Three nice gamedevs talk gaming and game development. Current events, guest interviews, and deep dives into the art and science of video games and how they're made. Nice! Your nice hosts: Martha Megarry, Stephen McGregor, and Mark LaCroix.
Your nice hosts start this episode with some personal updates, and (spoiler) it does not "go quick" as planned, then take on two really fascinating production topics. Ellen puts both drawings on the fridge, Mark recommends a modern Polish masterpiece, and Stephen is a changed man.BONUS: This week's outtakes were much too long to include at the end of the show, so we put them on Patreon! It's 10+ minutes of behind-the-scenes outtakes that go a littler further than usual in revealing how your nice hosts assemble the program. Plus, bonus-bonus: an explanation of Mark's "Wandelprober." Any monthly donation amount will get you access to this and a bunch of other bonus content, as well as an ad-free episode feed. Join now!Noble Engine - Noble Robot, GitHubM+Dev: A Midwest Gamedev Conference - Wisconsin Games AllianceToppers Pizza Rolls Out Vegan Menu Across All Locations - VegWorld MagazineGreen Border is Agnieszka Holland's Triumphant Stand Against Polish Corruption - Lena Wilson, The Film StageAgnieszka Holland's ‘Green Border' Acquired for the U.S. and U.K. by Kino Lorbe… - Elsa Keslassy, Variety0:42:09Debug FunctionalityThe debug menu Mark made for Widget Satchel.Explaining the "Probes" of TheatreChris PetersonOnStage Blog0:42:09PolishThe Art Of Game Polish: Developers SpeakJ. Matthew ZossGame Developer
In this episode the brothers Rob and John Donkin of BadViking join the hosts in the clubhouse for a frank discussion on goals and expectations, scoping, and setting milestone timelines, and making feedback useful.Scoping for your ProjectProductionBad Viking talks about Strange Horticulture, their most recent gameBest Best review for Strange Horticulture - Alice Bell, Rock Paper ShotgunPC Gamer Review - Christopher Livingston, PC GamerJohn DonkinGuestJohn Donkin does Art and Design at Bad VikingExternal linkhttps://twitter.com/johnnydonkinRob DonkinGuestRob Donkin is the programmer at Bad VikingExternal linkhttps://twitter.com/robdonkin
Ellen spoke with this week's guest, Filament Games' chief partnerships officer Jennifer Javornik, at the 2023 Serious Play Conference in Toronto, Canada about game-based learning, but also about commercializing serious games, growing the game development industry in the midwest US, and a whole lot more.Game-based LearningEventsGame DesignProductionSerious Play ConferenceWisconsin Games AllianceFilament GamesJennifer JavornikGuestChief Partnerships Officer at Filament GamesExternal linkLinkedIn
Earlier this autumn, Ellen visited Toronto to attend the Serious Play Conference. It's an event for people who design, develop, and study so-called "serious games" — that is, games used for education, training, therapy, and more. Ellen reports on her experiences in the city and at the conference, and shares some clips from conversations she had with some speakers at Serious Play. Also, Stephen and Mark talk about the weather.(Note: There were some audio issues with the recordings taken on-site at the conference. We've done our best, but it's not great. Our apologies!)Page One CafeMelanistic squirrels in TorontoSerious Play Conference - Main SitexAPIFilament Games (Madison, Wisconsin)The Red Bull Gaming Hub at TMUGeoffrey Lachapelle - LinkedIn0:28:07Excerpt from a conversation with Dr. David ChandrossDr. David Chandross at TMUMaslow's Hierarchy of NeedsWikipediaJohn Dewey (educational psychologist)Kurt Vonnegut on the 8 “shapes” of storiesBig ThinkBloom's Cognitive TaxonomyUniversity of Central Florida0:45:07Excerpt from a conversation with Roz HussinRoz HussinLinkedInAbout MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)edXRoutineFlow AppWalkr App
We welcome Trenton Greyoak into the clubhouse to talk about the vast topic of megagames! Trenton provides a huge amount of insight into the development and play of these games in this slightly more mega-sized than normal episode.MegagamesGame DesignGamingPhysical GamesMegagame - WikipediaModel United Nations - United NationsWatch the Skies! - South West MegagamesOrigins of Megagames - Jim Wallman, No Game SurvivesMegagame Makers - Megagame Makers UKSU&SD PLAY… A GODDAMN MEGAGAME - Shut Up & Sit DownVery Large Huge Games - Very Large Huge GamesCan Horses Climb Stairs? Can Horses Go Up & Down Stairs? - Katie Plakson, Horse Bonding SuccessDread - Erik Schmidt, Unpossible JourneysDen of Wolves - South West MegagamesMansa Musa - WikipediaThe National Security Decision Making Game - Rex Brynen, PAXsimsMegagame Coalition - Megagame CoalitionMegagame Assembly - Megagame AssemblyAssets and Images of Deephaven and other megagamesTrenton GreyoakGuestTrenton Greyoak is a game designer and game programmer. He also develops a megagame called Deephaven.
In this week's episode, Mark teaches us to cast polymorph, a 4th level transmutation spell. Just kidding! But Mark does put his high INT score to work helping us understand polymorphism, a useful feature of object-oriented programming. Later on, Stephen talks about the pattern of "save scumming" and considers how it might influence how designers create games. Ellen noodles on things.Noodle demo game - Ellen Burns-Johnson, The Training Arcade0:04:48Polymorphism31:57:0Save ScummingShepard. Wrex. Grunt.YouTube
Nice Games Club continues to celebrate the Spooky Season with the second-ever “Nice Games Panel”. Our panelists include creators known for their work on horror games: James Pratt, TorpalDork, and Max Kunze. We discuss the using humor and using nostalgia in horror games and if clowns have ever not been scary.Horror Games 201Game DesignJames PrattGuestJames Pratt is a game developer out of Canada, and Co-founder of MANGLEDmaw games. His work includes 'Amanda the Adventurer' and other games.External linkJP Game Design@JPratt_Design on twitter@AmandaAdvturer on TwitterAmanda on ItchAmanda on SteamTorple DookGuestTorple Dook looks like a wizard and we can't prove that he isn't one. Also the maker of 'Hand of Doom', 'Chip's Tips', and 'Black Relic'External linkTorple Dook on Itch@TorpleDook on twitterHand of Doom on Itch.ioMax KunzeGuestMax Kunze is the wonderful person responsible for booking all of our interview guests. He is also a gamemaker having worked on too many titles for me to keep track of.External link@maxjk0 on twitterReed the Robotanist on Steam
In this episode, the team gets back to all the regular reasons to complain about Unity. Stephen makes a pun, and Ellen searches for elegance through the power of internet research. Noodle - The Training ArcadeMark and his bike took a train to Chicago.0:07:41Composition over InheritanceComposition over inheritanceWikipedia0:33:00EleganceElegant ProgramPC Mag10 Things Elegant Woman Wear - How to dress classy and elegantAustralian Finishing SchoolTerms of Art #30: Elegance (and Aesthetic Concepts)Aesthetics for BirdsWhat makes a game system elegant?Leo LesetreMediumElegant Game DesigngabahulkRedditStephen loves jank, and talked about it in"All of this mess that I'm throwing at you."
