Game Design

Building a Vastly Better Team Using Neuroscience - by Ramin Shokrizade Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 7:41am
Recent Google and Carnegie Mellon University statistical studies have shown us what kinds of teams and employees are most successful, but statistics don't explain "why", which we need to build the teams they describe. For this we can look to neuroscience.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

2 Years of Gremlins, Inc.: demographics - by Sergei Klimov Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 7:39am
Two years ago we released our digital board game Gremlins, Inc. in Steam Early Access. Today, we look back at this period and share our data about regions and languages used by the community.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Voxels the agents of change - by Ashkan Saeedi Mazdeh Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 7:16am
Voxels are a new and important addition to our tools which can make a lot of new gameplay mechanics possible. In this post I'm trying to show their compelling reason for existence by a set of examples and a bit of philosophical discussion
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gutters In Video Game Design - by Nikhil Murthy Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 7:16am
The space between the panels is key to comic books. Asking the reader to interpolate between the images to get the full story is an integral part of the medium. This article goes over a parallel technique in video games and why I like it so much.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Winter Soviets Available To Order From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 November 2017 - 7:00am
Winter is coming… No. Really. We’ve got about a month and a half and it’ll be here. Something that’s protected the Russians on more than one occasion during was has been their harsh winter conditions. It happened to Napoleon and it happened to Hitler. In this instance, we’re focusing on that second one, as Warlord […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

I have some pretty strong evidence that the Steam keys from the defunct IndieGameStand are being re-sold. - by David Stark Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 7:00am
tl;dr: Developers, revoke the Steam keys you supplied to Indie Game Stand!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Logistical Problem - by Nick Bell Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 6:55am
In designing Bonbon, I decided that I didn't want the player to be able to carry objects over distances. Players didn't like that, so I found a compromise.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video: Gamerliness - What Makes Video Games So Special? - by Mary Lee Sauder Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 6:51am
Let's talk about what makes video games unique as a medium. What’s something that games can do that movies, books, and other media can’t? And how can creators use that something to make an experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Swords, Pixels & Blood Magic (or: How we worked hard to ignore every trend and make the game we always wanted) - by Thomas Finholm Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 6:51am
Hey, remember those cool old games? Let's make one...! Wait, what? When three retro-nerds gather round the campfire, a number of things are bound to happen. The real quest begins...
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Perception: The most technical issue of VR - by Eike Langbehn Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 6:44am
This article highlights some of the research results about perception in VR that were found by scientists during the last 50 years. It aims to provide a better understanding of the human perceptual system and its effects on the design of VR games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

3 Reasons Your Game is Slow (and what you can do about it) - by Joseph Lewis Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 6:44am
Your mobile game is live. But user reviews say it loads slow. Mobile users are very impatient when it comes to performance, and you really only get one first impression. What makes a mobile game load slow, and what can be done to fix the problem?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

My Top Tips For Mobile App and Game Developers in 2017 - by Abhinav Gupta Blogs - 6 November 2017 - 6:44am
My Top Tips and Advice in 2017 For Indie Mobile App and Game Developers, Number 4 is a MUST in 2017!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mindjammer: The Mindjammer Companion

New RPG Product Reviews - 6 November 2017 - 6:17am
Publisher: Modiphius
Rating: 4
This book presents the Outremer Subsector, located on the extreme edge of Commonality Space. It's the setting of the adventure Dominion and much of the material here is in the Traveller version of the Mingjammer rules, but it's now been completely rewritten for those using the original Fate system rules.

Situated on the edge of Commonality Space, Outremer straddles several interstellar political regions and contains unaligned and unclaimed planetary systems as well. If you think you'd like to set your game here, in these pages you will find detailed planet and star system details for the Heritage Contestation, octant zeta of the subsector, including planetary maps, and more outline material on the rest of the subsector - so plenty of space to add the elements you fancy.

First off, some history of the region. Like much of the rim, planets here were colonised long ago in earlier diasporas, but contact was re-established some 130 years ago just before contact was made with the Venu. Indeed many battles in the war with the Venu occurred here, and the situation is still tense with violence flaring up occasionally.

Maps in the endpapers show all eight octants with political markings, and the various groupings planets can belong to are discussed next. Some are friendly towards the Commonality, others hostile or at best undecided; and of course there is an unclaimed region as well. Plenty of xenomorphs and even plant-based intelligences are to be found (and yes, the necessary information to play one of the latter as a character is included). Details of the natures of each group are provided, to aid in the development of individuals and the overall look and feel of each one.

The discussion then moves on to the economy of the area which, quite frankly, is a mess. It is chaotic with various factions trying to exert control be it for themselves or for the common good. Various economic systems are to be found and it can be fun when those accustomed to one suddenly find themselves in a completely different one. Then we meet other groups: the corporacies. Several are detailed, there's even the suggestion that the party might like to hire out to one or even set up one of their own. Technology and space travel round out this chapter.

Next is Chapter 2, which goes into more detail about the Heritage Contestation octant. It bore the brunt of the fighting during the recent unpleasantness with the Venu and as a result has aquired the nickname 'The Anvil'. There is a detailed map, including an anomaly called the Hammer - space is unstable there, possibly due to the presence of a black hole. Notes - and maps - of individual worlds are provided, excellent if the party wishes to travel in this region. It's a wonderful gazetteer whether you are looking for just the right planet for the adventure you have in mind or if you want to go exploring.

