infovore + mechanics   45

Combat Recall - Recalling the Leviathan Axe
Good crunchy post on the design of the axe-recall feature in God Of War (2018); particularly interesting on how it evolved, how players perceived variance in its implementation, and the subtleties of its sound and rumble implementation. And yes, there's screenshake. It's one of the simpler functions to grok in the game, but one of its best mechanics, I think. Looking forward to more posts.
games  systems  mechanics  gamefeel  screenshake  godofwar 
april 2018 by infovore
rotational » The Mechanic - Alex Wiltshire
Alex's column on game mechanics is one of my favourite new RPS features - they're all cracking, and a good example of understanding games by going to the source, rather than guessing - and also highlighting the fact that games are made by *people*, not just conjured out of thin air. Really good stuff.
writing  criticism  design  games  mechanics  alexwiltshire 
july 2016 by infovore
Scroll Back: The Theory and Practice of Cameras in Side-Scrollers
Oh god this is like catnip. I am going to pore over this in a bit. The gifs are fantastic.
camera  2d  games  design  mechanics  analysis 
may 2015 by infovore
Kill Screen - No Ludo: The Illogical End
"Winning and losing are only defined in their relation to us. Their meaning doesn’t come from an abstract ideal that is buried in the rules of the game, but from our experiences in life, such as witnessing war; or watching Garry Kasparov’s erratic behavior during his matches with Deep Blue; or having once won the emotionally fractured heart of the blonde from class, only to have it crumble in my hands. A game like chess is meaningful because it comments on our wider view on culture—not because placing pieces in a certain position leads to an endgame." On the battle between the logic of systems and the illogic of meanings. Useful food for thought right now.
systems  games  killscreen  ludology  rules  mechanics 
december 2011 by infovore
The Systematic Integrity of Expression
"The nature of an interactive medium should be the feedback loop between the player and the game; to not explore (or, at least, consider) the expression space of this cycle seems to be a missed opportunity." Trent raises some good points about the relationship between narratives and the systems that tell them.
games  systems  narrative  mechanics 
january 2011 by infovore
Cardboard Children: Arkham Horror | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"Board games are different. Sure, while you might love a board game for the sense of immersion it provides, or the way the game lifts off the table and fills the room, you also might love it for how beautiful the mechanics are. It’s like looking inside a clockwork watch. That fascination, as you see how all the pieces fit together, how everything is timed to perfection, how balanced it all is. With a beautiful board game design, you can love it for that craftsmanship you can feel with every turn." Yup. But, of course: this is, increasingly, why I like any game. It's just much more visible in boardgames - where you have to wrangle the rules yourself. And everything else - the immersion, the involvement - will come too; it just comes from that clockwork heart.
games  boardgames  rules  mechanics 
october 2010 by infovore
Civilization and Storytelling | Mssv
"...what Civilization provides is a story with a beginning, middle, and end, which is three times more than what you probably started with. If you play the game in particularly interesting way, then you can be rewarded with a delightful, surprising experience that you can’t help but weave into a story, inventing characters and lovers and intrigues all round. This story might tug at you so insistently that you begin to jot down notes and timelines, writing diary entries and newspaper reports of battles. Eventually, you might join all those pieces up, rewrite them, throw it all away, and rewrite it again – and then you might call yourself a storyteller." And this is one of the kinds of storytelling that games are best at: collaborative tales weaved between ruleset and player, between man and machine.
games  mechanics  storytelling  rules  fiction 
august 2010 by infovore
Ian Bogost - Cow Clicker
"In cinema and theater, we often hear about method acting, a technique by which actors try to create the situations, emotions, and thoughts of their characters in themselves in order to better portray them. In creating Cow Clicker, I rather felt that I was partaking of method design, embracing the spirit and values and ideals of the social game developer as I toed the lines between theory, satire, and earnestness." Bogost calls it Method Design; I've been describing it as "systemic satire" - the making of satirical mechanics.