It's the first-ever "Nice Games Panel," in which we invite multiple guests on the show to discuss something interesting! Our panelists today include multiple creators who are known for their work on horror games: Schera Wyss, Conner Rush, Henry Hoare, Samuel Guglielmo, and Nick F. We discuss the fundamental nature of horror as a genre (or maybe a theme or an "orientation"), and what devs should consider if they're looking to make horror games that haunt players long after the end credits roll.Photo credit - Andrea Piacquadio, PexelsHorror Games 101Game DesignDreadXP SCP Foundation: Secure, Contain, Protect - collaborative fiction, WikidotSamuel GuglielmoGuestExternal linkon Twitter (or X or whatever)on BlueSky SocialNikk FGuestExternal linkNick F on itch.ioConner RushGuestExternal linkon TikTokSchera WyssGuestExternal linkon CoHostHenry HoareGuestExternal linkwebsiteon itch.ioon Twitter (or X or whatever)
Mark is back from Toronto, and guest host Holly Harrison is back in the clubhouse! Holly completes a topic, Stephen likes that part, and Ellen reads half a book.Talking Heads Take Over TIFF As ‘Stop Making Sense' Reunion Has Crowds Dancing … - Anthony D'Alessandro, Deadline'Lost Ladies' Review: Kiran Rao's Delightful Hindi Comedy Swings and Wins - Proma Khosla, IndieWire'Robot Dreams' Review: A Beautiful Tale of Friendship and Love in the Hand-Draw… - Tomris Laffly, The Wrap0:09:09CompletionismConfessions of a Semi-Reformed Video Game CompletionistMatthew GaultViceResearch on the Effects of MediaDouglas GentileComposition with Red Blue and Yellow (Piet Mondrian)WikipediaHieronymus Bosch painted sheet music on a man's butt and now you can hear itSarah DoughertyThe World0:52:56Educating IntuitionEducating IntuitionRobin M. HogarthThe University of Chicago PressDoorway effectWikipedia
Earlier today, Unity issued an update to their controversial "runtime fee" policy introduced last week. What changed? What didn't? How could this have even happened? What does it mean going forward? Can we ever trust Unity again?We get into all of it, from the original announcement on September 12th, to the "open letter" update and "fireside chat" on September 22nd. Your nice hosts are joined by special guest and "Unity Insider" Freya Holmér, who offers some additional context and much-needed clarity about the events of the last 10 days.Unity Runtime Fee and Subsequent Policy CorrectionThe original policy: "Unity plan pricing and packaging updates"UnityThe current policy: "An open letter to our community"UnityUnity's Marc Whitten - Answers Unity Price Policy Jason WeimannYouTube'Flappy Bird' Guy Gets $12 Million Bill From UnityMark RoebuckHard Drive
We continue the recent production talks this week as we welcome Julia Keren-Detar into the clubhouse! The discussion topic is "working on a bigger team" but we also somehow talk about rain water barrels at some point? It's relevant, I swear.Mushroom 11 - Untame, SteamWorking on a Bigger TeamProductionWork: A deep history, from the stone age to the age of robots - James Suzman, Penguin Random HouseAn example of what Ellen brings up during the episode, probably.Julia Keren-DetarGuestJulia Keren-Detar is a game designer at Spry Fox, a Netflix studio. She has worked on games like Alphabear and Cozy Grove. Before Spry Fox, she previously worked on Mushroom 11.External linkLinkedIn
It's been a while but your nice hosts come up with a game in roughly an hour, this one for the cat owners out there! After a fairly long meta, we get into the mind of a cat and design a competitive game for them to play.Toronto International Film FestivalRenew an adult passport - USA.govBloor–Yonge station - Wikipedia Prompt Create a game my mother can (and wants to) play with her cats, with the supply list below. Bonus points if this can be played a single cat or multiple cats at the same time, for optimum usefulness in listener households with single cats Game type Design document Player count 2 Materials At least two catsA cat toy shaped like a die with a treat insideList of activities the die points to Setup Pick an end date for when the game stops (can be arbitrary). Rules Give the cats the cat toy shaped like a die, they will roll the die and leave it eventually, and this determines the next activity for the human to set up. Once the die decides what the next activity is, the human sets it up based on a chart. Once the task is completed and cats are awarded points, repeat the die roll and do the next activity until the end date (since remember, you're on Cat Time so the amount of activities you do depends on your cats). The winner is the cat with the most points by the end!Examples of tasks (there would be at least 20):Cat task: One cat at a time for this challenge. Put something on top of the cat's head and start the stopwatch. Whichever cat keeps the object on their head the longest gets X points.Cat task: Make a loud meowing sound. Whichever cat looks at you first gets X points.Human task: Award the cat who has been the best sport X points.Cat task: Hold both cats in your hands. Whichever cat jumps off first LOSES. Winner gets X points.Cat task: Place a ring of non-breakable objects (probably cat toys) around the edge of a table so that the tabletop is fully circled by objects. Place both cats, the task ends when both cats are off the table. Each cat gets a number of points equal to a multiplier of the number of objects that were knocked off the table.Cat task: Put the same number of treats in each hand. Call both cats over for them to snack from your hands. Whichever cat finishes their treats first is the winner and gets X points.Human task: Pick the cat that you feel the most sorry for and award them X points.Human task: Pick the cat that currently looks the sleepiest and sit them out for the next challenge.
