Category Archives: Blog

Pacing in Puzzle Games on the Example of Portal 2

Time to get messages on this blog going again. Today I want to talk about Portals. Mostly Portal 2. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Hey, Stas, is this one of those obligatory posts about Portal’s smart level design and learning curve and the way it teaches you to overcome obstacles?’ And my answer to you would be, no. It is not. It’s about something different, as you probably could gather by the title, though related in a way.

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Shadow of Mordor: Focus in games and downsides of the Nemesis system

I’ve beaten recently Shadow of Mordor. It’s pretty damn good. Tolkien-wise, dig deep enough and you’ll find contradictions to the lore (though, considering that it’s in the universe of the movie, one might argue that doesn’t necessarily count), but it’s a fun and visceral open-world game. And I think it’s a perfect example for a topic I wanted to talk about: focus in games.

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Assassin’s Creed Series Stealth Viability Analysis

Being a more or less active part of Assassin’s Creed fan community, there are several things I noticed that are, one might say, constant among quite a big number of its members. For example, a lot of people say newer Assassin’s Creed installments that take place post-1700 don’t feel like a real Assassin’s Creed game because guns (and that’s despite the fact that our protagonist got a gun in Assassin’s Creed II, and our enemies received firearms in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood… oh, the irony).

One other thing that I see quite often is how the latest 2013 installment, Black Flag, is not assassin-y enough. That as a bombastic pirate adventure with a considerable naval part it’s a Pirate’s Creed rather than an Assassin’s Creed. One of the biggest reasons cited would be lack of stealth in comparison to previous games (Ezio’s trilogy especially, supposedly).

So I got curious. Whenever possible, I play Assassin’s Creed the stealthy way, and I remember quite a lot of stealth in Black Flag. So I wanted to compare how often stealth is a viable option in each of the games. And here are the results, a full spread sheet worth of information. Oh, and Assassin’s Creed IV has got the most stealth possibilities in the whole series, just so you know.

Here’s the link to the Google Spread sheet
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Story Time: Of Polish Evil Islands servers

This is a very weird one. Evil Islands had a bunch of master-servers for its online component: Russian, English, German, Polish, French, some others. A few years after release, though, none of them were very active. None except the Polish master-server – it had games going on it all the time.

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Evil Islands Playtest Story (Translation)

What goes below is a translation of an article written by Aleksei Sviridov back in the year 2000. Aleksei was the lead writer of Evil Islands. This article was my first glimpse into the world of game industry, and I think this is the one that has started an avalanche in my decision process of choosing a future career. It’s a pretty funny story, so I hope you all enjoy the read.

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Evil Islands

Evil Islands is a Russian tactical RPG released way back in the year 2000. … Well, gee, I feel old now. As I’ve written in my last post, it has inspired my venture into the Game Design territory, and I want to talk a little bit more about it.

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Story Time: Of becoming a Game Designer

People who like video games usually have a story of the first one they have ever played, how they were amazed by it, what feelings they have experienced. I don’t have a story like that. I don’t remember my first video game. I became a gamer before my memory functions have even properly kicked in. At 6 months old approximately.

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Adventure Puzzle Design

Writing recently about A New Beginning, I thought it would be a nice time to talk about adventure game puzzle design, and just adventure game design in general. Puzzle design in traditional & click adventure games is arguably one of the weirdest facets of Game Design. For the most part you’re not really designing actual puzzles, more like situations that require some sort of a logical solution. And the ‘logical’ part can be problematic.

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A New Beginning

I am a fan of classic point & click adventure games. And as a fan of adventure games, I want to really like A New Beginning, but I can’t. Which is sad, because the story really intrigues me, but there’s just too many flaws that accumulate and are hard to look past by in a title of this genre.

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Story Time: Of stupid scars and amusing inspirations

I tend to like characters with scars. Whenever I draw a sketch of a fictional person, more times than not I add some kind of a scar. There’s an inherent coolness to scars. A mystery. A story behind it. Usually a very cool and badass one. Or maybe a horrifying one. But it’s something impressive, something memorable. Well, I’ve got a scar near my left eye. It looks like a layer of my skin is missing, though nowadays its color has more or less blended in with my skin color so it’s a lot less noticeable. But the story behind it is one of the stupidest things that could happen, ever.

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