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Crafting Games: How to make them feel good.

Published on 2019-02-04, by in Game Design.

Games that got it right:

  • Minecraft
  • Don’t Starve
  • Subnautica

Games that missed the mark

  • Crosscode
  • ???

Crosscode is a fun top down Sci-Fi ARPG with great storytelling. But I wasn’t getting into the crafting n collecting experience and I think I figured out why. In Subnautica , Minecraft and Don’t Starve you have a very core crafting experience let’s compare the experiences between them vs Crosscode.



The Emotion Wheel

Published on 2018-09-06, by in Game Design.

credit: https://imgur.com/a/CkxQC

Emotion Wheel



Published on 2018-06-14, by in Game Design.


Note: This game design is free for anyone to use (read why here) but it would be nice to be compensated if you use it to make a game. Such as company equity, royalty or at very least designer credit in the game credits.

Image result for mech model bitgem

This happens to be a game design I would really like to make so if you want a partner to help with design, feedback and fundraising kindly email me.

So this morning I had an idea for a game that puts a small twist on the time traveling trope and recorded it. Here it is, give it a listen give feedback, bounce ideas I appreciate it!

If anyone wants to make a Zelda-like top down action RPG hit me up. Would love to help!

Image result for moonlighter Image result for zelda link to the past


  • Top down slanted view, ie Zelda, Moonlighter etc.
  • 2D or 3D art
  • Orthogonal and Diagonal movement
  • Orthogonal attacks only
  • Variety of Ranged and melee weapons the player can craft and swap between
  • Killed enemies drop crafting goods
  • Player has limited inventory, goods are shown as icons in square grid on inventory screen
  • Crafting – Raw goods dropped by enemies, found in breakables and chests can be combined into new weapons, consumable power ups, weapon upgrades, or recycled into ‘scrap’ or energy (basically its a currency), a common resource needed for all crafting. ie to craft a laser rifle upgrade player would need 2 tesla coils, 4 quartz lens and 15000 scrap/energy/goo/whatever
  • No stores or interactable NPCs fits the time traveling apocalypse theme and reduces assets needed for game KIS method (Keep It Simple!)
  • 1 Hero character, KIS
  • NPCs are the scientist who can communicate with hero and move story along but do not interact, KIS
  • No EXP or leveling. This is extra unnecessary work and adds a layer of complexity combined with weapon upgrades that make power adjusting tedious…unless we don’t mind the player min maxing and going on a godlike power trip destroying everything in his path with no tension…



Indie Game Dev House

Published on 2017-10-30, by in Game Design.

So lets take a moment and talk about the following

  1. What is the IGDH?
  2. Why you should join.
  3. Why am I starting it?

What is the IGDH?

The Indie Game Dev House project (IGDH for short) is similar to ‘Art Houses’. It might be rare but there exists individuals, wether or artists themselves or not, who share their good fortune to provide a shared living and work space for aspiring artists. And basically the IGDH is just that, the concept of inviting lots of individuals to come to a location, share a house together and work on projects together.

This isn’t meant to be a singular 1 place or house, hopefully it’s a concept that works, catches on, becomes popular and more and more begin popping up all over the world. I think in order for that to happen though it needs to foster an open environment rather than just a ‘invite your friends’ kind of vibe. That’s why I’ve been posting and sharing videos inviting people to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Which is a wonderful destination for digital nomads. The weather is great, the locals are friendly and open minded, and the cost of living is low which fosters a great atmosphere for online startups.

Why you should join.

There are so any reasons, I spend literally hours in my videos going over just some of them. #1 In my opinion is resources. Every artist, every studio, every project faces the challenge of resource management. The more time you spend trying to make a living, the less time and energy you have to work on your own project. The cost of living in the US is 3-4x higher than the cost of living with the same comforts then living in Chiang Mai. I still get all the important creature comforts that I’m accustomed to such as reliable internet, power, air conditioning, hot water showers, cooked meals, eating out, board game cafes, bars, restaurants, movie theaters you name it. So why not continue to freelance to make a living, but live someplace where you can maintain the same lifestyle with only 25% of the work to do so?

