Ludomedia #50

May 30, 2018


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

Jim Sterling: Detroit: Become Human (Jimpressions)

  • “This is where I hit upon the big problem. You see, David Cage loves movies. He wishes he was a movie director.”

Josh Bycer: A Study Into Replayablity: Defining Variance

  • “The problem with many titles that make use of randomized elements is that they don’t create a different way of play. This is especially true of the survival genre, and how it really is the least replayable of games built on random gamespaces.”

Keith Burgun: Three Types of Bad Randomness, and One Good One

  • “Information in games gets its meaning from its relationship to other aspects of the game state, including the history of game states; but most of all, it gets its meaning from your input. […] We don’t want things which just appeared to instantly be affecting the game state permanently, because such things had no chance to develop a relationship to the player.”

Tom Kail: Reading in Strategy Games

  • “When considering a new design it’s important to consider how much time it will take for players to understand the information you’re laying out for them, but also to understand whether your game’s inherent focus lies in reading or decision making.”

Wolfgang Walk: Hinterm Hakenkreuz verschanzt

  • “Und bei der Wahl zwischen Faschismus und Moral gewinnt immer noch das, was sich gerade am meisten auszahlt. Moral, die nicht bereit ist, Ware zu werden, hat im entfesselten Kapitalismus der Gegenwart konsequenterweise keine Chance.”

Heldenreise? Mottenkiste!

May 16, 2018

“Spiel und Story? Das passt nicht recht!” Solche Aussagen kennt man normalerweise von Jesper Juul, Greg Costikyan oder Jonathan Blow.

Nun äußerte sich jedoch Autor und Industrie-Veteran Wolfgang Walk mit “The Myth of the Monomyth” in eine ähnliche Richtung und gesteht langjährige Irrtümer der Erzählspiel-Riege ein. In der passenden Folge seiner Kolumnen-Reihe “Wortreich” (verfügbar im Abo bei The Pod) lässt er sogar diesen bemerkenswerten Satz fallen:

“Im Nachhinein, muss man sagen, hatten die [Erzählspiel-Kritiker] wesentlich weniger Unrecht als wir [Erzählspiel-Verfechter] geglaubt hätten.”

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Ludomedia #49

May 15, 2018


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

Brandon Rym DeCoster & Scott Rubin: The 40 Tabletop Games you Must Play

  • “This is a set of 40 games, that if you play them all you’ll have a pretty full understanding of the full scope of what tabletop games are and what they could be.”

Charlie Cade: The God of War 4 Review

  • “I get it: ‘Murderers can only recover their humanity through the innocence of youth.’ But will I ever recover the time I spent walking in these games? […] Even the games I liked this gen are still filled with this time-wasting, ever-present, empty, pretentious, unskippable-cinematics story time bullshit.”

Jiajun Liu: Designing Countermoves in PvP Games

  • “Players form a strategy when they put game elements together according to the rules of the game to gain a larger advantage or to find an optimal solution to the whole game. On the other hand, countermoves are […] the adjustment or backup plan when trying to play according to a strategy.”

Samuel Van Cise: An Analysis of Building in Fortnite

  • “On one hand, building shifts the focus away from shooting, which makes the game more approachable and learnable. […] On the other hand, building inherently removes those most strategic components of the battle royale genre: rotations and positioning on a shrinking map.”

Wolfgang Walk: The Myth of the Monomyth

  • “The goal must be the concretization and emotionalization of the game core, not just a pretty packaging that has nothing or little to do with the core of the game. The dramaturgy of the game mechanics is the source of our stories. Graphics, sound and yes, words are our most important tools for narrative. The hero’s journey is not.”

Gefangen im Content-Strom

April 12, 2018

Mark Brown betreibt mit Game Maker’s Toolkit einen der besten Gaming-YouTube-Channels. Immer wieder macht er einem breiten Publikum Game-Design-Prinzipien zugänglich und erläutert, warum bestimmte Spiele funktionieren und andere nicht.

Das gilt grundsätzlich auch für sein oben verlinktes Video “How to keep players engaged”. Brown läuft in eine lobenswerte Richtung los, indem er klar stellt, dass er eben nicht über all die psychologischen Druckmittel reden möchte, die die moderne Videospielelandschaft dominieren:

“I won’t be talking about games that use psychological tricks like Skinner Boxes, daily rewards, resource decay, loss aversion, and the like.”

Verantwortungsbewusste Designer sollten sich dieser Mechanismen nach Browns Ansicht nicht bedienen. So weit, so gut!

