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Amateur game design for the technically impaired

Archive for the ‘Development Process’ Category

Expected Gameplay Mechanics Part 1

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I have decided to discuss common game play mechanics found throughout games. For the most part, I will be speaking in generalities. I will also be discussing commercial as well as Indie games. The purpose of this post is to discuss familiar gameplay mechanics that most games share and to perhaps avoid some of these cliche mistakes in the future.


This most may sound like a bit of a rant, but it stems from a series of recurring themes and gameplay devices that I have noticed in my years of gaming. These things apply to most not all games.

  • Collecting Stuff
  • Difficulty
  • Points
  • Boss Fights
  • Save Points
  • Unlocking Characters in fighting games
  • Ninjas, Pirates, Robots, Zombies

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    Written by brunokruse

    April 1, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Putting Polish on Simple Games

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    Often the charm of an indie game comes from its simplicity. Not having access to huge teams, and running with the occasional necessity of tapering your vision to your abilities can accent the unique gameplay and style of an indie game. An artist is often the most creative when he is forced to act wihap.jpgthin strict limits. This is one of the things I love about indie games. I assume it is a fun challenge for our favorite indie developers to try and find ways to use their limited resources to transcend audience expectations.

    Unfortunately, too often games fall short due to what I expect is an opposing attitude:  the game doesn’t have to look good or work perfectly, after all it’s just an indie game. Lazy developers sometimes think their audience won’t be bothered by minor flaws because the game was free. But overlooking these things makes a huge difference to gamers like me. Many simple games could’ve been a lot better by (believe it or not) making them even simpler.

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    Written by ericharm

    March 31, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    User and Procedurally Generated Content

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    NetHackWhile we are on the subject of content creation I thought I would talk about this…

    This post is mostly a discussion of theory. Editors and Procedurally generated content can be very difficult to make. Especially when under the limitation of some game engines and creators.

    We are past the days where designers are forced to provide players with large amounts of content which add replay value to their games. As a matter of fact, by providing players with procedurally generated content or editing tools for their respective games, players theoretically have the ability to create an almost infinite amount of content. Being limited by only your imagination and ambition, players are now able to create very imaginative and challenging levels which the original designers of the game may have never thought of.

    Since most indie teams are small and have limited resources these level editors provide a great way to add life to their games. Small communities in which fans share and trade content are growing at a rapid rate. Indie games on the PC are unique in regards to the fact that the games and additional content is easily distributed, talked about (forums) and patched. Some games are even open source like Knytt Stories (we love Nifflas here) and NetHack which spawned a large amount of mods, remakes and levels.

    Mods are on a slightly different level than added content such as levels. My definition of mods involve actually editing the game source code or project files to change or evolve the game. I won’t be discussing mods today but I will address the issue later.

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    Written by brunokruse

    March 13, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    The Supreme Importance of Music in Simple Games

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    Mega Man 2All music links in this post, unless otherwise noted, link to, a large database of midis for classic games.

    I have a very simple theory: that the success of most, if not every, popular 8-bit game was heavily dependent on the quality of its music. That is to say, dependent almost exclusively on the music. Mediocre games became great and good ones became legendary. I will support this theory, but also apply it to the development of independent games today.

    I won’t drag this out with too many details, since my original theory isn’t so much the point as its application to the current indie industry (dare I say… indiestry?). Instead, I’ll appeal to your own personal experiences and ask you to participate in a small experiment. Play any of the following games with the sound off, then simply crank it up. Be amazed as the entertainment value increases a hundredfold.

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    Written by justindopiriak

    February 27, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Posted in Development Process, Opinion

    Tagged with , , ,

    Indie Development – Prototyping

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    Indie developers don’t get discouraged!

    David Marsh over at Gamasutra wrote an excellent post related to indie game development. It’s worth a read. I agree with a lot of his points, and would like to expand upon a few things from my own experiences.


    Developing games has become easier and easier over the past couple of years thanks to a widespread independent games boom. Independent games are becoming more popular every day and they are easily available and distributed over the Internet. Most importantly independent games are usually available for free. Since indie developers have no restrictions in terms of content or deadlines, most indie developers try to push the boundaries and create original game play ideas, art styles and content.



    Now, you don’t have to be a master programmer or artist to create cool and unique games. I actually believe that in some cases it is better to use a game maker type program or editor, because it is an easy way to prototype your ideas and see them in action quickly. Then, you can adjust your game design decisions on the fly, without having to be boggled down by code or even rewriting an engine. There are a wide number of free development tools and resources available throughout the Internet. Heck, you may even already own a game that comes with a toolset to create original content. These tools are a great way to experiment and get your ideas online with ease and tested by others.


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    Written by brunokruse

    February 27, 2008 at 1:30 am