Archive for the ‘ Game Design ’ Category

Creating a Card Game: From Start to Finish

I’ve been pretty busy this month with two projects: Tragedia and Prehysteria. While you might recognize the name “Prehysteria” from an early blog post, this is an entirely new project that has nothing to do with that design document. This Prehysteria is a silly, dinosaur-themed competitive cooperative card game, and for today’s post, I’m going to take you through the process I’ve used, and am using, to create it.


Keep reading to learn more about creating card games!

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The Making of Tragedia: Dungeon Design

This post is part of “the Making of Tragedia” series. Tragedia is a classic-style role-playing game I am currently developing in RPG Maker VX. You can learn more about the game and download the demo at the Tragedia website.



As I began to create new dungeons for Tragedia, I realized that there is a surprising lack of information online about 2D dungeon design. For any 2D game that features dungeons, these levels have extremely important puzzle and combat elements, so why are we not talking about them? In this post, I’m going to take you through my design process for the dungeons in Tragedia, as well as provide tips for creating your own dungeons.


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The Making of Tragedia: Crafting an Immersive Story

As this marks the first post in my “the Making of Tragedia” series, I thought it appropriate to begin with the game’s story, as that is where I began in my development. But first, a quick introduction of the game itself. Tragedia is a classic-style role-playing game that I have been working on for a few months now. It is being developed in RPG Maker VX, which has proven to be a wonderful tool that allows me to primarily focus on the game’s design and story. For this post, I won’t be discussing any specifics for the story, so no need to worry about spoiling the game if you plan on playing it later.


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Tips & Tricks: Performance Optimization in UDK

The Unreal Development Kit is a wonderful editor for building both games and levels, but sometimes, things don’t always work as anticipated. I’ve heard numerous complaints of people who claim UDK is a terrible editor simply because it was running slow, but don’t forget that there are ways to fix this problem, so don’t just give up on the editor, especially if it could be caused by something you did! If UDK is running impossibly slow, check out these tips for optimizing the editor’s performance.


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Game Design Lessons I Learned From Hockey

I’m not going to lie: I’ve become a bit of a hockey fan since I was first introduced to the sport two years ago. It’s an exciting sport, and I find it to be a lot of fun to watch and follow. Now that I’ve been getting more into it, I’ve come to a realization: hockey and video games have a lot in common. Sure, they’re both forms of entertainment, and yes, there’s a series of NHL video games, but there’s much more to it than that. There are actually elements of game design that can be found behind the scenes in ice hockey, so keep reading to see the similarities I’ve found, and how they can be applied to creating games. 


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Prototyping Tools

Woah, it’s been a while since I’ve updated on here! Sorry about that guys! As many of you have heard, I’ve recently started up my own game project, and we’ve just begun pre-production. We seem to be off to a good start so far, and I’ll be posting more news about it and my experiences working with it later on.


In the mean time, I thought I’d talk a little bit about prototyping tools for game designers. As designers, it is our job to clearly describe the game’s vision, but sometimes, it’s just too difficult to do with words alone. Sure, you could use mock-ups or graphs to help get your point across, but every once in a while, it helps to just show everyone on the team exactly what you’re looking for. This is where prototyping comes in, and if you don’t happen to be very good at coding, digital prototyping can often be a difficult task. Fortunately for us, there are tools we have at our disposal! Many of you have heard of, if not used, Game Maker, which is a great tool that makes prototyping a breeze with its drag-and-drop coding. As much as I love using Game Maker, there is, however, a newer tool that takes what Game Maker does and builds on it. I’m talking about Stencyl, and while I haven’t used it much, it seems to be a fantastic prototyping tool. It retains the simplicity of usability that Game Maker has, while also allowing you to easily collaborate with a team. And don’t worry: you still don’t really have to code! Stencyl features an interesting little snapping code system, where you can snap blocks of code together to form strings… think Kismet meets Game Maker. There are a lot of cool features, so check out their web site for more information and to download the free tool!


This is the tool my team and I will be using for our prototyping needs, and I highly recommend it to any other game designers. You can even use it to create iOS and flash games, if you want it for more than just prototyping. That’s all I’ve got for today, but I’ll be posting more soon. Also, if you have any suggestions for my next UDK workshop video, let me know. Thanks for reading!

Visual Scripting in Kismet Video

Now that finals are out of the way, I was finally able to finish the Visual Scripting in Kismet video! Click on the image below to watch it on vimeo. Topics covered include: turning off the HUD, toggling lights using switches, implementing sound and animation, and setting up bots with basic AI. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Visual Scripting in Kismet Video

I’m starting to get the hang of making these videos, and I managed to get my hands on a better mic, so hopefully the quality is much better this time. I think next time I’ll be adding in some extras to go along with points where I’m just talking and not actually showing anything. Also, I’ve been receiving some comments that the July beta has some changes that make the first video confusing, so I’ll be working on some notes after I get back from PAX Dev to go along with the video for those using newer versions. Remember that UDK is updated every month, so little things may change from time to time.

Enjoy the video, and let me know if you have any suggestions for improving them or for the next one I make!

Tips & Tricks: A Guide to Project Proposals

Whether you’re presenting in front of publishers, fellow developers, professors, or students, talking about your next big idea can be a handful. There’s a bunch of stuff you need to include, but you don’t want it to be too long or boring, so you have to find the right balance without cutting out anything important. Even determining what is important and what isn’t can be a real challenge, and you definitely don’t want to over- or underwhelm the audience. If you’ve never made a project proposal before, it may seem difficult to find a starting point, so I’ve made this guide to help you nail both the actual proposal and the presentation.


Keep reading to learn more about making your own project proposals!

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Project Approval!

At my school, all students have a senior innovation project, or SIP, that they have to complete in order to graduate. Since I’ve been preparing things for my upcoming game project entitled “Dead Pixels,” I decided that it would be a good fit for the SIP. We just presented our project proposals last week and I received my feedback yesterday. There were some interesting comments I received from the professors who I presented to, which gave me some new things to think about, but overall, my project got approved. I’m currently working on some documentation and a basic prototype of the game mechanics, and I will be putting together a team come early August, or sooner, depending on how much time I have this month. “Dead Pixels” will be a product of my personal indie studio, Katastrophe Games, and I plan on entering the game into the IGF. There’s a lot of work that is going into this project, so I will be posting here periodically to give updates as to how we’re progressing, as well as any issues we had along the way and their solutions. For those interested, you can read a little more about the game below.


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Learn UDK in a Day Workshop Video

It’s finally here! After a long delay due to crunch time at work, the video for my Learn UDK in a Day Workshop is finally available for viewing! Just click the image below to head over to vimeo to watch it. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to contact me.

Learn UDK in a Day Workshop

Continue reading to see the list of helpful resources and tutorials for UDK that were provided at the actual workshop!

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