Game Design Misconception 3: Planning Stifles Improv

Welcome back to my series on game design misconceptions! Today’s topic is the idea that if one plans too much it can get in the way of being spontaneous and in the moment.

I started noticing this misconception a handful of months ago when I started acting as Game Master (here forth contracted GM’ing) in Dungeons & Dragon (5th Edition). It’s been pretty exciting (especially as a new way to put game design skills to work in a very immediate sense), but whenever I start up a conversation with an experienced player about GM’ing I always get this advice:

Don’t overplan.

and it always struck me as a little strange.

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Octalysis Level 2 Certified

Hey all, this is gonna be another quick self-promotion post. So I’m now Level 2 Octalysis Certified, but instead of this just being an achievement announcement, I felt like this would be a good excuse to talk about what gamification is and how it’s thought about. So let’s talk about the prompt and skills tested by Octalysis Level 2 certification.

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Featured by The Octalysis Group!

A while ago, I entered The Octalysis Group’s challenge for improving the design of Habitica, a gamified productivity service. Octalysis is a behavioral design model that interprets user behavior through motivations, and it helps give a framework to thinking about how certain motivations can have synergistic or even antergistic effects in the right or wrong combinations. Though I didn’t win the competition overall, I was a finalist and my entry got featured! If you don’t have time to read through my whole presentation, I’ve curated a few excerpts in my portfolio.

Dwarven Weeaboos Announced By CGC Games

We interrupt this program for an important announcement!

Dwarven Weeaboos, a card game Nathaniel has been acting as producer and game designer on for the last several months, has been announced by CGC Games as it’s next game to be released! It’s a game that celebrates (parodies) anime and nerd culture, and it should be hitting Kickstarter in mid-April!

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled waiting 2 months for a post!

Post-Mortem: Chamber 17

In Crypt of the NecroDancer all movements and actions by player and enemy alike can only happen on the beats of the song on each floor. Enemies and obstacles have a pre-determined pattern of movement, so knowledge, quick decision making, and a sense of rhythm are all necessary to reach the stairs tile leading to the next floor. Normally, the game will randomly generate a dungeon for the player to delve through, but there’s also a custom map editor built into the game. This article will discuss some of the design philosophies I’ve discovered as I worked on Chamber 17 a custom map I made. If you have the game, I’d encourage you to play through it before reading this because most of these ramblings will probably make more sense that way.

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