Feminists/social progressives: stop making excuses for violence glorification

The day after the horrifying Orlando shooting, a friend was inviting me to play Overwatch. It was a weird moment. I felt like, I don't know—maybe it's just me, but I really don't feel like running around with a gun shooting at people right at that moment for some reason. Some E3 events began that night. Everyone was talking about a new Quake game's announcement on social media. I found it to be pretty distasteful, and actually felt a little bit bad for the people who had to present this stuff at a time like this. Then again, I always find E3-type events pretty distasteful, so I felt like, well, it's probably just me again. (more…)

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The Virtuosity Scale

scale One thing to think about when designing a game is trying to figure out what "degree of virtuosity" you want to allow. I mean this in a bit of a prescriptive way, which I'll explain. Some games offer you a huge number of possible choices per "turn" or per "moment". Having a high degree of range of motion means more potential for creative actions. You can literally do something that ten onlookers watching hadn't even considered. I'd say abstract games with a big grid like Go are good examples, but also complex real time games like StarCraft or Team Fortress 2 certainly qualify here, too. We'll say that these games have "high virtuosity". (more…)

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Clockwork Game Design is now available for pre-order!

For the last year or so, I've been working hard on a book called Clockwork Game Design. It details a clear, useful design pattern for building elegant strategy games. 411la8XXlHL How does it differ from my first book, Game Design Theory: A New Philosophy for Understanding Games? Game Design Theory was very broad. It talks about the history of interactive systems design, it talks about other forms such as puzzles and toys, and it talks a lot about modern videogames and some specific problems with them. Clockwork Game Design is narrow and focused. It asks a specific question: how do we go forward with strategy game design? How do we make games that are significantly better than the ones we've made in the past? How do we make games that are not only easier to learn than existing games, but also have longer life-spans? The answer is in the Clockwork Design Pattern. The Clockwork Design Pattern is one that starts with a core mechanism - a basic action that is the primary means of interaction with the system. Supporting mechanisms support - but do not fight with - the core mechanism, and all of this is anchored by the Goal. The Goal is the ultimate expression of the core mechanism action. To the extent that designers are able to create depth and elegance, they're already using elements of this design pattern without even necessarily knowing it. If you want to design strategy games, and you can only own one book on the topic, it should be Clockwork Game Design. Pre-order it now on Amazon.com!  

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Site Redesign

Over the last few weeks I've been working on redesigning my site, for a few reasons. One, I finished my second book - Clockwork Game Design - and I am changing the visual design of this site to reflect that of the book (hence the black gears around the place). What you're seeing now isn't necessarily final, and there are probably still bugs, but let me know what you think overall. One of the coolest things is an idea I got from David Sirlin's site. For a long time I've wanted a way to show all my best articles in a more digestible format than just some giant list. What Sirlin did was put them into a nice grid. I've done pretty much the same thing. Tap on "Design Articles" above to check it out (or click here). I've also gone back to many of my old articles and improved them a bit; I'll continue doing that in the future. Your article is your baby! I'll also take some offline when they're no longer relevant or are covered by another newer article. As to the book: it's scheduled for release sometime in early 2015, but I'll certainly have more information soon! Comments: I've now re-enabled comments. It was too much of a pain to use the Dinofarm Games forums for discussions. Bring on the comments!

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