Tag Archives: game design

Loopholes in Game Design

I had just finished working on my latest card game; I was rather chuffed with it: the rules were elegant and nuanced: there was a wealth of strategies you could use in the game. I explained the rules to two friends, and they began to play. I was expecting them to be amazed with the game.

Instead, I was amazed with how one had managed to find a neat little trick to unexpectedly win the game: a loophole!

After the discovery, the game was never the same. I eventually decided to change the card game into a board game so that the game could keep my original idea, but without the loophole.

After the change in my game, I became obsessed with loopholes in games. I began to research them and find how they could affect games. In this article, I summarize my research. This article covers what loopholes are, and why they are bad, with a big list of generic types of loopholes that can be found in games. The article also gives some advice on how to find and correct these nasty little game breakers.
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Video Game Audio: Diegesis Theory

In a previous article, we looked at the diegesis theory of interface design. The theory can also be applied to audio design. This is a look into the design of audio for games, and how diegesis theory can help us structure our thoughts.
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Game Design: On Ideas


Often enough I have talked to people wanting to start making video games. And often enough they talk about making the next big game. I have to admire their enthusiasm, as it reminds me of a much younger me. But most often they say one thing which I can’t forgive.“I have this great idea.”

The number of times anyone in the industry has heard that must be innumerable. And I can understand why. There is vision and drive to make something awesome. The belief that this idea can be the next half-diablo-doom-craft. And wanting to be at the front of seeing that idea come to life is admirable.

Unfortunately, when you just start trying to make video games, that great idea is worthless. Not necessarily because it is a bad idea, but because you lack the experience to take that idea from the vision in your head, to the reality that the fanboys drool over. This is because a great game comes down to how the ideas are executed in the game.

Desktop Dungeons: Design Analysis (Part 2)

In Part 1 of Desktop Dungeons: Design Analysis, we looked at the core game play, interconnected choices, and tension of Desktop Dungeons. We saw that, despite its simplicity, this “ten-minute, one-screen” game offers the player endless variety through cleverly stacked core mechanics. In this part, we continue looking at what lies beneath this award-winning game; how choices are given meaning not only through their complexity, but also through the role they play in structuring an experience — an experience that progresses with the player, an experience that speaks a story.

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Desktop Dungeons: Design Analysis (Part 1)

dd_banner A little more than a year ago, Rodain Joubert, innocently, put his latest creation on the NAG forums for community feedback. Even the first, raw prototype was liked right away. It was immediately accessible, and surprisingly rich. The 10-minute games that were promised were inevitably stringed together into many hours of play.

And there was lots of feedback. New versions were released, and a good game was transformed before our eyes into something special. At some stage, the gurus Danny Day and Marc Luck from QCF Design entered the scene; more versions came out, and something special became something that was nominated for two IGF awards, and finally won the IGF Excellence in Design Award.

And right now, players across the globe are waiting impatiently for the full version.

Desktop Dungeons has been skilfully designed. Here we will look analytically at that design, and learn some lessons that we can apply to our own games.

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What I Learned from Dungeon Crawl

There are a few ways to learn about good game development. One is to frequently read up on game development articles and opinions. Another method involves just practicing and refining your work through, well, actual game development. Both of these concepts, however, are enhanced gloriously when married with the concept of simply playing other people’s games. When you come across something that you love, taking the time to study it from a game development perspective can yield untold rewards and glory.

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Minimised game design for indies

When you sit down to write a book, one of the most important things to bear in mind is the shaping and formation of your expression: if you can elegantly express in a single sentence what a lesser writer would need a paragraph to evoke, then you’ve got yourself a talent for writing.

Good journalism, similarly, is all about the brevity of your expression: a focus on the points that matter — and the arrangement of said points — to create a concise and informative read for your audience without leaving anything out. The importance of this is clearest in news briefs and other environments where every individual word that you place needs to hold significance.

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Four issues that developers need to drop already

Disclaimer: This article covers the hyperbolic ranting of an entirely fictional (and very foul-tempered) stick figure thing. As such, we reserve the right to label this article as satire and advise you to take any of Angry Joe’s advice in good humour and high spirits. Whether or not he happens to make any valid points is entirely up to you to decide.

As a follow-up to his recent report on common game development myths, Dev.Mag correspondent Angry Joe has contacted us to rant about the state of the industry, and why he thinks that people are caring too much about things which don’t really deserve any attention.

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Five Game Development Myths Debunked

Disclaimer: Please try not to be scared of Angry Joe – he’s only a stick figure. In fact, he doesn’t even really exist. Steel yourself, read on and ride the storm. It’ll all be over soon.

There seems to be a lot of ideas held by new developers which, quite frankly, are leading them in the completely wrong direction. One could be forgiven for holding most of these assumptions: after all, they’re usually the result of laymen looking at the AAA industry through rose-tinted glasses and thinking, “Gee willikers. This is what game development is all about!” But that doesn’t mean that they’re correct.

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The difficulty of difficulty

If there’s one thing that I take pride in when I offer humble slices of gaming pie to oh-so-hungry colleagues, it’s my ability to carefully consider the difficulty level. Whether I’m making a run-and-jump platformer or a purely cerebral puzzle game, I always live by the same basic mantra: give the player a helping hand.

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