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Posts tagged “design”

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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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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Feature: Page turner

How a book binds the Return of the Obra Dinn

Towards the end of Return of the Obra Dinn’s four-and-a-half years in development, Lucas Pope had a friend come over to playtest it. He sat him down, explained how it’s a firstperson mystery game in which you discover the fate of the Obra Dinn, a merchant ship lost on its voyage into the Orient. Then he gave him the controls. “He played for a bit…

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Feature: Delve a little deeper

The pain of designing Path of Exile’s exquisite balance of restriction and reward

Every three months, Grinding Gear Games adds a new league to its excellent action RPG, Path of Exile. Each league adds a new spin on its core monster-slaying action for a few weeks until the next is added, and the latest is Delve, which launched at the end of August. Delve presents you with an infinite and pitch-dark mine to dig into, a sprint into…

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Feature: The game's real stars are its animators

How theHunter: Call of the Wild simulates wild animals

You’ve been tracking the herd for fifteen minutes, and now, finally, you’re close enough to see your first deer. You raise your binoculars and edge closer, but a branch scrapes your jacket. The deer’s ear twitches and it turns and trots away. You freeze. The deer stops and turns its head to look back in your direction. You crouch but the deer barks, alerting the…

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Feature: The guillotine of design

How cutting off heads got GNOG finished

Samuel Boucher hadn’t really made a game before he started to make GNOG. He was an artist and graphic designer, and though he’d art directed an interactive jigsaw puzzle game for kids, that was pretty much the limit of his experience. So, really, you can say the trouble with GNOG started when he decided to post some illustrations of a game idea he had to…

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Feature: How to build a world where anything can happen

Hollow Knight and the art of consistency

"One of my favourite things in the whole game is that when you slash your little weapon against the cave wall you actually get an impact, with a little recoil and rocks come out,” says Ari Gibson, animator, artist and co-creator of Hollow Knight. “It’s such a small thing, but it changes you from being just a few animations to being a present actor inside…

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Feature: Little rats and burly men

Why it feels great to hit things in Vermintide 2

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they’ve taken to make their games. This time, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 [official site]. In designing Vermintide II’s melee combat, Mats Andersson ran through the same preset level 50 times a day for two years. This hodgepodge of the game’s most distinctive areas, enemies and swarms makes no sense and it looks…

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Feature: Game dev is hell

The problem with building a car in Jalopy

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they’ve taken to make their games. This time, Jalopy [official site]. ”A lot of people have made the correlation between game development being a janky mess and the car in the game being a janky mess,” says Greg Pryjmachuk, the sole developer of Jalopy, a game about driving a Laika 601…

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Feature: Dash it all

Why Celeste’s dash feels great

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, mountain-climbing platformer Celeste and the importance of timing in its movements and kindness in its code. Early last month, the makers of Celeste released the source code behind the game’s star, Madeline. Across 5472 lines and in variables like…

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Feature: Mining the light fantastic

How Deep Rock Galactic mines fun from absolute darkness

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Deep Rock Galactic [official site]. The moment Deep Rock Galactic took my imagination was when I saw its dwarf miners throwing flares into the inky blackness of a cave in its E3 trailer. Few games do darkness, and here…

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Feature: The UI is your greatest weapon

Into the Breach’s interface was a nightmare to make and the key to its greatness

This is The Mechanic, in which Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Into the Breach [official site]. “I think we were resolved to having a UI nightmare from the beginning,” says Matthew Davis, co-designer and programmer of Into the Breach. “When we decided we had to show what every enemy…

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Feature: Blending Rogue-likes with CCGs

Why revealing all is the secret of Slay The Spire’s success

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Slay the Spire [official site]. Slay the Spire is a deck-building card game about careful attack and defence. And poisoning. And letting your own blood to amplify your damage, and hitting each enemy every time you lose a card,…

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Feature: Kinetic engineering

How Iconoclasts makes platforming flow

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Iconoclasts [official site]. Iconoclasts is a platformer that feels great to play. As Robin, a daring mechanic armed with a wrench and a stun gun, you’ll run, jump and shoot your way through sprawling multi-level areas, enjoying precise movements…

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Feature: Land of Tiles

How Gorogoa is a game about fitting things together

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Gorogoa [official site]. Gorogoa is a game about fitting things together. Fitting a detail in one image with a detail in another and see how it produces something new. And in making it, developer Jason Roberts found that making…

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Feature: Turbulent tales

How killing permadeath in Darkwood led deeper into the forest

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Darkwood [official site]. “All roads lead deeper into the woods,” says one of the twisted characters in Darkwood, an excellent and haunting game of survival in a nightmarish forest. There are horrors in its tangles of subsuming wood, things…

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Feature: Kill your darlings

How an amputation saved Quadrilateral Cowboy’s life

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Quadrilateral Cowboy [official site]. Quadrilateral Cowboy is a firstperson puzzle game about a group of hacker friends who stage heists across a set of increasingly challenging missions. Together they tell a surprising and affecting story of professionalism, friendship and…

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Feature: How to build an empire

How Total War: Warhammer’s Mortal Empires engineers a world of unending war

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Total War: Warhammer’s Mortal Empires campaign [official site]. Mortal Empires is the logical conclusion of Total War: Warhammer. It asks this: what happens if all the races, factions, legendary lords and terrain of both Total War: Warhammer and its…

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Feature: A simple solution

How What Remains Of Edith Finch guides players with words

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, What Remains of Edith Finch [official site]. The Finch house fits together in a jumble. The original building serves as a foundation for the floors that teeter on top and its rooms connect in strange and confounding ways, through hidden passages and external ladders. The whole…

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