This week, Stephen and Ellen catch up with Mark about his (and Dale's) trip to GenCon. There is a happy minor Glom update, and then it's down to business. What's grind? What purpose does it serve, and what are the mechanics of it? Your nice hosts attempt to come up with some definitions & guidelines—you decide whether they succeed. And feel free to share your opinions on Discord :)Gen Con Grind 06:08 Ellen Burns-JohnsonGame DesignA Necessary Evil: Grinding in Games - Brice Morrison, Game Developer Emphasizing Uniqueness 26:32 Stephen McGregorMarketing
In this episode your nice hosts welcome Rick Stemm of PikPok to the clubhouse to talk about what happens after a game gets greenlit.Turns out the answer involves building your team and trust. Rick touts the idea of a sh*tty first draft - faster and worse. Coaching feedback givers for what you are looking for, and the importance of building a trust in a team. Rick spouts useful idioms and your host claim points for each time Rick says ‘cohesive' or ‘holistic.'Who scored the most points? Turns out Stephen declared that the points don't matter, good thing I never bothered tabulating them. Getting Things Going IRLRick StemmGuest Rick Stemm is the Design Manager and Narrative Director at PikPok! RIck is originally from Wisconsin but now lives and works in New Zealand. Rick Stemm can be reached by email at Rick@PikPok.com External link Rick Stemm is on LinkedIn
We return to the topic of cheating for the third (and final, maybe?) time this week! In this episode, Ellen brings cheating to a close, Mark makes up a band he'd totally listen to, and Stephen comes up with an engaging dish washing game.Cubistry - Match 2 LLC, Google Play Store Cheating, Part Three 0:12:26 Ellen Burns-JohnsonGamingIRLProgramming We first visited cheating in this episode. "What's a little grand larceny?" Cheating Part II in this episode. Cheating, Part 2Anti-cheat in video games: The A to Z - Reinhard Blaukovitsch, IrdetoMedal of dishonour: why do so many people cheat in online video games? - Keith Stuart, The GuardianReport: Cheating Is Becoming A Big Problem In Online Gaming - Nelson Granados, Forbes167: Randomly Generated Title - Coffee with Butterscotch, Butterscotch ShenanigansCS:GO - Overwatch guide - Ed Thorn, Rock Paper ShotgunHOW TO GET OVERWATCH CASES IN CS:GO: CLEAN UP THE GAME - Daniel Morris, eSports.netYouTube videos17 Video Games That ROAST Cheaters - T5G, YouTubeTackling Cheating In Gaming - GDC, YouTubeHow DayZ Deals With Cheaters - GDC, YouTubeRobocalypse Now: Using Deep Learning to Combat Cheating in Counter-Strike: Glob… - GDC, YouTube Putting the Real World in Games 0:50:22 Mark LaCroixGame DesignNarrativeVenba - Visai GamesGame Jam GamesSonder - A Hot Clock Production, itch.ioSmile Simulator - Anyanwu, itch.io
Your nice hosts get called to the boss' office to interview Frani Esquenazi, who is Stephen's actual boss at Future Club. Frani discusses servant leadership, getting your "C" legs, and not having all the answers. Leadership IRLProductionServant Leadership - Mind ToolsServant Leadership is NOT What You Think - John S. Todorovic, LinkedInWomen in Games - DiscordFrani EsquenaziGuest CEO of Future Club. External link LinkedInFuture Club website
In the second installment of your nice hosts' discussion about cheating in games, we talk about the nature of cheating in contemporary video games: what it looks like, what factors shape it, and how worried we gamedevs should be about it. Yeah, we had so much to say about cheating that we couldn't fit it into one episode. Can we fit it into two? Also, Mark skips the punctuation, Stephen is excited, and Ellen quits a game.Gex Is Coming to Modern Consoles - Alex Stedman, IGN Cheating, Part 2 0:16:58 Ellen Burns-JohnsonGame DesignGaming "Cheating, Part 1" was in a recent roundtable episode. "What's a little grand larceny?"Why Dream kept his face hidden — and why he revealed it (2022) - Ana Diaz , PolygonYouTube's big Minecraft cheating scandal, explained (2020) - Patricia Hernandez, PolygonAnti-cheat in video games: The A to Z - Reinhard Blaukovitsch, IrdetoMedal of dishonour: why do so many people cheat in online video games? - Keith Stuart, The GuardianReport: Cheating Is Becoming A Big Problem In Online Gaming - Nelson Granados, ForbesEpisode 167: Randomly Generated Title - Coffee with ButterscotchYouTube videos17 Video Games That Roast Cheaters - Top 5 Gaming, YouTubeGDC 2021 Fair Play Summit: Tackling Cheating in Gaming - GDC, YouTubeGDC Europe 2015: How DayZ Deals with Cheaters - GDC, YouTubeGDC 2018 Robocalypse Now: Using Deep Learning to Combat Cheating in CS:GO - GDC, YouTube
In this episode your nice hosts chat with Anna C. Webster lead writer on The Foglands, and her cat Montezuma. Anna talks about how writing for games is different than writing for other medias, including making decisions on what options the player can make (you can never let your player do anything because scope), and writing for players that role-play as the character vs. wearing the character's costume as yourself. And the importance of frequent Narrative Reviews and getting together with other teams to talk about how new elements feel.Stephen's journey in this episode takes him from declaring that writing is hard to being encouraged and pledging to write for the his next games jam project (Ellen will be coding in Godot). Writing for Games IRLNarrativeAtmospheric sci-fi western roguelike The Foglands launches on PS VR2 this year - Derek O'Dell, Playstation BlogThe Foglands - SteamTools for Game WritingConfluence - AtlassianScrivenerInk - Inkle StudiosTwine - TwineryArticyBitsyAnna C WebsterGuest Anna C Webster is a writer and narrative designer. She is lead writer on The Foglands. External link WebsiteTwitter
After a fairly self-indulgent meta, your nice hosts eventually get into the nitty-gritty of both Player Motivation and Copying Others.Normal Gossip - Kelsey McKinney, DefectorTour de France: Unchained - Netflix Player Motivations 0:26:57 Mark LaCroixGame DesignGamingGamer Motivation Profile - Quantic FoundryBoard Game Motivation Profile - Quantic Foundry We've talked about types of players this episode as well. "Killed the flightmaster, killed the griffin..." We also took Quantic Foundry surveys in this episode. "Will you be the best with me?" Copying Others Stephen McGregorArtGame DesignNarrative4 Chords - The Axis Of Awesome, YouTube
Quinn K joins the clubhouse to break down their IGF-nominated game "An Outcry." Your nice hosts learn about choosing your own limitations, the Haunted PS1 scene, and how much playtesting is still not enough playtesting. Postmortem: "An Outcry" An Outcry - Quinn K, itch.ioRPG Maker 2003Oulipo: freeing literature by tightening its rules - Andrew Gallix, The GuardianDogme 95 - Movements in FilmHuanted PS1 Demo Disc 2021 - itch.ioThe Shrike (ship) - Memory AlphaQuinn KGuest External link ItchTumblrPatreon
In this week's roundtable, Ellen needs help with ALL the things. Stephen and Mark offer advice on where to find people who can help, and discuss some of the hidden challenges of expanding one's team. Later, Stephen challenges everyone to think about how games can do a better job of implementing companion characters. Also, some host backstory tidbits, weird horse names, and (of course) a bit about Glom.Rival Stars: Horse Racing (the game that Ellen's playing) - PikPok, Google Play Store“What's your favorite commentary-friendly name?” - RedditAhead Of The Kentucky Derby, 5 Absurd Rules For Naming Racehorses (2015) - Julie Alderman, NPR Finding Help 0:11:46 Ellen Burns-JohnsonProductionHiring Game Designers - Game Developer Companion Characters 0:46:22 Stephen McGregorGame DesignGaming[The] 10 Best Companions In Gaming History - Jom Elauria, ScreenRant
