Dicking Around: Sandboxing Before It Was Cool

We felt hints of the potential power of open-world games long before Oblivion took the stage, and I don’t think it’s too hipster of me to suggest that I was sandboxing before it was cool. Friends would come over with their computers and, driven by our own boredom (as well as Snoken’s cinematic masterpiece, ‘Mine’), we’d manipulate gameplay systems to make our own fun.

Read More

Dusty Discs: 'Spyro: Year of the Dragon' - Level Selection Magic

Spyro: Year of the Dragon came out in 2000, when virtual worlds simply couldn’t be made large enough to fit an entire game’s worth of content in. Technology dictated that we split the world into different sections, or 'levels', which would be loaded and unloaded when necessary, normally through the use of a menu. A few years before Year of the Dragon was released, developers had begun to realize that simple menu-based level select screens were getting stale.

Read More

Gameplay Time: Sometimes Exploits are Okay (and that's Okay!)

Exploits can be good for your game, highlighting new gameplay opportunities that can be hard to discover without that deep, organic interaction between the community and your finished work. CAN be.

Read More

Gameplay Time: When Players Exploit Your Mechanics

Players take shortcuts, sometimes in ways that break the intended experience of the game. When gameplay mechanics are easy to exploit, players miss out. Something has to change, and the responsibility lies with the developer.

Read More

Micromanaging Players and Developer FOMO

According to AAA developers, players are dumb and getting dumber. And not in a good way, like the movie, but in a bad way, where devs try to hold our hand, and make sure we don't miss anything, and are extra diligent at putting soft covers over all the sharp edges. It's a bad trend, but it's happening.

Read More

Using Gameplay-Responsive Music to get Players to do Things

Is your game's music playing with the player, or at them? When music responds to the player's actions, a whole new world of interactivity opens up. And so we're clear, if I hear even a hint of Rick Astley, I'm turning this article around right now.

Read More