Designing Mechanics for Longevity

As a game designer, one of things I try to avoid is creating disposable experiences. As any creative, if you’re making it for an audience, you don’t want it to be forgotten shortly after it’s introduction. Designing for longevity can be taken in two ways: You’re design is centered around story, atmosphere, characters, with less focus on mechanics. Mechanics are simply a vessel to get through an experience you’ve authored....

April 22, 2013 · Alex

Gameplay Choices in Outwitters

We’re still balancing Outwitters gameplay. When thinking about changing, removing, or adding gameplay I try to keep two aspects in mind, choices and unpredictability. I’ll speak to the choices aspect today, as I’m still trying to grapple with that whole unpredictability thing in a turn-based perfect-knowledge setting. When we set out to create Outwitters, we wanted to make a simplified strategy game. One where players can easily pick it up much in the same way they pick up an iOS arcade game....

August 29, 2011 · Alex

Observations of the Casual Mind

Keep in mind, a lot of the rambling below is in the context of me being neck-deep in working on Outwitters, which is a strategy board game. I’m constantly thinking of ways to present games, their systems, and their objectives to people. Notice I said people, not gamers, or casual gamers. Sometimes I even look around my own environment and question “why the designer wrote that message the way they did”....

July 2, 2011 · Alex

The Tug of War in Content vs. Gameplay

I’ve started holding a particular mindset in regards to game design a little while after I started working on iPhone games, but I could never really articulate what I was feeling without sounding like a lazy game developer or religious nut. Danc’s article over at lostgarden reflects a lot of what I think about games as a medium, and what they can do, and where they are heading (good or bad)....

December 8, 2010 · Alex

Keeping Achievements Relevant

With December quickly approaching we’re finishing up our next major update to Tilt to Live. We just finished putting in the new achievements and I figured I’d share with you some of the guidelines I try to follow more or less. Maybe you’ll find some good ideas for achievements for your own game if you happen to be working on one, or maybe re-think some of them. Bad Idea Don’t make the player grind (actively) This might be fine in a hardcore RPG (I don’t think it is personally, and just a sign of an outdated design philosophy), but in the mobile games arena time is of the essence....

November 24, 2010 · Alex