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Posts tagged “design”

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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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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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