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

Game Design Sensibilities

I’ve been playing a fair number of board games lately. It’s interesting because the design of those games I feel are a whole different world compared to modern video game designs. In a way, I feel board games are a ‘purer' game design in some aspects. You’re not tied down in presentation, cut-scenes, and other spectacle, and all you have to work with is a few widgets and a compelling rule set....

March 16, 2012 · Alex

Outwitting the New Year

That’s probably the most non-sensical post title I’ve every come up with. Anyway, just wanted to do a quick update post on Outwitters. I’ve got a few longer-form entries in the works but I’m letting them cook a little bit before posting. There’s a lot of moving parts right now in trying to get this game looking presentable, and all at different stages of completion. Over the next couple of weeks I’m focusing on getting this thing ‘feature complete' so we can start iterating on the stuff we want to touch up on....

January 9, 2012 · Alex

Outwitters Progress and Disk Access issues in VM’s

I’ve been slacking lately on the blog unfortunately. In any case, Outwitters is still chugging along as I chip away at a large to-do list. We’re still not feature-complete, which is a bit disappointing. Yet, the core game is playing more smoothly than I predicted it would be at this stage so that’s a plus. We’ve started adding a few more testers into our pool to get more feedback from new players as well as get the matchmaking ironed out....

December 2, 2011 · Alex

The Indie Spirit

I’ve been slow on the blog updates lately mostly because the times I use to write were taken up with me being out of town. Just got back from an awesome weekend trip at MLG Orlando. For those that don’t follow that area of gaming, MLG stands for Major League Gaming, and is essentially a league for professional gamers to compete in. Starcraft 2 has taken off in a big way in the MLG, considering only a little over a year ago MLG was pretty much dominated by Halo and Call of Duty....

October 26, 2011 · Alex

Outwitters Dev Battle Report

Oh, It’ll Be Out By…. Hmm, even now as I look back on what’s been done on Outwitters, I’ve learned a *ton* of new things in regards to game development. I’m not too excited about having only 1 game to release this year (if we even make *that*). Hell, we even planned on having 2 games a year. The take-away from that is game development is not an assembly line process....

September 23, 2011 · Alex

Getting Production Data Out of Google App Engine And Into your iOS App

This following post is probably going to be useful to an extremely niche audience: anyone developing a multi-user iOS app that has a GAE backend. I’m currently working on Outwitters and debugging turn-based games on the local dev server (dev_appserver.py) is really quick and painless. The problem arises from the nature the game. It’s a multiplayer game, and as such, requires multiple users to function. You can only go so far with creating ‘mock user' accounts, and fake data populating your local server....

September 9, 2011 · 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

Srs Bidness Mode Engaged

I’ve been making a ton of progress on Outwitters lately. Although when I step back and look I still see a mountain of work left to do. But I *do* feel like I’m whittling away slowly at it. All of the core gameplay has been implemented for local play. Online play works in a non user-friendly manner and is still missing a few bells and whistles to make it stand apart from the typical affair....

July 29, 2011 · Alex

Crazy Busy And A New Work Style!

Wow, Friday almost flew right past me. I’ve been working on Outwitters practically non-stop. A lot of the major ‘components', as I like to think of them, have been figured out and implemented in some sort of fashion. Now I have to make this big herculean effort to get it all integrated and seamless: 1v1 and 2v2 pass-n-play A couple of teams and their animations and unique powers The ever crazy complicated (implementation-wise) UI Asynchronous play using Google App Engine Aside from team animations/powers, all those things exist in kind of their own isolated ‘prototypes' in one way or another, and now I’m trying to get it all under one “roof”....

July 16, 2011 · Alex