(Some of) your nice hosts went to Origins Game Fair last week to check out the launch of their card game Glom. But before they went, they talked about the state of the next card game they're working on (and working on pitching to publishers), Dogpile!The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth - Smithsonian InstitutionW. E. B. Du Bois: A Resource Guide - Angela McMillian, Library of Congress The State of "Dogpile!" Mark LaCroixStephen McGregorEllen Burns-JohnsonIRLTabletopSell sheet for "Dogpile!"Rules document for "Dogpile!"Sell Sheets for Game Designers 101 - Luke Laurie, League of GamemakersCooper Black - Wikipedia Listen to us come up with the game in: Dogpile! We developed it further in: Dogpile! (part 2)‘Heroin for middle-class nerds': how Warhammer conquered gaming - Alex Hern, The Guardian
Your nice hosts return to form with a roundtable recorded together for the first time in a while! In this episode, Stephen sneaks a mini-topic in, Ellen asks some controversial questions and Mark helps us realize when we're breaking the law.As a side note, Glom is available right now! We've talked about it plenty on the show, but for more information or purchasing info you can go to nicegames.club/glom.Summer Games Done Quick 2023 - YouTube Licensing 0:10:27 Mark LaCroixIRLProductionA complete guide to font licensing for designers - Garrick Webster, Creative Bloq Cheating, Part 1 0:36:22 Ellen Burns-JohnsonGaming
After Mark's time with COVID, the first day he was free to go outside, the area was covered with the smoke of distant wildfires. Another bout of smoke has rolled in to the Twin Cities just in time for the release of this episode.The club spends this Nice Thinking episode talking about the making of Glom, and discussing their feelings about pitching and publishing board games. They discover that Mark and Stephen dread pitching, but Ellen thinks it can be fun (it's her superpower).This section is about Dale, who edited this episode.I did write most of the Glom cards, but that was really playing to my superpower of brainstorming lots of ideas, very quickly. The club mentioned...that I have a full time job - TRUE...that I have to deal with the club's crap - TRUE...cats - TRUE - I volunteer at a cat shelterFor 'Dogpile!' the game - I thought up 100 dog names - EASY and I have been thinking up ~20 cat names a week (my superpower right?)Finally, they share the story of how Mark no longer edits every episode, and that's how Dale got to title this episode and add a section of episode notes about cats.GLOMGlom launched on June 14th, 2023. It is available for purchase now!Our official Glom hompage.This section is about cats. It's kitten season and the cat shelters are full - please consider adopting a cat (or other animal, but you should really consider a cat or two). The city of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control has been waving cat adoption fees on select days. Minneapolis Pet Adoption If you choose a cat from Feline Rescue in Saint Paul, the name might have been suggested by Dale. Don't worry, you can promptly change their name to that of your favorite video game character. Feline Rescue Check out these two: Phobos and Deimos, named after the two moons of Mars (or Mario and Luigi if you prefer), they are available at the time of publication Deimos and Phobos, the moon brothers are available for adoption via this link Nice Thinking about our future in Board Games 0:04:40 IRLThe game GLOM Episode 210 is the NiceGames Jam that created Glom For the record, the third deck that was renamed goal, was originally called “Scoring System Deck.” We talked about pitching the game with Peter Yang in episode 231 Pitching Tabletop GamesWe're excited about 'Dogpile!' 'Dogpile!' was a game Jam from episode 272 Dogpile! And we did a followup in episode 275 Dogpile! (part 2) Nice Thinking about NiceGameJam Games with Potential 0:46:06 Game Design Mark's List of 5 Games 1. From episode 272, Dogpile! 2. From episode 275, Palace of Versailles 3. From episode 192, recorded live, Roboston! (parts 1 and 2) 4. From episode 157, Reravel: A Backwards Storytelling Game They also mention these GameJam Games: 6. From episode 134, Rules 7. From episode 143 Ants of Destiny: Morsels of the Queen Nice Thinking about traveling to conferences TabletopOrigins is June 21-25 2023 in Columbus OHGenCon is August 3-6 in Indianapolis, IN
Your nice hosts recorded separately again this week, as Mark has been isolating at home. Stephen rants about examines fall damage mechanics in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and other games. Is fall damage overrated? Well, Stephen has OPINIONS. Mark talks about all of the things he's been doing to occupy his mind while he's been stuck in his apartment by himself—including some deep thinking about Tears of the Kingdom. Ellen rides her bike.Slayers X is OUT NOW! - SteamGumshoe Gooper plushie - MakeshipWhat Is Paxlovid Rebound, and How Common Is It? - Fionna M. D. Samuels, Scientific AmericanGenerational cusper - Wikipedia We've talked about the show Taskmaster many times before on the podcast... "Godot! God-ot? Godot." ...many times... "The drama of the reveal." Lessons from Tears of the Kingdom 0:26:40 Mark LaCroixGame DesignNintendo's classic Ultra Hand toy lives on in Tears of the Kingdom - Michael McWhertor, PolygonBolson, a character in Breath of the Wild - Fandom Fall Damage 56:40 Stephen McGregorGame DesignHow to Fall - Dougald MacDonald, Climbing.com
This week, Ellen and Stephen learn guest Zack Gilbertson's whole deal. Afterwards, Zack walks your nice hosts though an overview of what it's like for an indie developer to work with Unreal Engine, a popular-but-slightly-less-popular-than-Unity game engine. Unreal Engine Game DesignProductionProgrammingToolsUnreal Engine - Epic GamesLighting in Unreal Engine 5 for Beginners - William Faucher, YouTubeIntroduction to Blueprints - Unreal Engine Documentation, Epic Games Alina Matson joined us in a previous episode to talk about Visual CodingEpic Games Store now lets developers publish their own games - Justin Carter, Game DeveloperFree Epic Games Content (for Unreal Engine) - Epic GamesZack GilbertsonGuest External link SquidlandPersonal website
Max Kunze, Nice Games Club Guest Booker, takes over for Mark while he's still sick this week on another Nice Games Jam! Mark actually created the prompt for this episode, and your nice hosts find a way to inject many explosions into this board game made from it that you can try out yourself using the rules below!The playtest session we alluded to in the episode is on Patreon! If you want to hear how we playtested it over Miro, check it out there! Prompt Create a game where risk is extremely attractive and the consequences of failure are disastrous. Game type Card game Player count 2 - 4 Materials 25 cubes42 cards1 Chaos Cube (six-sided die) Setup Set the 25 cubes in the center of the table so everyone can reach it. This is the stockpile.Deal out 3 cards to each player, hidden from the other players.First player is the person who was most recently in a car. Rules On your turn, choose a card to play and follow its instructions.Types of cards: Excursion: draw 1, 2, or 3 cubes from the Gas Stockpile bag You have the option of rolling the Chaos CubeCasting Curses: Have another player roll the risk diceBad Weather: Skip the next player's turnRaid: Steal a gas cube from another player's cache You have the option of rolling the Chaos CubeForesight: See what cards another player hasTheft: Steal a random card from another playerIf the card allows you to roll the Chaos Cube, you can choose to roll it to increase your rewards. But there's a risk that you will both burn the cubes in your own collection and in the stockpile!At the end of your turn, draw back up to 3 cards.Play continues like this with each player playing one card until there are no more cubes remaining in the stockpile. The player with the most cubes in their own collection at the game's end wins!Future changesWe want way more excursion cardsWe want to have a way for players to steal from each otherMore cubes!MAYBE: Casting Curses doesn't grant the possibility of granting +1 cube to the recipient of the curseAdd Sabotage back in: Remove X cubes from the Stockpile bag (1, 2, or 3 is noted on the card). You can remove a larger number by rolling the Chaos Cube, but that also carries the risk of blowing up your cache!