games  criticism  mechanics  satire  socialgames  facebook  ianbogost  cowclicker 
july 2010 by infovore
The Importance Of Writing - ludology - Kotaku
"But imagine if the writer came up with a "story" before the rules.  A "pre-rules story."  At that point, you could create the rules around that story, and even if the rules seemed unconventional or unbalanced, you could be confident that they would work as long as the story works." Erm, not really; crap rules are crap rules, even if they make sense within the story. This paragraph directly contradicts his previous (accurate) paragraph, that stories must follow the rules of the game. To then say: "but we can retrofit rules onto the story if the latter was done first" just feels wrong. One more thing on my pile of "stuff about rules".
writing  games  rules  mechanics 
may 2010 by infovore
A Turing Machine Overview
Just beautiful: an implementation of a Turing Machine, as described by Turing; not only is it ingenious - reading characters written on tape with pen via OCR - but it's also a beautiful piece of hardware; it feels as elegant as the point it is illustrating.
turingmachine  computing  computer  computerscience  hardware  mechanics  machine  beautiful 
march 2010 by infovore
GDC: Mechanics Are Everything | Edge Online
"Just because you give a game a theme, doesn’t make a game about that thing. … A game’s mechanics give it meaning. It fundamentally does not matter how you theme a game, the mechanics ultimately determine what a game is about." Soren Johnson is smart.
games  mechanics  meaning  sorenjohnson 
march 2010 by infovore
The Economics of Pinball « Cheap Talk
"In 1986, Williams High Speed changed the economics of pinball forever... Pre-1986, the replay score was hard wired into the game unless the operator manually re-programmed the software. High Speed changed all that. It was pre-loaded with an algorithm that adjusted the replay score according to the distribution of scores on the specified machine over a specific time interval." Good article on how the economics of pinball are wired into the machine.
pinball  economics  games  mechanics  design  balance  replay 
november 2009 by infovore
D Nye Everything: Messing with your HUD
"The voice in Dear Esther doesn't tell you where to go - it only reads, at set moments, from a random selection of letters to Esther as you wander over a deserted and increasingly disrupted Scottish island. The letters are randomised, so no playthrough is the same, and a fragmented narrative of a car crash, a grieving man and a stolen library book is glimpsed but never resolved. When I asked Pinchbeck whether this strictly constitutes a game, he said that it was a game engine, a nice distinction in both senses." Dan fills in his Wired piece on Dan Pinchbeck with some supplementary material. It is very good.
danpinchbeck  dangriffiths  dearesther  games  halflife  mods  mechanics 
october 2009 by infovore
Dice-O-Matic hopper and elevator - GamesByEmail
"Introducing the Dice-O-Matic mark II, now generating the dice rolls on It is a 7 foot tall, 104 pound, dice-eating monster, capable of generating 1.3 million rolls a day." They roll real dice. They roll lots, and lots, of real dice.
dice  games  engineering  mechanics  playbymail  ocr 
may 2009 by infovore - Who Watches the Watchman?
"I find the watchclock fascinating not simply because it’s a kind of steampunk GPS, a wind-up mechanical location-awareness technology. I’m further fascinated at how this holistic system of watchclocks, keys, guards, and supervisors succeeded so completely in creating a method of behavioral control such that a human being’s movements can be precisely planned and executed, hour after hour and night after night, with such a high degree of reliability that almost a century goes by before anyone thinks of ways of improving the system as originally conceived." Fantastic.
design  watchclock  location  tracking  behaviour  metrics  mechanics  clockwork 
may 2009 by infovore
GameSetWatch - Opinion: The Breadth Of Game Design
" developers, we need to deal more honestly with the disparity between our reach and our grasp - which is to say, what we tell ourselves our games are about, versus what they are actually about. History will see this decade as the period when games struggled with their destiny in this way." 2K Marin's JP LeBreton with a smart, insightful take on the road ahead for games design, and the many positive steps being taken along it (and: a decent commentary on the "shooting people" issue).
