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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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. Continue reading →
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.
I think it’s important as a Designer to keep an eye on the App Store. Others argue that’s more of a Product Manager role but I think good monetization starts with good Design, and that requires watching the market. So today the PlayStation©App jumped 118 places to reach #3 in the App Store.
Being unfamiliar with it I had to click through to find out what it does.
Hey that’s pretty cool! So judging by the 6 wide 100+ deep line outside of GameStop along with live bands and news vans the PS4 launch party was last night. And with that came millions (?) of fans exploring everything that their PS4 can do. Followed by a rush to the App Store to see what kind of Second Screen experience is waiting for them.
Moving 118 spots in the App Store is meteoric. Companies spend upwards of 500k to millions trying to achieve similar results for their games. Imagine if you could just piggy back on Sony’s App Store rise, if they had a link to your app in their app. If you could launch an in app ad for your app. If the cost were low enough you’d be golden. Not sure how useful this thought really is, but it’s something to watch out for in the future. Do with it what you will. Don’t forget the Xbox launch is just around the corner.
It’s also an opportunity for us Mobile Designers to reach out to Console Game Developers to see how we can help with their second screen experiences. Their less familiar with the hardware, the resolutions and crazy PPI ranges of mobile devices. Not to mention the awesome brainstorming fun of thinking up new second screen features to tie in with their game.
I’m imagining playing Call of Duty where a friend comes over and uses his iPad. His second screen experience is that of peering through a reconnaissance helicopter top down view of enemy heat signatures and calling them out to your friend while he plays. “Watch out enemy at your 6” Maybe even calling in the occasional air strike and being penalized for collateral damage and friendly fire.