On this episode, we talk with two of Ellen's coworkers and the Games Agency, Jamaal Sawyer-Dymski & Greg Borreson. They talk about their career paths, from their time as young nerds, to working in very different areas of computer sciences and programming, to the fact that saying "Enhance" doesn't actually help with anything CSI style, to working with your nice host, Ellen.Ellen has some audio problems (they get better), Stephen gets called out, and Mark calls it in from home (because Dale exposed him to Covid). Spoilers:Dale and Mark are recovering (slowly) from Covid. It turns out that the secret to getting into game development is showing up to a music festival and harassing your roommate's boyfriend. Who knew? Wandering into Game Development IRLImpact JSApache CordovaJamaal Sawyer-DymskiGuest Jamaal was a professional musician (saxophone), before transitioning into game development, through learning programming in a Master's program for forensic computing. Jamaal resides outside of San Diego, CA. Greg BorresonGuest Greg Borreson learned programming through website development at the University of Alberta (that's in Canada). He transitioned to game development through a contact he made at a music festival.
In this episode, Stephen points out the number three! It's everywhere! Also, what is it about animation that captures our minds and imaginations so effectively? Your hosts explore the topic and share some ideas. Ellen gets hung up on math, and Mark tries to keep everyone calm. Good Question: How Do Street Sweepers Work? - WCCO - CBS Minnesota, YouTube A street sweeper in Bloomington, Minnesota. Image from https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/ Stephen's "Rule of Threes" 0:17:30 Stephen McGregorGame Design The Psychology of Animation 0:48:16 Ellen Burns-JohnsonArtGame DesignUI / UXVisual attention and motion design - Mark Hazlewood, Inside Design from InVision5 examples of web animation done right - Joe Jordan, Inside Design from InVisionAnimation for Attention and Comprehension - Aurora Harley, Nielsen Norman GroupMotion onset really does capture attention - Kendra C. Smith & Richard A. Abrams, Attention, Perception, & PsychophysicsThe necessity of interactive animation for games - Christiaan Moleman, Game DeveloperStudy explores how visual effects in videogames help players to make sense of g… - Ingrid Fadelli, Tech XploreThe CEO of Corn (aka "Corn Kid") - Recess Therapy, YouTube
This week, your nice hosts clop along sprawling acres of horse games and horses in games. They are led to water by the foremost expert on the topic, Alice Ruppert, creative director of the recent Horse Tales - Emerald Valley Ranch and writer of the horse-gaming blog The Mane Quest. The Taxonomy of Horse Games Game DesignGamingProductionThe Mane QuestHorse Tales - Emerald Valley RanchAlice RuppertGuest Alice is a game designer, producer, and writer based in Zurich, Switzerland. External link Personal websiteThe Mane Quest
Your nice hosts explore the finality and the lusory this week with these two topics. In the process, Stephen struggles with a simple concept, Mark gets to 82% completion and Ellen figures out a way to blow up a transition.Glom is available for preorder! Find links here. Endings 0:13:40 Mark LaCroixGame DesignNarrative Lusory Attitude 0:38:51 Ellen Burns-JohnsonGamingIRLLusory Attitude - WikipediaLusory Definition - Merriam-Webster We bring up our Curling episode during this topic. "No referees?!"
According to Minnesota Public Radio, it's hot girl sinkhole spring. In other words, we have an insane number of potholes right now in the Twin Cities, and since we can't do anything other than wait for the hardworking folks of road repair to fix them, we made a game about the whole situation. Andy and Beth Korth join for this special Nice Games Jam!GLOM preorder through Miniature MarketGLOM preorder through GameNerdz✨hot girl sinkhole spring✨ - Minnesota Public RadioUptown washout leaves 8-foot-deep sinkhole in Minneapolis intersection - Tim Nelson and Kerem Yücel, Minnesota Public Radio The Korths are back! They were first on episode #002 Steam Greenlight Episode #102 with Beth & Andy Code Comment: "Verdant Skies" Episode #204 with Beth & Andy Families in Games Episode #132 with Beth Narrative Design An example of the pothole + sinkhole situation we're dealing with this spring. Another view of the school bus sinkhole. Prompt Ellen gave us a prompt: "Create a game about patching potholes that Gabe would have fun playing" Game type Tabletop game Materials MarblesPlay-Doh or alternative squishynessA very complicated custom game boardRoad tiles of various sizes and configurations Setup Set up the custom game boardDistribute marbles to all playersDistribute Play-Doh to all playersDistribute road / terrain tiles to all playersDetermine who will be the first player per the rules below Rules In a nutshell, the game challenges players to roll marbles down a hill. The hill is made of road tiles, but some of the tiles are pitted with potholes. Players can use Playdoh to patch potholes in the road so the marbles will make it to the finish.The board is a grid laid over a raised pyramid where players put down terrain. Everything starts in the center (city hall); that's where you put the marbles so they roll down the hill. Each quadrant is a side of the pyramid, there's some method of tiling for the player to put pieces down to determine how the marbles will travel in that area.Turn orderPlay starts with the player who most recently hit a pothole with their car or their bike. In case of a tie (as might happen if multiple players were in a car together), the younger player goes first.Play then proceeds clockwise.Players can take 3 actions on their turn. You can do the same action more than once. The actions are:Rotate the boardPlace or swap a tilePatch a potholeDrop a marbleTilesEach tile is worth 1, 2 or 3 victory points when marbles pass through. The rougher the tile, the more victory points it's worth.Players also get a bit of Play-Doh to fill up potholes in the terrain.Players have 5 tiles in their hand at any given time; as an action, they can play one, then draw back up to 5 tiles.Rotating the boardRotating the board happens towards the left (counterclockwise), the opposite of play order, which goes to the right (clockwise). Each rotation turns the board 90 degrees.Scoring & dropping marblesIf a marble reaches the bottom of the hill in front of you, you get the victory points that it acquired from each tile it moved through on its journey from the top of the hill to the bottom.You ONLY get the victory points if the marble reaches the bottom of the hill. If you drop a marble as an action, and the marble gets stuck on the way, you don't get any points from the tiles it passed through.Winning the gamePlay proceeds in 12 rounds. Each player gets one turn per round.Play ends when the turn counter reaches zero (game starts at the start of winter, ends at the start of the next winter)Whoever has acquired the most victory points by the end of the "year" is the winner of Pothole RunFun stuff to think about for the futureWe have to create an extractor to get the playdoh out.Cooperative play mode? Roles for each player? Someone who's better at filling potholes, someone who can put more marbles down, etc. Maybe two teams?
