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Beginners: Reduce Scope!

Published on January 14, 2015, by in Game Design.

When making their first game, 100% of people who have never a made a game will make the same mistake.

Ok that is obviously hyperbolic, but I have yet to bump into someone working on their first game who hasn’t made this same mistake: They want their first game to be the big perfect game they imagine and want to play.

Solution: Reduce your scope!



Candy Crush is Still Relevant!!!

Published on July 25, 2014, by in Game Design.

It’s amazing that Candy Crush is still relevant. Estimated to be grossing almost $1M every day!

source: ThinkGaming

I recently attended Casual Connect and people were asking how does this game continue to make money? Of course I taught a workshop on this months ago. I’ve skipped to part 4 where I begin to discuss the importance of your layout. It’s importance can’t be understated and for some reason I still see good developers give it the once over. Don’t wait for your analytics  to tell you players aren’t even looking at your store, design your layout correctly before launch!



Check it out:


Make free game sound effects!

Published on June 4, 2014, by in Game Assets & Tools.


Make 8 bit style sound effects for your games. Super easy with sliders and stuff. (FREE!)

No need to download you can play with it right in your browser. Check it out.


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Slideshow of Pro Game Design Workshop 3

Published on February 16, 2014, by in Game Design.

I teach Game Design each week. People come out to learn professional skills they can take back to their studio or improve their hire-ability. Each class is designed to have a 1 hour lecture on an important design topic and then follow it up with 2 hours of hands on design and team building workshops. As you can see Game Design classes are a ton of fun.

This weeks topic was Diagrams and Communication tools. Students learned how to use Lucid Chart and Machinations to create powerful Flow Charts, Venn Diagrams, SWOT tests and Interactive Resource Flow Diagrams.

San Francisco Class Schedule CLICK HERE


January 26th San Francisco – 3 Hour Game Design Workshop & Lecture

Published on January 20, 2014, by in Game Design.

FREE ($50 Value) Game Design Class that includes a 1 hour lecture and 2 hour hands on workshop. All classes and workshops are lead by a professional game designer. Classes are open to people of all skill levels but is intended for those who are serious about games as a professional career.

Maximum class size is 30 and there are only 12 tickets left. For more information, to sign up for the Game Design Workshop or keep up to date on future events visit



Event Brite TIcket




Prototype – Uboat Wargames

Published on January 17, 2014, by in Game Design.

Without any prodding from me (the host) everyone played this game multiple times and hacked it with their own idea of rule tweaks to try and improve on gameplay. The pictures below show them playing with their entire Deck drawn; not the suggested way of playing . Notice the layout of tiles between each player, a key part of the setup of Uboat Wargames.

photo 1



Game Design Workshop – Post Mortem

Published on January 9, 2014, by in Game Design, Personal.



As the host I think it went fantastic. I covered a ton of content during the Lecture part of things and had to save some material for next time because I ran out of time. The crowd laughed at the right times almost every time, they asked very insightful questions so I know they paid attention and had a great time. But ya know, I’m a little biased in thinking that.

  • Dana eckhoff “Really great meetup, informative and fun, I am excited about the next one!”
  • Sorov “Good presentation and awesome workshop”



Wallpaper – Game Studio Flow Chart

Published on December 25, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

Game Studio Flowchart

Click on image to view full size. Then right click “Save As” to download. 

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!



Designing “Bullies” – Part 1

Published on December 22, 2013, by in Game Design.


Every monday night is board game night at Gamescape in San Francisco. As it happens with these sorts of things smaller groups formed within the larger group. While those groups continue to intermingle one ritual has stood out. 8-10 of us like to play various board games from 6:30, and then cap the night off 9:30-11pm with several rounds of Resistance.

Resistance is a game derived from  Mafia aka Werewolves and Villagers. The key difference being that with the advent of missions players are no longer eliminated. Instead of eliminating players from the game the “resistance” aka the uniformed majority are tasked with creating and approving via vote teams with no “spies” aka the informed minority.  (more…)


Bullies (Working Title) – Prototype

Published on December 17, 2013, by in Game Design.


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Congratulations to the very first Bullies Winners! Norna (Left) ended up in a kingmaker position, she couldn’t win but she could possibly swing the winner one way or the other. However neither Jun (her boyfriend) or GirlWhoseNameIForgotSorry we’re able to convince her to help them win. So the very first bullies game ended in a 2 way tie.

When working on client projects you sometimes feel like you don’t have any “design juice” left over for your own projects. At least that’s how I felt the last 2 months. As soon as the steam let up though I had my own idea for a game heavily inspired by playing too much Resistance Avalon and a bit of Coup.

I’ve only play tested Bullies twice so far. Already people really enjoy it and it has some interesting meta-game like mechanics that shift around depending on how many players there are. We started with 8, and of course since I taught the game everyone made sure to knock me out first; despite having exactly the same amount experience they had with it….which is to say none. But that never matters in a political player elimination style game. You teach it, you die. However because the first test had similar amounts of gaining and losing life (1 and -1, -2) knocking out remaining players tended to drag out and take longer than anticipated.

Still people heavily enjoyed the concept of the game. As the game whittled down to 5, then 4 players everyone was worried the game would “fall apart” once it reached 3 players. I was fairly certain that this would not be the case and rather than fall apart at 3 players it would in fact become a lot more intense. I was correct. People began talking about how the end game reminds them of Game Theory concepts especially The Prisoners Dilemma. Now I did the entire play test with just 2 decks of playing (poker) cards, and 2 dice per player. The dice were just a way of keeping track of life for each player and we’re a simple way to go up and down instead of writing and rewriting life totals.

Now that I know the concept works I’ve taken the time to create a better prototype; which also makes it easier to begin tacking on more elements. The game is fun, but it feels like it’s missing that 1 or maybe 2 more elements to flesh it out.


The Rules (more…)

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