This is all setting material - magnificent setting material. You may find that reading through it spawns some plot ideas, or you may want to run a game that involves exploring or trading... or even a diplomatic mission. However, whilst providing you with a well thought out setting, the adventures will have to come from you.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Tyranid Codex And More Available To order From Games Workshop

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 November 2017 - 6:00am
One of my first armies back when I started playing miniatures games was a Tyranid force for 40k. They were still relatively new back in 2nd edition. They were just so cool and alien (and I’d not even seen Alien at the time). Well, for those that might want to get into the faction, there’s […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

In All Their Looks & Words: Introducing Queer History To Your Games

Gnome Stew - 6 November 2017 - 3:00am

**Initial note: the word “queer” has a complex history for a lot of people in the LGBT+ community. For some it’s a painful slur that brings up traumatic events, for others it’s a powerful reclaimed umbrella term for all sorts of identities and orientations. In this series I’ll be using specific terms when possible (“Bisexual” or “Lesbian”) but whenever I need to be general about multiple identities or orientations I will be using “Queer”.

Although it’s been a long running event at GenCon, this was my first year attending the Queer As A 3 Sided Die panel thrown by the Tabletop Gaymers organization. Last year was my first Gen Con ever and by the time I had my badge and registered, tickets for the panel had already sold out. This year, however, it was the first thing I registered for, in addition to another event run by that organization, Queering Your Setting.

The two events run by Tabletop Gaymers that I attended were some of the highlights of a life-changing Gen Con 50 for me.

I loved both panels so much, seeing people in respected positions in the gaming world such as Jeremy Crawford, Crystal Frasier, and Tanya DePass was inspiring and encouraging. It may be an access or reach problem, but I feel like I have to try hard to find resources talking about queerness in games the way this information was presented. Much of these panels were about how many big titles (I’ll steal the phrase AAA from video games) are starting to add more queer inclusion into their lore and setting with queer characters. Blue Rose was talked up for good reason, and Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons both were mentioned as making efforts to put more queer characters on the page. I think inclusion is great, obviously representation is important, but it got me thinking, especially after reading an article about how adding queer characters is a promise D&D is making, about what’s next.

So What Is Next?

A question I’ve been going over is “How can we make games more queer beyond simply including queer characters in lore?” Again, representation is a powerful thing, especially given roleplaying’s feet-dragging at getting to a healthy portrayal of queerness in its games. “Queer people exist” should not be the end of this discussion. To me, that’s baseline, a given, that’s ground floor. Still, I think inclusion is a great first step and I want to know what the next steps can be. Smaller, more niche games can center queerness and queer stories in ways larger games seem reluctant to do, so how do we start moving AAA game spaces towards centering queerness? 

I want to make it clear that I don’t have an easy or quick answer at the moment, and that’s the driving force behind setting out to write more, podcast more, and develop more about the role of queerness & LGBT+ issues in tabletop. Because I don’t have an answer to “What’s next after we prove we exist?” I want to keep mulling these points over. Part of my growth as a bisexual man includes teaching myself about queerness, since mainstream culture and our public education system has done kind of a subpar job at that. In the past few years after coming out to myself and others, I’ve learned so much that I would have never discovered. Maybe by teaching some of this awesome queer history, I will learn myself. Using history as a vehicle to incorporate queer elements into games seems an obvious choice. From Feudal Japan, to the Viking North, to Medieval Europe or any of the hundreds of analogues of these, tabletop has had a fascination with history. In this series, I’ll be highlighting moments, figures, and themes in queer history and exploring how to incorporate these into your games. “Queer people exist” should not be the end of this discussion.

While I don’t know that I have a great answer to my question yet, at least I can take the queer characters represented in games and put them at the forefront. Exploring the lives of queer history can not only help me learn about an underrepresented segment of history, but also give myself a chance to explore that history in play. By highlighting these historical events, maybe we can put the focus on their context and not only check the box of “Does this game have a queer person in it?” but learn why that’s an important box to check.

I’m In, Let’s Go!

I’m no expert at Queer Studies. I took as many classes as I could in college and I take an active role in seeking out info on the subject, but there’s still an ocean of information out there. I’ll do my best at laying out the information I find while reading and learning, and by tying it into games, let’s do our best to work through this process together. I’m bound to get something wrong at some point. If that happens, let me know & I’ll try to fix it, or if I can’t fix it, I’ll try to do better next time. If you have a subject or question you’d like to see addressed, let me know! Otherwise, let’s jump right in and see what we can learn. The next installment of this series will start to dive into what may be the first ever recorded instance of same-sex affection, from around 4,500 years ago. Stay tuned!

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Bad Dice!

RPGNet - 6 November 2017 - 12:00am
What do you do with bad dice?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Donkey Crossing? Let's Observer!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 5 November 2017 - 7:41pm

Some of this week's longform article & video highlights include a look at the new F2P Animal Crossing, Donkey Kong 64's speedrun history, and the cyberpunk horror of Observer. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Donkey Crossing? Let's Observer! - by Simon Carless Blogs - 5 November 2017 - 7:39am
Some of this week's longform article & video highlights include a look at the new F2P Animal Crossing, Donkey Kong 64's speedrun history, and the cyberpunk horror of Observer.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 November 2017 - 11:00am
Hellooooo Saturday! And what do we do on Saturdays? (We wear pink!) That’s Wednesdays. No, on Saturdays we look at some reviews. So let’s get to it. Today we have: That’s a Question, Seikatsu, Through the Ages App, Between Two Cities: Capitals, Storm Hollow, Whistle Stop, Rhino Hero: Super Battle, SpyNet, King Frog, Paramedics: Clear, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

One modder is on a quest to preserve Nintendo's forgotten Flash games

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 3 November 2017 - 4:24pm

A game maker and modder who operates under the name "Skelux" is in the middle of a quest to find and preserve "ancient relics": the many Flash games Nintendo once made and hosted on its website. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design


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