Ludomedia #69

November 4, 2019

Ludomedia

Lesens-, hörens- und sehenswerte Fundstücke aus der Welt der Spiele.


David Stark: Why I Made A Game That Isn’t Fun

  • “Pay to skip the wait. Pay to remove the limit. Pay to get a boost, skip the ads, make the numbers go up faster. Sandstorm is a game that was sparked by a conversation about the intentionality of these kind of mechanics, and the idea that a game could be purposefully unfun.”

Hamish Black: John Wick Hex and the Problems of Adaptation

  • “You can see what they were going for, but in practice [John Wick] Hex ends up being too inconsistent to be a puzzler and too rigid to be an action game. It just lies awkwardly in the middle.”

Jim Sterling: Are Automated Bots A Deceptive Con?

  • “If you don’t know that it’s all pretend times, you think you’re winning. And if you think you’re winning you’ll feel encouraged to keep playing. […] And the more you play, the more you’re entrenched in that game’s economy. And the more entrenched in the economy you are, the more tempted you may be to spend cash on it.”

Neo Magazin Royale: Coin Master – Abzocke mit Fun

  • “Simuliertes Glücksspiel birgt einige Gefahren: Zum einen wird durch Normalisierungstendenzen eine positive Einstellung gegenüber Glücksspiel begünstigt. […] In letzter Konsequenz schürt dies den Wunsch auch mal um echtes Geld zu ‘zocken’. Junge Spieler sind dafür besonders anfällig.”

Razbuten: What Games Are Like For Someone Who Doesn’t Play Games

  • “Watching [my wife] work through this early section [of Hollow Knight] and seeing the different ways that she viewed the game got me thinking a lot about the language of video games, and just how much a person’s level of video game literacy affects their experience with any given title. […] So I decided to run an informal experiment…”

Heilsbringer “Battle Pass”?

October 18, 2019

Etwa eine Woche vor Release von Call of Duty: Modern Warfare hat Activison angekündigt, dass es im Spiel keine Lootboxen geben wird. Stattdessen soll auf einen “Battle Pass” à la Fortnite gesetzt werden. Natürlich kostet der Zugang zum Spiel selbst je nach Edition bereits zwischen 60 und 100 Euro. Somit fällt es in die von Jim Sterling geprägte Kategorie des “Fee to Pay”Spieler bezahlen initial Eintritt, um dann für weitere Inhalte bezahlen zu dürfen. Doch davon mal abgesehen: Ist das Modell Battle Pass an und für sich völlig unbedenklich?

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Planbarkeit und (Vor-)Spiel-Entscheidungen

October 11, 2019

Die Möglichkeit zur Vorausplanung der eigenen Aktionen ist ein zentrales Element, auf dem die Faszination vieler Spiele basiert. Thomas Grip von Frictional Games bezeichnet sie sogar als Hauptgrund dafür, dass sich Gameplay gut anfühlt. Einleuchtend ist das spätestens beim Blick auf die Alternative. Ein Spiel ohne jede Planbarkeit versinkt zwangsläufig im Zufallschaos. Statt interessanter Entscheidungen stellen sich Gefühle der Machtlosigkeit und Apathie ein. Wozu handeln, wenn ich ohnehin keine Ahnung habe, wohin es führt?

Doch wie so oft ist das andere Extrem kaum weniger problematisch. Ein absolut vorhersehbares System bietet, sobald der perfekte Plan gefunden ist, ebenfalls keine echten Entscheidungen mehr. Das Gameplay gleicht dann eher einem – bestenfalls möglichst effizienten – Abarbeiten des im Vorhinein berechneten “richtigen Weges”.

Es ist ein Balanceakt. Im Idealfall schmieden Spieler permanent Pläne, werden bei deren Ausführung jedoch regelmäßig durch behutsam eingesetzte, unvorhergesehene Elemente gestört und so zur Anpassung und Neuplanung gebracht. In diesem Wechselspiel aus Planbarkeit und “Willkür” bleibt ein System dauerhaft interessant.

Nun gibt es Spiele, die sich in eine Planungs- und eine Ausführungsphase aufteilen lassen. Entscheidungen werden dabei in der Regel in beiden getroffen, sind jedoch gänzlich unterschiedlicher Natur. Diese Form der Aufspaltung samt potenzieller Vor- und Nachteile, je nach erwünschter Spielerfahrung, soll im Folgenden diskutiert werden.

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Ludomedia #68

September 23, 2019

Ludomedia

Lesens-, hörens- und sehenswerte Fundstücke aus der Welt der Spiele.


