Ironwood, a Roguelike Game in 7 Days
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Ironwood is a roguelike game developed for the 2014 7 Day Roguelike Challenge. “Roguelike” is a pretty poorly defined genre, but generally speaking it’s a turn-based game with generated environments, emergent gameplay from simulationism, and a steep learning curve. (For more, see an informal definition, a formal attempt, or a current take on its broad use.)

Updated 2014-04-07: You can play Ironwood in your browser right now! Big thanks to Snarky for the Javascript port: Ironwood

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Random The Flag
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Oryx 16bit Fantasy Characters

I’m going to spend next Friday to Monday making a game. I was inspired by Oryx’s 16bit sprites, they’re a beautiful, cheap resource for game prototyping (the license is a bit confused for business purposes). I’ve been wanting to (and failing to) make games for years, so I’m going to ensure I succeed by defining the game by the time I spend rather than the infinitely long wish list plan I can invent.

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FTL: Simulationism Lost
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All weekend I’ve been captaining a series of (mostly doomed) Trek-like starships in FTL, a new indie game. The gameplay is mostly derived from time management and roguelike games (more on that later), as you juggle crew between tasks, shift power between systems (straight up “more power to the engines and target their shields!”), and balance exploring the galaxy with fleeing from an ever-advancing plot device that’s too boring to describe.

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Grind Without Progression in Die2Nite
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I’ve been playing the game Die2Nite with a few friends, and I’m fascinated that it has no character advancement — no levels, no skills, no upgrades — but it has a terrible grind.

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Yomi vs. Nash Equilibria
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I was rereading David Sirlin’s World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things as part of a conversation with a friend and I got to pondering his concept of yomi. I’ve previously mentioned it as having an influence on my game designs, so I’ll just quote his short definition:

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Efficiency Replaces Autonomy
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I’ve been pondering the rise of metrics-driven game design — from the sites I follow it sounds like the game industry at large has been as well. The makers of retail games are realizing they can make more money with less risk by careful analysis of how they directly charge gamers in the free-to-play (F2P) model.

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Competition and Bluffing
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Direct competition is when a game is decided by how the opponents interact, how well they stop each other from succeeding. Indirect competition is when opponents can’t influence each others’ successes, like in a sprint.

I love the way that poker straddles the line between the two. The contest of who has the best hand is indirect, I can’t take cards out of your hand, you can’t prevent me from drawing, we make our separate choices and win solely by ranking.

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Game Influences (7/6): Warstorm
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I thought I’d finished the six post series on games that influenced Athenge, but I soon saw a game that changed my plans. This post is about how I analyze games by verbs, decision timing, and business concerns.

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Athenge Ops Playtested
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Over the weekend Snarky dropped by for some ribs and playtesting. I think of early playtesting as scientific experimentation and had a specific question I wanted the session to answer: is the design of the core gameplay, op combat, any fun?

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Karma, Farming and Play Styles
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The Karma effect and self-scaling universes applies the old management saying (and game design maxim) “You get what you measure” to MMORPG leaderboards:

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