Recently I watched a good video by Mark Brown about the Last Guardian. He analyzes how the game communicates story through gameplay and he looks at one specific moment in the game. If you don’t mind mild spoilers on the Last Guardian then go check out the video, it’s pretty good.
This got me to thinking about other moments in games when story is being told through narrative.
Of relevance is an older post I made about Riven and how it manages to merge narrative and gameplay so that they are one and the same. The image at the top of the post is also for Riven, but there’s no storytelling going on there. I just like that view.
The Necromancer was always my favorite class in Diablo 2, and one of the things that always struck me was how unique he was compared to all the other characters. His entire design paradigm was completely different. This uniqueness changed slightly in the expansion with the arrival of the Assassin and the Druid, but this is primarily because those two classes cribbed some of their design from the Necromancer.
(I analyzed the unique and intriguing design of the Necromancer in a post long ago, but that analysis was obfuscated by me also trying to do other weird gonzo, humor things; in early posts on this blog I did a lot of experimental things that didn’t pan out.)
This has also been on my mind recently because I am designing a coop dungeon crawler board game and some of the character classes are inspired by my revelations about D2’s Necromancer design.
So, let’s get into what makes the D2 Necromancer so unique and different from the rest of the D2 classes (I’m not really going to talk about Diablo 3 at all, fyi).
[~15,000 words total]
[~8,300 words for all drafts put together]
[~4,000 words for “final” draft and final thoughts (this is really all I expect anyone to read)]
So, over a year ago I raged against how terrible and stupid Variks’ dialogue is in Destiny’s Prison of Elders. And to put my money where my mouth was I said that I would write my own version of Variks’ dialogue. Then I just didn’t.
For the longest time (over a year) I didn’t feel like going through the effort. Then about a month ago I suddenly felt like accepting the challenge I had given myself. So, I wrote my own version of Variks’ Prison of Elders dialogue which is much better than what actually appears in the game, although that’s not saying much considering the originals (“Kill them dead.”)
The Fun Gun Award™, is an award given to video game guns that aren’t necessarily effective, don’t necessarily give a player any tactical advantage, but which have creative behavior, unique design, and are fun to use. These guns might suck, they might be overpower, they might be unbalanced, but they’re so fun that I want to use them over and over.
I remember playing a small mobile game a while back called Lastronaut (by Darrin Henein and Stephan Leroux) and there was one particular weapon that I really enjoyed using: the Multilaser (although I don’t believe any of the weapons have official names, you just pick them up and use them).
A long time ago I came up with a bunch of ideas for silly and absurd FPS guns. I made a couple blog posts listing out these ideas way back when. Because of the ridiculousness of the guns, my friend suggested that the hypothetical game they would appear in could be called Shifting Zones of Craziness.
And now I’ve come up with a third list of guns (that don’t exist) for Shifting Zones of Craziness (a game that doesn’t exist). (The Land Shark Gun, which is pictured at the top, does exist and is in the game Armed and Dangerous.)
Trebuchet: Player is carrying a trebuchet on his shoulder. It launches rocks at the enemies.
Vampirism Gun: Turns opponent into vampire. If they don’t drink the blood of other players then they die. Secondary fire is a UV sunlamp.
Magma Vomit Gun: When you shoot another player they become infected with Lava Illness. They randomly vomit magma out of their mouth in a short arc which creates pools of magma on the ground. The magma can hurt all players including the one vomiting, so if he’s running forward when he vomits then he’ll take damage.
Glitch Gun: A player shot with this gun glitches through the geometry, falls through the level, and dies.
Grandma With Soup Gun: Fires a grandmother holding a bowl of steaming soup. When a player is hit by the grandma, she follows him around demanding that he eat some soup because he’s nothing but skin and bones. The player must stop and eat the soup. If he doesn’t, the grandmother calls him ungrateful which immediately kills him.
Cthulhu Gun: Fires a slumbering Cthulhu. If anyone bumps into him or shoots him then Cthulhu awakens and all players die immediately.
Postmortem of the Seven Tasks: my mod for Lugaru (Part 2)
CONTINUED FROM PART 1
Map 7: The desert sandstorm
I had fun with this level. People enjoyed it even though it’s very badly designed.
I got the “sandstorm” effect by lowering the view distance, altering the lighting, and altering the tint to the “fog”. The fog isn’t actually moving, but it still gives a good impression of a sandstorm. People thought this was cool.
PART 1 of 2
OH MAN! I have been trying to get through a backlog of ideas so that I could finally get to this. I still haven’t gotten through my backlog, but felt like jumping to this anyway.
I myself have dabbled in game design and modding over the years. I haven’t done much. There’s various reasons for this including that I’ve never had quality, modern PC hardware. For most of my life I’ve only had outdated Macs handed down to me by family.
Nevertheless, I figured that with all the analyzing and critiquing of other games that I do that it was about time I did some postmortems of my own extant work (some of my earlier modding, game design, and programming, as well as games I made on my graphing calculator, have been lost to history).
The first thing I’ll look at will be a mod I made for the indie game Lugaru, by Wolfire Games (aka David Rosen) (the sequel, Overgrowth, is currently being developed). I made my mod way back in early 2009 and the forum post where I posted it still exists on Wolfire’s website.