Good Chiptunes

Some of the artists that I listen to from time to time have been mentioned, but I want to go ahead and put the Swedish chiptune group Slagsmalsklubben out there, definitely check some of their work if you haven't already.

Edward Snowden: ‘I already won’

Edward Snowden was raised in the town that I live in currently, and there's a jewelry store here called Snowden's Jewelers. I've always wanted to know if theres any relation but haven't had the guts to go in there and bring it up, I'm sure they'd deny it though in case of any relation.

How bad is your eyesight?

I thought my right eye was worse than my left, but tinkering around proves that my left eye is slightly worse. Apparently your vision is calculated by the inverse of the focal point in meters. Fine text and details come into to focus for me around 7 inches, which is about 1/5-1/6 of a meter, which is about 5-6 diopters of correction, considering my better eye is most likely compensating for the other, this is about right.

By this time I'm at -10 on both eyes. :(

Yipes! I should get a comprehensive eye exam done. Fortunately, I think my vision is damn near stabilized for the time being, at least until older age starts wearing on me. Hopefully Ill be one of the lucky few whos nearsightedness improves over time.

How bad is your eyesight?

Just curious as to how my eyesight stacks up against some other people in this community. I have a high to moderate degree of myopia, with my left eye being -5 or so and my right eye right around -7 with astigmatism. It could be much worse but I still feel blind as a bat! How about you guys? Are you nearsighted, farsighted, have the eyes of an eagle? Tell us all about it.

[Poll] Judging whether to download a game? What do you look for?

Hype juts out to me because, I'll admit, I DO download games because of hype, and its not solely because a game is more popular, but that I am more likely to know of its presence if it has been hyped.

Once I am actually on a games entry, and can judge what I see, graphics catch my eye, but what hooks me in are a games features, how they are implemented, and if the game embodies a set of features which I feel would make it a fun game, then Ill give it a whirl.

Game scores have a fair influence on my decision, too. A game which has a bad, or some bad ratings doesn't necessarily mean that its going to be an awful game, and the converse is true with good ratings - I usually think that games with good ratings across the board, must be doing something right, however. Scores are iffy in these communities because a game can be scored on technical merit and not actually be a fun game, as is the case with games that have implemented custom systems with relatively complex code. Sure, that's cool, but is the game fun to play?

What are you thinking about? (game development edition)

I want to make a game that's a mischief rpg called "Sorarinthis' Mischief Makers Brigade!" that's light hearted and funny. You would gain experience for solving puzzles, pranking the community, doing flash mobs, and street art. You wouldn't have to worry about getting caught-- you'd have to worry about getting pranked back! You would be able to choose your party members or kick them at anytime. I'd love to set it up where just about everything is clickable, but the conditions would vary on what you can do or how you interact with the environment and objects. Items can be bought legally or... Stolen, if you insist on a crime streak. The head of the brigade would condone that, however. I'm not sure what the rival group would be or what they would be called.
(I'm also thinking that PentagonBuddy's avvie creeps me out really bad. I like some creepy things... This one isn't agreeing with me.)
I like where you're going with this idea, more so because it has the title of one of my favorite games in it, even though that's subject to change.

It needs more fleshing out, though, obviously, but I think it could work. Instead of everything being clickable, you could highlight objects that have some sort of relevance. Your pranks can contribute to a pool of currency that gives you instruments which aid in further quests, etc.

On another note, I've been waffling over an idea for a game where the premise of the game involves determinism, "what if" questions, and chaos theory intertwined in a way that time marks are stored away for the player to find. The player could use these to alter the course of history to circumvent puzzles. The environment can be interacted with in such a way that certain things are affected by time, while others aren't, and it's your goal to orient the world to your advantage - in a way, you are the agent which controls your fate, given that you have the knowledge of how to determine current or future circumstances based on past ones.

I don't know, I hope this doesn't sound too "Braid-like" as that's not exactly the path I have in mind. The idea is still in its infancy and I'm entertaining the idea more and more. For the most part, everything is still kind of dissonant and I don't have anything well-thought out yet, so would anyone like to give their 2 cents?

Do graphics matter?

This is a loaded question, but id like to try and answer it.

In short, there's no objective wright or wrong answer to this, as it depends on personal preference, but I think we can peel away a rational way to look at it without throwing it all to opinion.

In short, a games graphics can enhance the overall quality, and a good game made better, but you can not take a shoddy game and make it good by adding good graphics. Graphics serve to enhance the game, not build it. The essence of what makes a game appealing in the sense of what makes it a fun game isnt because of visual appeal. Still, in the same way that looking at a piece of artwork is pleasurable, or listening to a well-written composition, so do these things make a game all that much more pleasurable when you play them, and see the artwork or listen to the music.

Theres also distraction due to graphical errors, inconsistencies, and these can interfere with the gameplay. E.g. a graphical glitch can act as a hurdle by saying, causing a trap to be invisible which should be visible to the player. This is really sidetracking, I think, and doesnt deal with the question of whether aesthetically pleasing games have any bearing on the games quality.

The easiest way to look at this is through a case study, where you look at games that are generally considered fun, not fun, and are on both sides of the graphical camp in terms of games that are pretty, and games that arent. I.e. general consensus fun games that arent visually appealing, and bad ones that are, which reverts back to what I said about bad games not being redeemable through how beautiful they may or may not be. Also, take into consideration better art style, or more polygons, and how theyd affect the game.