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Ludomedia #48

April 5, 2018


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

Allegra Frank: This is the group using GDC to bolster game studio unionization efforts

  • “But the thing is, that passion is the perfect medium for employers to exploit us. We’ll do anything to work in games and make games, and they know we’re desperate.”

Frank Lantz: This is Your Brain on Games

  • “Systems literacy involves thinking in models, thinking with math, thinking with logic, using computers, reading and writing software. And it’s different from pictures and stories, which are concrete, vivid time slices of recorded experience. […] We are the R&D department of modernity. We are the artists who think about thinking.”

Ian Dallas: Weaving 13 Prototypes into 1 Game: Lessons from Edith Finch

  • “Instead of trying to make an experience that tracked with the story, we adjusted the story to track better with what the prototype was that we had made.”

Jason Roberts: Gorogoa: The Design of a Cosmic Acrostic

  • “I could rip all the pages out of a great novel and hide them around the city. The novel might be a delightful read. Looking for the pages might be a delightful scavenger hunt. But are those two unrelated delights that I just stuck together? The story of the novel might suffer from pacing issues as you find the pages out of order etc.”

Jason Schreier: It’s Time For Game Developers To Unionize

  • “To accept the status quo means being fine with brutal, unpaid overtime, systemic layoff cycles, and other well-documented industry abuses. […] And the current trajectory of the video game industry seems unsustainable if something doesn’t change.”

Jason VandenBerghe: Drives: Helping More Players Get from First-Taste to Satisfaction

  • “Drives are best used […] in game design to help the player cross the gap from initial taste to long-term satisfaction.”

Justin Ma: Don’t Feed the Min-Maxer (Indie Soapbox)

  • “My problem isn’t that you can game the system by being as efficient as possible. My problem is when it’s specifically not fun to do so.”

Keith Burgun: Against Tactics and the Connect-Four CCG

  • “Maybe tactics games would be better as puzzles. Or maybe as some other form. In terms of the ‘game’ form of my interactive forms, it seems to me that strategy games are just better versions of tactics games.”

Soren Johnson: Know Your Inheritance (Rules of the Game)

  • “At some point you have to step back as a designer and re-evaluate your inheritance. Does the core gameplay survive without the feature? Is the feature unintuitive making the game harder to understand or pick up? Is there a better way for players to be spending their time? […] In the case of creep denial the answers to all of these questions suggest that [Dota 2] would be better off without it.”

Zach Gage: Building Games That Can be Understood at a Glance

  • “You have three standard reads. The first one pulls you in and explains the core of your game. The second one fills in key details or big unintuitive rules. And the third gives you contextually important information or […] rules.”

Ludomedia #47

March 19, 2018


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

Josh Bycer: Putting the “Game” Back in Video Game Journalism

  • “My style has always been to look at game design the same way as a mechanic appreciates the technical beauty of building a car, or a craftsman examining hand-made design. […] I don’t want to read a story on a major game site for the umpteenth time of how the game Gone Home moved you or reminded you of your childhood.”

Justin Ma: Into the Breach’s interface was a nightmare to make and the key to its greatness

  • “Our requirement that the player has to understand what’s going on in any situation restricted our game design options considerably. […] Just as a game design principle, we would sacrifice cool ideas for the sake of clarity every time.”

Mark Brown: What Makes a Good Puzzle?

  • “A puzzle with too many elements is either too complicated or […] most of those elements aren’t actually part of the core puzzle, and are just busywork that will frustrate you when you reset the level.”

Raph Koster: The Trust Spectrum

  • “Designing games for trust is also designing games for human fulfillment. It is designing for happiness. It’s designing in ways that are #good4players and their relationships. Play is Love.”

Scott Rigby: The Freedom Fallacy

  • “In all the research that we’ve done […] structure is better than providing open and free environments in satisfying peoples’ needs for autonomy. […] Even if the game is enormous […] it doesn’t matter if the player doesn’t see meaning in the options that are in front of him.”

Into the Breach: Rundentaktik runderneuert

March 9, 2018

Into the Breach ist das neue Spiel der FTL-Macher Subset Games. Statt jedoch in pausierbarer Echtzeit ein Raumschiff samt Crew zu managen, übernimmt der Spieler diesmal drei Mechs mit verschiedenen Fähigkeiten und führt selbiges durch eine Reihe von Rundentaktik-Schlachten. Die erinnern, auch dank des Pixel-Looks, zwar auf den ersten Blick an Klassiker wie Advance Wars oder Final Fantasy Tactics, machen aber bei näherer Betrachtung einiges besser. Tatsächlich handelt es sich bei Into the Breach, von ein paar wenigen Schnitzern abgesehen, aus Game-Design-Sicht um einen herausragenden Titel.

