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In the grand scheme of MOBAs, Ironclad’s Sins of a Dark Age is quite the bold thing. AI directors, random rule-rewriting quests, and other RPG-influenced, flow-shattering shenanigans? This certainly isn’t DOTA 2.5 or Assortment of Apologues, and it’s not trying to be. But at one point, it was doing its damndest to be so much more. Unfortunately, the RTS-style base-building and commanding didn’t pan out, and Ironclad scratched them almost entirely. But according to studio director and co-owner Blair Fraser, his MOBA’s retching rejection of all things RTS is indicative of much larger problems for both genres. One, he argues, is on its death bed, and the other could be following suit if it doesn’t start blazing new trails.

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Just another day in the pixel mines.

Queasy Games

Music games can generally be divided into two broad categories: games that ask you to take part in making the music, and games where the music drives the gameplay. Sound Shapes straddles the line between those two types of games while layering an incredibly satisfying, abstract take on 2D platform games on top as well.

As you know if you've read our previous coverage, Sound Shapes turns you into nothing more than a small, sticky circle, caught in a world full of simple, abstract shapes rendered primarily in stark, solid colors. The goal is to roll and hop around to collect floating coins dotted around the game's rooms while avoiding enemies and their attacks, which are helpfully highlighted in a deadly red.

It sounds simple, and it is, as far as the gameplay is concerned (though the designers do a good job of stretching the simple concept as far as it can go, with levels that force you to make smart use of the jumping and sticking mechanics). But what makes the game really stand out is the way that each coin you collect activates a note that gets layered into a constantly evolving, mesmerizing backbeat that follows you from room to room.

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[In this article, Cloudberry Kingdom developer Jordan Fisher explains precisely how he created the algorithmic level design system for the procedurally generated platformer -- and how you can design your own AI. You can back Cloudberry Kingdom on Kickstarter right now.] So you want to make a procedural platformer. You want it to spit out levels on demand, and you want the levels to be awesome, challenging, and fun. You want the algorithm to be ...

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I once happened upon my brothers attempting to fly an SUV off a cliff. This was years ago, when Grand Theft Auto III was still new, but it was already easy enough to search online for the cheat code to make cars fly. After about an hour of trying to glide across a river and into a football stadium, they finally cleared the edge of the wall, landed the car inside, and broke into proud ...

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College students need to learn very different ways of behavior when changing from game players to game designers. Even if they have the aptitude (not everyone does) they need a productive orientation and must avoid self-indulgence.

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In this series of blog posts, we'll discuss problems in modern MMOs which are related to their difficulty. With these posts, I'd like us to discuss, how we can address these problems. Today we'll talk about player types and different play-styles.

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