#2 World travel is eye opening, mind expanding, adventurous and refreshing. You can do a lot of amazing things in the US, if you have the money and time. Here in Chiang Mai it is affordable and easy to try new foods, visit ancient temples, pet tigers, feed elephants, go white rafting and more. You also learn a ton about yourself and the world by experiencing what its like to live in another culture. There is so many things we do, think and feel sort of ‘automatically’ in the US, or any culture, that might be holding you back in some way. Going to another country and experiencing their culture, their norms, their way of life gives you the opportunity to better understand your own culture.

#3 Surround yourself with a team of people of different talents who are all working towards the same goal and with the same motivation. No one here at the IGDH is coming here to get paid a salary, because there is none. If someone comes here it should be because they want to work together in a purely cooperative environment to make great games. And leave the backstabbing, office politics and responsibility dodging of the corporate culture behind them.

#4 Have fun! Making games is hard work but it shouldn’t be soul sucking and depressing. Come here to hang out, play games and live with other indie developers. Set yourself free and enjoy life while you can!

Why am I starting the IGDH?

Because I can. From age 16-30 I would classify myself as broke and constantly struggling financially. It was hard to pursue a higher purpose after working 60 hours a week just to get by. Now, in my 30s, I am financially in a very good place, I don’t have to work at all basically retired and I’ve found a wonderful cheaper easier place to live. I want to reach out and help people, because I wish someone would have done the same for me. There is no reason for you to struggle and kill yourself just to pay for rent, groceries and transportation. Life doesn’t have to be that hard. Don’t mistake what I’m saying, I believe in hard work! I respect it and like it. It feels good to work hard, its soul fulfilling. But do it for yourself, do it for your own legacy, your own project, do it for something that can drastically improve your life and financial situation. Don’t do it just to “get by” because all your doing at that corporation is making someone else rich. Don’t live 2 paychecks away from broke and desperate. Break out of the BS rat race, take a chance and see what life is like someplace else. If I can help people do that by relieving some of their worries by offering to pay for their rent and food for awhile, then that’s fucking awesome.  And I can afford it.

I’ve really been inspired by projects like Stugan and Noise Bridge. So check those out too and know that these ‘generous’, open arms, open minded environments exist. I love you all and wish you a life full of happiness and success.

Interested in joining? Click here.




Designing a Life

Published on 2017-10-10, by in Personal, Travel.

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted an update to my own website. Thankfully, I guess, no one reads it. So there is no pressure to maintain it. Just a $11 a year renewal fee from Godaddy, and a $2 a month hosting fee from Dreamhost. I managed to lock in a WordPress promotion that no longer exists. $2 a month for ‘unlimited websites, unlimited emails’. The bandwidth is limited I’m sure, but that doesn’t matter when you are invisible. Not a bad deal.

It’s been another hard year.  (more…)


The voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.

Published on 2016-06-11, by in Game Design.

It’s been too long since I have posted an update on my own site. Truth is I’m still very active right now. Will have more to show once things are further along.


Lusory attitude

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The lusory attitude is the psychological attitude required of a player entering into the play of a game.[1] To adopt a lusory attitude is to accept the arbitrary rules of a game in order to facilitate the resulting experience of play.[2]

The term was coined by Bernard Suits in the book The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia,[1] first published in 1978, in which Suits defines the playing of a game as “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”.[2] He also offers a fuller definition:

“To play a game is to attempt to achieve a specific state of affairs [prelusory goal], using only means permitted by rules [lusory means], where the rules prohibit use of more efficient in favour of less efficient means [constitutive rules], and where the rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity [lusory attitude].”[2]


Journey from Designer to Developer Part 1

Published on 2015-08-24, by in Game Design.

Summonera Poster1

You can download the Summonera demo by  CLICKING HERE and then right click save as the .exe file

Custom Art

For the past year I’ve been working with artists to create my own custom assets to use in future games. My goal is to re-use these characters over and over in a series of games. This accomplishes several things

  • It forces some restriction (focus) to my designs. That may sound counter intuitive, but like art it’s very difficult to work with a blank canvas.
  • I can begin building a brand
  • They are unique to me and my games. There’s lots of fantastic premade 2D asset and 3D asset packages you can buy for very very cheap (3-4 models, dozen textures for $100 is very cheap in game development costs) but don’t be surprised when you see shovelware using the same assets as your cool game.
  • They are freaking cool! I mean come on those characters are so cute and cool!

