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!

Contests Explained

I have described the four essential “forms” of interactive entertainment, based on four distinct values that these four types of play produce. You can get a more in-depth introduction on these forms by reading this, but I’ll quickly break it down here.

First, you start off with a “bare interactive system” – this is an interactive system that has no goal. I call this the toy. Add a goal, and you have a puzzle. Allow for measurement, and you have a contest. Obfuscate the gamestate (allowing for decision-making) and you have a game.

I would say that the vast majority of people roughly agree with me on the first two forms, toy and puzzle. This makes sense – it makes sense that we would understand these forms first, because they are the simplest. Continue reading “Contests Explained”

Game Designers: Learn to Program

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When I was 11, my family got its first computer: an AST “Advantage!”, which sported a 66 MHz 486 processor, 4 MB ram and 32 MB of hard drive space. It wasn’t the greatest computer, even for the time, but it did have QBasic on it, and having always wanted to make games, I immediately dove into coding.

I stuck with QBasic for the following decade or so simply because I was comfortable with it. I made a bunch of shooters, platformers, and actually a lot of weird games. I made one called “Kill the Innocent” (download it here, but you’ll need DosBox to make it work), which featured stick figures walking along a bridge, and you aim a gun at them and just kill them. I remember coding a detailed system for how the man’s top-hat would float gently to the ground, and a very simple physics system that would allow you to juggle the man’s head in mid-air with shotgun blasts. (I guess I was subtly picking up on the ugliness of violence in videogames even back then, although I certainly wasn’t conscious of it, being that my AST Advantage was running Doom so often.) Continue reading “Game Designers: Learn to Program”

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

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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!

Clockwork Game Design Podcast – Episode 2: Distractions

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Episode 2, already!? Yep! I spent essentially all day one day recording both of these episodes, because I wanted to really get the ball rolling. It’s kind of annoying to have just one episode of a podcast, I feel like.

Today’s episode deals with the distractions and other obstacles that have slowed our growth in the path to progress in game design. I think I’ve gotten much more into the groove with this episode – now with fewer “ums” and less housekeeping!

Here’s a few things I said I’d link to in the show notes:

Greg Costikyan’s “I Have No Words & I Must Design”

Richard Terrell’s old site – also, his new site.

For those who want a direct feed URL, go here: http://keithburgun.net/feed/podcast/

As always, please let me know what you think of the episode. And if you’d like to support the show, visit http://www.patreon.com/keithburgun.