games  design  play  mechanics  progress  literacy 
april 2009 by infovore
Locked Door | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"I hate the way I’m expected to give up trying to open you when I see the words “this door has been locked from the other side” or “this door opens elsewhere”, as though they’re a command from God himself."
games  writing  mechanics  doors 
april 2009 by infovore
Left 4 Dead Blog - Surviving the L4D Survival Pack
A thoughful post (as ever) from the L4D team detailing some of the balancing and planning that's gone into the Survival Mode experience. Looking forward to firing this up next week...
games  left4dead  valve  mechanics  balance  data 
april 2009 by infovore
Game Prototype: Crane Wars
This is great: a 25-minute video from Blurst looking at a short prototype they built. During the retrospective, other members of the team question the designers/developers about their intentions, their goals, and examine ways to make the prototype into a better game. There's some good questioning, some nice explanation, and it's a great insight into a process built around rapid prototyping and execution on top of Unity. Interesting to see how another company work on rapid prototypes and then try to "find the fun". Also: making the prototype public is another great piece of explanatory work.
design  games  video  process  mechanics  prototyping  critique  unity  blurst  retrospective 
march 2009 by infovore
Jedi's Paradise - Childrens TV - Pob
Probably the most comprehensive page on Pob I've found, with, most importantly, pictures of Rod Campbell both drawing mechanisms and opening boxes. Which is the bit I always want to refer to, but never can find pics of. Until now!
mechanics  television  pob  rodcampbell  redbox 
march 2009 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: The Game as Total Artwork
"The key point, it seems to me, is to recognize that gameplay has tonality. Just as music, a non-representational medium, can evoke certain moods and emotions, game mechanics can elicit emotional states." Some good thoughts here about games as Gesamtkunstwerk.
games  iroquoispliskin  mechanics  wagner  gesamtkunstwerk  tonality  thought 
february 2009 by infovore
The Play Ethic: Carnage Not Required: questioning the commercial need for violence in video games
"I've had too many conversations with game-makers (particularly from my Scottish locus) who, when presented with a range of possible game motivations and scenarios that don't involve spectacular male violence in urban settings, shake their heads and say, "just don't see the game in that, Pat. You gotta see the game." I've always suspected that this was male geek laziness on the industry's part. Incidentally, this report is based on a sample set that was 85% male." Maybe; but sometimes, "seeing the game" is an important part of game design. That doesn't always call for free-roaming urban-carnage, but I'm not sure I can entirely agree with Kane's quotation here.
design  games  play  mechanics  violence  patkane 
february 2009 by infovore
Team Fortress 2
"On Tuesday we shipped an update that added a bunch of features / bugfixes / balancing tweaks that came out of the community's feedback. In particular, it made some changes to the underlying TF damage system, and as part of that, it modified the way critical hits are determined. We thought it might be interesting to dig a little into the change, and hopefully give you some insight into our thinking." Another cracking example of explaining game mechanics clearly and directly, to an engaged community.
games  play  statistics  mechanics  fun  teamfortress2  balancing  probability 
february 2009 by infovore
Trembling Hand: Left4Dead and Thermodynamics
"Unlike other games, L4D brings this entropy to the surface -- there's a palpable feeling of dread throughout, as if the world is relentlessly and mercilessly trying to turn you into a red mist as fast as possible." Not convinced entirely, but this is a really important point: the best games expose their mechanics in plain sight. The systemic nature of the game - the entropic tension between survivor and zombie - is clearly critical to it, and there's no point where that's not made clear.
games  left4dead  analysis  mechanics  entropy  thermodynamics 
february 2009 by infovore
Fullbright: Storymaking
" games are driven by the player, experientially and emotionally. Fictional content--setting, characters, backstory-- is useful inasmuch as it creates context for what the player chooses to do. This is ambient content, not linear narrative in any traditional sense. The creators of a gameworld should be lauded for their ability to believably render an intriguing fictional place-- the world itself and the characters in it. However the value in a game is not to be found in its ability at storytelling, but in its potential for storymaking." Some commentary on the scale of storymaking games offer, from Steve Gaynor. Also: I like the word "storymaking", as opposed to "storytelling".