Dale learned a lot while editing this episode.She learned the board game ‘Spirit Island' is about spirits that protect an island, and she is pretty sure that this is the same premise as hit TV show ‘LOST'.She learns that CSS is not a programming language or a mark-up languageAnd she learns that CSS stands for Cascading Style SheetsShe learns that AAA games are easy (not sure why she struggles with them)That there are either wrong choices in skill trees OR it never really matteredAnd that Stephen wants to fight everyone on DiscordGood luck anyone who isn't a McGregor!Stephen is playing Spirit Island - Board Game GeekRa Ra Boom Trailer (from Max who schedules our interviewsTwin Cities Playtest is the 3rd Wednesday of the Month - EventbriteTwin Cities Playtest is also on YouTube - IGDA Twin Cities, YouTube CSS 9:47 Mark LaCroixProgrammingIn this discussion Ellen mentioned accessibility standards for web contentWCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) - WikipediaMark asked if there is an ISO Standard for this, and there is! ISO 40500:2012There is also one for UI: ISO 30071-1Mark mentions that you should look up the 'Blink' tag, but Dale already did it for you, here.Unity Style Sheet (USS) - UnityThere is a USS Unity in Star TrekAnd Stephen mentions the Div-Div Crow, based on this webcomic. Skill Trees 46:38 Stephen McGregorGame Design
Ellen and Stephen get spooked discussing small and/or novel horror games and experiences with Online Simulator developer Rosalie Vile. Ellen works backwards from the punchline, Stephen doesn't know about 80%, and Mark is still in California (thanks, calendar math). Tiny Horrors Game DesignNarrativeOnline Simulator - Rosalie Vile, itch.ioSunday - EZBake Games, itch.ioSkinamarinkA Normal Lost Phone - Dear VillagersThis House Has People in It - Adult Swim, YouTubeHaunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021 - The Haunted PS1, itch.ioRosalie VileGuest External link Rosalie Vile's Itch page
We hear from "California Business Mark" who spent the week on-location at GDC 2023. Mark summarizes some of the best talks and events he attended at the conference, featuring Kirby, the Playdate console, secrets in Tunic, Max, and more! Support Final Strike - Lane Davis, GamefoundCurrent COVID guidelines from the CDC - Centers for Disease ControlSuper Nintendo World - Universal Studios(News) GDC 2023 Timecode 8:54.00 GDC 2023 Here are the time codes for individual topics:10:23 Publishing agreements talk19:32 Porting talk20:58 Playdate developer lunch28:24 Dinner with Max!29:27 Games Industry Gathering (GiG)30:50 The Many Dimensions of Kirby47:40 Immortality talk48:25 IGDA general meeting51:50 Secrets in Tunic58:45 Experimental Gameplay Games Workshop
Your nice hosts welcome Andrew Kenady, also know as Nintendrew on YouTube, to the show this week! He brings a postmortem about his recently released action platformer C.A.R.L. Postmortem: "C.A.R.L." Game DesignMarketingProductionC.A.R.L. - Andrew Kenady and Morningstar Game StudioC.A.R.L. on Steam - Andrew Kenady and Morningstar Game Studio, SteamNintendrew - YouTubeMorningstar Game StudioMatt Bitner - Barry Carenza, Premium Edition GamesThe Controversy of Super Paper Mario - Nintendrew, YouTubeNovy UnlimitedEverything is a Remix[SPOILERS] Undertale reference in new indie game, Pony Island - PxlSqrl, RedditAndrew KenadyGuest Andrew Kenady is also known as Nintendrew on YouTube, where he talks about his current and retro game collections. He is also a creator of a platformer C.A.R.L. External link C.A.R.L.Nintendrew YouTube Page
In this episode, Mark makes up a reason to take a road trip, Ellen outwits everyone, and Stephen was also there.Zachtronics Solitaire CollectionLACMAA Better Route Planner Secrets & Easter Eggs 0:24:43 Ellen Burns-JohnsonGame DesignThe Super Mario 64 Coin that Took 18 Years To Collect - Patricia Hernandez, KotakuPC Cheat Codes - IGNReddit on video game Secrets - RedditSecrets That Weren't Discovered in Games For Years - Jordan Baranowski, SVG Player Trust 0:48:39 Stephen McGregorGame Design We touched on this idea back in our roundtable on 'The Ethics of Engagement' "Shiny rocks get me every time."
Ellen's nephews have charged her with the task of making a board game about pizza. Making a clone of Hasbro's Candy Land is more difficult than it sounds, especially since these young stakeholders have requested some "creative deviations" from the design of the original board game. Stephen and Mark step in to help out. Can your nice hosts realize the wild, cheesy dream that is Pizza Land?Candy Land, a classic board game for kids - HasbroThat meme from The Office - GiphyGharial, a weird-looking endangered crocodilian - Animalogic, YouTube Nice Thinking Notes Ellen Burns-JohnsonGame Design Children's drawings The art is here on Google Drive for you all to enjoy. Whale, may or may not be pizza-relatedT-rex sort of on fire, facing usBrontosaurus amoebaCat and soulless dog [Pizza] donutPizza Knight with an axe, maybeIce cream leaking out of the conePizza t-rexPizza crocodilePizza sharkPizza rock, since upgraded to pizza geodePizza pyramidMan made of pizzas x 2 Ellen's drawings Ellen's drawingsSea of SauceGarlic Bread GrovePizza Dough DesertCalzone Quarry (not pictured)and here's a link to the spreadsheet mentioned in the episode Game design conclusions Players start out with a random collection of ingredientsThey collect ingredients as they go through the gameEveryone's delivering a pizza and they start with a crustThe Pizza Knight has specific interests & tastes in each game, so different ingredients are more important in each playthroughIf a monster catches you it eats a certain number of ingredients (0, 1, 2, or 3)A grading scale for the team; the pizza knight filling out stars on the appMovement with d6s. When players move, they can roll 2 dice and choose the result, moving forwards or backwards.Unspoken, but maybe good ideas?Monsters all move on the same die roll, and they only move forward.Players have to be on the same tile to give an object to another person.
