can work with “good enough”. But, do you really want to settle for “good enough” adventures?

Principles to Adventure By

Why the encounter, because the encounter is the core experience of play and our most quantifiable unit. As Ben says, the encounter is where design meets play. As Ben says, the encounter is where design meets play. Share1Tweet1Reddit1Email Each encounter or scene feeds the player a description of the setting and the characters, something for the players to mentally chew on. Then, narrative control shifts as players are free to act on that description, often begging the question, what do you do? That’s the moment all of this work goes from prep to play.

Description is the BIG word there. Adventure writing is hard, mostly because we drown the reader in it or offer too little, too generic, to capture the mood. Arguably, the greatest feature of Encounter Theory is that it can help a GM narrow down just how much description we should apply in adventure design.

Guiding Principles of Encounter Theory Design:
  • Face the Player and Free the Player
  • Present Problems Not Solutions
  • Use the Dungeon as Adventure Structure
  • Give Playable, Specific, Sensory, and Short Description

Encounter Theory is a method of efficiently focusing GMs on creating adventure plans that are ONLY player facing and that maximize player agency. Unlike other mediums of fiction, tabletop roleplaying is collaborative. So, providing any description that is not actionable for a player at the table is a waste of your prep time, as it doesn’t fit how the content is used (excess location history or long NPC backstories). Players need specific descriptive information that is short and sensory. They need to be provided description in a way that their characters can interpret (smell, sight, touch, hear, feel). Anything that does not help a player understand a situation through their character is more to read, more to say, and ultimately, more to delay play. Players come to play!

Unlike writing short stories, the narrative of where play goes should be decided by the players, not the Game Master. A GM should present problems but avoid presenting solutions. That’s not to say that you can’t help players if they get stuck in the fog. It is to say that players should be free to create solutions and find their own way to the next encounter, their own way through the adventure. We have the freedom to explore endless options to solving problems, why limit ourselves to a few dialogue options like some sort of a video game.

What Does This Look Like

Imagine the model of a dungeon for your game session, plot plan, or campaign storyline. Players begin their adventure at its start with a call to action. As the GM, you set the scene, describing where they are, what’s going on, and a problem for them to fix. No matter how they go about solving their problem, there is a clue, a lead, to have them visit the next room, the next encounter. A series of encounters act as rooms leading to the climax, boss fight, or final revelation.

Encounter Theory helps a GM create only as much information as is necessary, minimizing prep, and helping players to get to play faster. It trims down the size of adventures, so that we as GMs can get to running them faster. It helps to focus GMs on player facing information that is immersive (five senses) and to the point. When writing RPG adventures you shouldn’t be writing novels. We’ve learned how to write short stories, maybe even written books, but writing adventures isn’t the same. They are imaginary sandboxes put out for our players to play with, and for the GM to revel in. Save time and focus on your players. Give them what they need to find their fun!

Want to Know More

For more on Encounter Theory: The Adventure Design Handbook, pick up a copy at DriveThruRPG. The book offers a variety of playplans (as seen in images throughout) to help you put these principles into practice for a variety of settings and situations. Use the Adventure Starter to develop adventure ideas, the Opponent Starter to create worthy adversaries, the list goes on and on. Ben even includes a 5E adventure laid out as an example or for your use at the table. For more on Ben Riggs, adventure design, and his work chronicling TSR, download an episode of Plot Points.

What did Ben miss?

How would you add to Encounter Theory?

How did you learn adventure design? 

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Top Ten Popular Hobgoblin Sayings

RPGNet - 23 September 2019 - 12:00am
Fuzzy humanoids
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Sayonara, Switch Lite, Wild Herds

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 20 September 2019 - 2:37pm

This week's highlights include the gorgeous Sayonara Wild Hearts & the launch of the Switch Lite, as well as a doc on the making of Them's Fighting Herds, Borderlands 3, and lots, lots more. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Share your hard-won expertise at the GDC 2020 Art Direction Summit!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 20 September 2019 - 1:26pm

You've still got more than a week to submit, but hurry: submissions close Monday, September 30th at 11:59 pm Pacific Time! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Control's Epic Games Store exclusivity initially cost Epic $10.45 million

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 20 September 2019 - 11:34am

There†™s not much context given for the payment, but 505 parent Digital Bros attributed €9.49 million in Control-related income to a digital marketplace that sought an exclusivity agreement in a recent financial report. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ubisoft is taking legal action against Rainbow Six Siege DDoS attackers

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 20 September 2019 - 9:56am

Ubisoft is taking a number of steps to try and cut down on the impact DDoS attacks have on Rainbow Six Siege matches, including steps toward legal action against regular offenders. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

TOP 5 Game Porting Tips for the Nintendo Switch - by Veronika Chebotareva Blogs - 20 September 2019 - 8:30am
Why game publishers and developers are still about to port their smash titles to Nintendo Switch? The main reason is the huge potential audience reach. And that is exactly the qualitative porting that is a decisive factor of the game's success on Switch.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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