Category: Game Design

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

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“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(?)


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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

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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

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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

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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)

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

CONTINUED FROM PART 1

Map 7: The desert sandstorm

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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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Postmortem of the Seven Tasks: my mod for Lugaru (Part 1/2)

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[~3000 words]

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.
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