Awesome article about a concept that I often apply to my own designs, but have never quite articulated this well. Small integers and a minimalist approach to scale can actually give players more opportunity to strategize by increasing the relative difference between different values and/or keeping the game to a manageable level that a player can be expected to keep in their head. There is a reason when I get excited when a game has enemies with between 1-3hp for example. You can read the full article at the link below!
Increase Interactivity by “Shrinking” Your Game
Over on his YouTube channel, Charlie Cade argues that what defines game as a unique medium at its very core is challenge, and that game creators and critics would be wise to be aware of that:
As a new fresh medium we can make up our own rules. We can a look at the type of art we’re making and decide what gives it its intrinsic value. […] Shouldn’t you entice new people with what the medium can do differently, rather than by trying to make it more like everything else?
Check out the full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoOK6e_y1q8
In terms of further reading, you may also be interested in this article or this piece of the BrainGoodGames commandments.
Over at Gamasutra, Dennis Ramirez reminds us of the way games make use of failure in productive ways, instead of unhealthily discouraging it as our modern society does in many areas:
Even if there’s a chance for failure, there is something engrossing about working on an interesting difficult task. If we believe, as Popper did, that the creation of knowledge is an iterative process, we must allow for misconceptions and revisions. Games that challenge the player seem to give them some form of dignity.
Check out the full article: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DennisRamirez/…
On his blog, Benjamin Cribb recently published a sort of “meta-design” post, not discussing concrete design principles, but rather the process of developing theory itself.
Better understanding the common or competing structures of game design theories will help us to be more diligent in crafting these theories, and reduce confusion while debating them.
It’s a really interesting read! Check out the full piece: https://bennycr.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/how-system-discovery-culture-progresses/
Fabian Fischer has a new featured piece up on Gamasutra today about the “transparency” of game mechanics.
If players have to deal with adding and subtracting numbers constantly, there’s little time left for truly deep and interesting decisions. That’s why information should, whenever possible, be represented in more intuitive ways. A typical example of this is a tactical grid in turn-based strategy games that represents complex mathematical relations in a very accessible way. And if there are still bare numbers involved, they should ideally be small have a very discrete range, so that a human brain can easily deal with them without having to take any intermediate steps of abstraction first.
Check it out here on Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/FabianFischer/20170810/303441/Game_Design_Principle_Transparency.php
Nikhil Murthy has a new post up over at Gamasutra. In it he expands on the idea of “foreshadowing” which we typically know from storytelling media. He argues that in the context of games, this concept can also be used in ways which better fit the medium than just copying what movies are already doing. And that means taking a look at the gameplay mechanics themselves.
Check out the full article: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/NikhilMurthy/20170719/301979/Mechanical_Foreshadowing.php
Keith Burgun mentioned to acquire another fantastic guest for his Clockwork Game Design podcast. In the new episode he talks to James Lantz, among other things the design mind behind one of the best strategy games of recent years: Invisible, Inc.
The discussion ranges from strategy games design in general, over a short excursion about last-hitting in League of Legends, to being the son of a game design guru.
Give it a listen: http://keithburgun.net/interview-with-james-lantz-designer-of-invisible-inc/
Very interesting post about the design of the board game Orleans. Games precipice frequently has some interesting insights into game design patterns, and are well worth checking out! The link to the full article is below!
If the personal objectives we looked at in the last section can drive divergence and motivate players to try something new, community objectives are another tool that game designers can use to drive convergence, or areas of collective interest and competition.
Game Design Analysis – Orleans
Phillip Zupke wrote an interesting philosophical piece on game design over at Gamasutra.
As soon as we start asking ourselves why a certain change leads to a particular outcome, we step into the realm of “selfconscious design”. The result would be that we can abstract the reasons for an emerging behavior of our design. By knowing why something works, we have the power to apply generic rules to intentionally instigate a certain user-behavior or emotion through our design.
Read the full post here: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/PhilippZupke/20170509/297644/The_Uncertainty_of_Design.php
On his blog Ethan Hoeppner goes into depth regarding the ways information can be provided to players during a match of a strategy game. He introduces the interesting concept of deliberately using “information spikes” to disrupt the players’ plans so that they regularly have to readjust their strategy on the fly, while still being able to make relatively predictable use of the constant flow of information in between.
Full article: https://ethanhoeppner.github.io/gamedesign/plan-disruption.html