Category Archives: Design Musings

Design – Soft Gates

I’ve talked before in my Level Design Primer series about Gating mechanics: mechanics that block player progress until they’ve accomplished a certain task, reached a certain location, or acquired a certain item, thus directing the order they play through an … Continue reading

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Design: Elements of Difficulty

I want to talk about different types of difficulty. A lot of times, people will describe a game as difficult without really looking deeper, while I feel misses a lot of potential for analysis. I want to break down the … Continue reading

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Design Quick-Thoughts: Optional Puzzles in Metroidvanias

I just finished playing through Super Metroid, and a thought occurred to me.  Something that is both a strength and weakness of the “Metroidvania” style of game is that sometimes you see an object out of reach, and don’t know … Continue reading

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Design: General and Specific

Today I want to talk about the relationship between specific and general elements of games. It’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. But first I should define what I mean by specific and general.

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Design: Can, Can’t, Should and Shouldn’t

The key, I think, to understanding games as an expressive medium lies in the following: Claude Shannon once famously estimated the number of potential chess games as being at least 10 to the 120th power, which, as the cliché goes, … Continue reading

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Design Musings: Emergence and Authorial Intent

I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks games have as an art form is the idea that the author of the game does not have total control over the game due to the element of player input, and the … Continue reading

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Level Design Primer 6: Planning Out Levels

This article is going to be a bit different. I want to go a bit into my own personal process for planning out levels. Now, everyone is going to be different in what works for them as far as their … Continue reading

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Design Musings: Hang on to you Ego

Megaman is a brilliant game.  I say this unclouded by nostalgia;  I only seriously played the game a few years ago.  There are a lot of incredible things to take away from the game, its level design, its enemy design… … Continue reading

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Mechanic Puzzles vs. Narrative Puzzles

Most definitions of games will say something to the effect of “an interactive system of rules with a goal”. You have some sort of win condition you’re tying to achieve or at least a lose condition you’re trying to avoid, … Continue reading

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Getting Lost in Games

One of the feelings that I think games are especially good at evoking is the fear of getting lost. The idea that you’ve made one to many wrong turns, and now you don’t know how to find your way back. … Continue reading

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