Tag Archives: Game Design

Designing an alien alphabet

Alphabet Banner

Details. The little things that aren’t core to a game’s design or mission, that a game could ship without, they are often what gets cut when budgets and deadlines start to loom. But details can make or break a game;details can be the difference between success and failure, fun and boring, engaging and shallow. They can add spice and variety reward inquisitive players, and perhaps most importantly, let the lore and world you’ve created hold up under closer scrutiny.

Today we’re going to look at one such detail: designing an alien alphabet for your game.
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FTL: The best game I ever hated

FTL Logo

Or “Game Design: Are we learning yet?”.

FTL: Faster Than Light, despite the slightly self-referential title, is a superb game. That’s all I’m going say by way of a review, because let’s face it, FTL came out years ago and has been in so many bundles and Steam sales you probably own half a dozen copies without even realising it. It’s been reviewed, is what I’m getting at.

No, this isn’t a review but a tantrum.
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Meganatomy: The Anatomy of Megaman

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Readers with good memories will remember that I’ve mentioned Jeremy Parish’s excellent “Anatomy of a Game” series before, and well-read readers with good taste will already know about it. For the rest of you, I’m talking about a set of analyses of games in which the level design, mechanics and direction inform gameplay and teach the player in a time before tutorials. Not some weird fanfiction about the actual, you know, anatomy of the little guy himself.

Parish’s latest run is on the original Megaman and I’m mentioning it here because he raises a very interesting point, one that I’d never considered before.
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Path planning and gameplay

MazePath planning, the noble art of getting from A to B, is an integral part of many games and has been the subject of a huge amount of research, not to mention wailing and gnashing of teeth. Like so many things though, pathing is something that the player will only notice when it fails – when it works it’s just another part of the game. There is more to path planning than work/fail however, and in fact the algorithms used, the decisions taken and the hacks compromises made can have a profound effect on gameplay.
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Extraction: The game

Extraction IconHaving covered the map generation and the AI, let’s wrap up the Extraction series with an overview of the game itself, how the previous topics feed into the gameplay, and just where it might go in the future.
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Extraction: AI and behaviour

Extraction - AI ThumbnailThis is the third part of my game design series. In part one I gave an overview of the game and in part two I described the map generation algorithm. This post describes the AI used in the game and how a combination of simple rules play off each other and combine to create useful and engaging simulation.
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Extraction: Map generation

Extraction - Map IconThis is the second post in my game design series. Last time I gave an overview of the game and its goals. Making the framework and playing with the AI were the main objectives, but first we’ll take a quick detour into the map generation system.
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Game design: spatially near, but temporally distant

MetroidI’ve been reading a lot recently about game design in the “early days” – the NES era.  In those days games were real games, difficulty curves could be like brick walls and tutorials simply didn’t exist as a game design concept.

This post explores one particular element that comes up – the notion of the “spatially near, but temporally distant” objectives.
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