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Pretentious Game Ideas

The monthly game design podcast that you haven't been waiting for! Join us as we discuss, explore, and get out of our depths in a new game design topic every episode.
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Oct 20, 2017

We're back with the next episode of our increasingly numerically fraught Reading List subseries! This time Ryan, Rob, and Jon are joined by special guest Vivian Wong to discuss some of our favorite 'unpolished gems' -- games that might not be remembered as best in class (or remembered at all), but that still have great ideas that are worth taking a second look at.

Games covered this time include Candy Box, Dream Quest, High School Dreams: Best Friends Forever, and Chulip.

 

Apologies for the inconsistent audio quality this episode. We had some technical issues while recording, and Jon had to patch the episode together from multiple backups like some terrible audio Frankenstein. (Happy Halloween, everybody!)

Aug 30, 2017

We embark on an epic quest as Riot Games' own Brian 'FeralPony' Feeney joins us to share the secrets of designing characters for hero-based games. Do you like MOBAs? Hero shooters? Class-based RPGs? Rad games in general? Then you should listen to this episode!

With Brian's help, we dig into concepting and playtesting new characters, making sure each one stands out in your roster, how to set yourself to effectively balance them after they launch, and much, much more.

Grab your magic sword, pull up a chair, and prepare thyself, for this is our most heroic episode yet!

Jul 21, 2017

Let's get this party started! We're joined by friend of the show Matthew Moore (Do Better Games) to discuss what goes into making a great party game — and what the heck a party game even is, anyway. Topics include the importance of quickly teachable gameplay, simultaneous play, and support for large groups of players, along with the variance kinds of creative expression possible in party games.

Jun 27, 2017

This month we're joined by the brilliant Lucas J.W. Johnson as he gives us a crash course in narrative design! Join us as we learn about the importance of having a consistent theme, how to craft gameplay that makes sense within your story, and the different writing tools available to make sure that every kind of player is able to appreciate your game's narrative.

May 28, 2017

This month we cover one of the most important skills for a game designer: how to prototype and iterate on your game ideas! We discuss tips for getting something playable at fast as possible, how to run effective playtests, and why killing your darlings doesn't have to be painful, before capping things off by sharing some of the best tools for tracking your game's development.

Apr 24, 2017

We're doing something a little different this month! Instead of tackling a topic ourselves, we've invited ten of our favorite designers onto the podcast to share their personal game design processes and philosophies. Whether you're interested in mobile games, VR, tabletop games, narrative design, escape rooms, or just listening to talented people share their secrets, you're not going to want to miss this one! 

Special thanks to Alexei Othenin-Girard, Jacob Burgess, Jonathan Ying, Kyle Pulver, Laura E Hall, Llaura Ash McGee, Owen Harris, Pat Kemp, Sig Gunnarson, and Teale Fristoe for taking the time to share their processes, and to John Smith, Ryan Ike, and Joshua Du Chene for providing the music on this episode.

Mar 20, 2017

We go back to the reading list as we analyze 3 recent releases that have managed to breathe new life into their long-running franchises. Did 2016's Doom revitalize the stale first-person shooter genre? How does Resident Evil 7's first-person perspective reflect the series' pre-rendered roots? Is Breath of the Wild the best Zelda game since the original? Will we actually answer these questions, or will we just rant about how much we love these games for an hour? You'll have to listen to find out!

Feb 20, 2017

Different players want different things from their games. How do you make sure that your game caters to as many of them as possible, without losing sight of what makes your game unique? And how is this complicated when designing for a pre-determined set of players, such as at a live gaming event?

We're joined by Lily Dodge, former moderator of Goucher College's epic weeklong Humans vs Zombies games, to discuss these questions and more!

Jan 17, 2017

Multiplayer games have the rare opportunity to feature multiple modes, distinct ways to play that can provide wildly different experiences. But how do you design the modes that will work best for your game, how does your roster of modes change how players engage with your game, and when is an idea for a new mode just too "out there"?

Special guest Max Grossman of First Strike Games joins us to discuss these questions and more.

Dec 17, 2016

Everyone knows that feeling — you die in a game, you respawn, you try again, you die again. You attempting the same section, stuck in a loop of repetition and mounting frustration until you shut the game off in disgust.

Are there better ways to handle failure in games? (Yes.) Can improving your fail states make players engage more with your game? (Absolutely.) Will we manage to explain how in an hour-long podcast? (Doubtful.)

Correction: The Just Cause series is developed by Avalanche Studios, not Frictional Games.

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