games  narrative  story  mechanics  stevegaynor  plot  pace  storymaking 
february 2009 by infovore
Review: Consequence-Free Prince of Persia Reduces Frustration, Loses the Fun | Game | Life from
"Yes, it's true that at no time while playing Prince of Persia did I feel any of the frustration that I felt on a regular basis in Mirror's Edge. But neither did I ever feel the joy of doing something right, of stringing together a perfect series of vaults and wall-runs and feeling like it was based on my own skill. Can one exist without the other? Is it impossible to create joy without difficulty? I don't know. But Prince of Persia lost something significant." I'm a bit worried about the new Prince, especially having read this; the challenge/reward balance is hugely important to it as a series, especially since the marvellous Sands of Time. Also, more worryingly: are developers shying away from letting players fail any more?
princeofpersia  review  games  gameplay  mechanics  challenge  failure  reward 
december 2008 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Dissonance
"Does the road to ludonarrative unity really lead us where we want to go? Is the destination reachable? Is it possible to embrace a design aesthetic that takes us in another direction that could be just as fruitful, if not more so? Okay that was three questions, but it's my blog so I get to ask as many as I want. Now if I could only answer them." This is going to be interesting when I come to write about Far Cry 2.
games  narrative  story  michaelabbott  dissonance  design  mechanics  systems 
december 2008 by infovore
Boing Boing: Offworld
"Still, overall, Left 4 Dead's opening cinematic is a shockingly complete primer to the rest of the game. With only a few exceptions, almost any player going into Left 4 Dead for the first time will know exactly how to play the game: they already know the gameplay, the weapons, the enemies, the win scenario and the strategies they need to get through the game alive... the only thing not covered in the opening movie is the specifics of the interface." Yes - had this exact same conversation a few days ago. Although John is awfully down on Louis, which seems a tad unfair...
left4dead  games  tutorial  valve  introductoin  mechanics 
december 2008 by infovore
YouTube - Hatfield Hotdog Launcher Documentary
"We think it's one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century." Awesome. This is why kids go into engineering.
hatfield  hotdogs  ballistics  documentary  mechanics  artillery 
november 2008 by infovore
Fullbright: The immersion model of meaning
"Our attempts to bridle the player's freedom of movement and force our meaning onto him are fruitless. Rather, it is a distinct transportative, transformative quality-- the ability of the player to build his own personal meaning through immersion in the interactive fields of potential we provide-- that is our unique strength, begging to be fully realized." Some great Steve Gaynor; reminds me of Mitch Resnick's "microworld construction kits" all over again.
stevegaynor  games  immersion  systems  mechanics  openworld  narrative  experience  freedom  meaning 
november 2008 by infovore
Play This Thing! | Game Reviews | Free Games | Independent Games | Game Culture
"Just like the inspirations it cites, carry helps explore why we fight, and what happens to the people we send to war, all through the rules. The mechanics of the game work as well as the prose of The Things They Carried or the script of Full Metal Jacket in exploring life in the line of fire..." Sounds really interesting - games' unique ability is to convey meaning through systems, rather than prose, and it looks like carry really embraces that.
games  tabletop  narrative  carry  indie  mechanics 
november 2008 by infovore
The Season Of The Witch | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"Who designs a character for gamers to never go near? Who spends the time to create the most terrifying creature imaginable, and doesn’t impose it on players? Well, clearly Valve. The temptation to have her be aggravated from great distances, to force her to attack when encountered, must have been there. But then she’d have lost her power. Her power comes from just sitting there. It’s that benign, ragged, vulnerable form. It’s the combination of singing and crying. Oh God, the singing *and* crying." John Walker examines the horror of Left 4 Dead's Witch. A little over-written perhaps, but he totally nails the fear the character instills, and the way you always notice her a split-second too late.
