Why You Need the Clockwork Game

Let’s start from scratch. You’re a game designer. How can my work help you?

If you’re the kind of designer who wants to tell a good story, create a lush immersive atmosphere, express a social value, or just embrace the latest in graphics technology… this article – and most of my game design-specific work – isn’t for you.

But there’s a ton of designers out there who want to make a little “fun machine” – an interactive system where the player is doing stuff, gaining mastery, and being otherwise entertained for reasons other than atmosphere, story, social values or those sorts of things. Continue reading

The Clockwork Game Design Podcast: Episode 5 – The Limitations of Boardgames

cgdplogo_twitter

While it’s tempting to think otherwise, computers are the best tool we have for pursuing great game designs. In this episode, I also talk about how “abstract” games are problematic due to low information density, the information horizon, and a lot about the medium of board games.

 

Some relevant links:

http://boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgame – all game designers should make an attempt to get as familiar with as many of the top ~300 or so boardgames as they can.

http://keithburgun.net/uncapped-look-ahead-and-the-information-horizon/ – Yet another link to this article!

Nethack Wiki – Just hit “random page” a few times to see what an insane amount of content there is in this game.

2013 NYU Practice talk – Art of Strategy

 

As always, please visit my Patreon page to support the show. Thanks for listening!

The Clockwork Game Design Podcast: Episode 4 – Violence in Media

cgdplogo_twitter

In this episode, I discuss violence in videogames. This is a less “game-design-theory” episode, and more of a culture/media episode, but I do discuss a lot of user comments from these recent articles.

Cited in the article:

“Dehumanization” on Polygon

Beyond the Pentakill on Gamasutra

In addition to those, I also wrote these relevant articles:

Violence, Pt. 1: Glorification

Violence, Pt. 2: Game Design Ramifications

Thanks for listening! As always, you can support this show here.

 

The Clockwork Game Design Podcast: Episode 3 – Tech Myths

cgdplogo_twitter

Three podcast episodes in three days! My intention here was to get the podcast really rolling up front. I feel like it’s kinda crappy to have a podcast with one episode, and two episodes isn’t much better. So now there are three, which is a comfortable starting place, I think.

Quickly I’d like to let people know: I submitted the podcast to iTunes two days ago. Still waiting on the approval; from what I’ve read it can take between 30 minutes and 3 weeks (!). Hopefully it won’t be too much longer.

Today’s episode talks about some of the mythology that we’ve all accepted about technology – specifically virtual reality, AI, and graphics technology above all else. We sort of expect these things to solve our problems for us, but the truth is that they won’t.

(This episode doesn’t make much mention of fan comments, but I’ll get back to that next episode, promise.)

I referenced my Toys and the Adult Mind article, which might be worth a read.

Thanks for listening, and as always, you can support the show by going to http://www.patreon.com/keithburgun.

Asymmetry in Games

 

asymmetry

A few years ago, I had written an article called “Debunking Asymmetry“. I think that that piece makes some mistakes about how it framed some of the problems of asymmetric forces in games.

Quickly, a definition – “asymmetry”, in this context, refers to the player or players having different abilities from the start of a match. A Street Fighter II character, a StarCraft race, or a Magic: The Gathering deck all would qualify (for the purpose of this article, I will just use “character” to refer to any of these, as a shorthand). Continue reading

We Should Patch Our Games

I’ve been hearing more and more voices crying out against patching recently, and I wanted to unpack some of what people have said. I think this is one of the many designer-to-player communication issues that crops up in the games conversation, and so here is a designer trying to improve on(“patch”) that aspect, so that hopefully we can have better conversations in the future. Continue reading