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Posts tagged “The Mechanic”

Feature: And why they changed their minds

How Hardspace: Shipbreaker’s devs made spaceships you can cut anywhere

Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a game about cutting up spaceships with heavy industrial tools for cash. It’s a thrill to drift in zero-G, slicing and chopping and severing hull panels, superstructures, cockpits, airlocks, partly because the way you take them apart is up to you. You know what you have to do as soon as you get into space; you just need to figure out how.That…

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Feature: Pipemania

How Satisfactory’s developers lied to their players, and why the players loved it

Satisfactory’s Update 3 is one of gaming’s great bait and switches. For months, developer Coffee Stain had been denying that its first-person factory-building game would ever have pipes. Why would they? You could already transport liquids on conveyors, so what was the point? And then in February, the studio presented a magnificently overblown trailer which confirmed the opposite of what they’d been claiming for all…

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Feature: Train in vain

How upgrading cards fuels Monster Train’s wild ride

Monster Train is a game about chuffing through the hills and vales of Hell while mincing up angels with your demonic fiends, angry plants and waxen gentry folk. As Matt has declared, it’s extremely good, and one of the things that I love about it is the way it escalates. That train ride you’re on is a wild, careening one into multiplying attack and defence.The…

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Feature: A game about struggle

The difficulty with Pathologic 2’s difficulty

“Nikolay, right now, what do you think about Pathologic 2? Was it a successful experiment?”“Oh yes, of course! Certainly it was! Moreover, due to the conditions in which we constructed this game, it was a miracle that we released it. But I wouldn’t say it’s the game we wanted to release.”Even now, over a year after Pathologic 2’s release, Nikolay Dybowski and Ivan Slovtsov have…

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Feature: Some games are made to be watched

How I Wanna Run The Marathon riffed on Mario to draw a crowd

Some games are made to be watched. Games like I Wanna Run The Marathon. This hardcore platformer was designed to be played by four streamers for the first time at Fangame Marathon 2016, presenting a succession of eyewatering challenges intended to please the crowd. And no wonder: it’s a supremely entertaining and pacey gauntlet of cruel traps, wry references and intricate level design, set across…

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Feature: Sometimes that shark looks right at ya

How Raft’s shark feeds its survival game

I have a real issue with the sea. That enormous blue conceals awful primal horrors which I can’t help but be fascinated by. So you can understand why I admire Raft, the survival game in which you try to stay alive on a rickety wooden craft constantly circled by a giant shark.That shark is Raft’s principal antagonist and it sits at the centre of many…

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Feature: From tulips to teapots

How Untitled Goose Game made a game out of everyday items

Untitled Goose Game is a game about being a horrible goose, about making a mess and watching hapless Brits try to clear it up again. But under all that, it’s a game about things. Apples, hair brushes, keys, mallets, toy planes, tulips, teapots. After all, it takes things to mess things up.“Items are the language of the game,” co-designer Nico Disseldorp tells me. “They’re both…

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Feature: See through the dimensions

How animation powers Ori And The Will Of The Wisps

Ori And The Will Of The Wisps feels so good to play. The fluidity of Ori’s movement; his quickness and agility; the sense of his weight and presence in the world – he’s a product of both traditional animation and leading graphics technology which developer Moon Studios has built up over years to make a sequel that surpasses the already beautiful Ori And The Blind…

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Feature: Keep on truckin'

How American Truck Simulator recreates the grand American west

Oh, to visit Spokane on a bright summer morning. Bakersfield, Albuquerque, Reno and Salem. The evening sun shining across the surface of the I-10. In these locked-down times, American Truck Simulator is a chance to tour America, or at least its western edge, running from Washington in the north down to California in the south, and over to Utah and New Mexico in the east.…

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Feature: Wascally wabbit

How Hunt: Showdown creates hot, dripping tension

There’s a lot to be frightened by in Hunt: Showdown. Bee ladies, dying horses, a scuttering spider-beast. Slavering hounds, alarms made of clattering hanging bones, zombies. Ducks. It’s like this whole bayou hates you. But the swamp and its horrible denizens aren’t Hunt: Showdown’s antagonists. The real source of tension is other players. Every detail of this shooter’s design is about engineering a sense of…

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Feature: 334 hours played, do not recommend

