Two days ago, I finished playing Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Even before I finished the game, I felt like I wanted to write an article about it. After it ended, I needed some time to recover my emotions, but I knew that this game deserves a close look at its design.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons by Starbreeze Studios.
Brothers tells the story of two brothers who go on a journey to find the tree of life in order to save their dying father. You control both characters simultaneously, in a unique single-player co-op control scheme (a controller is required). The game takes full advantage of its unique controls by incorporating them into the story and emotional development of the characters—and of the player. Read more
This is part two. If you haven’t read part one, check it out now. So let’s continue our discussion about resources and resource management.
In the first part, I talked about different types of resources—primarily physical vs invisible resources—and how to recognize them, and how different types of players will recognize them and value them differently. Today we’re going to expand on that knowledge and go deeper into the implementation and balancing of those resources. Read more
And I’m not talking about resources on the developer’s end. We’re not talking about the graphics you’re creating for your project, or your computer power, or any of that stuff. Oh no—we’re talking about in-game resources. The resources that your player has to work with while playing your game. Elements of gameplay that you, as the game designer, have to put some serious thought into.
Dictionary definition: “A stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization…”
Taking that definition over into video games, I’d say that a resource is a stock or supply of something that can be drawn on by the player. Of course, that definition leads to two obvious questions. One: what is the something? Two: why would the player draw on these resources? Read more
At long last, episode 15 has arrived! This time, Despain and Reynard talk about game endings. What makes a good ending to your story—and what makes a bad one? And what’s the best way to end with satisfying gameplay? There’s some spoilers for older games, but Despain manages to stop himself from spoiling Bioshock Infinite.
This week’s Play or Flay looks at SnowOwl’s Skinwalker. Read more
Today’s topic is one that is important for all sorts of game design: difficulty. There’s lots of ways to make your game difficult, but unfortunately most of those ways are shortcuts that don’t lead to appealing gameplay.
Lots of game developers will feel the need to make their game more difficult, so they add all sorts of “features” that only end up making the game more frustrating. “But the player is dying more often,” they say, “it’s a challenge.” Well, kind sir—is it really a challenge? Or is your gameplay just hard for no real reason?
Today we’re going to look at the difference between challenge and frustration, and how to add to your game’s difficulty curve while avoiding making your players feel bad about it. Read more