Here is the complete list of Weekly Design Problems on the reddit/r/gamedesign subreddit (which I moderate). Note that I haven't had time to do one every single week since it started, although most weeks I do. Some good discussion in many of the threads, so it seems worth documenting. I will of course continue to add the problems to this list as they get created. Enjoy! (more…)Read More
Hello! If you're reading this - hey, thanks for reading my blog! I appreciate it. I'm sorry that I haven't been writing more articles, but as you may or may not know, the reason for that is primarily that I am writing a book! Not my first book, which came out in 2012 - a different book! Let me take you through the things that I've been doing. New Book - I'll probably write more about it later, but for now, it's a game design textbook. My first book was more of a treatise or something; an overall look at the state of game design, an analysis, and lots of theory. This book, on the other hand, is going to be much more hands-on, direct, and rather than pointing out specific problems, I hope this book gives people the tools to identify problems themselves. Anyway, I'm excited for it. Auro - Also, I'm burning the midnight oil trying to get Auro together, which should be released at some point this summer. It's really coming along, and I am so, so proud of it. It's the kind of thing where, even if we had released it 6 months ago, I think it would have been one of the strongest single player games ever made. But now the level of polish and tightness is just so high - I really think people are going to love it. Empire 1.3 - Empire: The Deck-Building Strategy Game (iOS | Android) just released its 1.3 patch, which I had been working on the design for for months. If you haven't given the game a shot yet, now's the time, for sure. It's vastly improved. Monsters now roam around the map wildly, unit production requires you to build new cities, and tiles can be improved (and destroyed by them roaming monsters!) Reddit - This doesn't really make up for the lack of game design articles, but I do run the official "gamedesign" subreddit - go check it out. Every week (or, roughly every week, at least), I try to write a "weekly design problem", which is like a question about game design in general. It's pretty fun, and gets some decent responses. Beyond that, you should definitely come by the Dinofarm Forums if you haven't already. I'm there every day working with the Auro beta testers and getting into fights about various stuff. If I have any other big news, I'll be sure to post it here. And I do have 5 or 6 half-written article drafts lying around... perhaps I'll finish and publish one of those soon. Again, thanks for reading.Read More
The Ludology podcast, hosted by Geoff Englestein and Ryan Sturm is one of my favorite sources for thoughts on game design on the internet. I met Mr. Englestein at the PRACTICE 2013 conference. Apparently he liked my talk, and so he brought me on to talk about boardgames, videogames, and game design generally. It went really well - it was actually probably the most non-confrontational interview I've ever done. Please check it out and let me know what you thought! http://ludology.libsyn.com/ludology-epiosde-77-board-to-bitsRead More
I wanted to write a quick post to let people know what I've been up to. I haven't been able to really update the blog with a new article in some time, and I might not for the next month or two. The reasons for this will become obvious in a moment. I recently signed a contract with CRC Press to write my second book! This one, like the last, is about game design, however this one is much more of a practical "textbook" affair, while the last one was more of a philosophical treatise. In this book (which doesn't yet have a title), I will go through my suggested process of designing strategy games, starting with concept, core mechanism, finding supporting mechanisms, goals, etc. There will be lots of exercises and I think it will generally be a great book for the game design classroom. I'll be spending most of my writing time in the next few months (not ALL of my writing time, though) writing this book, which means I won't be able to write too many blog posts in that time. I will have news items and such though, still. Speaking of news items - the other thing I've been doing like crazy is Auro! Just today, I created a new commercial site for the game (still a work in progress). What do you think? I didn't have to do much; Blake's amazing art kinda carries the whole thing. But beyond that, I've actually been programming on the game myself a lot, which is kinda crazy, because I'm not a programmer. My struggle with trying to learn to program over the last 20 years has been extremely arduous and fraught with doubt. But recently, with Auro so behind schedule, I've just decided to DIVE IN head first. And weirdly, it's kind of working out. I mean, I've read the first 3 chapters of about 20 programming books over the past couple decades, so something just must have stuck I guess. Tons of features have been added recently. The game now tracks wins and losses, and doles out XP. There's a whole records system that keeps track of everything you've done, and a records screen where you can reset your records, etc. Not to mention just a ton of polish to the messaging system (character portraits slide in and out all nice now). So that's what's been going on. I want to write an article soon about slow real time games, maybe I'll have time to do that at some point.Read More
I did a decently extensive interview over at IndieRPG.com about game design in general, which was posted on the site yesterday.
IndieRPG: I’m trying to think of who would be in the market for a tactical roguelike variant that isn’t already familiar with at least some D&D-derived character stats, and coming up blank. Are you looking to expand the market here, or is this simply a matter of design purity?
Keith Burgun: We don’t consider AURO a roguelike, and won’t be marketing it as such. It is a “dungeon-crawling tactics game”, really a game of its own kind. We absolutely want to be able to reach all kinds of people. We think that AURO can find a place next to abstracts like Chess or Tetris, and we’re shooting to make it as accessible as either. So, “expand the market” isn’t quite right, because AURO is definitely not an RPG and in my mind it’s also definitely not a roguelike (although people argue a lot about what that means exactly). It’s a new kind of game, so its market is going to be a new one.Read the complete interview here! Then today, they did another story about us - this time specifically about AURO and what it's all about. Pretty cool! Read More
Today I wanted to introduce people to a new game that I'm designing called EMPIRE. In order to do this, I think it makes sense to first talk about what already exists, and then talk about what I'm doing that's different. EMPIRE is my take on the so-called "4X Strategy" genre of digital games. I've always been a fan of games like Civilization, and even more so of Master of Magic. I do have a number of problems with the genre, problems which have not been getting better. For instance, Civilization V, the latest game in the Civilization series, did not correct most of the games worst problems. You can read about my problems with that game, which are fairly similar to my problems with just about every game in the genre, here. Suffice it to say that with EMPIRE, I have an opportunity to do what I did for 4X games what AURO does for roguelikes: namely, find some kernel of an actual core gameplay mechanism, and build a carefully constructed system around that. So unlike most videogames, this game will be system-based, not component-based. Why does that actually matter? Well, because it means that we can have an elegant design, which in turn means that we can have a system that's both extremely easy to learn, and equally difficult to master. In short, EMPIRE is a modern, elegant solution to the problems of 4X strategy games.