Mark Brown: Space Invaders | Design Icons

  • “While [Space Invaders] was far from the first ever video game, it made a number of incredibly important contributions to the field of game design that would fundamentally change how games were made. From high scores, to destructible cover, to adaptive soundtracks, to the entire shoot-em-up genre, and that oh-so-important difficulty curve.”

Doc Burford: i don’t think i like prestige games

  • “I’d say that prestige games are expensive AAA-type games that imitate better art without really understanding or improving upon them in any way, often using fairly boilerplate mechanics to accomplish this. […] With a lot of these prestige games, the mechanics seem to be there because the designers needed to put some mechanics in to justify telling this story as a game.”

Jim Sterling: How Game Companies Abuse Passion

  • “If there’s one thing a corporation loves to do, it’s to make people feel like they’re choosing to participate in their own oppression. It’s a classic manipulation tactic. […] In short, passion has become a bullshit word used in place of compensation or fair treatment.”

Joel Goodwin: Go the Distance

  • “The beautiful thing about roguelikes is how they force you to overdose on system analysis. What variables you can control, what variables you can predict and what variables are out for your blood. And, boy, Speed Run sent me down a lava-scarred rabbit hole of Hoplite’s systems.”

Keith Burgun: Why it’s important that we push back on Auto Chess being a “genre”

  • “We get some super successful game, and then everyone is ape-ing that for a decade instead of just stepping back and thinking about interactivity in a more broad sense (which is totally possible and works, as demonstrated year after year by board game designers).”

Ludomedia #67

August 28, 2019

Ludomedia

Lesens-, hörens- und sehenswerte Fundstücke aus der Welt der Spiele.


Adam Millard: Why We’re Wrong About Violence In Games

  • “We need to be able to distinguish aesthetic from how we approach and engage with games […] I’d argue that instead of judging games by whether they have bloodshed or not, we should instead judge them by what kind of player experience they’re creating.”

Extra Credits: Diegetic UI – Realistic, or Distracting?

  • “Some information, it seems, is just better represented by a bar or number on screen, or even a menu list. This is because the purpose of UI is to show critical information to the player. So displaying that information in the most straightforward way is generally better. […] Good UI should be legible first, stylized second.”

Jim Sterling: The Political Agenda Of Dark Souls

  • “Dark Souls explores the idea of perpetuating cycles to keep a status quo upheld while the ruling class cling to their stale thrones. A ruling class that has convinced those lower on the social rungs to vote against their own interests and belief things that actively keep them under the elite’s boot heels.”

Mark Brown: The Best Games from GMTK Game Jam 2019

  • “This year the theme was ‘Only One’ which encouraged designers to make games with only one bullet, or only one room, or only one button. […] I want to send the jam off by showing the 20 games that I think are most deserving of note and attention.”

Mark Brown: Why Does Celeste Feel So Good To Play?

  • “[Celeste] shows the importance of getting the curves right when building basic movement, adding mechanics that introduce very different ways to navigate the space, using feedback to emphasize movement, being forgiving about pixel precision, increasing the skill ceiling with advanced movement and not being afraid to test, tweak and toss away work throughout the lengthy process of getting this stuff right.”

Sky und der Preis der Freundschaft

July 25, 2019

“Hand in hand, take flight across seven realms, solve mysteries, help others, make friends, and create enriching memories together.”

2012 veröffentlichte thatgamecompany Journey und wird dafür bis heute mit Recht gefeiert. Schließlich handelt es sich um einen Vorreiter der Ausprägung von Spielen als interaktiv erfahrbare narrative Erfahrung. Nun erschien mit Sky: Children of the Light der Quasi-Nachfolger zunächst für iOS. Wieder wird eine intensive emotionale Erfahrung versprochen, diesmal mit einem größeren Fokus auf den Multiplayer.

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Ludomedia #66

July 24, 2019

Ludomedia

Lesens-, hörens- und sehenswerte Fundstücke aus der Welt der Spiele.


Adam Millard: Engineering The Perfect Enemy

  • “Having enemies with a clear, focussed design is a great foundation upon which to build an iconic bad guy, but it’s not enough. A great enemy also needs to fit into the wider ecosystem of play, whether that’s working alongside other enemies, the environment, or even the player. In other words: A good enemy is synergistic.”

George Weidman: Media Literacy and Game News

  • “Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms. […] But media literacy also requires an understanding of not just the standards and ethics that serious journalists should themselves accountable to, but also the sinister effects that money and cognitive bias have on it.”

