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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
It's well known that co-op makes just about every game more fun. But how do you design a game that takes good advantage of its co-op, and how do you avoid some of its common pitfalls?
We're joined by designer extraordinaire Matthew Moore as we discuss the delights and dilemmas of designing a game for an existing book, movie, comic, or other piece of intellectual property. Plus, we try our hands at some creating some bad adaptations of our own!
We're trying something different this month, as we each share one game that we think is valuable for every designer to play and learn from. Call it a reading list. Except you play things instead of reading them. Playing list sounds real weird, though.