How Generation Zero was fixed

Just before Generation Zero released nearly a year ago, things looked great for the game. Its trailers and screenshots promised a dynamic and expansive open-world cooperative shooter, with robots to fight and a beautiful and detailed 1980s Sweden to explore. And it was made by Avalanche Studios, a developer long-known for its open-world action games. Aside from a little controversy when artist Simon Stålenhag pointed…

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Feature: Hell to pay

How Hades plays with Greek myths

When Supergiant Games started to make Hades, their Rogue-like action-RPG, they had plenty of experience making narrative games. Across Bastion, Transistor and Pyre, they’d found they were pretty good at telling stories. But in a Rogue-like? And what’s that? They intended to put Hades in Early Access? Could they ever fit with the kind of rich characterisation and storytelling that made Supergiant’s name?“We were really…

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Feature: Dig up, stupid

How Shovel Knight’s last boss was designed four times

When Yacht Club Games decided to style Shovel Knight after the NES games that inspired it, they took that project seriously. Shovel Knight can’t fill the screen with 1000 bullets or radically switch up how it plays. It has to stay true to its inheritance, else, as programmer and co-designer David D’Angelo tells me, “It’d stand out as bizarre.”So its bosses naturally follow classic rules,…

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Feature: Turns out that standing still is pretty hard

The unknowable chaos of physics in Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

“A lot of fun stuff happens when you try to do stuff with physics,” says Wilhelm Nylund, head of Landfall Games, and the intelligent god behind Totally Accurate Battle Simulator’s legions of gangling warriors.And yet physics has given him an enormous amount of grief over the course of TABS’ development - as well as all the other games he’s made at Landfall. Physics, after all,…

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Feature: Where abstraction meets accuracy

How Unity Of Command 2 balances game design with military history

The first Unity Of Command was designed for the open steppes of the Eastern Front. There, the major battles were about manoeuvre, with tank units chasing and covering miles of ground for their objectives, and lines of infantry moving to counter and support. The steppes were perfect for UoC’s unique focus on maintaining your army’s supply lines. So, when designer Tomislav Uzelac began thinking about…

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Feature: I'll have you know they make very good pets

How A Plague Tale: Innocence’s rat hordes were made

Oh, the rats. The rats and the rats. If you don’t like rats, it’s best you don’t read on, because in A Plague Tale: Innocence there are thousands of them. They’re the stars of its grim medieval show, swarming around you, chittering and lunging and responding to your every movement. And they presented their creators at developer Asobo Studio all kinds of problems to make.…

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Feature: Worth a thousand words

How Katana Zero brought action into cutscenes

When a game’s cutscene begins and the dialogue starts spooling, I can’t help it. My phone comes out and I’m scrolling. From being active I’ve suddenly become passive, and rather than stay engaged, my brain impulsively turns to Twitter, Reddit, anything, to feed its pathetic desire for reward through light interaction.But I don’t during Katana Zero’s cutscenes. When this action game halts its razor-fine combat…

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Feature: Who wouldn't want to

Why you can anger the gods in Noita

In Noita, you can destroy every pixel. Walls, lakes of blood, rock mass, bodies, piles of gold, wooden piles, minecarts - if it’s there, you can mess it up. But there’s one place where you probably shouldn’t do that. The Holy Mountain is a moment of respite on your journey downwards in this very physical take on the dungeon-delver. It’s somewhere where you can recoup…

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Feature: If you go down to the woods today...

How Magic: The Gathering card sets are designed

“It’s hungry mother. It’s trip to the fair. It’s bad trade. Magic beans. Jack’s cow, angry mother. It’s surprise beanstalk. It’s climbing the beanstalk, giant’s castle, giant’s wife, golden goose, self-playing harp, escape with the goose, chop down the beanstalk.”Mark Rosewater has been head designer on Magic: The Gathering since 2003, overseeing the creation of thousands of new cards in the collectible card game that…

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Feature: Beasts of burden

How Guild Wars 2’s mounts were made

Every MMO has to have a mount. Mounts are a reward, a step in the endgame that helps you feel like you’ve finally mastered an MMO’s world. Finally you can get around quickly. No more of that plebeian walking. And with the game feeling like it’s in your grasp at last, you even get to show off your achievement with the flamboyance of your steed.Guild…

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