View Tags

Archive for the ‘Developer Rants’ Category

Unpredictability and control in turn-based combat: an examination

Unpredictability makes art interesting. Twists of plot, unconventional characterizations, and surprising character development engage a reader’s imagination; unique instrumentation, sudden shifts in time signature, or an unexpected chord progression delight the ear. So is it with games. Exploration, experimentation, discovery: all of these depend upon unpredictability, on gaps in the…

Read More »

What makes a game indie: a universal definition

I’ve been content to stand on the sidelines of the “what is indie” debate for a number of years now, satisfied that whatever the outcome, it wouldn’t really matter. I no longer think that. When a multi-million-dollar game with a team of nearly 50, created with the backing of a…

Read More »

6 more ways to improve turn-based RPG combat systems

Almost exactly one year ago, I discussed the four virtues of a good turn-based combat system and shared 12 techniques that RPGs commonly overlook for achieving those virtues. Today, after a year of contemplation and careful design work, I feel ready to expand the list. What follows are 6 additional…

Read More »

Reasons to Support Indie RPGs, Pt. 4

Diablo 3 has been pulling a Darkspore since its release yesterday, thanks to Blizzard’s bizarre decision to prevent people from playing the game in single player mode without a constant internet connection. Even those who were able to get through to a server, like John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun,…

Read More »

Game immaturity and the journalism that can fix it

I was all ready to post a new Developer Rant about skill-based character creation systems. I was ready, but then John Walker changed my mind. (The writer, not the whiskey—that would be a whole ‘nother article.) Mr. Walker, for those of you who don’t know of him, is one of…

Read More »

Meanwhile, in real life…

I’ve tried to keep posts on this website limited to two topics: (1) the games I’m making and (2) general issues in game design. But sometimes real life intersects with game design in strange ways, and I’ve occasionally faced the temptation to post about current events. This spring, for instance,…

Read More »

2 big reasons for an indie to be thankful this year

Thanksgiving is a peculiar but wonderful American holiday. What originated as a harvest festival has become a time to gather with family and close friends and share the many things we’re thankful for over the prior year. Forget the aprocyphal tales of Native Americans sharing turkeys with pilgrims: this is…

Read More »

Reasons to Support Indie RPGs, Pt. 3

Word has it that the DRM inside EA’s hack-and-slash action RPG Darkspore has prevented anyone from playing the game for a week and a half now. We’re talking about a single player game that paying customers have been prevented from playing on their own PCs since October 18th due to…

Read More »