PC Gamer’s Steven T. Wright interviews Lucas Pope on the process of creating Return of the Obra Dinn:
“When you’re developing a game as one person, you have a lot of advantages and a lot of disadvantages,” he says. “One of the advantages is that you can afford to make a game for two years without even really knowing what it is, which is exactly what I did. One of the disadvantages is that you have to do something different visually to stand out. This means I have to solve all sorts of problems that nobody else has solved, at least recently. But I think that can be fun in its own right.”
The game’s development seems to have been more of a process of discovery and improvisation than one of decisive creativity. That explains a lot.
In this 2019 GDC session, Subset Games co-foudner Matthew Davis details the Into the Breach design process from early drafts to the final balancing decisions. Davis dives into years of cut content and iteration to show how Subset Games approached the difficult design challenges of making Into the Breach.
On the 30th anniversary of its release, Marques Brownlee unboxes and explores how the Game Boy came to be, it’s impact on society, and why it’s leaving us feeling so nostalgic.
Brian Crecente talks to Rami Ismail about why traditional game development is broken on iOS:
“I’m here to make video games,” he said. “I’m not here to fix somebody else’s problems. Our users? Absolutely. If they have a bug and it’s our fault, we’ll fix it. But having made a game in 2013 and then the platform going, ‘It’s broken now,’ That would be like if somebody went and updated like the internet and now all text is right to left. That’s how it feels to me. It’s like we made a game, so now we’re getting punished for it.”
Apple has created a very inviting — but ultimately hostile — platform for games. There’s no malice there, they just don’t care about legacy software as much as they care about pushing things forward.
Video games have historically been extremely well preserved, yet some older iOS games seem to be gone forever. This ephemerality is unprecedented; it’s not just bad for game developers, it really feels like a big part of gaming history is being erased.
VR devs keep making amazing stuff and one of these days I’ll be forced to buy a headset
This project is all about driving visual effects with body movement! Very interesting combining the two in an interface. Each parameter can be mapped (in a bunch of different ways) to how you move your body.#leapmotion #unity #VR pic.twitter.com/8xbPekZQjy— Noah Zucker (@Noah_Zr) January 11, 2019
BDG shows how Celeste relates to real-life rock climbing and it totally clicks.
While most games will make you grind to improve your character, Celeste makes you grind to improve yourself. When you succeed, you keep that skill and that knowledge. And just link in real climbing, when you go back to a route you’ve already completed, you ask yourself: “how did I ever struggle with this?”
And that’s when you know… you have become the genius beefcake.
Will we ever run out of Celeste praise videos? I hope not.
By sheer coincidence, I came across the Classic Tetris World Championship final stream just as it was happening live. I only caught the final moments, but my interest was piqued. There is clearly something special happening here.
Mark Brown’s “Designing for Disability” series seems to be very comprehensive and well researched. I’m moderately colorblind and feel very well represented by this video.
It reminded me of the game I most wanted to love but just couldn’t play: Puzzle Bobble. If a level had both blue and purple bubbles, I was toast. Even though each bubble color had a different shape inside, the differentiation wasn’t enough for split second decisions.
Sam Greer, for Eurogamer:
Some games are so big, and yet we engage with such a small percentage of their space in a meaningful way. When time isn’t an obstacle, why not have miles and miles of samey fields? “More is better” is such a common characteristic of big budget titles and the result is big spaces, filled with repetitive content and scarcely anything memorable. Our interactions with so many gaming worlds is passive. Even when they’re pretty enough to make us stop and snap a screenshot we’re still not learning them or unravelling them. They just want to get us to the next item on a checklist.
Toshi Omagari at TYPO Berlin 2018:
Limitation is a fantastic ingredient for creativity. In the early days of video games, you did not have a luxury to use retail fonts on screen and developers had to make their own in a pixel grid of multiples of 4, the most common being 8*8 pixels in monospace letter width.
Ben Porter, developer of MoonQuest:
So how can you take 7 years to make your game? Here are some important tips and tricks for taking your sweet time.
Game designer Jan Willem Nijman:
I gave a 4-minute talk at @AMazeFest about how making long games is unethical, watch it here
I love this idea:
We should all design our games like bus rides — they should have multiple stops along the way. If someone is happy with your game, they should be able to stop playing at that point. Give your game that ending after two hours. Give it that ending after ten hours for the people who want more of it and want to find all the secrets. Give it, like, the 100-hour ARG with speedrunning, trophy, whatever shit, but let people quit your game in a way that makes them happy.
Celeste is a poignant exploration of facing anxiety, helped in large part by its deeply personal soundtrack by Lena Raine. Let’s look at how the music approaches the theme of anxiety, whether by inducing it, or turning stress into something more productive.
I often listen to film and video game soundtracks to help me focus while working (including the Celeste soundtrack!). This video gets to why that works so well. The idea that stress can be positive (eustress instead of the negative distress) is a powerful concept that I wasn’t aware of.
Mark Brown demystifies something I’ve long considered to be a dark art: puzzle game design.
How do you make something that leaves a player stumped and scratching their head, and then makes them feel very smart when they finally figure out the answer? What makes a puzzle too hard, Or too easy?
The conversation around video game difficulty and accessibility is noticeably evolving in a positive way.