Ludomedia #82

December 31, 2021

Ludomedia

Games media worth reading, watching or listening to.


Derek Yu: One More Run: The Making of ‘Spelunky 2’

  • “I think spiky games are often thought of as punishing, but to me the difficiulty, while it’s an important part of the design ethos, is in service of the goal rather than the goal itself. The real goal, I think, is to put the player into a state of focus about the game and to really care about what they’re doing at any given moment. It’s to make them feel like the world existed before they arrived and that it will exist after they leave. To make it feel real.”

JĂĽrgen “tante” Geuter: The Third Web

  • “The promise of the Internet of giving people access to information and potentially the power of publication is supposed to be replaced with an unregulated casino that literally burns our planet to the ground. I can hardly come up with anything this despicable. Nobody is an island but the Web3 crowd wants to further individualize us, turn everything about our digital and ideally analog selves into objects for speculation with semi-automated trading of assets replacing politics. The full financialization and depoliticization of life with no regard for the ecological consequences. This is not a utopian vision. This is a declaration of war against a lot of the political and social progress of the last decades.”

Keith Burgun: “Handicaps”, “Balanced Difficulty” and the one-player perspective

  • “There is a sense in which all games could be looked at as “1 player games”. When we play a game, we are always only playing from a single player’s perspective. We perceive things from just one perspective (our own, not our opponent’s), and we make choices for just one player (ourselves). In the case of highly systemic, deep strategy games, I argue that we not only can look at games as though they were all “1 player” games, but that we should. By doing so, we can focus on making players have a balanced difficulty, but it can also lead us away from rules that lead to “griefing”.”

Paul Butler: “Play-to-earn” and Bullshit Jobs

  • “Any sufficiently complex game will come to realize, as Axie Infinity has, that immutable property rights are at odds with the ability to counter abuse. Games that maximize property rights (as Axie Infinity wisely hasn’t) are bound to be overrun with cheaters and bots, which in turn will just bring down the value of in-game assets anyway. Ultimately, in-game labour is just a re-branding of gameplay designed to be dull enough that rich players will pay to outsource it to poor players. In spite of being presented as the future of work by some venture capitalists, the incentives just don’t make sense.”

Sanny Syberfeldt: Random Challenges

  • “I think having decisions be context-dependent is absolutely crucial for strategy game design, because that means if I get to the same type of decision situation multiple times […] then it will not be the same alternative that is the correct one in every situation, because the context is important enough to change which option I choose.”


Tarkov: Gegen jede Regel

October 28, 2021

Escape from Tarkov funktioniert viel besser als es, gemessen an konventionellen Richtlinien “guten Game-Designs”, sollte. Doch damit nicht genug – es weicht diese sogar gezielt auf und wandelt die dadurch entstehenden vermeintlichen Schwachstellen mit Hilfe eines einzigartigen Core-Loops in Stärken um.

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Game Log Q3/2021

October 3, 2021

A tweet-based journal of what I’ve been playing…

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Ludomedia #81

September 12, 2021

Ludomedia

Games media worth reading, watching or listening to.


a327ex: Auto chess formula

  • “Wizard of Legend is a really cool game which I super enjoyed, but it has one huge flaw, in my opinion, which is that as you unlock new spells, you can choose any spell out of hundreds for your loadout of 4 spells to start the run with: Now, choice is a complicated thing in video games. Do I want to have the ability to choose things in a game? Yes. Do I want to have to make choices about every aspect of it? No! That’s partly what the developer is there to do. He will explore the space of possibilities and give me the curated, more enjoyable version of it.”

Joris Dormans: A Table-Top Feel: Designing Unexplored 2’s Fortune System To Replace Virtual Dice Rolling

  • “The fortune system is able to express a wide variety of possible situations that would otherwise be difficult to represent in the game. I am particularly proud of the way it can handle social interaction in a meaningful way. We do not rely on branching dialog trees with many blind choices.”

Krystian Majewski: The 30 Circle Test

  • “There’s a thing I like to say: Making games is impossible. […] It’s impossible unless you come up with some kind of trick. […] We are afraid of the scrutiny. We are afraid that somebody will call us out on this. […] I think a ‘lazy dev’ is actually something worth aspiring to. […] That’s the kind of mindset that it takes to finish a game.”

Rym DeCoster & Scott Rubin: Atari Game Design

  • “If you understand what exactly you find fun about games, you will have a lot more fun with games. […] What are the main mechanics? […] Could I remove something without compromising the core of this game? […] The answer is usually yes.”

