RoverCraft: a lesson in iterative design

Rover design RoverCraft is a game whose core mechanics are based off of tilty car games, 2D side scrollers which typically allow the player control over acceleration and reverse of a vehicle. Using these two inputs the player must take their vehicle from a start point to an end point without running out of fuel…

To continue or start over: reacting to mistakes

Starting fresh There is something so exhilarating about starting a new game, everything is new, all the choices and cinematics have meaning. The world feels concrete and absolute due to our choices, yet we still wonder how things would be different if we had made a different choice, or gone a different path. Making a mistake and…

Escaping prison: system analysis and strategic planning

As I discussed in my articles Bael the Thief – part 2: prisoner practice, and Heroic Thief: the process of making a villain a hero, part of taking my thief character build and story, and ascending them past being a petty criminal is the process of allowing him to fall and then redeem himself. As such, and important component…

Heroic Thief: the process of making a villain a hero

I have always preferred playing as a morally good character in video games.  Evil actions, ruthless behavior, and harming the innocent went so strongly against the grain that I could not enjoy roleplaying as an immoral character. As I discussed in my article Moral choices: does allowing immoral choices in games impact real world behavior?, human…

You decide: what gameplay means to kids

Games are an incredible interactive system for children, in a world where they do not get to make major decisions, games can provide a sense of empowerment and teach responsibility for one’s actions and their consequences. In my article Games: the hobby of making decisions, I discussed how playing games leads to the growth of…

Idle games: progress & dedication 

Idle games have emerged as a new and interesting genre of game, which focuses primarily on rewarding the player with the feeling or progress. At first the player’s inputs are used to generate progress and once this mechanical system has been established, the player is given option to automate the progress generating input.   My…

Peaceful Tortoise vs War-hungry Hare: the pace of progress

In my first article about the mobile builder title Forge of Empires, Forge of Empires: progression and maintaining culture, I spoke to the capacity for the game to be played as a game of diplomacy.  In today’s article I will be discussing the lessons the game taught me about why a power would use war and…

TerraGenesis: transforming failure into success

Building a world or just passing through? The immersiveness of TerraGenesis comes from the striking change that can be observed from transforming a world through gameplay.  The first moment you notice clouds after building an atmosphere for an entire day in real time.  Spotting water on the planet’s surface, carving out continents after a week of…