A new piece by Vivafringe talks about a common pitfall in some kinds of strategy games, using Fire Emblem as an example.

Fire Emblem mostly has a good, clean interface, but scanning for abilities is an annoying exception. A given character can have different abilities, and these can only be noticed by proofreading the tiny ABC circles in the upper right corner. If you don’t immediately recognize an icon, you need to longpress it to see what it does.

Try to avoid having long-distance interaction unless it adds a lot to your game. Make pieces more like Go, where stones can only affect adjacent spaces, than Chess, where a Bishop can threaten a square from across the board. If you do want a Bishop-like character, try to have the squares it threatens show up as dangerous in the UI, rather than forcing the player to trace all of its paths himself.


Check out the article here: https://vivafringe.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/avoid-proofreading-in-your-strategy-games/

Redless has a new blog post about gameplay mechanics and how they relate to goals, and what it means when you allow players to play toward a different inexplicit goal in a competitive game.

I suspect that many of my teammates and opponents are playing the game with a different goal that informs their decisions in the game. Specifically, I think they aim to make a lot of kills on opposing players, ideally amassing an overwhelming advantage and proving their dominance over said other players. Let me be clear; I think this is a fine (if unsustainable) thing to get enjoyment out of, but it’s problematic to me when players trying to enjoy self-improvement are playing the same game as players who are trying to enjoy dominating their opponents.

Read the full article here: https://redless.github.io/Mechanics-Should-Match-Goals/

Evizaer has a new article on his game design blog No Hidden Info has a new post about what he calls “Discontinuities” in randomness. It’s building off of the last few articles about “near” and “far” randomness, as well as a recent article on agency.

Players care much more about random results that cause certain numbers to cross certain boundaries. Even direct and seemingly close randomness can be effectively blunted through an understanding of when changes caused by randomness immediately matter and when they don’t. Randomness denies agency most when its effects immediately generate a big response from the system.

Check out the full article here: http://nohidden.info/near-randomness-and-discontinuities/

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