GDC is next week! Things are nowhere near as crazy as last year when we were pitching 10 Crowns to at least ten different publishers (which is a subset of the thirty different publishers that I had any level of discussion with for the game). We met with Starbreeze for the first time during the show and signed a deal with them a few months later. Looking forward to sharing more about the game!
This year, I get to just enjoy the show and stockpile some more podcasts. This time, the line-up is Alexis Kennedy, Jon Ingold, Andy Schatz, and Josh Sawyer. I’ve got over a year’s worth of recordings – coming soon, a three-parter with Brian Reynolds! – so look for these episodes in late 2019, I guess.
I am giving a ten-minute talk on baseball’s dropped third-strike rule and creep denial in DOTA. The mini-talk will be part of Richard Rouse’s annual “Rules of the Game” series, which has a pretty impressive lineup this year. Hope to see you there!
Rules of the Game: Five Further Techniques from Rather Clever Designers
Richard Rouse III (Director/Designer/Writer, Paranoid Productions)
Erin Hoffman-John (CEO/Designer, Sense of Wonder)
Soren Johnson (CEO/Design Director, Mohawk Games)
Raph Koster (Designer, Independent)
Josh Sawyer (Director, Obsidian Entertainment)
Stone Librande (Lead Designer, Riot Games)
Location: Room 2010, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 21
Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference
Topic: Design, Production & Team Management
Vault Recording: Video
How do you make your games work? There’s no sure-fire way to design great games, but over numerous successful projects the best designers develop techniques that help them craft compelling experiences. Returning for GDC 2018, the Rules of the Game session takes five renowned designers and asks them to go into detail about a rule they’ve used in their work. Each speaker has ten minutes to dive into their technique and provide detailed examples about how they have used the rule in past projects, honestly sharing the pluses and minuses including where their rule works well and where it may be less applicable. These are personal rules that you may not always agree with, but they’re guaranteed to provide interesting fodder for your own game design thoughts and help you build your own design rulebook.
Audience members will hear five very specific, practical, unique, and personal game design rules from veteran, respected game designers. Expect to leave with an interesting new set of design principles to try out on your own projects.
This session is intended for intermediate to advanced game designers who are looking to expand their knowledge of game design craft and learn new ways to tackle challenges.
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews independent game developer Chris Hecker, best known for his work on Spore and SpyParty. They discuss accessibility versus depth, when SpyParty suddenly became fun, and why Chris Hecker ruined Spore.
Games discussed: Spore, SpyParty, Offworld Trading Company
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews independent game developer Chris Hecker, best known for his work on Spore and SpyParty. They discuss why game jams are no longer necessary, why the first triangle is always the hardest, and whether Powers of Ten was a good idea for a game.
Games discussed: SpyParty, Doom, Ultima Underworld, Spore
In this episode, Adam Saltsman interviews independent game developer Manveer Heir, best known for his work on the Mass Effect series. They discuss the sunken cost fallacy and game development, why Mass Effect 3 would be a bad first game for a new developer, and when a game designer is like a baseball player and when it’s like a trauma surgeon.
Rise of Legends, Wolfenstein, the Mass Effect series, No Man’s Sky
In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Tyler Sigman, best known as the designer of HOARD and Darkest Dungeon. They discuss how whether it makes sense to hide game data in the age of wikis, if Darkest Dungeon is too punishing or too forgiving, and what happened with the Corpse and Hound.
Games discussed: NITRO, Darkest Dungeon
In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Tyler Sigman, best known as the designer of HOARD and Darkest Dungeon. They discuss how his game design career was almost derailed by staplers, how a weird aeronautical engineer is a normal game designer, and why his finished air racing game was never released.
Games discussed: Pirates!, Below the Root, Backgammon, Age of Empires: Age of Kings (DS), Darkest Dungeon, Dragon Age Legends, Battles of Prince of Persia (DS), Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Sonic Rivals, Monster Lab, Sky Pirates of Neo Terra, HOARD, Raid over Bungeling Bay
In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Asher Vollmer, best known as the designer of Puzzlejuice and Threes. They discuss why paper prototypes don’t always translate well into video games, whether a game should take up 100% of your brain, and how he feels about the Threes clone 2048.
Games discussed: The Secret of Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry, Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, Active Worlds, Furcadia, The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom, Semi-Automatic, Puzzlejuice, Tiny Wings, Threes, 2048, Guildlings
In this episode, Adam Saltsman interviews Margaret Robertson, Game Director at PlayDots. Margaret is known for her pioneering work at Hide & Seek and as editor-in-chief at EDGE magazine. They discuss how to make a game about death, whether a game should make you good at lying, and why making a game about dots can be rewarding.
Games discussed: Dots, Two Dots, Boardgame Remix Kit, Dream of Your Life, Would Anyone Miss You, Werewolf, Dots & Co, Puzzlescript
In this episode, Soren interviews Steve Gaynor, co-founder of The Fullbright Company and best known for his work on BioShock 2, Minerva’s Den, and Gone Home. They discuss whether audio diaries need to make sense, why the Gone Home family is made up of barefoot vampires who hate showers, and why Fullbright made Tacoma.
Games discussed: Minerva’s Den, Bioshock Infinite, Gone Home, Tacoma, Sleep No More, Firewatch, Her Story
In this episode, Soren interviews Steve Gaynor, co-founder of The Fullbright Company and best known for his work on BioShock 2, Minerva’s Den, and Gone Home. They discuss how bad Sierra adventure design could be, why he decided to make video games instead of comics, and about that time he interviewed Ken Levine and Tim Schafer for his zine.
Games discussed: Godzilla, Snarfs, Space Quest 4, Police Quest 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Marc Ecko Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate, Bioshock, System Shock 2, S.W.A.T. 4, Half-Life, Bioshock 2