Game Design

Space Narratives: A Map Randomizer Denounces Map Randomization

I got my start in game design doing traditional Rogue-likes. My first game was 100 Rogues(now sadly rendered unplayable due to a combination of iOS updates and a long story involving legal rights), very much a typical turn-based Rogue-like, somewhat inspired by Shiren the Wanderer but with character abilities more along the lines of Diablo …

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Randomness, and “Random Value Absorption Thresholds”

Randomness is very important in game design! This is because randomness allows us to make the game state larger and more complex, without overwhelming the player with too much information and therefore calculation. I’ve been writing about randomness for over a decade at this point, but this article represents my latest, most updated views on …

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“Pick 1 of 3” is a missed game design opportunity

When you’re offered a handful of powers that are highly coupled, and there’s no restriction on picking one over the other, the choice is obvious. If the powers are loosely coupled the choice will be random/arbitrary. In either case, it’s not going to be an interesting decision in my opinion. If you missed it, over …

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Asymmetry and Holistic Design

Over the years, I’ve had some trouble expressing my point of view about pre-game asymmetric choices (characters, factions, etc) in games. Back in 2013 I wrote “Debunking Asymmetry“, which was my most clumsy attempt, and which awarded me over 100 comments, from notable game designers like Naomi Clark, Raph Koster, Greg Costikyan, Jon Schafer and …

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