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
Yo. Let’s talk about resources.
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
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
Happy Valentine’s Day! I thought I’d use the so-called “holiday” as an opportunity to talk about an element of story that makes its way into lots of games, but often seems to be thrown in as an afterthought. Characters are the heart of any story, and love is a core part of a character’s personality. It’s not something that can just be thrown in: “oh, by the way female hero: I love you!” We see too much of that.
So today, I’m going to talk about developing romances: how to make them work, how to make them believable, and how to make the player care. Read more
This article is one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I expect this article to be a big one (lengthwise, and content-wise)—and there’s a lot of stuff from it that might take some time to sink in. But this subject is something that I would very much like to introduce to the RPG Maker and indie game development community.
Today we are going to be talking about player psychographics, what they are, and how an understanding of them will help with game design. Read more