Category Archives: Blog

Farlands – Systemic Crafting of Evil Islands

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

This video is supported by Patreon.
www.patreon.com/farlands

Systemic gameplay is a very big topic recently. Even though systemic games have existed for a long time, nowadays there’s a lot of conscious discussion about titles that provide emergent situations by allowing the players to experiment with the rules and mechanics in place. A lot of those games feature a crafting system, and it just feels that it would be natural for crafting to also be expanded in a systemic way, and yet for some reason that doesn’t happen.

Crafting mostly is this direct exchange of a particular set of resources into a particular object. The exact nature of this exchange can vary – in some games you require a recipe before crafting something, in some you might want to experiment and figure out what the recipe is. There are games where recipes require not a concrete resource but a certain type, or where you need a particular skill before the exchange happens. Some games feature mechanics like sockets which you can imbue with something, customizing the item more. Some allow you to do a lot of things with what you craft, but at the core most crafting systems are still about spending particular resources to get a particular item.

And there actually IS a game which has implemented a systemic crafting system 18 years ago. And in this month’s edition of Farlands, a series about video games and video game design, I will try to propagate its principles into the world, as I believe they’re worthy of further exploration. My name is Stanislav Costiuc, and welcome to the video about Systemic Crafting of Evil Islands. Read the rest of this entry

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Farlands – What Is Good Game Design?

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

This video is supported by Patreon.
www.patreon.com/farlands

Video Game Design. Sometimes we think we have it all figured out. At least to the point that we can safely say what design decisions are bad and shouldn’t be done in games. After all, there’s enough history to go around with and tons of established conventions, right?

Like, for example, it is bad design to not put frequent automatic checkpoints in the game. If you fail a particularly tricky challenge, or it so happens that you need to exit the game, we don’t want to push you too much back, that would be too punishing. Therefore, infrequent checkpoints are bad… But they’re also good, like Alien: Isolation shows with its manual save point system where save spots are placed a fair space apart. Read the rest of this entry

Cohesive Game Experience, Part II

In this three-part video series, we’re continuing to talk about cohesive game experience: what is it, why is it important, and how to achieve it.

Thanks for watching! Feel free to leave any comments below! 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

Cohesive Game Experience, Part I

In this three-part video series, we’re going to talk about cohesive game experience: what is it, why is it important, and how to achieve it.

Thanks for watching! Feel free to leave any comments below! 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

Of Telltale Formula and Game of Thrones

In this video we’ll talk about the so called Telltale formula coined by The Walking Dead, how it should adapt to apply to Game of Thrones franchise, and why Game of Thrones should not allow to retry failed game segments.

Thanks for watching! Feel free to leave any comments below! 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

Why Dark Souls Should Have an Easy Mode

We’re going to talk about the nature of difficulty levels and difficulty scaling, and how that should apply to hardcore games like Dark Souls.

Thanks for watching! Feel free to leave any comments below! 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

Farlands Newsletter – June 17th 2017 – E3, Darksiders, and more

New newsletter video where I talk a little bit about the progress on next video, the recent E3, and Darksiders.

So this is all for this week’s newsletter. Thanks for your time! Feel free to leave any comments below. If you’d like to keep an eye on my future blog posts, feel free to follow me on Twitter @farlander1991 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

Farlands Newsletter – June 7th 2017 – Commissar Doggo, Next Video, and more

I decided instead of text newsletters I will do video ones to make sure that there are regular updates on the channel. So this is the first one 🙂

The link mentioned in the video: http://www.scottfinegamedesign.com

So this is all for this week’s newsletter. Thanks for your time! Feel free to leave any comments below. If you’d like to keep an eye on my future blog posts, feel free to follow me on Twitter @farlander1991 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

Characterization Through Mechanics

In this video, we’ll talk about the importance of mechanics in adding depth and personality to characters in games on example of Thomas Was Alone and few other games, and what things we need to take into account when adding or reusing mechanics in the games we make.

Thanks for watching! Feel free to leave any comments below! 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

Farlands Newsletter – 26.05.2017 – DevGamm, Next Video, and more

Hey all. So last weekend I got back from DevGamm Moscow 2017, which is why there was no newsletter last Friday (which, to be fair, was chosen absolutely arbitrarily as the newsletter day just because I happened to post the first one on a Friday). The conference was very cool, met some very nice people and listened to some cool talks. I think my own presentation went very well considering that I was absolutely calm until the very second I started speaking infront of the crowd. I guess this means that 7-8 years of dancing might remove fear of stage, but not anxiety to talk. At any rate, the conference is over, which means…

Next Video – Characterization Through Mechanics
This week I’ve started working on new video! The topic is characterization through mechanics, mostly on the example of Thomas Was Alone. The script is already written, all that’s left is to edit it and record and make the video itself… so quite a bit, but hopefully at some point next week it will be done.

Darksiders
I haven’t had a lot of time to play since last newsletter, but I did check out some games. One of them was the first Darksiders (Warmastered Edition to be precise). I had both Darksiders games for a long time but never had played them, and the recent announcement of Darksiders 3 has inspired me to actually go through them. So far I enjoy it quite a bit, and can see where the Legend of Zelda comparisons come from. Will talk more when I finish it or get close to finishing it.

Batman: Arkham Knight
I also started playing and almost completed Arkham Knight. It’s… it’s engaging enough that I played several long sessions so far, but the game is problematic.

Problem #1 – Batmobile. More precisely the frequent tank battles and the desire to create arbitrary obstacles to use batmobile with. For movement it’s absolutely fine, but by the end of the game the battle portions with batmobile get so tiresome. ‘He’s got a Rattler!’ or variations of it is a phrase that I heard just so. Many. Times.

Problem #2 – The notion that the games takes place all in one night. It worked for Asylum, was pretty stretched but still worked in City, but in Knight it’s just not feasible and that removes from immersion.

Problem #3 – Fake stakes. The whole narrative rests on the concept that there’s just too much shit for Batman to handle, and that’s how Scarecrow wants to break him. The problem is, even though the game tries to show that there’s dilemmas going on, ‘oh who will you go save, Catwoman or Barbara?’, ‘While you were chasing me how many crimes there were that you didn’t stop?’, etc., there’s no actual choice because you can do everything in the game.

Problem #4 – Indoor level design. There’s very few of proper indoor levels, and they’re not very big. So we have a bunch of gadgets that we rarely use (for example Line Launcher that’s available from the start of the game, I think I used it about… 10 times at most), but the indoor content is not as expansive as it was in Arkham Asylum or Arkham City. Most of the things are happening outdoors.

Problem #5 – The titular Arkham Knight. It’s… let’s just say there was a lot of awesome build-up that didn’t amount to anything really.

So this is all for this week’s newsletter. Thanks for your time! Feel free to leave any comments below. If you’d like to keep an eye on my future blog posts, feel free to follow me on Twitter @farlander1991 🙂

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!