Category Archives: Design Musings

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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When to Start Level Design

When designing a game, there’s always that question of “when should I start designing levels?” This is something I’ve had to deal with a lot, since level design is my favorite part of the development process. When I was getting … Continue reading

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Leveling Systems

I wanted to go in depth with a set of mechanics known as Leveling Systems. I feel that Leveling systems are one of the more misunderstood game dynamics, and I think that misunderstanding derives from the belief that, in a … Continue reading

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Why I Like Short Games

When I released Venusian Vengeance, one of the complaints I got was about the length. The game only took a few hours to beat, they said. There are two reasons that the game is the length it is. One is … Continue reading

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How Games Don’t Know What They Are and Why This is a Good Thing

Games have something of an identity crisis going on. I can’t count how many design discussions I’ve seen where the subject is what games are supposed to be. Are games art? Are games a storytelling medium? Should games be all … Continue reading

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Design Musings – Guidance and Exploration

I recently played through Ultima Underworld. Ultima Underworld is one of those games from a significantly different period of game design. One of the key differences, in my opinion, between most games then and most games now, is how the … Continue reading

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Design Musings – On Game Structure

This is an issue that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about of late.  A large percentage of games, both independent and mainstream, follow only a few basic game structures.  There’s the linear “do A, do B, do C” structure, and … Continue reading

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