This week, your nice hosts talk about last week and next week. Mark wants you to frame things, Stephen wants a definition, and Ellen wants you to start a fight with her on Discord.Ellen's team made a gross game for Global Game Jam 2023!Star Trek: Picard, Final Season Premiere (full free episode) - Paramount+, YouTube Visual Composition 0:17:12 Mark LaCroixArtGame DesignUI / UXComposition for Noobs - Flow Studio, YouTubeComposition in Level Design - Mateusz Piaskiewicz, Game DeveloperDesign Principles: Compositional, Symmetrical And Asymmetrical Balance - Steven Bradley, Smashing Magazine Minigames 0:39:45 Ellen Burns-JohnsonGamingMario Party Games That Are Just Part-Time Jobs - Abigail Kwak, The Gamer
Your nice hosts invite Zachtronics founder Zach Barth to discuss the closing of the studio and the logistics of moving on from that. In this episode, you'll also hear about ruminations on what success means as a game dev, a theory about how great walking is and exclusive news about Zach's future plans. The Logistics of Moving On IRLProductionZachtronics websiteLast Call BBSWhy Zachtronics is shutting down for good this time - Alex Calvin, gameindustry.bizLegal Systems Very Different From Ours - David Friedman, Peter Leeson, David SkarbekWhy Walking Helps Us Think - Ferris Jabr, The New YorkerCoincidenceZach BarthGuest Zach Barth was the founder of Zachtronics and is currently working on unannounced projects. External link Zachtronics on Twitter
The year 2022 in review! Yes, it's now halfway through February, but being a few weeks late is part of the annual "Nicest Of" tradition. Your hosts (plus guest Holly Harrison) revisit their notable games and goals from 2022, and make some plans for 2023.Holly is here in the clubhouse for this recording!Things that happened in 2022: We sold GLOM! It's coming out in 2023.Mark announced a game (Dreamsettler) and released Noble Engine for the PlaydateStephen became a co-owner of Future ClubEllen got a new job as a game designer with The Game AgencyHolly moved into a new place—one without unwanted insects and thieving neighbors Nicest of 2022 0:04:56 Mark LaCroixStephen McGregorEllen Burns-JohnsonHolly HarrisonGamingEllen's Nicest:Metroid: DreadFlappy DragonBanner Saga 1Endling: Extinction is ForeverMark's Nicest:Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of HopeStrayLast Call BBSStephen's Nicest:Kirby and the Forgotten LandSplatoon 3RumbleverseSpirit IslandHolly's Nicest:OobletsSplatoon 3Bear and BreakfastCult of the LambSlime Rancher II Most Anticipated of 2023 0:49:28 Mark LaCroixStephen McGregorEllen Burns-JohnsonHolly HarrisonGamingEllen's picks:Mars First LogisticsBanner Saga II and IIIOri and the Will of the WispsSlime Rancher IICyberpunk 2077Mark's picks:Horizon: Call of the Mountain on Playstation VR 2Assassin's Creed: MirageSeason: A Letter to the FutureDreamsettlerStephen's picks:Dragon's Dogma IIStreet Fighter 6Holly's picks:Mineko's Night MarketThirsty SuitorsHades IISea of StarsPicked by everyone:The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Your hosts recall what they did over their winter break this year (aka hiatus). Ellen played video games and games with her dogs, Stephen watched and reviewed some movies (please tell him what to watch next!), and Mark mostly watched Doctor Who.Big news for the show: We now have ad-free episodes on Patreon! What We Did On Our Winter Break (2022) Mark LaCroixStephen McGregorEllen Burns-JohnsonIRLMetaEllen played video gamesBanner SagaDeath Drives a BusAgent AStanley Parable Ultra Deluxe EditionYou Suck at ParkingStephen watched movies(Scoring is out of four stars.)Dual (⭐⭐⭐)Sharp Stick (⭐⭐⭐)All My Friends Hate Me (⭐⭐⭐)7 Days (⭐⭐)The Drop (⭐⭐)Darby and the Dead (⭐⭐⭐)Sex Appeal (⭐⭐⭐)We Broke Up (⭐⭐⭐⭐)Mark, Mary and Some Other People (⭐⭐)Single all the Way (⭐⭐⭐)Sex Guaranteed (⭐) - “Did not like it”Mark re-watched Doctor WhoThe Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter - Russell T Davies & Benjamin Cook
#278 "Insert interesting car here."Roundtable 2022.09.14 Your nice hosts' pronunciation is on point this week as they say a really hard word a large number of times! In this episode, Mark and Ellen BOTH introduce even more complicated words to the other hosts, and Stephen admits to losing an argument (which he'd done on the show before but still don't tell his brother).Noble Robot Office Verisimilitude 0:05:23 Ellen Burns-JohnsonArtGame DesignVerisimilitude Definition - Dictionary.comVeracity Definition - Dictionary.comThe Quest For Verisimilitude: Realism, Illusion, and Consistency In Video Games - Erik Kain, ForbesHow to build verisimilitude in your games? - Thunderdices, Reddit One comment of note in the thread: “Your point about making things simple is extremely important. Lots of things in real life are simple and it's the combination of items interacting that it becomes complicated. When a DM makes the simple complicated there's a danger of the world becoming too complex and breaking verisimilitude from the other side.” Thrive - Adam's Apple GamesBrobdingnagian Definition - Dictionary.comThomas Was Alone - Bithell Games, Steam Indie Game Credits Mark LaCroixProductionMobyGames - MobyGamesFilm Credits: Everything You Need To Know - Nashville Film Institute
#271 Neurodiversity in Gamedev (with Adam Clewes-Boyne)Nice Thinking 2022.07.28 This week, we invite our first guest for Nice Thinking! Adam Clewes-Boyne is putting together an initiative for neurodiversity advocacy and education in the games industry, specifically focused on ADHD. It started as a meetup at a conference, and Adam wants to see where it can go next. Neurodiversity in Gamedev EventsIRL Adam joined us, after a fashion, in a previous episode: Game Dev London does Nice Games JamCoffee with Butterscotch podcast - Butterscotch ShenanigansHow the Gender Gap Leaves Girls and Women Undertreated for ADHD - CHADDStrategic Planning for Nonprofits - National Council of NonprofitsAdam Clewes-BoyneGuest Adam is a co-founder of the Game Dev London community and games studio BetaJester, as well as a mentor with Limit Break and Into Games. External link TwitterGame Dev LondonBetaJester
#244 "Maximum Whooo!"Roundtable 2021.11.25 As the podcast approaches its fifth anniversary, your hosts get a little (more) frivolous. Mark shares some industry news about hardware releases. Ellen prompts everyone to share their experiences of learning development tools and examine their process of learning through the lens of Maximum Whooo. Stephen explores the difference between cooperative and collaborative gameplay, and invents something called a Feedborm. Dang!Steamworks Virtual Conference: Steam Deck - SteamSteam Deck launch delayed by two months - Jay Peters, The VergeIndie handheld Playdate delayed to 2022 - Michael McWhertor, PolygonHow Long to Beat: Metroid Dread - HowLongToBeat Learning to Use Tools 14:05 Ellen Burns-JohnsonMisc.ToolsArticulate Storyline 360, an e-learning development toolGodot, an open-source 2D & 3D game engineGodot: Getting Started >> Step by step - Juan Linietsky, Ariel Manzur and the Godot community, GodotTuckman's stages of group development - WikipediaCoDecks: Playful PlanningSonder (a story) - Ludum Dare 48Proactive and Retroactive Interference (re: learning interference) - Dr. Saul McLeod, Simply Psychology Co-Op Games 53:10.0 Stephen McGregorGame DesignOvercooked Co-Op Review: Five-star co-op gaming - Jason Love, Co-OptimusThere's a Difference Between Cooperation and Collaboration - Ron Ashkenas, Harvard Business Review
