10 Jun

DANIEL COOK ON GAME DESIGN

roadnottaken

 

Daniel Cook, of Spry Fox games is a brilliant and thoughtful game designer. As a player, I love his games Triple Town and Road Not Taken (pictured). If you haven’t played them, run don’t walk. They’re both on Steam, as well as many other platforms.

I think of him as a game designer’s designer. His games are mechanically innovative, elegant and rich. They reward repeated play and deep engagement yet are produced with a small team and modest resources.  Hopefully at some point if he has time I’ll have him on the show for a conversation but for those who are unfamiliar with him these are some great, rich resources to dig into first.

His blog, at Lost Garden, is a treasure trove. Start with this piece about Loops and Arcs and then wander around. You won’t be disappointed.

The thing that motivated me to write this post are two video taped talks he gave. The first is a sort of crash-course on analytical thinking about game design that I think is wonderful and invaluable.

It’s pitched toward beginner designers and offers a series of powerful lenses through which to look at, dissect and improve your game designs. If you get nothing else from this post, watch this one.

The second is about Designing Original Games:

In it he discusses some principles for trying to create mechanically original game designs and the advantages of this approach vs the more incremental ‘10% better’ approach we often encounter. I found it very provocative and interesting and hopefully you will too.

09 Apr

Where I’ve Been

Aaaaand we’re back. A few of you NewbQuest listeners / watchers / readers have very politely asked me what’s up with the show via Twitter (@mattmirrorfish). It’s been a pretty busy period for me, with the main news being: I got a new job! I’m now part of the Online Content Team at Unity Technologies and help out there with making videos for the Unity YouTube channel as well as doing about half of the weekly Monday afternoon (US EST time) Twitch streams teaching Unity. It’s an awesome job and I’m super happy to be doing it. It’s definitely in line with the mission of what NewbQuest is all about. The sad fact though is that it’s pretty time and energy intensive and because it’s similar to what I was doing for the show it’s caused me to go on a bit of a hiatus. I’m bringing the show back to life to release an episode that I’ve (shamefully) been sitting on for quite a few months with the excellent Steve Swink (sorry Steve!) and I’m aiming to make some more regular updates here now that I’m settled into my new job, new apartment and generally re-arranged life!
For those who use Unity I’d love for you to check out my first big project for them which is a 14 part tutorial series on creating a 2D Roguelike game. This is aimed at intermediate Unity users but if you’re a beginner with a lot of gumption and desire feel free to dive on in.

I’ve also been working slowly away on my procedural flying butterfly shooter Pollen and have made some progress with it. You can check out some gameplay footage of the first two levels here: