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Posts tagged “The Mechanic”

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: "I'm in"

How Exapunks represents hacking without limits

It’s pretty obvious that the excellent Exapunks is a game about hacking. Specifically, it’s a game about programming viruses and sending them into networked systems to monkey around with data, set in a great alternative 90s Wired cyberworld of PC cases flashed with black and red decals and zines set in Apple Garamond. For its makers, though, Exapunks is a game about limitations. Its format…

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Feature: From ontology to physics fakery

How Donut County’s hole works

Donut County is a physics puzzle game in which you are a hole and you make things fall into you. It’s a sort of reverse Katamari Damacy, in which you grow larger as you make things disappear rather than gather them up, and it was inspired by a 2012 Peter Molydeux joke. “The idea was originally that you’d just play as a hole and I…

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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: A pinball platformer

How a cup of coffee saved Yoku’s Island Express

It wasn’t as if the tester was having a bad time. He was a pinball fan, after all. It’s just that every time he tried to reach for his coffee, the intensity of the game he was testing kept pulling his hand back to the controller. Half an hour later, he finished playing, picked up his cold coffee, and said he’d enjoyed the game. As…

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Feature: From Despicable Me to indie dev

How one person created the lushly organic world of Ghost Of A Tale

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they’ve taken to make their games. This time, Ghost Of A Tale [official site]. Every time I see Ghost Of A Tale I’m taken aback by its beauty. Its world of cracked flagstones, knurled furniture, twisting passages, haphazard towers and lush vegetation looks like it’s truly lived in by its population…

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Feature: Pilot a giant land boat

How Far: Lone Sails puts you on a journey through sound

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they’ve taken to make their games. This time, Far: Lone Sails [official site]. It’s there when you first start the engine, in the hiss of steam as you press the ignition button and the rumble as the great wheels begin to turn. Then the music swells and you know the journey…

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Feature: Matchmaking magic

How Destiny 2 works

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they’ve taken to make their games. This time, Destiny 2 [official site]. When you go down to Destiny 2’s European Dead Zone, you’ll blast your way through crowds of the Fallen and run past other players. Perhaps you’ll also have a friend by your side as you stumble across Public Events…

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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: No limit on complexity

How to take SpyParty from a 1000-hour to a 5000-hour game

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they’ve taken to make their games. This time, SpyParty [official site]. If Chris Hecker was going to make a mistake with SpyParty, he wanted it to be the opposite mistake to the one Spore made. The way Hecker sees it, Spore’s problem was that it was all accessibility and no depth.…

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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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