The Infamous Noob

May 27, 2010

Make Way for Short Drunken Men

Filed under: Design, Dwarves with Swords, Games — Tags: , , — infamousnoob @ 12:32 pm

I’ve hit a wall in my game. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve come to the part of it that requires more eloquent thinking than I can simply dish out on demand, or because I’m at a crossroads and don’t know which direction to follow. Probably the best thing for me to do is just pick something and push forward with the development. This would keep me thinking about it in new ways instead of letting it stagnate like I have been. I’ve made excuses to myself about how I’m too busy, or too tired, or too something else to really dive in and get this done, but the real reason is that I’ve just been too lazy.

So now that I’ve cleared that up and gotten it out of the way, it’s time to dive into the work that I’ve so coyly been avoiding. Here is Dwarves with Swords:

Prototype is a board game, so turn-based strategy (instead of RTS or akin).  The rules that have been swirling through my skull dictate that the “units” manipulated are, in fact, groups. Each group can have up to 5 members of different classes. Each slot in the group provides a slot bonus, and an additional bonus if matched to a particular class. Each class has unique abilities that it provides to the group, and the stats of all group members combine to form the final group stats that are used in combat.

Additional mechanics that I have been trying to work in are the use of special, one-time-use effects in the form of cards drawn from a deck every turn or some such thing, and the incorporation of booze in every facet of the game. Dwarves love them some drinkin’, you know. Mostly, the humor that goes into it is what will drive the fun. Anyone can walk to the local toy store and pick up a strategy board game for less than $20. Uniqueness is how I can be “more fun” than everyone else.

Anyway, I’ll list the classes and their respective abilities/stats once I have them in some sort of working order. (I think this is what’s known as a teaser :P)

May 25, 2010

New Beginnings

Filed under: Design, Games, Real Life — Tags: , , — infamousnoob @ 12:50 am

I finally got organized enough after the recent culmination of my higher education to apply to what I imagine to be my dream job: Game Designer for Blizzard Entertainment. Even though this has almost nothing to do with my extremely expensive piece of paper proclaiming my qualifications, I’m very excited at the prospect of it. I’ve been preparing for the interview that probably won’t happen by reading, listening and watching everything I can get my hands on by famous game designers.

The latest installment of this endeavor was a lecture by Brenda Brathwaite given at the GDC about how video games are a powerful medium to convey emotion. She talks a lot about her game Train that attempts to convey some idea of what happened to Jews in Germany during the 1940s. It’s very interesting (titled “Train: or How I Dumped Electricity and Learned to Love Design”), but I think that it plays too much on political charge. Her other projects currently in progress are about how the Irish were driven of the island and how the American Indians were relocated to Oklahoma. All of which are very much the same vein of politics, if not exactly the same events.

The secondary point that she makes is how design is not about writing lines of code or anything like that, but more about imagining a complete experience and using a corollary to Sid Meier’s “interesting decisions” in the form of interesting designs to elicit a particular response from the audience. I think that this is the more important part, though she doesn’t spend much time talking about it. I hope to be able to get enough practice to become deft enough at wielding game mechanics to tailor the response I want to get a more refined emotion that just “happy” or “angry”.

May 22, 2010

Huh? Who are you?

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — infamousnoob @ 1:18 am

So, the world is a-changin’. Not only is this year filled with lots of high profile game releases (StarCraft and WoW: Cataclysm), but there are tons of things moving and shaking. What I’ve noticed most is what’s available on Steam.

I downloaded Steam a couple years ago to play around with some of my brother’s games and test drive some demos and whatnot, but never really got “hooked”. I recently took a second look at it, what with all the DRM fiasco that is Ubisoft and the required internet connection, and really liked what I saw. The ‘Buy This Now Cuz It’s Cheap’ weekend sales are awesome, and I picked up both Civilization IV: Complete and Torchlight for $10 each instead of the usual $20+. This is the studio’s response to used game sales, and it’s great for everyone. Except used game sellers, I guess.

It also opens the door for indie developers to get a game out in the market for cheap without confining themselves to a weird platform (I’m talking to you, iPhone). Especially now that Steam is Mac and Windows friendly (well, in the case of the Mac version they’re more like acquaintances, but these things take time) anyone with an urge to slap together something can immediately reach an audience of. . .a lot. Some very large number, I’m sure.

The point is that the environment is right for competition to spring up. Now, nothing’s going to come along and be a “WoW killer” or anything like that, but the only way to push any field to be better is to tell the team inventing new stuff that someone else will have it first. This is why Apple hasn’t really done anything new in 15 years, and Microsoft was doomed from the start. Neither one of them has any serious competition.

With the huge amount of money to be made in video games these days, it’s a safe bet that competition to be “The Gamer’s Game Company” will get pretty heated. In fact, I would say that the time is perfect right now for someone with something fresh to bring to the table to do it well and get the name out there. I’m eagerly awaiting the moment that I can say “Who is this new studio?! And how did they make such an awesome game?” – even if it’s not something I’m directly involved in.

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