Tom Francis: Void Bastards Vs Heat Signature: A Completely Objective Analysis

  • “Void Bastards is a roguelike first-person shooter about boarding randomly generated spaceships. I designed a top-down roguelike about boarding randomly generated spaceships, so it’s interesting to see how the two games tackled the same issues differently, and how well their solutions worked out!”


Game Log Q2/2021

July 1, 2021

A tweet-based journal of what I’ve been playing…

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Spiele als Konzeptkunst

June 3, 2021

Lose Gedanken zu möglicherweise überraschenden Parallelen.

“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work.”

(Paragraphs on Conceptual Art – Sol LeWitt)

In die während der 1960er Jahre entstandene Kategorie der Konzeptkunst passen auf den ersten Blick die wenigsten modernen Videospiele.

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Neues PICO-8 Spiel: Martial Cards

May 29, 2021

Auch hier der Hinweis: Martial Cards, ein kartenbasiertes Roguelike, ist jetzt verfĂĽgbar! Nicht nur als virtuelle Cartridge fĂĽr die Fantasy-Konsole PICO-8, auf der es entwickelt wurde, sondern auch fĂĽr Windows, Linux, Mac oder direkt im (mobilen) Browser!

You signed up for the biggest martial-arts challenge in history! In a gauntlet beyond example, contestants from all around the world face myriads of artificial monstrosities to find out who can deal with them performing the most stylish and efficient combos. There’s a twist though – you can only move in accordance with the hand of cards you’re holding. Ah, there’s nothing like the beautiful arbitrariness of game rules…


Ludomedia #80

May 15, 2021

Ludomedia

Games media worth reading, watching or listening to.


Frank Lantz & Naomi Clark: Looking Back and Looking Forward

  • “The thing that makes a game actually work is often not the same thing as the thing that makes it sound cool.”
  • “We don’t have any idea what we’re doing. […] And actually it’s totally fine that that’s the case. […] Understanding games, in part, means finding out what we’re discovering by making them.”

Keith Burgun: How To Add Strategy To Your Tactics Game

  • “The classical way that developers have added longer arcs to tactical games has been to have a second screen, from which you draw a few variables, such as which troops have survived, what loot you’ve found, and things like that. You often have some kind of base building or RPG mini-game, as is the case in X-Com, or Into the Breach. But what if you’re interested in asking the question: ‘how can I make the tactical game – the battlefield game *itself* – more strategic?'”

Mark Brown: The Power of Video Game HUDs

  • “Ultimately, if something can’t be made clear to the player then maybe it’s not a good game mechanic and should be simplified. UI isn’t a band-aid to fix broken game mechanics. And this is why it’s important to design the HUD in tandem with everything else and not throw it together at the end.”

Rune Skovbo Johansen: Designing for a Sense of Mystery and Wonder

  • “I play games to get to explore intriguing places, while challenge and story is secondary to me. But there still has to be a point to the exploration. I don’t want to just wander around some place – I want to uncover something intriguing and ideally mysterious. But the mystery lies not in the uncovering; it lies in the anticipation, or rather the lack of knowing exactly what I might find.”

Samuel Ratchkramer: Truth and Lies in Game Design

  • The idea that games are ideally some kind of canned holodeck program induces a fixation on surface-level imagery over meaning and utility. […] I curse you with the seed of doubt. I curse you to scrutinize the games you love and wonder if they’re everything you thought they were. But I don’t curse you in order to share my pain – I curse you because in the end I promise it isn’t a curse. I really don’t miss all the lies, because experience has taught me that they absolutely cannot compete with truth, with the real.

Game Log Q1/2021

April 1, 2021

A tweet-based journal of what I’ve been playing…

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Crimson Company: Neuer Kickstarter am 23. Februar

January 27, 2021

Hinweis in eigener Sache: Am 23. Februar kehrt Crimson Company zurück auf Kickstarter! Neben der mittlerweile dritten Erweiterung Wildwood Tales wollen wir auch versuchen, eine PC-Version an den Start zu bringen. Letztere wird voll kompatibel mit den bereits verfügbaren Apps für iOS und Android sein, die am selben Tag (nach einem finalen Reset des bisherigen Testlaufs) in ihre offizielle Early-Access-Phase starten.

Begleitet wird das alles von einer Reihe Live-Streams, unter anderem von Tom Vasel im Rahmen der Dice-Tower-Show “What’s APPening?” und von Hearthstone-Streaming-Größe Dekkster.

Noch etwas ausfĂĽhrlicher haben wir den ganzen Prozess ĂĽbrigens in unserem aktuellen Newsletter dargelegt.