johnwalker  rockpapershotgun  left4dead  valve  games  design  mechanics  fear  horror 
november 2008 by infovore
YouTube - 歯車のハート Gear's heart
Just so beautiful. Now: I just need a video of it rotating on loop, please.
wood  engineering  mechanics  beautiful  model  heart  gears 
november 2008 by infovore
Steven Poole: Working for the Man
"On this definition, obediently following a game’s narrative or challenge-reward structure is nothing but work. Only when the player does something that isn’t mandated by the system can she be said to be playing." Some good writing from Steven Poole on games and chores.
work  games  writing  play  ethics  mechanics 
october 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: On Visibility
"I think this vision of artistic expression as a form of collaboration is a truer description of the nature of game design than of any other medium, because video games are inherently interactive." Pliskin on Steve Gaynor, and the gap between the screen and the gamepad.
games  writing  art  expressionism  author  mechanics  rules 
october 2008 by infovore
Fullbright: On Invisibility
"In a strange way then, the designer of a video game is himself present as an entity within the work: as the "computer"-- the sum of the mechanics with which the player interacts." Fantastic piece from Steve Gaynor, which touches on some notions of the death of the designer - namely, that the designer *is* inherently present in games; they embody themselves in mechanics, and games that downplay logical mechanics that players can reverse-engineer do themselves a disservice.
games  design  play  mechanics  rules  rulesets  stevegaynor  designer  author 
september 2008 by infovore
GameSetWatch - Design Lesson 101 - Braid
"Each world has a specific mechanic and overlapping rarely occurs between world mechanics. Instead, the player is given just enough objects on the screen to solve the puzzle with the limited tools available. By being able to concentrate on one mindset of solving the puzzle, eventually the solutions make themselves apparent." A nice Manveer Heir piece on why the puzzles themselves in Braid are good: because the game creates complexity out of limited tools, rather than throwing every mechanic in all the time.
braid  game  design  mechanics  games  play  puzzles  problems 
august 2008 by infovore
Braid: brilliant, brainy, and off the mark | Fidgit
"Braid is like having a really smart guy throw a brain teaser at you, and this really smart guy isn't going to just let you say 'I give up' and then tell you the answer." Chick's point is good: if you don't like platformers, Braid is going to hurt. At the same time: it's so primitive a platformer, I think it's hard to dislike because of the mechanics, and the time-manipulation smooths out some of the kinks with platforming (much like in Sands of Time)
braid  games  play  mechanics 
august 2008 by infovore » Blog Archive » Finished Braid
"Every inch of Braid is a painting; every game dynamic makes music. Unlike most platformers, Braid is forgiving; when you miss a jump, you simply back up time, and the visuals and audio cues associated with this mechanic are pleasing of themselves, aesthetically, while also supporting the underlying fiction." Harvey Smith on Braid.
braid  harveysmith  games  play  mechanics  story  narrative 
august 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: Minigolf with a Story
"Narrative, like play, is one of the most basic tools we posses as human beings for coping with experience. And just as play can be fundamentally empowering, there is something distinctly empowering about using the tools of narrative to throw a net of meaning over our lives."
narrative  story  games  play  design  storytelling  mechanics 
august 2008 by infovore
星探 [hoshi saga] (nekogames)
How had I never seen this before? Beautiful little puzzle game: find the star in the level. Each level has a different mechanic. Each makes me smile.
games  puzzle  flash  online  web  play  emergent  mechanics  beautiful 
august 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: Rules and Fun
"The pleasure of video games, it seems to me, comes from our sense that we are collaborating in the realization of the designer's intentions by learning those rules." Yes. This is why I loved watching Mission Impossible: every week, a puzzle is solved.
rules  games  play  philosophy  pleasure  mechanics  systems 
july 2008 by infovore
Raph’s Website » Project Horseshoe: Influences
"I actually went and looked up on the Web a list of NP-hard problems, and they sure as hell sound like our games." Raph Koster hitting lots of nerves with me. Lots, and lots, of nerves.
design  play  games  influence  mechanics  math  computing 
january 2007 by infovore

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