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.
Welcome back to my game design misconceptions series. We’re back and gonna be discussing a particularly tricky misconception today: the purpose of game balance. These are all misconceptions I’ve held at one point or another as I grew as a game designer, so hopefully it’ll be informative to all you aspirants out there too!
As to the reasoning behind the header picture? I’ve still got quite a few more misconceptions to post about, so I’m gonna leave that explanation as a teaser for a later post.
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!
Like any discipline, game design has it’s share of misconceptions held by the public or aspirants to the field. Maybe it’s because game design is a relatively new field, or maybe its because players don’t realize the gap between their feedback and the improvements they’re hoping for. But that’s just the process of learning, so this series is going to share some of the misconceptions that I’ve held along my journey as a game designer.
A lot of people get into the games industry because of games they loved. Artists, sound designers, and graphics programmers awed by immersive worlds or game designers and writers inspired to ask “what if?” — art always inspires its consumers to dream, and I am no different. Although I didn’t know at the time, my first dreams of game design started in elementary school. Imagining shinier new evolutions for pokemon eventually grew into brainstorming ideas for characters and stories in middle school. Talking about these dreams of design was play for my playground friends and I and when I discovered in college that one could make a living by making games, I felt I had found what I wanted to spend my life doing.
Now, after having spent 2 years working as a part of CGC Games, I have a much clearer picture of what the path of the game designer is.
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.