Review++: Undertale

Review++: Undertale (2015) On June 24, 2013, a Kickstarter campaign started for Undertale, an RPG experience paying homage to Earthbound, Shin Megami Tensei, and Homestuck. After about a month of crowdfunding, the game’s modest $5000 request had been fulfilled tenfold by nearly 2400 contributors. The game released on Steam on September 15, 2015 for $9.99. Since […]

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Review++: Mad Max

Review++: Mad Max (2015) Avalanche Studios (est. 2003, Sweden) has made a name for itself in the open world action-adventure genre, with much credit going to their Just Cause franchise. And though Avalanche has made the occasional exploration into free-to-play, most of its studio and development culture can be expected to reflect a more traditional pay-to-play studio. […]

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Emergence: Making a Game About Your Players

Emergence: Making a Game About Your Players Emergence and Why it’s the Best Thing, Kind Of. In 1974, the world was introduced to an experience called Dungeons & Dragons. Borrowing from the noble efforts of its predecessors, D&D featured a game dynamic where the players themselves were responsible for establishing the game’s content. But why leave so much responsibility in the […]

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Reversion and Probability Design in Outbreak

Reversion and Probability Design in Outbreak Ask any tabletop game enthusiast and they’ll tell you: mathematics and probability systems are not limited to digital games. Tabletop games thrive on mathematics, and live-action games depend on them to define many of their gameplay interactions. Outbreak‘s design, in particular, is littered with probability theory from its core systems to its […]

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The Hard Part About Live Action Design

The Hard Part About Live Action Design Picture this: You’ve just developed your first activity for a live-action game: It involves gathering resources, bringing those resources to an evac point, and then defending the evac vehicle while the goods are secured. You announce the mission details to your players and get ready for a multi-phased battle of […]

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Encouraging Creativity in Rekkage

Encouraging Creativity in Rekkage Creativity in games can be a powerful outlet for player expression, autonomy, and retention. But when attempting to inject it into games, be aware that creativity has an enemy. “The Candle Problem” is one of many creative problem solving exercises that require out-of-the-box thinking in order to solve. This particular experiment asks […]

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Stop Talking: Effective Rapid Prototyping Techniques (2013)

Stop Talking: Effective Rapid Prototyping Techniques (2013) Media Blackout PAX Dev has a conference-wide media blackout to encourage free speech and willingness to share knowledge in the interest of education over profit. As a result, no video or audio is available for this talk. Summary This session discusses a rapid prototyping methodology that combines the […]

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The Elegance of Sumo-Style Design

The Elegance of Sumo-Style Design Watching two overweight naked men grab each other may not seem like the epitome of elegance, but my experiences have led me to believe otherwise – rest assured. Sumo as we know it began in Japan’s Edo period in the late 1600’s. Ronin would meet in ceremonious combat with the […]

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Intuition vs. Nuance in Class Design

Intuition vs. Nuance in Wingman’s Class Design “Easy to Learn, Hard to Master” Skill in games is a difficult subject to breach: Some games require low skill to play but don’t do a great job keeping us interested for long, while other games take several hundred games of practice just to perform at a useful level (you can probably […]

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Sensation as Reward: Pacing in Wingman

Sensation as Reward: Pacing in Wingman “Static, predictable, and incremental at a very subtle level.”  For a long portion of development, levels in Wingman were all of these things, with very limited contribution to the feel of the gameplay. Players would start the match, and hazards would gradually become more dangerous as players fought in a Super Smash Bros.-esque […]

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