Game Design, Development and History

Storify on being a game designer

Prompted my a news story back in September that Halfbrick had laid off the last of its designers, I chatted on Twitter about some of the challenges in being a designer. I’ve been updating the site and realized I hadn’t posted it yet, so here’s a belated update.

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Example of FSM Building: Combat

A past side project included building Wizardry-style combat. That’s a very specific kind of turn-based combat, best displayed in Wizardry VI and Wizardry VII. I call this phased combat. The player enters orders for each of her party members in turn, shown in the screen shot. Each party member can make

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Segmenting (and not repeating) FSMs

I’ve been talking a lot on Twitter lately about creating my solo game, and I’m going to start saving them here as well. Today, I talked about why you often want FSMs on stand-alone gameobjects, and a beginning look at how/why you would segment them.   [View the story “Reasons

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Use broad strokes to define basic ideas

I usually start my UI layout with blocks of color. The blocks are named in the PSD file so I can tell by browsing what bit performs what function. By keeping it this simple, I don’t get stuck on details that don’t matter right now. I also get a better

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Don’t get stuck on copy

Staring at an empty dialog window? Trying to mock up UI? It sounds absurd, but I’ve seen many designers get hung up on placeholder text. If you have text space to fill, grab some lorem ipsum and be done with it. You can get it from this free generator, or

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Overcoming game dev resistance

Over the years, I’ve developed what I call the “We’re Guessing” voice. It’s this little whisper in my head, when I’m hip-deep in theory or debate over a feature, that says, “You’re guessing what will work. Prototype this.” If I’m working on a live game, it whispers something a little different:

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Thank God, I’m An Indie Dev

One of my favorite songs that comes up on my walk to and from work is John Denver’s Thank God I’m A Country Boy. Am I a “country girl”? Kind of, but that’s not why the song is on my “walking to work” playlist. I’m lucky to work at an awesome

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Why I’m Not Buying Wildstar

I’ve been debating whether I would blog about this since I tried the Wildstar beta yesterday. I’ll be blunt: I didn’t want to be dumped into that mental category of “women who always complain about how women are portrayed in games.” I’m actually on the other side of that debate

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What’s Old Is New Again

I started working on an adventure game earlier this week. It’s coming full circle for me, since my start as a professional game developer in the 90’s was working nights and weekends on an adventure game. The tools were different then (Strata 3D, Macromedia/Adobe Director) but much of the process

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Reflecting on Ludum Dare

I’d heard about previous Ludum Dare competitions, but never heard about it enough in advance to clear an entire weekend for it. This time, I decided to make the time and put it on my calendar. The goal was to design and build a game in 48 hours, by yourself,

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Preparing for Ludum Dare!

OK, so I haven’t been doing much with my blog lately. It’s something I want to make more a part of my life, so I figured this weekend’s Ludum Dare would be a great start. Ludum Dare is a 48-hour game creation contest. The contest part of it isn’t as

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Player’s Bill of Rights

Years ago, when I used to play with interactive fiction languages, I happened upon The Player’s Bill of Rights by Graham Nelson. It was a part of his Craft of Adventure essay and it was mostly lost to the archaeological strata of the Internet. Despite its age and obscurity, the

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