#273 The State of VR in 2022Interview 2022.08.11 Your nice hosts talk to Andrew Eiche, COO at Owlchemy Labs (Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator, Cosmonious High) about the state of VR in 2022, and where VR and VR development tools may be going in the coming years.Andrew talks about how industrial design should influence VR design, why you shouldn't take inspiration from movies, and how ergonomics are important. Also, Ellen takes a hard stand on the right way to use a dial. VR in 2022 and its Future VR / AR / XROwlchemy LabsThe Design of Everyday Things - Don Norman, bookHeadsetsPico VR HeadsetPlaystation VR2VR EnginesVRTK (Virtual Reality Tool Kit)TButt - Turbo ButtonCosmonious HighCosmonius High on Tik Tok - Tik TokCosmonius High on TwitterCosmonius High on SteamAndrew EicheGuest Andrew Eiche is Chief Operating Owl and Cable Slinger at Owlchemy Labs. Andrew's background is game development and computer programing External link Andrew Eiche is on Twitter @buddingmonkeyOwlchemy Labs on Twitter @olwchemylabsOwlchemy Labs website
#281 StorySlide (with Osama Dorias)Nice Games Jam 2022.10.06 Game designer Osama Dorias returns to the clubhouse to help design a game that can be played remotely, and provides some (much needed?) structure to the Nice Games Jam process. Stephen is obsessed with Bananas, Ellen contemplates her mystery banana gift, and Mark realizes some of these concepts might be too complicated for small children. Osama previously joined us for episode 211: Building Blocks of Design This isn't the first time we'd had a guest join us for a Nice Games Jam: Blame the Cat! (with Monica Fan)Osama on TwitterOsama's podcast is "The Habibis"Playtest MaterialsThe slides we created for this episode's playtest.The Noun Project Prompt "Design a game that can be played remotely with (Osama's) children (and ideally is still fun for adults)" Game type Tabletop game Player count 3-6 Materials Electronic system for sharing slides (such as Google Slides)A voice connection with remote playersA set of slides or icons/drawings/clipart to create the set of slidesA system for privately messaging players Setup Create a set of slides (12) with icons, drawings, photos, or clip-art, if not using a pre-made slide deck. Each slide should contain 3 items. Pick a Game Master (usually one of the adults playing the game).The Game Master comes up with one group objective with two parts: A protagonist/hero.A conflict for the protagonist.The Game Master comes up with one secret objective for each player: Each secret objective should start with the phrase “The hero should...”Ideally these will be randomly assigned. Rules Player order goes to the left and does not changeThe game ends when you run out of slidesEach slide should be a simple phrase or sentenceGameplayPlay starts with the Game Master describing the first slide, starting with the phrase “Once upon a time..”Play continues to the player on the Game Master's left and the slide progresses.This player chooses one of the three pictures on the slide to incorporate into the story with a phrase or sentence.Play continues to the left with a new slide. And continues around the circle, with each player getting a new slide (the Game Master may now sit out of the storytelling), until there are no more slides left.The Game Master may provide an epilogue (and explain what an epilogue is to the children playing the game) as desired. Note: Defining 'Epilogue' will not be out of character for this game, as in this episode's run-through Mark would have had to explain to kids: headbanging, Ska, life in 1998, mosh-pits, micro-cassettes, and a reference to 'Spaceballs.'At the end of the story, players try to guess each others individual objectives.
#252 Visual CodingInterview 2022.03.17 This week we're joined by Alina Matson, developer of Fitment—a microworkout app designed with cozy gamers in mind. Alina talks about how she has used the popular Unity plugin Playmaker to kick-start her transition from a career in mechanical engineering to gamedev. Positive vibes abound. Plus, surprise singing! Visual Coding ProgrammingToolsPlaymaker - Hutong Games, Unity Asset StoreBolt - Unity, Unity Asset StoreBlueprint Visual Scripting - Unreal EngineProcessingScratch - MIT10 Most Nostalgic Flash Games From The Early 2000s - Samuel Williams, CBRStephen J. Guy, Director, Applied Motion Lab - University of MinnesotaZebraZapps We mentioned a previous interview episode with Freya Holmer, Self-education, et al.Alina MatsonGuest Bio External link Alina on TwitterFitment websiteFitment Discord serverFitment on Twitter
#247 Designing like a Dungeon MasterInterview 2021.12.10 Your nice hosts (Ellen, mainly) conduct a double-interview, with a consummate professional and a committed amateur, on the subject of game design though the lens of tabletop game mastering. Subjects include the dynamic between system design and session design, the balance between planning and improvisation, and how players can be encouraged to participate in the process. Designing like a Dungeon Master Game DesignNarrativeTabletopAlternity - Sasquatch Game StudioMDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research - Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, Robert Zubek, Northwestern UniversityDread, a game of horror and suspense - The Impossible DreamThousand Year Old Vampire - Tim HutchingsRobin's Laws of Good Game Mastering - Robin D. LawsUnpossible Game LabsCon of the North Katrina imagined a future with "Westworld as a video game," which coincidentally was a topic in one of our first episodes: "It's against the law to stop."Katrina OstranderGuestAn editor for over a dozen media tie-in novellas spanning multiple genres, and the Creative Director of Story and Setting for Fantasy Flight Games, where she oversees the internal and licensed development of the studio's proprietary IPs.Besides her work as an editor of tie-in fiction and developer of IPs, Katrina has written for or developed over a dozen roleplaying game products, including adventures, supplements, and core rulebooks. External link WebsiteTwitterThe Great Clans of Rokugan: Ice and SnowDescent: Legends of the Dark Jon KiehneGuest A "committed amateur" of tabletop role playing games, Jon is a longtime Dungeon Master who created a wholly unique campaign setting for his regular group (including your nice host Ellen) which he has been running for over six years.
#268 "No referees?!"Roundtable 2022.07.07 How much of the culture around a game is rooted in its design? That's one of the questions that comes up as Mark takes us on a tour of curling—an Olympic sport that's described as "chess on ice." We examine its origins, the Spirit of Curling, and some specific rules that may have a big impact on how players behave towards one another. Later, Stephen considers some questions about off-ramps, the parts of a game that guide players as they end a play session. Should we as designers encourage players to take breaks? Gato Roboto by doinksoft (from Devolver Digital) - Steam Curling 0:10:15 Mark LaCroixGame DesignAbout Curling - World Curling FederationWhy is this Olympic Sport called Chess on Ice? - by user "Pete", Chess.comCurling might be an antidote to our troubled times - Kristen Gelineau, The Detroit NewsGlossary of curling - WikipediaDeflategate - Wikipedia Off-Ramps 0:50:00 Stephen McGregorGame DesignGamingHow Gaming Breaks Can Make You a Better Player... and Why They're Important - Michael Harman, Make Use Of