We intend to create a world where everyone will enjoy our games without exception.

2011/06/15

Deer Hunter X: Postmortem of a Game Nobody Played

In a whimsical mood as the endday light sweeps orange across my spartan studio, I feel inclined to reflect upon my past exercises in quixoticism. When I uploaded that game onto this esteemed site, I begat a debt of analysis, a promised post that would surely explain everything. Now, afflicted by this perverse sentimentality, I find myself at last in the proper state to fulfill my vow. No longer will I allow this strange artifact to float unmoored in the online panopticon without a guidepost, an almanac, an epitaph. It is time for a DHX postmortem.

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2010/07/26

Values

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , @ 17:06

I often find myself consumed by the desire to do things that are quite difficult and labour intensive, but which may not be essential or even necessary elements of what I would consider to be an excellent video game.  Large, realistic environments populated by scores of unique characters would be a prime example of this sort of thing.  While games set in vast virtual worlds can be appealing to players, their scope is almost always beyond the production capabilities of an indie developer.

I have recently started working on a project about time travel and finance.  The game involves the ability to visit nearly any point in the foreseeable future and it could end up with an explosive and unmanageable scope if I don’t approach the design in a disciplined way.  Because of this, I’d like to remind myself of some of the values that define a great game, but which do not require extensive resources to realize.
  • Depth – A game that is easy to learn and hard to master needs little else to seduce potential players.
  • Brevity – I am inspired by the sophisticated and elegant strategic challenges that arise out of the simple rules of German style board games.
  • Idiosyncrasy – Sensing the hand of a clever but unconventional author is one of the great charms of any form of media.  Games like Portal or The Secret of Monkey Island are more than the sum of their parts thanks to their eccentric character.
  • Surprise – Games that challenge me with mechanics that I have not encountered before will always interest me.  This is an absolute prerequisite for any design that I create.
  • Mystery – If a game’s fiction keeps me asking “what will happen after I accomplish the next goal?” I will play it to the end.
  • Heterogeneity – The variety offered by games like Pirates! and Star Control 2 is extremely appealing to me.  Many games lose me because they repeat the same activity over the entire game.
  • Not on rails – I love it when a game gives me broad long-term goals, but offers me many ways of potentially reaching them.