Jim Sterling: The Exploitative Push For Social Networking In Games

  • “We’re in an age where kids at school are being bullied for not having any premium skins in Fortnite. […] Social gaming has its place, but its mass adoption by the AAA game industry is a fucking scam, a long con, yet another way […] in which video game publishers plan to swindle, trick and seduce cash out of you.”

Jonathan Blow: Singapore Games Guild Keynote

  • “Don’t even entertain ideas like ‘extending the playtime’, because it’ll make your game really boring. […] You really just want your game to have enough material in it to be interesting enough to last a long time. […] You want to actually have so much material that you then cut the worst material and leave the best material. That’s how the average value of your game goes up.”

Mark Brown: Can We Make Talking as Much Fun as Shooting?

  • “We can make dialogue trees that aren’t just basic skill checks that let you skip through gameplay, but involved negotiations that become exciting gameplay in of themselves, where you’re gathering evidence and intel, reading social cues and body language, and manipulating a web of relationships to get your way.”

Die heile Arbeitswelt des Grinds

July 9, 2019

Viele Videospiele enthalten Elemente von Fleißarbeit. Manche werden davon jedoch regelrecht dominiert. Wenn der berüchtigte “Grind” übernimmt, geht es nicht mehr um Kompetenz und Spielverständnis, sondern schlicht die investierte Lebenszeit. Einige Titel sind mit dieser Philosophie sehr erfolgreich. Doch warum eigentlich? Schließlich werden zu Themen wie Grind, Quests, Loot, XP oder Achievements regelmäßig auch äußerst kritische Stimmen laut. Einige Auszüge:

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Ludomedia #65

July 1, 2019

Ludomedia

Lesens-, hörens- und sehenswerte Fundstücke aus der Welt der Spiele.


Gbay99: Why “Auto-Chess” Games are Taking Over

  • “While card games are about having a pre-conceived strategy that you’re going for no matter what, Auto Chess games start off completely fresh with nothing pre-planned. […] Oftentimes a Hearthstone game between two equally skilled players isn’t won by who made more right decisions, but just who […] got luckier. Auto Chess games […] have way more room for skillful players to show off how good they are.”

Jim Sterling: The Addictive Cost Of Predatory Videogame Monetization

  • “[Addiction] doesn’t just stop on a dime and the game industry knows this. That’s why they go after those who will form habits. […] Get people to knee-jerk spend, to not think about what they’re doing as they’re doing it; keep the pressure up with limited offers, fixed prices to make each spend more appealing; get players a sense of emotional as well as financial investment; maintain the sunk cost fallacy as long as possible; everything I’ve ever ranted and raved about […] is not only supported, but gloated over by people in the industry.”

Jonathan Blow: Interview (Casual Connect)

  • “I’m soundly on the gameplay side. […] It’s a place where we’re making our own progress. […] Games are good at making settings, they’re good at establishing mood. What they’re not good at is plot, so why are we copying these storytelling structures that have plot?”

Keith Burgun: Execution in Strategy Games Should Be Considered Randomness

  • “Execution is always a matter of personally training some physical ability, whether it be muscle memory, strength, reflexes, etc. There is no way that a particular player’s ability here can be implemented into a strategy game in a way that’s strategically meaningful. You could balance around it to get it back to something like a 50% win ratio but it still needs to basically be factored out and then treated as a kind of output randomness.”

Kyle Orland: In praise of ultra-short games

  • “These quick-hit games contain more raw, memorable emotional moments than half of the 80-hour open-world epics out there. And there’s something for games that focus with such intensity on getting to the point quickly and then getting out without hours and hours of repetitive padding put on just for the sake of “value.” That’s especially true as the overall gaming audience continues to age and face more adult demands on their time and attention.”

Games: Mehr als eine Kunstform

June 3, 2019

Vor einer Weile habe ich die These aufgestellt, dass sich im “Videospiel” zwei fundamental verschiedene Kunstformen verstecken. Einerseits: Die vom Gameplay getriebene Abfolge mechanischer Herausforderungen, die narrative Elemente unterstützend zur Erklärung ihrer Funktionsweise nutzt. Andererseits: Die interaktive Erzählung, die gezielt die emotionale Wirkung spielerischer Mechanismen verwendet, um sich mitzuteilen.

Im Folgenden will ich anhand konkreter Beispiele aufzeigen, wie sehr sich die Betrachtungsweise und die anzulegenden Design-Maßstäbe zwischen diesen beiden Formen interaktiver Kunst unterscheiden.

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