Ludomedia #52

July 18, 2018


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

Extra Credits: The Price of Randomness

  • “Playing around the RNG, thinking of how to control the RNG and tip it in your favor can be one of the most interesting strategic elements a designer can present the player. […] RNG isn’t bad, it just has to be used well.”

GamingBolt: Has Game Design Taken a Back Seat Because of a Focus on Graphics?

  • “It is important to remember that not all games are part of the massive mainstream game development machine, that prioritizes increasing the amount of pores on Nathan Drake’s face over the amount of things he can actually do.”

James Margaris: Are Ideas Cheap? In Praise of Strong Ideas

  • “Of course there are plenty of fine games with no flashy grand ideas, and plenty of “big idea” games that fail. And there’s no “idea guy” job where every six months you come up with one cool idea then lean back and wait for everyone to implement it. But ideas very much do matter, and quality idea generation is a skill like any other.”

Lars Kalthoff: Im Käfig der Freiheit (english version)

  • “Trotz der Relevanz des Begriffs “Freiheit” in der Vermarktung digitaler Spiele und der absolut positiven Konnotation des Wortes selbst, bergen offene Spielwelten und -systeme markante Schwächen, derer sich Designer und Autoren zu jeder Zeit bewusst sein sollten.”

Rob Fahey: Prickly denial is the wrong response to WHO’s “gaming disorder”

  • “Comparisons with other kinds of media and talking about the value of escapism is a rather slippery attempt to avoid the core point; book authors and film makers don’t have conferences multiple times a year where talks focus on building compulsion loops, snaring “whales” and using psychological tactics to encourage consumers to stay engaged for years.”

Ludomedia #51

June 25, 2018


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

Dustin Connor: What do you mean by ‘Narrative Design’?

  • “Why is a story about love and friendship told mostly through killing enemies? Why is the narrative about experimentation when the system punishes the player for trying new things? What kind of feelings are evoked when players first encounter this mechanic, and what kind of story can I tell that fits it well?”

Elliot George: Games and Drama

  • “Humans are complex, emergent systems, and so the things that matter to us are complex and emergent. […] Even [experience-centric players] are best served by games that offer both engaging novel experiences and engaging, complex systems.

Eric Lagel: Video games, you are killing me

  • “Horror and violent TV shows exist, and the television medium also has been chastised for using violence as a powerful lure, but you can still see many shows that are funny, romantic, instructive, scientific, dramatic, intriguing, that don’t rely on someone shooting someone else to provide valuable and profitable entertainment. This balance doesn’t exist in video games, it seems.”

Nicholas Kinstler: Card Games: A Simple Design is a Good Design

  • “Oftentimes, the reality is that complex cards are either too unfocused to appeal to anyone, too complex to actually work, or too difficult for players to understand.”

Peter Bright: Game companies need to cut the crap—loot boxes are obviously gambling

  • “Loot boxes work like gambling, and they’re designed like gambling. They’re designed to provoke compulsive reward-seeking behavior.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”


Ludomedia #44

December 8, 2017


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

Christian Schiffer: Wie das Spiel Wolfenstein 2 die deutsche Geschichte entsorgt

  • “Ausgerechnet in der deutschen Version entsorgt Wolfenstein 2 die Verbrechen der Nationalsozialisten aufs Akkurateste und marginalisiert alles Jüdische. […] Wie kann ein eigentlich antifaschistischen Spiel, ausgerechnet in der deutschen Version zu einem feuchten Traum für Geschichtsrevisionisten mutieren?”

Dominik Abé & Johannes Roth: Postmortem: Shadow Tactics

  • “That’s a dilemma that many developers are facing: going all in and potentially laying off your team is horrible, but so is releasing an unfinished game, because you can never make up for a bad first impression.”

Josh Bycer: How RPG Design has Influenced Action Games

  • “The use of progression-based systems in action games has been one of the biggest design trends of this decade. […] Unfortunately many designers and publishers use this as an excuse to ignore creating meaningful and interesting game systems.”

Josh Menke: Skill, Matchmaking, and Ranking Systems Design

  • “If you’re going to go skill, go all the way. Players who like skill-based systems will love it.”

Keith Burgun: Single Player Competition

  • “I want to create deep, strong single-player strategy games that are as inclusive as possible, as non-toxic as possible, while being as easy as possible for videogame players to hook onto and understand.”

Ludomedia #43

October 26, 2017


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

Charlie Cade: Challenge is the Core of Video Games

  • “As a new fresh medium we can make up our own rules. We can a look at the type of art we’re making and decide what gives it its intrinsic value. […] Shouldn’t you entice new people with what the medium can do differently, rather than by trying to make it more like everything else?”

John Bain: I will now talk about Lootboxes and Gambling for just over 40 minutes

  • “If you actually think that gaming companies were not fully aware […] that they could hook players in more with an unpredictable reward system versus a predictable one, then you might be a little naive.”

Mark Brown: How Game Designers Protect Players From Themselves

  • “Many [players] will simply gravitate towards strategies that will most likey lead to success, regardless of how enjoyable those strategies might actually be. […] But the awesome thing about design is that the game’s developers can tweak things to make sure players approach the game in the way they think would be most interesting.”

Vincent Toups: On the (pseudo?)-paradox of “fair” games.

  • “When we say a game is fair, what we are saying is that the outcome isn’t random, but that it depends, sensitively, on which player makes the better sequence of moves in response to the other player.”

Wolfgang Walk: Spielertypen und Motivation, oder: Wie wir uns selbst in Ketten legen

  • “Spiele, das sollten wir uns jeden Tag beim Aufstehen schon klar machen, stehen erst ganz am Anfang. Irgendein Kolumbus wird eines Tages und vielleicht schon sehr bald Amerika entdecken. Das Ziel muss sein, den ganzen Planeten Spiel zu erobern, sein ganzes Potenzial abzurufen, seinen ganzen Raum für die Menschen nutzbar zu machen.”