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Ludomedia #46

February 12, 2018


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

Daniel Greenberg: The Neuroscience of Gaming

  • “Practice by doing is very effective, and video games are all about doing. Video games are experiential learning. […] Gameplay also tracks the scientific method pretty directly. […] The stress response in video games is eustress, a positive cognitive response. It’s healthy.”

Ellen McGrody: For Many Players, Lootboxes Are a Crisis That’s Already Here

  • “Video games should not be trapping people in vicious cycles of debt, shame, and abuse. […] Unfortunately, there are systems in today’s games that prey on vulnerabilities in our psychology.”

Keith Burgun: Designing Strategy: Rushdown, Economy, and Defense

  • “All games will end in either the early game, the mid-game, or the late game, and [rushdown, economy, and defense] are loose attempts to target those areas for a win. Players can plan somewhat […] but they must adapt frequently, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”

Lewis Pulsipher: Simplifying a Game Design

  • “While you can simplify a game into oblivion (a bagatelle), it’s much more likely you will complicate a game into oblivion (a train-wreck).”

Raph Koster: Why I Loved “Edith Finch”

  • “Games and story historically coexist in troubled fashion. […] In Edith Finch, we have the single best example of marrying story and game basically ever — and not once, but done like twelve times in one game, twelve different ways, with twelve different effects. It’s a tremendous achievement in that sense.”

Design-Theorie in der Praxis: Gwent

January 23, 2018

In kaum ein Spiel habe ich auch nur ansatzweise so viel Zeit versenkt wie in Gwent – und das bereits während der Betaphase. Die Gründe sind bei näherer Betrachtung recht leicht auszumachen. Das Witcher-Kartenspiel folgt vielen Game-Design-Prinzipien, die in den letzten Jahren auf dieser Webseite besprochen wurden. Beispiele gefällig?

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Ludomedia #45

January 15, 2018


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

Christian Schmidt: Stay Forever (Folge 73)

  • “Wenn man älter wird […] denkt man mehr und mehr an das eigene Werk. Unser Podcast, Stay Forever, ist für uns ein Werk. […] Aber vor allen Dingen verstehen wir die Spiele, über die wir sprechen, als Werk. Wir verstehen sie […] als wertvolle, besprechenswerte Dinge, die in einen Kontext einzuordnen sind. […] Lasst euch von niemandem da draußen einreden, dass Spielen Zeitverschwendung wäre. Unser Rat an euch wäre, dass ihr euer Spielen auch als Werk begreift und überlegt […] was ihr vielleicht zu eurem Werk über Spiele machen könnt.”

Jan Heinemann: Das “authentischste” Historienspiel aller Zeiten?! Die gewaltige Schräglage von “Kingdom Come: Deliverance”

  • “Ich kann bei diesem Authentizitäts-Taumel nur den Kopf schütteln. Vor allem, weil er in der Regel fernab aller geschichtswissenschaftlichen Forschungsergebnisse oder -diskussionen verläuft, sondern sich stattdessen auf verbreitete Vorstellungen von Geschichte stützt, die als absolute Wahrheit gesetzt werden. Debatten um die Authentizität der Geschichtsdarstellung in digitalen Spielen, Filmen oder anderen Medien führen darum häufig unmittelbar zu energisch geführten Identitätsdebatten.”

Mark Brown: How Games Use Feedback Loops

  • “If positive feedback loops work to compound changes in the game state, negative feedback loops strive to always counteract those changes and keep things in equilibrium. […] Positive loops help push a game to its conclusion […] and negative feedback loops […] create an interesting ebb and flow of comebacks and turnarounds, which leads to good drama. But both need to be balanced carefully.”

Mark Brown: How Snake Pass Works

  • “If you do something bold, not everyone is going to love your game. […] That’s the prize you’ll pay for trying something bold, but I think it’s worth it. Original games like Snake Pass keep the hobby fresh and exciting, and give us something truly new to play with.”

Rowan Kaiser: The year single-player games became chores

  • “The trend in 2017 isn’t that single-player games are dying. It’s that instead of being a week’s worth of fun, they’ve become a month’s worth of chores.”