CGD Podcast Episode 18: Single/Multi-player and 50% Win Rates

cgdplogo_twitterToday I talked about how and why games work best with a 50% winrate (even single player games). That’s because learning in games is extremely hard due to their inherently complex and ambiguous nature. Getting a loss when you had a 10% chance to win doesn’t necessarily tell you much about your choices in that match. In order to learn, you must compare yourself to yourself.

In addition, I talked a lot about why single-player is considered a strange thing for strategy games.

Enjoy!

CGD Podcast Episode 17: Rogue-likes and Other “Bar Games”

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I don’t mean “bar” as in “pub”, I mean it as in like a resource bar. In this episode, I talk about Rogue-like games in detail, why it isn’t really a genre, and what the future of these games are.

What can we do with single-player strategy games? Must they all be “managing highly random resources”? I think we should question our reliance on output randomness and heavily variant input randomness (such as map generation in Civilization) to make single-player strategy games work.

It turns out that my two articles I wrote on score in the past were really outdated and they’re in the shop to be worked on. In the meantime, I recommend reading these for more thoughts on why the traditional high score system is a problem (which I claim in the episode but don’t really back up).

“Why I Hate The Term Permadeath”

Episode 12 of this podcast, which talks about good goals

Auro’s Single Player Elo System

A Roguelike Radio episode that I’m featured on that discusses score

A reddit “Weekly Game Design” that touches on it

Thanks for listening!

 

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CGD Podcast Episode 16: A Conversation About Rogue-likes with Black Shell Games

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I had a conversation with the main developers at Black Shell Games – Daniel Doan, Raghav Mathur, and Thomas Espinoza – on the topic of Rogue-likes, a design pattern that has appealed to both of us. In the episode, we cover topics like the relationship between Rogue-likes and gambling, grinding, difficulty, replay value, and other related concepts.

Check out Black Shell Games on Steam. Here’s Black Shell Games’ – which also acts as a publisher – complete list of games.

(Side note: apologies about the audio. There were four people on the conversation total and there’s a bit of noise, but I think it’s easy enough to hear.)

Enjoy!

EMPIRE is out!

Yesterday EMPIRE, a game I’ve been designing for Crazy Monkey Studios for the past 8 months or so, was released.  It was a pretty quick turnaround – after working on 100 Rogues, which took about a year and a half, and AURO, which so far has taken nearly two years, it’s nice to design a game, make it, and put it out there.

It was a pretty different experience, process-wise.  Unlike AURO, I really knew what EMPIRE was going to be at the get-go.  The game that it ultimately was released as was very close to what I had in mind from the start – especially combat, which I feel is very strong in version 1.0.

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Despite the fact that I’m really happy with where EMPIRE is now, I feel that version 1.0 is just the beginning.  I have a lot of other plans for the game in future updates.  For instance, I’d like to change the way that monsters work on the overmap.  It would probably be good if monsters had the bases that they have now, but also sent out troops which milled about randomly until they came in contact with the player’s city.  That way, there’s a bit more life/emergence to the monsters, and it also makes the whole “I target you, you target me” thing – which is kind of strange at the moment – less of a problem. Monster cities would never “attack” you, only launch wandering monsters.  Monsters themselves would attack, but simply by walking onto your city.  Since you and the monsters are already very asymmetrical, it makes sense that the way they attack would be different than the way you do.

Another thing that I think the game might need is some third resource – perhaps “gems”, or perhaps “settlements” – that you can see through the fog at different locations on the map.  These would be required for certain tech things (such as perhaps Shaman’s Huts), but also finite, and could be wiped out by wandering monsters.  This would give exploration a much-needed boost in its coherence as a mechanism.

Anyway, overall I’m so excited about having another game I designed out there.  I can’t wait to hear what people think of the game.  If you know anyone who wants to review the game, send me an email and I can probably get you a promo code.