Category Archives: Game Design

Gameplay metrics: game design’s best kept secret?

So Laralyn McWilliams just wrote: I might pitch a talk for next year’s @Official_GDC to preach about how we should stop thinking metrics are only for F2P or all about money. — Laralyn McWilliams (@Laralyn) March 11, 2015 And I agree so much with that that I had to write something about it. When game […]

Some notes on narrative design

This morning I reviewed some student projects at the Ecole Bellecour here in Lyon, from a narrative design point of view. This meant listening to small teams as they presented their ideas for their projects, then giving them feedback and suggesting things they could do. In some ways, this is the most fun part of […]


My good friend Mark Barrett sent me a link to an article about Pathologic, a game from 2004 that I had never heard of before. Mark seemed excited about the game, and, after I read more about it, so am I. The article is Butchering Pathologic, by Quintin Smith, over on the excellent Rock Paper […]

Observations on Lego Star Wars

Miss Berzerk Raccoon and I have been playing Lego Star Wars 2 recently, as you may already know if you read her blog. I own Lego Star Wars 1 and 2 and have finished all of the levels (a rare thing for me). I also recently bought Lego Batman after playing the Xbox Live demo, […]

The 90-9-1 Principle explained

The 90-9-1 Principle is an often discussed concept that has been used in countless conversations about online communities and social strategy. Until now, there hasn’t been a single collection of description and support for the principle, making it hard to share a single links with clients, colleagues, and friends who haven’t heard of 90-9-1. This […]

Masocore Games

Anna Anthropy, the writer of Auntie Pixelante, has written an interesting post about Masocore games: games that screw with the conventions of video games and the expectations of the player. trees full of apples. unassuming, you stride under one, and an apple falls from the tree and crushes you, sending you back to the start […]

Fairway Solitaire: The End

About two weeks ago I raved about Fairway Solitaire, a casual game I had just discovered (via Penny Arcade, I think). Just now, I have stopped playing it. In disgust. A simple and naive way to provide… variety, for want of a better word, is to simply keep cranking up the difficulty. It’s a time-honored […]

Usability and accessibility

I have a certain reputation with my gaming friends – I am known as Jurie “Died 3 Times During The Tutorial” Horneman. My frustration threshold is extremely low. It can be measured in millimeters (Um. What is that in non-metric? “Toe-nails”. Right.) Not only do I fail comically so early that most people would say […]

Emotion Engineering in Videogames by Stephane Bura

Remember Stéphane Bura’s talk on game design I mentioned earlier? He just published a massive article detailing the theory he presented in his talk. It has graphs and tables and stuff. This is a very exciting time to be a videogame designer. Videogame design is evolving from a barely understood activity done by genius designers […]

My progress in Assassin’s Creed

So last night I played some more Assassin’s Creed. First I remembered I could climb stuff so I ran around and practised fleeing from guards. Then I did the pickpocketing mission again and it was, in fact, ridiculously easy. I guess I forgot to press LT the first time. I then immediately failed the next […]