Category: Game Design

Postmortem: 14 Lugaru Challenge Maps I Made

ruin sword slash

[~3500 words]

[The Lugaru Dev Team has been working on an OpenSource version of Lugaru. Along with being free, OpenSource Lugaru also has a lot of single player campaign mods pre-installed, including my own single player campaign, “The Seven Tasks”. Check it out: https://osslugaru.gitlab.io/]

[This post is about some stand-alone challenge maps I made for Lugaru. You can still download these challenge maps form the Lugaru forum here.]

Previously I did a postmortem of a mod campaign I made for the game Lugaru, by Wolfire Games. The editing tools for making maps in Lugaru were so buggy and such a pain to deal with that I decided to never make any new maps for Lugaru again.

THE BEGINNING

But then, while daydreaming during my freetime, I ended up brainstorming different ideas for individual maps. I’d think of some gimmick or trick that I could use. I ended up having so many ideas that I decided I would make these maps after all.

However, I wasn’t going to make a single player campaign like I had before. Adding story and cutscenes would have been too much of a pain in this engine.

Luckily, Lugaru had a Challenge Mode where you could play a series of 14 challenge maps that didn’t have story and weren’t connected in any way. You just booted up a map and tried to rack up as many points as you could. So, I decided to make some stand-alone maps for this.

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An Example Of Storytelling That Isn’t Unique to Video Games Although Some Think It Is

-Or-
“Daniel Floyd Is A Fool And Raven’s Will Peck Out His Eyes”

snake and boss ending

[~1300 words]
#WallOfText

There’s this video posted by Dan Olson on his Folding Ideas youtube channel?/page?/account? It’s Daniel Floyd (writer for Extra Credits) talking about,

“…the very first game that I played that really made me… start thinking and looking for ways that games could do something with the narrative that nothing else could.”

For him, it was the ending to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which he states,

“… was the moment that lit the spark, that games can do something unique here, something that no other medium can emulate this in any way I can think of.”

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Fun Gun Award: Gibhard’s Gibsucker(?)


[~600 words]

Gibhard is a retro-2.5D-aesthetic FPS that is being made single-handedly by Bram Eulaers (I don’t think it’s even in alpha, yet). The game so far looks fantastic (visually, ludically, etc.)

Bram posted a video on twitter recently which shows off (among other things) a secondary fire function on a gun that I think deserves a Fun Gun Award.

So, if you watched the video then you’ll know which gun I’m talking about. It’s the one that sucks up physical objects and then spits them back out into the world. You can use this to press floor switches, or to crush monsters (I don’t know what the gun is called, but I’m going to call it “the Gibsucker” in this post).

I think this gun is ecstatically amazing, and the best way for me to explain my perspective is to compare the Gibsucker with a gun that seems superficially identical: Half-life 2’s Gravity Gun. I have no idea if Bram Eaulaers was thinking of the Gravity Gun when he designed this gun’s mechanic, but nevertheless it acts as a good foil.
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Examples of game mechanics that tell stories: Diablo 2, Starcraft’s Demo, Rogue, Star Control 2

riven-ferns-htrone

[~2700 words]

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.

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How the Necromancer is Diablo 2’s most unique class

mephisto-3

[~1900 words]

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).
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Fun Gun Awards: the laser gun from Lastronaut

title-screen

[~600 words]

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).

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Postmortem of the Seven Tasks: my mod for Lugaru (Part 2/2)

sword-spin

[~3200 words]

Postmortem of the Seven Tasks: my mod for Lugaru (Part 2)

CONTINUED FROM PART 1

[The Lugaru Dev Team has been working on an OpenSource version of Lugaru. Along with being free, OpenSource Lugaru also has a lot of single player campaign mods pre-installed, including my own single player campaign, “The Seven Tasks”. Check it out: https://osslugaru.gitlab.io/]

Map 7: The desert sandstorm

desert-start

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.

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