The Slow Transition

One thing I have had to come to terms with over the years is that Board Game Designers make games. Video Game Designers do not. Video Game Designers influence games, they can have major or minor impacts on the overall direction, story, mechanics, systems and art of a game. At the end of the day however; it’s the Developers and Artists that make games not the Designers. I’m not trying to persuade anyone else to not be a designer or crush your dreams of being a designer. I just wish I had known a lot sooner in life that if you want to make games, you really should learn how to code. Without it you are forever dependent on others, with it you can lead a team or run solo.

So if I really want to make my ‘own games’ I’m going to have to transition from being a Designer and become a Developer/Producer. To that end I’ve decided that this year I will work with genre specific editor software instead of an open ended game engine so that I can fully focus on the task of mastering a set of tools instead of being a hub of communication. With the follow up goal being that next year I will learn to program; so that eventually I can work with more open ended game engines and create my own tools instead of relying on someone elses.


I love Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star series. I loved stories, the artwork, the fantasy world and even the turn based strategic combat. (Side note: Now that I’m older turn based combat seems slow and boring now)  My favorite JRPG of  all time was not FF7 it was Final Fantasy 4 (US2). My favorite character from FF4 was Rydia the summoner. 4 Years before Satoshi Tajiri created Pokemon we had a Final Fantasy class that could summon monsters to fight for her, after beating them in combat. Honestly I probably had a bit of a crush on her, even if she was a bunch of pixels. Plus the ‘battle cut in’ art each time she summoned monsters was so freaking cool!

So when RMVXA + Luna Engine + DLC went on sale in the HumbleBundle.com Maker Bundle  for $13 I went all in. I don’t know if there is a god but I certainly feel like fate/destiny throws clues and signs are me once and awhile. It’s worked for me so far!

RPG Maker certainly has it’s limitations but it’s a much better starting point than an open engine like Unity3D. I wish I would have started using it years ago! It comes with tons of backgrounds, tiles, items and features that you would want when making your own JRPG. It would be great if I do end up making a good game with it, but for now my main goal is just to master the tools of editor. To treat RPG Maker like an artist treats a set of brushes. Day after day I watch tutorials and follow along. Not because puzzle X or event structure Y is going to be perfect for my game, but so I can master the toolset that is RPG Maker. Create something that people can actually play, begin building up a fan base even a small one, and most of all know what kind of tools and shortcuts I will need when I make my own editor in the future.

Road Block!

BAM! It came out of no where! It is kind of funny and ironic though. Now that I am working on my own game, at my own pace and just starting to feel like a developer; I have run into a mental road block because I don’t know what to work on next. I mean I have a list of things to implement and accomplish. But I didn’t make a GDD I just dove head first into the deep end. So I don’t have a real road map just a list of destinations. Where do my players turn next, who do they talk to, what is their purpose for going into the next dungeon? I don’t know!!

My game has 3 hours of gameplay so far. A loose plot thread with missions leading to the next area of the game. So why is it that for 2 weeks I didn’t/couldn’t touch the game anymore? Where did this roadblock come from? I suddenly feel like I wish I was a full-time developer and had someone else’s design and GDD to follow along with so that I could keep up my momentum instead of slowing down to think about the big picture. Ugghhh!

Perhaps it’s time to start fishing for user feedback?

To be continued….


Summonera Poster3

Download my free demo game Summonera



Published on 2015-03-01, by in Game Design.

Design is Design.

I’m discouraged whenever someone asks me “what kind of design do you excel at/focus on/enjoy most?” because it tears apart at my belief that design should be all encompassing, contextual and interconnected. When something doesn’t work right, it sits in the wrong place or could be drastically improved we often say “That’s a design flaw”. Well who’s job is it to decide where each cup-holder goes in a Ford van? Is there some guy with the eccentric job title of “Beverage Augmentation Location Designer”?

Do people/HR/Companies really need to create labels for different designers? How often have you applied for “X Designer” and end up being asked only questions that relate to “Y Design”?

With that in mind check out this Design video that on the surface has “nothing to do with game design” and just soak it all in. :) #tedtalks #gamedesign


Beginners: Reduce Scope!

Published on 2015-01-14, 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 2014-07-25, 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:

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