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Posts tagged “design”

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: 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: 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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Exclusive: two new Magic: The Gathering cards revealed – including punchy goats

Next week, on January 16, the latest card set will hit Magic: The Gathering Arena ahead of its physical release on January 24. It turns out that developers Wizards Of The Coast weren’t joking when they said their PC-based online game would stand right alongside the traditional game.Theros Beyond Death is a new set in a series of four based on the Greek mythology-inspired plane…

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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: 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: *screaming dial-up noise*

How Hypnospace Outlaw’s 1990s internet was made

Hypnospace Outlaw is a game about surfing a fictional 1999 internet, a web of GeoCities-like pages made by a community of weirdo artists, rock stars, scammers, edgy teens, pastors, hackers and spiritualists. It’s funny, bizarre, poignant, and sometimes dumb, just like the early internet that it spoofs. But it’s also a game, so its wild thickets of pages, all written by distinct personalities, are also…

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Feature: DEV is HARD

A dictionary of Baba Is You’s most difficult words

Baba Is You is a push-block puzzler in which words change the rules of the game. Push a baba block next to an is, and then push a you on the end, and now you’re controlling a four-legged, long-eared critter. Add another rule, flag is win, and you can beat the level by moving Baba on to the flag.Baba Is You is therefore a game…

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Feature: 22 minutes to go

How Outer Wilds built a planet which falls apart

Brittle Hollow is a doomed planet. For a start, in about 22 minutes’ time, it’s going to be destroyed, along with the rest of Outer Wilds’ solar system. And also, up until that apocalypse, Brittle Hollow will also endure constant bombardment by meteors, which will smash away great crystalline chunks of its frigid surface, so that they fall away into the black hole at the…

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Feature: Feature creep

Why Creeper World’s decade-long evolution keeps getting harder

“The whole history of the Creeper World series is serendipitous and unintentional,” says its creator, Virgil Wall, in his Texan lilt. “You know how it goes with these things, one thing led to another.” Creeper World is a singular take on the realtime strategy that Wall has spent the past decade making. Former man of the cloth Kieron Gillen once described the original as “the…

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Feature:

How 40K: Mechanicus reinvented tactics for Warhammer’s cyber-monks

The Adeptus Mechanicus are one heck of a Warhammer 40K faction. These shadowy racist warrior monks are more machine than human and worship a trinity of machine gods. They say stuff like, “From the moment I understood the weakness of my flesh, it disgusted me. I prayed for the strength and certainty of steel. I aspired to the purity of the blessed machine.” Those words…

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Feature: Tough love

How Kenshi’s world is designed not to care about you

You’re not the hero in Kenshi. You’re not the chosen one. There’s nothing out there for you to save - other than your own skin. You’re just another inhabitant of a huge open world that doesn’t care about you. That’s its magic, and it takes design to create a world so exquisitely uncaring. Merry Christmas, everybody!

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