I love the hand-drawn style of games like Astal for the Sega Saturn or Braid. These games visually appeal to me in the same way that anything else would on the same level. The games may hold more meaning to me by having the artistic merit, but not are not necessarily more fun. Meaning and fun are two mutually exclusive properties of games, but are often lumped together, which is a mistake. I think that this is probably the biggest take-home message here, in that "matter" is in a sense of how you ascribe what matters in the game; whether or not it is meaningful, or fun, which graphics affect one but not necessarily the other. Then, how do you derive fun? Are meaningful games fun? Are fun games meaningful? Ask yourself that, they arent always the same thing,

Technical "beauty" and art direction are totally different. Astal isnt technically impressive by todays standards, but is still a relevantly beautiful game. On the flip side, the rendering of a gritty war zone in Call of Duty may be technically impressive, but we generally wouldnt consider a war zone to be a piece of art in person, which leads to something else to mention.

How do we judge art? How do we judge beauty? Why are these things meaningful to us? What aspect of art appeals to human beings and our appreciation of it?

When art depicts reality, we are usually awestruck by the design, impressed that one can symbolize reality through "art".

If an artist were to sketch a lifelike image of someone thats unattractive, most people would probably admire the similarities, no matter the subject, the same thing applies to video games - right?

I just streamed my thoughts here, there's probably a lot of incohesiveness around my post, jumbled thoughts, fragments, puzzle pieces, I dont know what you want to call them. I just think that the bigger picture is not confuse meaning and fun, and how art not necessarily affects a games meaning, but how it can put a spike through the gameplay in terms of how it affects you actually playing the game. If you can nail these things down, then I think youve answered the question.

Dungeon Design

I realize that there are varying degrees of linearity, but I'm primarily lambasting more of the textbook linearity that doesn't feature branch-offs or other quasi-non-linear features. Most games feature at least a modicum of exploration and this definition of "linear" typically exists only in theory, but I thought that I'd lay it out just to emphasize that it's important to implement divergence.

In reference to the first comment on battles, I agree wholeheartedly that dungeons should be the centerpiece of many great RPGs, and not to derail the topic, but I feel that a lot of battle systems in many indie games are kind of crude or pointless and feel more like tacked-in filler content than something that requires careful thought and preparation. Tossing that aside, since the focus is on dungeon design, I'm tuning in to read more on dungeon structure later when it's out here.

Dungeon Design

This article contains some useful tidbits of advice, including adhering to a consistent theme and planning out the dungeon logistics. I will admit, though, that I was half-expecting to read more on the theory of proper dungeon design as opposed to the process, e.g. how layout affects the dungeon, weaving puzzles and other features in, etc. but this is most likely more on my part than yours.


Ex. battle>puzzle>reward, is a good set of 3 different content types. It challenges the hero/player physically (battles) and mentally (puzzles) and rewards them afterwards for their efforts, which positively conditions them into doing the same thing again. Using the prize of chests as an incentive for players to complete challenging tasks.

I don't know if this is a matter of phrasing, but the player shouldn't face physical challenges in the game, it should all be a mental process. On that note, a dungeon that's void of puzzles could slide MORE SO as long as the battles encourage proper preparation and choice of execution to succeed; otherwise, it's a mindless enter-key spamfest that far too many games are afflicted with. I actually feel that dungeon design is the meat and potatoes of the game, so I don't entirely advocate this.

One thing I actually talked about with someone recently was how I tend to create paths that lead no-where while they prefer to make mostly straight paths. I like me some dead-ends or just off-shoots of the main passage way through the dungeons. This is because I like to make exploration a priority and getting lost a possibility and going the wrong way quite likely - it can lead to unexpected benefits.
*Followed by picture references*

I don't know, I personally find this type of design to be frustrating. I realize that this is subjective, but if the player is led astray by dead paths too often, they will probably begin to become annoyed and tired of playing. This isn't entirely in a vacuum and the less-beaten path can be reinforced through rewards, but too much pure vanity just isn't something that I'm fond of. I think that path intersection as opposed to linearity is important because it's conducive to gameplay diversity and, consequently, enhances the player's individual experience. If you're striving for realism, this is an alternate option. There's rarely a single path to a location in actuality, and it's better than dead end paths that don't lead to anything. Additionally, people tend to prefer the discovery process, which is another nail to linearity. If you tell someone that they only have to get from point A to point B with no hint of exploration in the middle, chocked with boring battles, they're likely to just stop playing all together.

Understanding Fun Game Design ~ Case Study: Tetris

I found these articles on fun game design to be particularly interesting because the theory behind game design and the essence of fun not only hold my attention, but is a realistic and critical point in proper game development. In this community, and many others, we create games to elicit a fun experience, but do we understand any theory that underpins fun in games?

I realize how you reference good game design in Tetris, but I'm not sure if it was entirely clear throughout the article. In a nutshell, Tetris offers the player a low-stakes world that contains a set of rules that governs player action and the environment's respective reaction to those of the player. The simple set of principles are structured into a multitude of possibilities in the game world which requires us to develop patterns which is furthermore rewarded upon success. If the pattern was vague or essentially non-existent, then we would have less of an arousing experience because there's no way to weave our brains into figuring out the game mechanics to blaze through the challenges that're thrown our way. Fun isn't always entirely clear but I think this system of design is an integral part of what it means to be "fun".

Of course, there's much more that contributes to fun game design, and I believe that your case study of Mega Man 5 may have touched based on some of these, so I recommend it to anyone found this article to be useful. Also, if you find the time, keep 'em coming, these articles are indeed a good read to any budding game designer.

EDIT: Whoa, this article is older than I thought, hopefully someone will read this comment!
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