A look at Skyborn

I recently played Skyborn. It’s one of the more attractive commercial RPG Maker games out there, and there’s been a lot of talk about it, mostly good. You can find it on Steam.

Still, I wasn’t expecting much from Skyborn. I’m pretty critical of RPG Maker games, and despite the impressive steampunk aesthetic, I wasn’t sure whether the game itself would impress me.

It did and it didn’t. I played it all the way through, which is saying something. But for the most part, it left me thinking “eh, this was okay I guess.” Is it worth the price? You be the judge of that. Beyond these initial thoughts, this is not a review—my goal is to look at some of the design choices made in Skyborn and what we might learn from them when creating our own RPGs. Read more

Podcast #18: Player Psychographics

This week, Despain, ReynardFrost, Kilim and CaptainJet discuss the three player psychographics: Johnny, Timmy, and Spike. What are they? What does it mean? And how can you apply these concepts to your game design? Read more

Podcast #17: Show Don’t Tell

Despain, ReynardFrost, Kilim and CaptainJet all return to discuss the concept of Show Don’t Tell, and how it applies to game design. Read more

A look at South Park: The Stick of Truth

So yesterday I beat South Park: The Stick of Truth. I loved it. I’ve always been a fan of South Park—its blend of cultural satire and immature toilet humor usually works surprisingly well. And I enjoy how episodes often call back to previous episodes. There’s a continuity to the series, which isn’t something that people might expect from that kind of show. And that continuity goes a long way towards making the world, characters and story of Stick of Truth so enjoyable, despite the relatively short (compared to most full-length RPGs) playtime.

But I’m not here to write a review of the game. You can find those all over the place. In fbb fashion, I want to take a hard look at the gameplay.

And South Park: Stick of Truth has some amazing RPG gameplay that went well above my expectations.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Gameplay-wise, Stick of Truth feels a lot like Paper Mario. And that’s a good thing—Paper Mario‘s not only one of my personal favorite games, but it’s a great example of an RPG battle system that promotes a lot of interactivity and gameplay that goes beyond scrolling through menus. Stick of Truth brings those same elements to its battle system while also innovating in a lot of ways that make the player feel good about what he’s doing. Even more—Stick of Truth goes beyond most RPGs in the ways it lets the player interact with the environment outside of battles. Read more

Podcast #16: The Hero in Battle

In this episode, Despain and Kilim are joined by CaptainJet to talk about the role of the hero characters in battle. Classes, stats, buffs/debuffs, skills—and the value of a turn. A lot of material is covered this time, so check it out.

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Your Fantasy Setting: The Law

Yo. I haven’t written about Your Fantasy Setting in a while. Last time I did one of these, we talked about economy, and fleshing out your game’s world by thinking about the role of trade and currency.

Today, let’s look at another aspect of your fantasy setting: the law. Sure, on some level, you’ve likely put some thought into the laws of your game world. After all, at one point the hero finds himself in the castle’s dungeon—or something like that. And for most of the game your hero will be stealing from random people’s homes… that’s legal, right? Read more