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Posts Tagged ‘Game development generally’

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…

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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…

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Some Thoughts On Gamification

I’ve found myself wondering about “gamification” with increasing frequency these last few months as various articles appear online to denounce it. What is it, exactly? And is it really as bad as they all say? What follows is a brief exploration of the concept and a look at its applications. …

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In Defense of “Gamification” in RPGs

Last week we had a double-barreled shotgun blast of opinion pieces advocating for RPGs to hide or drop some of their core conventions and abstractions. Tom Bissell, writing about Dead Island, complained about pop-up damage numbers in a real-world zombie RPG and landed a glancing blow against leveling and statistics-based…

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Imagined conversation and character-building

Looking back on my last developer rant, I’ve decided that I was a little bit too scattershot in my approach. I wanted to cover a multiplicity of areas where detail tends to get overlooked in RPGs, but in doing so I skimped on solutions. In particular, I want to revisit…

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Using Details to Craft a Coherent Game World

The RPG is an inherently inelegant creature. It is something of a Frankenstein monster, a suite of different gameplay systems stitched together into a shambling chimera. Character creation, simulated markets, item management, navigation, combat, stealth, dialog, puzzles, class and skill trees–as a developer, it is difficult enough simply to make…

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12 ways to improve turn-based RPG combat systems

In my last opinion piece, I provoked a certain subsection of the world of RPG enthusiasts by slaughtering a particularly sacred cow: the D&D-style combat system. A surprising number of people wrote in agreeing with me. Predictably, however, others responded in one of two ways: (1) “So you think a…

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The battle system I wish RPGs would stop using

Dungeons and Dragons, son of Chainmail, is the great granddaddy of the modern role-playing game. Its importance cannot be overstated: not only was it revolutionary for its time, it has also directly inspired many of the early computer RPGs on which the genre is now based. Because of D&D’s power…

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So you created an action RPG. Stop congratulating yourself.

A recent Gamasutra interview with Matt Findley has caused a firestorm of debate to erupt across the internet concerning the continued vitality of turn-based RPGs. Findley is an alum of the now-defunct development studio Black Isle, which produced legitimately brilliant turn-based RPGs like Fallout. So you can understand why an…

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A good review?

As a game designer, sometimes you receive news, and you’re not sure whether it’s good news or bad news. For example, Telepath: Psy Arena 2 has just received its most positive review yet! But it’s posted on a site called HarryBalls.com. Um, yeah. From the review: The care Sinister has…

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