Enough Rope to Hang Yourself

I’m very interested in the self-destructive part of the human condition. We are in the process of making our environment uninhabitable to humans, have devised increasingly sophisticated means to prove it beyond any reasonable doubt and are doing it anyway. We’re hilarious. So most of the games that I design contain some means by which a player can make everything terrible and then finds ways to make that choice seem compelling.

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Expressing Rules

There are some really awful rule books out there, many are mediocre and there are a few exceptional ones that clearly show how to play the game. Most gamers can agree with that sort of statement. What they can’t agree on is which of the rulebooks are the good ones – people seem to learn in very different ways which dramatically affects their enjoyment of games. Long time readers of this blog may remember this:


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How should AI cheat?

Last week I was writing a cardboard AI for a game and reached the conclusion that in order to make the game fun and challenging it would have to be allowed to cheat. In this case by starting with more resources than the human player(s). An algorithm that could equal human play would be too complicated to execute and bog down the game, so a simpler one was required to make the game fun and it had to cheat to make the game interesting.


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UK Games Expo 2016

Hi everyone! After a relapse I am finally (mostly) recovered from spine things. I’m not allowed to fight anyone for a bit, but I’m up to walking and talking so I’m going to be bringing 3DTotal games to the UK Games Expo 2016

…so apparently now that I’m able to blog again something has broken the blog site so that image uploads don’t work. Alright, image free version of the post then…

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Room for Innovation

So there’s this conversation I keep seeing on game design forums:
Enthusiastic_Newbie “I’ve come up with a great new mechanic for my game!”
Old_Hand “There are no such thing as new mechanics, what is it?”
EN “(Description)”
OH “That’s been done before in (Game) (Game) and (Game). Perhaps once in a generation someone comes up with a new mechanic, the odds that it’s you are millions to one.”
EN “Oh”
OH “Don’t try to invent new mechanics.”
Unenthusiastic_Newbie “Oh, okay. Thanks I guess.”


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What’s the price of a game?

So I’m presently losing sleep over how to price pledge levels for the upcoming Wizard’s Academy kickstarter. Fundamentally the problem is this: I would like to charge the lowest possible price that leads to the game still shipping, to maximise the number of people who get to enjoy the game (This is my main motivation for being in game design, over industries in which people actually make money and don’t get talked down to at parties). However after a point a lower pledge level makes the campaign less likely to succeed in which case nobody gets to play the game, so today I’m going to review the things that go into setting the price of the pledge level and talk about some solutions that I and other creators have used in the past.


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Differences in kind

Let me start the week with a few housekeeping announcements:

1) I’m intending to have a look at how this blog works and see what could be updated. I’d love to combine the 3dtotalgames site and BGG site into one blog, but there are features of both I don’t want to give up. It’d also be good to have a bit more functionality (comment notifications etc.) if there’s anything you want please shout up this week.

2) Gamergate is still going on. It occurs me to that I hadn’t stated this formally before but, in the most diplomatic tone that seems appropriate to the issue: Fuck That Shit. Props to my brothers and sisters in the computer game design world fighting the good fight. It’s also a reminder to watch the culture that we encourage through our creations.

3) The first copy of my first game arrived recently and it looks amazing! It’s so exciting to see it rolling off the production line, there’s an unboxing video here, but for those of you who don’t like clicking on links left by strange people on the internet, here’s how it looks:


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