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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.

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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…)


Playstation©App Jumps to #3 in the App Store

Published on November 15, 2013, by in Uncategorized.



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.


Playstation App #3


Being unfamiliar with it I had to click through to find out what it does.

Playstation App #3 2The biggest thing that jumps out at me, from this awful wall of text

  • “In-app second screen features”

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.

  • Most mobile designers are outwardly apathetic about the next generation of consoles.
  • I think it’s time for an exciting new experience, second screen combines console design with mobile design.
  • Will Second Screen be the next amazing thing for video games, like the wii mote? Or will it be shelved and forgotten like PS3 six axis?
  • What will be the most amazing second screen experience of 2014?

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The Indie Dev Trinity

Published on October 9, 2013, by in Personal.

The Designers Trinity

Published on October 5, 2013, by in Personal.

Designer Trinity


Prototype Tactics: Class Charts

Published on October 3, 2013, by in Game Design.

So now that we have more or less figured out the stats we want to use we can make charts. Yay charts!

Since we’re working in unity and setup our tables properly these are super easy to populate. Plus we can still make changes to the tables and the graphs will adjust automatically. I’m by no means a charts and graph making expert, but these simple line charts should suffice since we simply want to compare units side by side.

So we have graphs…and their pretty….now what? Well we could measure the gaps between certain traits and the cost line (which I should have changed to black and bold to help differentiate) to help steer design direction.

What I mean is look at the Knight graph and then look at the Mage or Thief graph. See how the Knight’s stats follow a similar course and smaller gap to the cost line compared to the Mage and Thief. (Of course this is completely expected from the numbers… the graphs are just there to help you visualize it and look for oddities really) What these gaps tell us in terms of Design though is that we should be giving the bulk of our abilities to these classes. It also means to make these classes stand out and remain useful we will have to make sure their abilities are better than the Knights. Well that is if we’re trying to make a balanced game where people want lots of different units and not just a game where the dominant strategy is to field as many Knights as possible.

Of course we have to remember the things these graphs don’t show us… such as range and AOE attacks. The Archer’s HP might not be low enough compared to having the ability to shoot from afar. 70 HP for 100 cost doesn’t seem high compared to our Soldier who is 100:100. But compare that to the Knight, the Knight only has 110, and he doesn’t get to attack from afar. The graphs don’t tell us that for sure, but it helps us visualize effects in game so we know what to look out for and what to adjust. Without the graph we might test Archers and say “wow their too good, let’s tone them down” and adjust their damage output. With the graph however it’s easier to see that maybe the problem is their HP are too high. Just a thought, an opinion, something I picked up looking at the graphs and thought was worth sharing.

Classes Charts:

Soldier Graph



WIP: Prototype Tactics

Published on September 30, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

My work in progress with no real name so let’s call it “Prototype Tactics” for now.

Click the link below to download the prototype I made in Unity. Each level randomizes (from a set pool) which units you control and what you face. Defeat all the enemies to advance to the next, slightly harder level. This should work in both PC and Mac, but I have only tested it on a PC.

Design Goal: The monster stats are designed at a slight disadvantage so it should be fun for the player and allow him to win with a few mistakes.




Warning: Before playing please turn down your speakers. You’ve been warned.


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