Category Archives: Game Design

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!

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!

Relationship Between the Player and the Game Through Controls

In this video, I look at Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, The Last Guardian and Tearaway Unfolded to talk about how they use controls to elicit feelings and create strong emotional bonds.

Thanks for watching!

The 4 Types of Randomness in Hearthstone

Card games, trading and collectible including, always have had certain randomness to them – at least because the deck is always shuffled so you never know in which order you’ll draw your cards. Hearthstone, being a fully digital card game, tries to expand upon what kind of random effects one can achieve while playing. Some people are happy with these experiments, some are not. But let’s take a look from design perspective at the different kind of randomness in Hearthstone and how they can be perceived by players.

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Video Games need to stop HAVING to be fun

I was playing This War of Mine lately, and what I do when I want to write a blog analysis of a game, is I first check online what posts there are already so to know if there’s a particular topic that wasn’t explored (I first wanted to talk about context of mechanics using This War of Mine as an example, but there already is a great post about it on Gamasutra by the game’s lead designer). But seeing some of the feedback and discussions around This War of Mine have inspired me to talk about a more general subject, one that I touch pretty regularly in conversations with other developers, and consider to be very important. Video games need to stop HAVING to be fun.

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